Where to Watch K and C-Dramas
By Rachael Lovette
There are plenty of ways to add drama to your life without leaving your house.
From intense situations to heart-wrenching scenarios, Korean and Chinese dramas take the word ‘engaging’ to a whole new level. Packed with emotional turbulence, Korean and Chinese series are also rich in drama and comedy; they offer an insightful look into modern-day life and society in China and Korea. Plus, you can improve your foreign language skills along the way - because who wouldn’t want a love confession in a foreign language? (Trust me - ‘I love you’ is sexy af in Korean).
The plots of K and C dramas are solid and lively; the storylines are entertaining and they don’t drag out for so long that they become unrealistic (hello Grey’s Anatomy). Also, the intimate encounters aren’t as cringeworthy as those in American Culture media. Instead, Korean and Chinese dramas are quick and digestible, ranging from 30 to 90 minutes an episode and can be as short as an eight-episode run or as many as fifty. They also offer fruitful lessons, not only on the language but also the culture - like the fact that arranged marriages still happen.
With so many Chinese and Korean dramas to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So put down your phone, grab some tissue (because some dramas will leave you in tears), and let me take you on a tour of the best places to watch some of the world’s favorite Korean and Chinese dramas.
Whether you are looking for a top drama from the past like Boys Over Flowers or want original content like Mr. Heart, Viki offers a huge array of movies and TV shows from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
Not sure what to watch? You can filter by region, genre type, format, and subtitle type to find the perfect show or movie. If searching still seems a little daunting, Viki also regularly curates lists on the home screen with categories including C-dramas for beginners, Top 10 new shows, Top Korean dramas, and more. Viki even includes a “learn mode” that provides dual subtitles in Korean/Chinese and English for anyone wanting to learn the language in real-time.
While Viki offers a lot of shows for free, there are ads with free viewing. If you prefer an ad-free experience and want greater access to new programs, you may want to consider one of their paid subscription options.
Need a good excuse to binge-watch a series on Netflix? Good news. There’s plenty of Chinese and Korean dramas to choose from (many of which are Netflix originals). To find a new favorite, search “Korean drama” or “Chinese drama.” From there, you can narrow your search with modifiers like ‘romantic’ or ‘suspense’. If that seems like too much work, you can also scroll through the Netflix Originals slider as many top Korean dramas are listed there, including Love Alarm, Abyss, and Mystic Pop-up Bar.
IQIYI is one of the largest online video streaming platforms in the world. Originally launched as a place for new and original Chinese dramas in 2010, IQIYI has started adding Korean dramas to its library in the last two years. Notable Korean dramas include Backstreet Rookie, which was highly criticized in Korea for not including a 19+ rating due to its mature content, and The Spy Who Loved Me.
While IQIYI offers many free shows, there are some downfalls: ads and a long wait for episodes. If you prefer an ad-free experience and want VIP access to shows, you may want to consider one of their paid subscription options (after a free one-month trial, of course).
If you have a Hulu subscription and don’t want to sign-up for another service, Hulu has a nice selection of Korean dramas. To find them, you can simply search “Korean dramas” or enter the name of the show in the search bar. Popular dramas on Hulu include What's Wrong with Secretary Kim, Oh My Venus, and While You Were Sleeping.
Last, but certainly not least, is Dramacool. Dramacool provides Korean, Chinese, and Japanese dramas that you can find on Hulu, IQIYI, Viki, and Netflix, but for free - and with no ads! The site is plain and dated compared to other streaming platforms, but it’s safe, legal, and straightforward.
Don’t put your computer at risk with the hundreds of torrent sites out there that can carry viruses. Besides being a place to find paid subscription dramas for free, Dramacool presents various dramas you won’t find elsewhere, including 18 Again and My Wonderful Life.
Rachael Lovette is the Digital Director at Flower Bomb Media with a passion for everything K-Pop, fashion, model advocacy, and pop culture. Follow her on Instagram @kindofvoguish.