an image of the four young men looking behind the wall

Korean Web Series: A Learner’s Intro to This Perfect Content

Korean web series with bite-sized episodes, fast-paced storytelling and the biggest celebrities are on the rise, making them competitive with the best films and full-length dramas.

As a language learner, you might be wondering how watching web series can help you improve your Korean, and with so many of them bursting onto the scene in the past few years, which ones should you start with?

In this post, we’ll look at what web series can do for your Korean at any level, along with seven 대박 (dae-bak — awesome) series that are great for learners.


“EXO Next Door”

This web series wins the award for the most accurate portrayal of a fangirl’s ultimate fantasy: Moon Ga-young plays Ji Yeon-hee, a fangirl whose life is turned upside-down when members of “universal star” boy group EXO move into the house next door.

Chanyeol (Park Chan-yeol), D.O. (Do Kyung-soo), Baekhyun (Byun Baek-hyun) and Sehun (Oh Se-hun) are looking to lay low for a while, and employ Ji Yeon-hee to clean their house while they hide out from the public eye.

The audience is then spoiled with every romantic comedy trope in Korean drama history: long-lost friendship, the handsome and moody male lead set against the clueless and dorky girl-next-door (in this case, literally), and of course, a heart-wrenching love triangle. Baekhyun, Sehun and Jang Yoo-sang provide some wonderful comic relief.

If it whets your appetite for some more Korean web series with pop idols, check out “Dream Knight” starring GOT7, “Choco Bank” starring EXO’s Kai and “Somehow 18” starring SHINee’s Choi Min-ho.

Where to watch: YouTube

“7 First Kisses”

Min Soo-jin (Lee Cho-hee), who works as a receptionist at the LOTTE Duty Free Department Store, reaches her 25th birthday without ever having had a date. After inadvertently helping the Angel of Love (Choi Ji-woo) find her passport, Soo-jin is granted her wish: to finally have her first kiss. But first, she must choose between seven perfect men!

The star-studded cast of this web series’ very long and rather creative advertisement for LOTTE Duty Free is bound to flutter the heart of any Korean romance fan, featuring Lee Joon-gi as a tech billionaire, Park Hae-jin as an abrasive-turned-romantic boss, Ji Chang-wook as a sexy secret agent, EXO’s Kai as an adorable ex-student, Ok Taec-yon as a passionate and innocent 재벌 (chaebol — South Korean business conglomerate) heir, Lee Jong-suk as a dreamy pop idol and finally (of course) Lee Min-ho as a free-spirited travel writer.

Where to watch: YouTube

“Secret Message”

Starring Big Bang’s T.O.P, “Secret Message” follows the slow love story between a Korean man, Woo Hyun (T.O.P), and a Japanese woman named Haruka (Ueno Juri), who have both been scarred by previous relationships but hesitantly make their way towards each other despite the barriers of language and distance.

The film-making style of this web drama is artistic, and the dialogue thoughtful and philosophical, making this a lovely and thought-provoking story rather than just another binge-worthy romance. This is a great option for more advanced Korean learners to challenge themselves with some more complex dialogue.

Where to watch: KissAsian

“After School: Lucky or Not”

Timid high school student Kim So-eun (herself) finds herself inexplicably chosen by five “flower boys” to become the new leader of their after school club, known as “Lucky or Not.”

This club provides entertainment in the form of a slip of paper drawn each day that contains an adventurous mission for the club members to complete. Through her involvement with the Lucky or Not club, So-eun discovers a bolder, more empowered side to herself.

Where to watch: YouTube


While many of the most popular web series are placed firmly within the realm of romance, and particularly romantic comedy genres, “Aftermath,” based on a popular webcomic and starring Kim Dong-joon, Sun Joo-ah, Kim Geun-hyung, Kim Min-suk and Kim Ri-ah, is much darker.

This crime series follows Ahn Dae-yong (Kim Dong-joon), who wakes up after a terrible accident with frightening supernatural powers, including an ability to smell people’s “auras”—the eyes of someone about to die appear to him a glowing red. Even worse, when he sees a person’s eyes glowing bright blue, he knows that they’re about to kill.

Dae-yeong decides to use these new abilities to fight crime and prevent deaths in Seoul, making him a local hero.

Where to watch: KissAsian

“The Cravings”

Thirtysomething Je Gal Jae-yeong (Park Hee-bon) navigates singledom (again), work, friends and dating—all while never missing a delicious meal.

The age of the characters in this series makes for some refreshing material, and the slightly lower-budget production style is unusual for a K-drama in a great way.

A lovely addition to this particular series is a short tutorial on how to simply make the featured dish at the end of each episode, hosted by the lead actress.

Where to watch: KissAsian


Even though this Korean-American collaboration is conducted primarily in English, I have to include it as an honorable mention just for being the perfect culmination of every K-drama fangirl’s wildest dreams.

Claire Duncan (Liv Hewsen) is a 20-year-old college student dissatisfied with her ordinary life, who distracts herself from her average reality by watching episode upon episode of Korean dramas. One night, while working alone in her father’s restaurant, Claire is sucked into her smartphone and lands in Dramaworld, the magical world where all Korean dramas are made.

Claire finds herself in the center of her favorite series, “Taste of Love,” and face-to-face with her idol Park Joon (Sean Richard Dulake). She’s faced with the increasingly impossible task of keeping “Taste of Love” on the correct story arc and saving Dramaworld.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime 

If you enjoy watching Korean web series and want to improve your Korean skills at the same time, you can do it with a language learning program like FluentU.

You can use its interactive subtitles feature to explain clips of the web series you’re watching without having to look up words that you don’t know. You can also use it to watch Korean dramas, movies and Kpop music videos. 

As a language learning program, it also includes a video dictionary and personalized quizzes that test your speaking, listening and other skills. 

FluentU is available on the web as well as mobile (Android and iOS). 


Korean dramas are wonderful—nobody can deny it.

But they’re also a big commitment, usually running for a total of 10-20 hours per season. For a Korean learner trying to push their listening skills to the next level, that’s an intimidating and frequently off-putting prospect, leading those of us with all but the best intentions to switch on the subtitles, kick back and relax—which is great!

But web series tend to run in under two hours from beginning to end, and are made up of bite-sized, 5-10 minute episodes, making them more manageable and convenient for listening practice.

These wonderful stories provide not only an excellent opportunity to improve your Korean skills, but they also have refreshing and creative storylines, classic romantic tropes and adorable and lovable characters.

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