Five Lifesavers: Getting Through The Bad Times With K-Dramas

Whenever I am asked how I spend my free time, it’s almost always “watching K-dramas and writing about them”—a template answer I have given for the past five years. In 2017, we started this blog as an avenue of our endless thoughts about Korean dramas: stories, characters, sceneries. But looking back now, I believe what made us genuinely love Korean dramas was not just the interesting camerawork, fancy celebrities, and compelling stories. Above all else, these shows offer a sense of belongingness—some form of a fictional world that lets us escape reality for a few hours. No matter what genre, every story offers a different kind of healing—a much-needed cry of release, an outlet for reality-induced stress, or a safe space to feel light and vulnerable.

The mantra of Ahjummamshies has always been “saving lives through K-dramas” and there’s no better way to honor them other than a special feature. As part of our fifth anniversary celebration, I am pleased to share these five dramas that play a significant role in maintaining my sanity. These are my go-to escape dramas when life gets too overwhelming.

When the Weather is Fine

For the one who feels anxious and lost

This one is a relatively newer drama—but watching it in 2020 when the world was closing its doors against each other, When the Weather is Fine gave me the peace and calmness that I desperately needed back then. My anxious self found a home in the quaint town of Bukhyeon. It had a winter backdrop, but it made us feel warm. At a time when we faced the greatest health scare of our generation, this drama reminded me that having a good sleep and eating well already means a good life. It shifted my perspective on what living your best life means. Watching When the Weather is Fine feels like reading my favorite book. It offers a distinct sense of belongingness because of the serene cinematography and vulnerable characters.

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

For the one who has lost so much in life

This drama garnered mixed reactions from viewers around the globe because of its unpopular ending and the calls for a second season will never end, I guess. But even though Wang So and Hae Soo never got the reunion they deserved, Moon Lovers will remain one of the best melodramas I’ve watched in my life. It’s an avenue to vent out my life’s frustrations and release all the negative energy within me. I always turn to this drama if I need a good cry or feel angsty. A beautiful fusion sageuk about love, family, power, and greed.

It’s Okay, It’s Love

For the one who turned their wounds into their best armor

My favorite No Hee-kyung drama of all time, starring two of my favorite Korean stars. It’s such a gem and way ahead of its time. The drama was my first wake-up call on mental health awareness. It helped me become a better person without exaggerating. I became more aware of mental illnesses, be more open-minded and sensitive about the people around me and let me reflect on my mental state. It’s Okay It’s Love aired when I was starting a new love, which back then was only a concept to me. I was a jaded person who slowly opened up just like the lead characters Jae-yeol and Hae-soo—two characters who live with their battle scars and their healing journey became an inspiration for me to become more open-minded and accepting of another person’s affection.

Full House

For the one who’s not afraid to love again

My first ever romantic comedy—and a perennial favorite. It’s a story of two immature individuals who got married and continuously bickered until they fall in love. If you love mindless romcoms that are full of fluff, Full House is the perfect place for you. It’s my first taste of the grumpy/sunshine storyline and the reason forced proximity/cohabitation is my favorite drama trope. This drama also fueled my writer dreams! I met Song Hye-kyo in Autumn in my Heart, but this is the drama where she claimed my soul. Ji-eun and Young-jae will always hold a special place in my heart.

Reply 1988

For the one who seeks solace

Here’s my ultimate comfort K-drama. Ever since the last installment of ShinLee’s iconic Reply series aired in 2015, it is always on my annual re-watch list, which is usually around mid-year when I crave a much-needed boost of motivation to go on with life. Maybe it helped that I was on Team Taek because the drama only gets better no matter how many times I watch the reruns. Set in a nostalgic set-up in the 1980s to 1990s downtown Seoul, the drama brings back fond memories of neighborhood familiarity and friendships that lasts a lifetime.

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