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Five drama recommendations… with a dose of fantasy

Though most dramas are set in a present day that we can all relate to (at least somewhat), every now and then dramaland dips its toes into a fantastical setting or premise. Ranging from the sumptuous to the harrowing to the hilarious, the following dramas are some of our favorites when we’re in the mood for a dose of fantasy.



W—Two Worlds (2016)

 
Fantasy is one of my absolute favorite genres. It’s a place to explore the impossible and ask all kinds of crazy “what if” questions – and W—Two Worlds is not a show that shies away from the crazy what ifs. What if your favorite webtoon character came to life? What if you could jump into the world of your favorite webtoon and change its trajectory? What if you could only leave the webtoon world by finagling yourself into increasingly dramatic predicaments? What if that mysterious villain you wrote gained seemingly infinite power because you never defined any of their limitations?

The world (well, worlds) that W imagines is as dynamic as its characters, from the larger-than-life action hero to the webtoon writer who loses control of his work. It takes you on a wild ride, drags your heart through the wringer (in all the best ways!), and might just leave you feeling a little frightened of your own potential to make future-altering changes in the world around you.
@mistyisles

 


Memories of the Alhambra (2018)

 
I’m not saying it was perfect, but something about Memories of the Alhambra just did it for me. The romance might not have been perfect, and sure my brain had trouble understanding the rules of the world sometimes, but none of that matters, because this drama took me places. I’ve long since picked apart in my head what I loved about this story so much, and it boils down to this: a hero on a quest that spirals out of control. In the case of Alhambra, our hero (Hyun Bin) starts out confident and in charge, but when the mountain is bigger (and the mystery deeper) than he thought, he ends up broken. The stakes are higher and more deadly than anyone imagined, and they don’t match what could and should be possible in the real world. Ack, it has to be my favorite setup ever, and just a perfect use of the fantasy element.

In Memories of the Alhambra, the rules of reality are bent by an AR video game, but the premise really works for anything. It creates such a different fantasy story than one that starts and finishes with the same premise (like a ghost hotel, or gumiho lover) because it’s about the clash of reality and fantasy. It remains one of my favorites. –@missvictrix

 


Hotel del Luna (2019)

 

World building is an integral part of the fantasy genre, and while Hotel del Luna has one foot grounded in reality — and among the living — the other is set in a fantastical hotel full of magic, grandeur, and ghosts with unfinished business. Although the afterlife mythos is routinely explored and reinvented for K-dramas, Hotel del Luna has its own unique lore and rules that make it a standout among the other ghost-centric fantasy dramas.

The story begins hundreds of years ago with a curse that bound our heroine Man-wol (IU) to the hotel, and from there the tale builds, creating a world that is mostly unseen by the living, save a select few who can potentially fill the position as the hotel’s manager. Enter Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-gu), who has been selected as the next — unwilling — manager of Hotel del Luna. As he begins to fill the shoes of his predecessor, we learn about the ins and outs of the hotel and its role in the afterlife. Visually gorgeous and romantic, Hotel del Luna is a bit episodic, but the overarching story that ties everything together is well written and full of heartwarming characters. –@DaebakGrits

 


The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)

 

I’m an absolute sucker for the isekai genre and for stories about twins/doppelgangers swapping places. So as much as I may gripe about certain parts of The King: Eternal Monarch, I will also staunchly defend this guilty pleasure favorite. More often than not, isekai stories follow a hero(ine) who travels from our present reality into another fantastical universe, but in this K-drama, our ordinary world is the universe that is unknown to Gon (Lee Min-ho), a king who might as well have stepped out of the pages of a fairy tale.

Although the reality he comes from is not much different from ours, his elevated status and royal cockiness delay his ability to acclimate. It would have behooved him to have concocted a cover story (Isekai 101) to explain his unorthodox apparel and white steed. Instead, he advertises to anyone that asks that he’s a king from another universe (who will behead all those who insult him). It makes for better entertainment, but it’s no wonder that Tae-ul (Kim Go-eun) believes he’s bat guano crazy. As much as I enjoy the leading couple, though, my favorite pairing is doppelgängers Yeong and Eun-seob. The moment they met and Eun-seob realized for the first time he’s handsome, they stole the show — and my heart. –@DaebakGrits

 


My Roommate is a Gumiho (2021)

 
The fantasy genre usually also means stories that are sweeping and epic and dramatic, but they can also equal comedy, as in the case of My Roommate is a Gumiho. It had its sweeping moments of drama and fate for sure, but it also relied mostly on the hijinks of its wacky setup: a college student (Hyeri) accidentally swallows the fox bead of a gumiho (Jang Ki-yong) and the two are forced to cohabitate.

Happily, the drama lets Hyeri do what she does best, which is be a hyper and zany girl with her heart exploding off of her sleeve. In contrast to that, we have our ancient gumiho-turned-professor who is quickly running out of time to become human. The fun is in the clash of these two characters and their worlds — somehow they wind up strangely believable as a fated couple, whether they’re eating fried chicken or contending with spirits that aim to keep them apart. If you can swallow the premise as easily as Hyeri swallowed the fox bead, this is an enjoyable (and sometimes joyfully weird) take on the gumiho legend mixed with the elements of a classic K-drama rom-com. –@missvictrix

 
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Circle, if I really wish well for the person I'm recommending the drama to. The list ends there.

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Yes. This was the best sci-fi/fantasy kdrama I’ve watched.

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I came to say this, all these dramas disappointed me, but circle was almost perfect.

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Yes, absolutely. No offence to the dramas on this list, but Circle blows them all out of the water.

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Circle was more on the SFI side. I really liked it, the actors were great. But they let a lot of unanswered questions.

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Circle - great add. This is the type of “under the radar” Kdrama that should be more promoted.

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I loved circle, but I'd classify it as a sci-fi drama instead- the aliens and futuristic tech, even the ethical dilemmas feel reminiscent of other sci-fi dramas worldwide

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Circle was great!
And Duel, which also came out about the same time was also great

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I don't know circle at all. But I'll make sure to correct that soon!

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I’ve started all the dramas here, but only finished MOA (for Hyun Bin) and MRISG (which just dropped on Netflix US). Can only give MOA a tepid recommendation because it started with a premise that was original and the first episodes were interesting, but it got bogged down in the middle, trying to make it a romance that didn’t work for me—the chemistry between the leads just wasn’t there. And the ending I don’t even remember except it seemed to end in a church? And didn’t Sisyphus end in a church too? And PSH was in that too? Maybe that’s why I’m getting it confused. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, but I just have never found her very engaging.

I did love MRIAG. I’d very much recommend it for a nice watch with a good cast, good kissing and chemistry, and pretty people to watch. And there is a cameo of my girl Jung So Min. I found this very watchable from beginning to end.

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I had forgotten how much I loved (the first half of) W. Lee Jung-seok has an incredibly believable manhwa character face and he was so charming in the role. Han Hyo-joo was equally lovely. As for the story, the part right up to him jumping off the bridge is brilliantly paced and raises important questions about the role of a creator. But sadly it goes downhill from there.

Ending badly is almost a tradition in fantasy kdramas (remember Hwayugi anyone?) so I prefer dramas with a lighter fantasy element like While You Were Sleeping.

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Yes, I agree completely.

(Spoiler...)

W's fatal flaw was killing off the male lead halfway through, and then expecting us to "learn to love" his replacement.

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Yeah that was painful! But before that it was glorious hahaha

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I will maintain to this day that the first half of W: Two Worlds had some of the best writing and pacing dramaland has to offer. I still remember waiting very impatiently for every episode by counting down to the minute, my head whirling with theories. It’s such a damn shame that the second half fell off the rails, because it really had the potential to be an all-time great.

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Agreed about the pacing and writing. I remember one of the recaps here on Dramabeans talked about how the events happening in Ep. 2 or 3 wouldn't happen in any other kdrama till much later and it was so exciting to watch.

But they sadly front-loaded the story so much that the dramatic drop later and of course the messy writing became even more of a disappointment.

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I give a lot of slack for concept and intention.
W gets an A+ for concept.

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For the suggestions :
- W-Two Worlds : I remember that I really liked the beginning until the middle of the drama, then the story completely lost me. But the main couple was great.
- Memories of the Alhambra : It was one of my favourite Hyun Bin's drama, for me, he was perfect in this role, the story really rested on him. Therefore, it was kinda disapointing for Park In-Shye. I loved the fact they filmed a lot in Spain, it was so beautiful. I liked the mix between the reality and the game. The brother's arc was disapointing and didn't really make sense.
- Hotel del Luna : I really liked it. It was beautiful and the OST was great.
- My Roomate is a Gumiho : the difference of age, the fact he was a professor and the way she was calling him made things difficult for me to root for this couple. Kang Hanna was the best part!
- The King : Eternal Monarch : I didn't really like the chemistry between the main couple, so I couldn't immerse myself in the story. I didn't like how they chose to solve the issue. At least, we got 2 doses of Woo Do-Hwan \o/

Other suggestions :
- Extraordinary You : Kim Hye-Yoon was the best high-school student in Kdrama. I really liked the idea that the characters were in a manhwa and they tried to navigate between their own will and the writer's will.
- Goblin : I really liked the worlding of the story. The actors, the scenery, Canada and the OST were great.

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I was going to say Goblin, but not sure if this was a fantasy, a fusion sageuk, or a slice of life?—haha. I also would add Tale of the Tailed since I’m thinking Lee Dong Wook. 😂

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A Goblin is a fantastic creature, a Grim Reaper too, isnt' it?

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Of course it is! I’m glad you mentioned it!

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I would say it's definitely a fantasy. I'm not sure what the official definition is, but I've always associated fantasy with mythic or otherworldly creatures and powers: in the west, fairies and goblins and dwarves, witches and wizards, even angels and demons. So yes, I'd say that a goblin definitely counts, and so does a grim reaper and the gods of their universe, probably (insofar as I'm also counting demons and angels for the west, too).

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GOBLIN is a fantasy- and a great one.

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Kang Hanna was so good in Gumiho!
And I second Extraordinary You.

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W-Two Worlds was not a favourite of mine. I was left feeling disappointed by the main female lead. She was useful for about 2 episodes and then turned into a pointless damsel in distress. I somehow preferred Oh Seong-moo character (Kim Eui-Sung had the right mixture of despair and insanity for the double role to me — but somehow he was completely under-utilised in Alhambra) compared to the main couple. Very similar to Memories of the Alhambra, as if writer-nim couldn't stand the idea of writing more than one strong character per story. Yet I agree, Hyun Bin is fantastic in Alhambra. I wouldn't have carried on watching if it weren't for him.

Hotel del Luna didn't work for me... But I couldn't pinpoint why. Perhaps it's just me. Yet I still laughed at the never-ending Mago characters.

I have just watched the first episode of My Roommate is a Gumiho, but I'm hooked for now. The first CGI of his Gumiho form filling up the entire high-ceilinged living room will stick forever with me. No wonder she first passed out when she saw him. It's not just a fox, it's a flipping giant white fox with 9 tails the size of a car each. You'd have to be already insane to find it normal.

I'm taking note. Extraordinary You will be next on my list.
Goblin was insanely good. Everything about it, the actors, the side stories, the side couples, the beautiful landscape, the fantastic chemistry between Reaper & Goblin... Ah, can we get another amazing drama like this one, please?

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Mystic Pop-up Bar, just to add to the list.

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Second this. Mystic Pop-up Bar is ne of my absolute favourite shows. Its bright colours and its tone remind me so much of one of my favourite NA shows, Pushing Daisies.

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Third Mystic Pop Up bar, it started slow but ended fabulously.

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One of the best recent fantasies. Fourth this recommendation (is this a sentence??). Mystic Pop-up Bar is truly a gem of a drama.

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Jumping on the Mystic Pop-up Bar wagon. Loves the premise and all the wonderful minor characters played by majorly talented actors. Now off to locate "Circle".

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Yes, so good! I just watched it again and was pleased to discover it was still good the second time through.

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*shouts her wholehearted concurrence from the rooftop*

Also! The MPUB writer has a new drama coming out soon; Showtime Begins! I am both nervous and excited. Mystic was her first drama so I'm apprehensive at the possibility she won't, but hopeful she does, live up to her first drama.

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Thanks for this info, I'm excited.

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No worries! There hasn't been a lot of news on it and it seems to have flown a bit under the radar. Was set to air in March but I think it'd been pushed back to April now.

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Yaaaas I also love MPUB :)

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I will always love Queen Inhyun's Man,
and I second Goblin and Mystic Pop-up Bar

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I loved Queen In Hyun’s Man!!
I would also add I Can Hear Your Voice ^^ although that’s less fantasy…

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Lol that's funny- on my own list I initially left off Queen In-Hyun's man but kept ICHYV because time travel seems less like a fantasy thing to me... but then again QIHM did travel with the use of a shaman's talisman, right? So that definitely feels more fantasy to me.

Either way I love both dramas. I wish there were more with Yoo Inna as a main lead--she does such a good job!!

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Yoo Inna, my love.
I want to start a Spy Yoo Inna Cinematic Universe. I think I need one more drama to justify it though, please, Yoo Inna.

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The King:Eternal Monarch is the absolute definition of guilty please... its objectively terrible, the male lead has the emotional range of a toaster , but i still enjoyed watching it, even with its nonsensical ending.

I'd like to throw in Strong Girl Do Bong Soon, the execution was far from flawless but the set up was fun and Park Bo-youngs comedic timing was on point.

While you were Sleeping
was another good one, its the only Suzy performance I would classify as "good", a solid fantasy and a fairly good romance too

Angels Last Mission
The ending was unsatisfying and the final stretch was a bit too angsty but Shin Hye Sun always delivers the goods, she's great here and her male lead was no slouch either

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The King:Eternal Monarch is the absolute definition of guilty please... its objectively terrible, the male lead has the emotional range of a toaster" 😂😂
This is probably one of the dramas I enjoyed the most, in part because its flaws were funny too. But, yes, a total guilty pleasure - I still remember that ubercorny scene of LMH riding Maximus to lead a charge of bodyguards against the baddies. When he shouted "protect my queen, my inner 10 year old's heart went ba-dum. It takes guts to commit to corniness 😂😂

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I have a friend who LOVES strong woman Bong Soon, but I couldn't get through the second half lol

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I know it had a lot of flaws but I loved Strong Woman. The two leads were just so funny. This is one drama I would rewrite quite a bit of but the core of it was so good.

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The first 6 episodes of Memories of Alhambra were amazing and I absolutely loved the cast. Hyun Bin, Park Hoon, Lee Jaewook, Lee Hakjoo, Lee Re, Park Haesoo, I could go on.
It's a shame that drama lost its way. And Park Shinhye really didn't deserve to be flower-potted so hard, what a waste!

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Having Hyun Bin in a coma for half the drama is a plot misfire topped only by Ju Ji-hoon's coma/roaming around on Jirisan.

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Park Shin-hye was absolutely wasted in Alhambra. I still can’t believe they did her so dirty. She deserved better.

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MOA without PSH and the romance was excellent. I like her just fine but her character was literally forced into the plot for no good reason. HB was the star of the drama and excluding the romance it was actually a great drama till about episode 10 and then it got lost in its repetitive plot. Still HB gave one of his best performances.

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School 2015 should be on the list because I'm sure its fantasy that KSH picked NJH over YSJ when they had the better relationship build up, chemistry and acting synergy.

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Now that I think about it, I do watch quite a lot of fantasy dramas 🤔
Just to mention some recent dramas, Mystic Pop up bar is one of my favourites.
Zombie detective is very light and fun, and, on a more high-end style, Tale of the Nine Tailed and its variety of supernatural beings was a fun watch. School nurse files is also a standout, but maybe not to everyone's taste. Finally, Extraordinary You was very fresh and original

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School Nurse Files was so, so good! Thank you for reminding me of it, what a gem of a show :)

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I would add Daebak Realty and Mystic Pop Up Bar.

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Oh, I forgot about Daebak Realty!

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I think Circle is the best fantasy drama but Extraordinary You and Scripting Your Destiny were also well made shows.

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Scripting your destiny is really good for a webdrama, nice that you remembered it! I'd also put forward Blue Birthday, which is another webdrama and it pulls off time traveling nicely

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Yes to Scripting Your Destiny! It’s one of my favourites from last year and I’m so glad more people recommending it. Such a lovely little drama.

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I had never heard of Scripting Your Destiny - I'm gonna go check it out, I like the sound of the premise!

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Do check it out!

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That's right! Extra-Ordinary is one of my favorites....thanks for mentioning it. I forgot.

Same for Circle.

I stared watching Scripting Your Destiny...but need to finish it.

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I quite enjoyed W, Alhambra & HdL, but there are lots of fantasy shows I liked more than King or Roommate (except Kang Hanna's scenes, of course)
Mystic Pop Up Bar
Strong Woman
Master's Sun
Queen In-hyun's Man
Bring It on Ghost
Splash Splash Love

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This list feels a bit…recent. Not that there’s a problem with that, but I wish some older fantasy dramas were also included.

Queen In-hyun’s Man (2012): The absolute perfect blend of epic romance, time-travelling shenanigans, and excellent character writing. Kim Boong-do is still my favourite male lead any drama has ever had.

Arang and the Magistrate (2012): A Joseon-era fantasy that actually works. There are gods and monsters and grim reapers and ghosts - and it’s brilliant and funny as all hell.

Master’s Sun (2013): More on the horror-fantasy/comedy side of things, but definitely worth checking out.

I Hear Your Voice (2013): Maybe not fantastical enough, but the hero can literally hear your thoughts so I’m putting it on the list.

Splash Splash Love (2015): I recently rewatched this and was amazed at how well it aged. Short, but satisfying and sweet. Still haven’t given up hope for a reunion between Kim Seul-gi and Yoon Doo-joon in a full-length drama. A girl can dream.

Signal (2015): Again, not very fantasy-heavy, but it’s got a magic walkie-talkie that communicates across time so it counts.

Circle (2017): As @wapzy said.

Chicago Typewriter (2017): Who even am I if I didn’t push Chicago Typewriter into as many lists as possible? There is a ghost, a magical typewriter, and reincarnation. I’ll make it fit here goddamnit.

Hwayugi (2017-18): Objectively not good, but the definition of a guilty pleasure for me.

I know a lot of these aren’t very old, especially to people who’ve watched dramas from before 2010, but that’s around the time I started so my preferences skew 2010s-ish. My more recent recommendations would be:

Extraordinary You (2019): I fully believe this will become a cult classic years down the line. So many well-known rookie actors.

School Nurse Files (2020): Won’t be for everyone, but a blast for those who do get it. My favourite Nam Joo-hyuk for sure.

Scripting Your Destiny (2021): My surprise favourite from last year. Shockingly underrated despite how good it is.

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I felt the same, very recent (which is fine, because then we can all recommend older dramas in the comments 😄).

I enjoy Hwayugi a lot. I think as long as you go into the final prepared from some terrible, terrible cgi it’s fine 😅. I could watch Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung won banter all day.

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I always rewatch Splish splash love every 3-4 months. I want Dujun back on my small screen!!!!!!

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My favourite is Queen In hyun's man. As you told perfect pairing perfect romance and the perfect ML. And I quite liked Scripting your destiny.

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"Still haven’t given up hope for a reunion between Kim Seul-gi and Yoon Doo-joon in a full-length drama."

Same. I loved their chemistry together so I will still wish for a reunion project together.

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Extraordinary You (2019): I fully believe this will become a cult classic years down the line. So many well-known rookie actors.

It's sad because it was underrated when it aired. They had a lot of buzz but a lot of people thought it was just a show for teenagers, when it was way more than that.

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I’m just here to say that even though it is from an older and cornier time, My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho is the superior gumiho drama.

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No, no, you’re absolutely correct and you should say it.

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Yes! I have recently rewatched this and I must say, it has aged very well. Still my pick for my favorite fantasy-romance-comedy drama of all time.

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I agree on the Gumiho
Girlfriend is a Gumiho was great, Shin Min Ah was such a great fox. She got the dog personality down. This was a drama where I so appreciated the little things - the way she and the dog drooled over other people eating hamburgers. The gift of the giant stuffed chicken leg. How do people think of these things! lol

I couldn't get through the recent one.

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Lol I didn't like any of these. Okay alright, W's first half gets a pass and MOA was fun but really only because I sh☠️tposted it.
Fantasy Kdramas are a bit of a catnip for me but I'm also very fussy and critical about the Fantasy genre as a whole so it's a rocky relationship that often leads to the aforementioned sh☠️tposting. RIP.

My fantasy reccs go:

1. Mystic Pop Up Bar
- actually, this is like the gold standard of fantasy dramas for me at the moment. 100/10 recommend over basically anything else here.

2. Sell Your Haunted House
- I'm beginning to think though, looking at this list that "uses horror as an effective supporting narrative tool to the fantasy genre" is important in what I look for in fantasy lmao

3. Arang and the Magistrate
- This is still such an underrated fantasy drama and I've been saying this for years.

4. Tale of the Nine Tailed
- say what you will about the rest of it but I love it and if I have to put this on here for episode 9 alone, I will.

5. Splash Splash Love

6.Queen In Hyun's Man

7. You From Another Star
- I have NO idea if it holds up today but a frakking classic! Come on! And the only drama I've ever cried in somehow!

8. Look I know it's a hot mess and a trashy guilty pleasure but you can't beat Lee Seung Gi as the Monkey King so, for that, and the supporting cast alone, Hwayugi.

9. If Zombies count for Fantasy then how has Kingdom not been mentioned yet.

I know this is... pushing it a little bit but if we venture into the realm of "Fantasy diseases suffered by a lead character" and an overall what I like to call "kdrama fairytale" vibe then honestly --
Secret Lyfe of My Secretary and I Am Not A Robot take that cake with no competition.

Oh and 10. My Epic Fantasy Silla Sageuk that doesn't exist yet

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Hwayugi is a masterpiece in my heart. Other shows may have “quality” or “good writing”, but do they have Lee Seung-gi as Song Oh-gong? Yeah, thought so.

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It was truly, an inspired and unbeatable casting choice. He was made to play the Monkey King and I don't think I'll ever really be able to accept anyone else in the role.

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I sometimes think what could have been if they’d made Hwayugi now for the first time with Netflix money (and filmed in advance)….but I will take it as it is because Lee Seung-gi as Son O-gong is the best.

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It wouldn't have been better because it still would've been written by the Hong Sisters...

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The dragon would have been better.

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😂😂😂😂 True! But hardly Hwayugi's biggest problem lol!

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@sicarius maybe not 😂 but it’s the one that sticks around the most in my memory 😄

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🤭🤭🤭

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But... but... but I liked the Hong Sisters! The Greatest Love is still one of the funniest dramas I've ever seen lololol

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@cozybooks
What do you want me to say! All the reasons I don't and why I think they're hacks? No, I don't want to go there right now haha. (Besides, I might spark comments I don't have the energy to deal with 🤭🤭🤭)
I liked the first three dramas of theirs when I first I saw them too, I also found them very funny. But technically and in hind sight? Could I rewatch them? Would I feel the same now? Press X to Doubt

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@cozybooks I’m with you on The Greatest Love, it’s one of my favourites ❤️

But I have also seen Warm and Cozy which is also by them so they’re definitely not without flaws 😅 it took me about two years to finish it 😅

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Why do I love all your choices? 😂

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(because I have good taste :P :P)

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Mystic Pop-up Bar #1...I might have to revisit.

Loved that you included Splash Splash Love - cute delightful hidden gem.

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Watched Arang and the Magistrate last year and begins really nicely. It's super fun and beautiful. Shin Mina is adorable and the story traps you off the bat, but I've got to say that the drama got a bit old. The antagonist's scary eye-schtick was a bit much, and unfortunately drama drags a lot from a point on. I can see how it is a great drama, though!

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My main complaints from what I remember of it (haven't watched it in a long time- it was also in my first 18 dramas watched ever) were that it did inevitably drag yes, (shouldn't have been 20 eps) and the ending was weird af haha.
Still, considering the state of other fantasy, and other fantasy sageuks especially, I remember it fondly and as an underrated gem. I'm glad it's still watchable in 2021/22!

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If horror/ghost-y elements counts as fantasy, I’m going to put in a vote for Bride of the Century. It is not for taking seriously (he has a secret family curse which means the first wife of the eldest son dies! She is the doppelgänger of his arranged fiancée and is impersonating her at fiancées family’s request! They fall in love! The second male lead is fiancée’s brother and he falls in love with her too because it’s completely normal and in no way weird to fall in love with someone who looks exactly like your sister and is pretending to be her!) but it is really good, it surprised me a lot.

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I haven't seen it but your description is hilarious and makes me want to watch it!

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Wow, that description is…something lol. Pure makjang magic.

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I’ve read your synopsis a dozen times and laughing so hard I’m crying now. 😅

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Bride of the Century...seems interesting.

Where to watch?

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It’s on Viki for me (New Zealand), not sure for other regions.

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W is good but turn disappointing towards the end imo

My preferred sci fi dramas are probably these:

Circle: This is a really good sci fi
365: Repeat the year :The best sci fi when it was aired tbh. what Alice wanted to be but failed miserably
Signal : I still hoping for S2
Tunnel
Missing the other side : quite underrated. I hardly see this drama in any list but it is good. heard there will be S2

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Agreed! Circle and Signal are must-watch!

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Yes! I can't believe no one else mentioned Signal before now. I also loved 365: Repeat the Year. I don't think it gets enough love. It was well paced and didn't go off the rails in the last half.

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Hmmm... If I was to recommend five dramas with a dose of fantasy, I'd have to go with these ones:

W: Two Worlds - I totally agree with DB on this one. I loved this drama to bits and pieces for a long time. Even then in some deep corner of my psyche I knew it wasn't perfect, but I still loved it. And I still do--yes, I admit that it's not perfect now. It's a bit rough around the edges sometimes... but it's consistently twisty and turny... and unlike a few other people here, I don't think I ever got confused about the drama. Super fun concept, fun execution, confusing final episode.

Mystic Pop-Up Bar - I think I may be a part of the minority here, but I enjoyed MPUB a lot more than it's contender Hotel De Luna. Hotel Del Luna fell flat for me because I never fell in love with Jin Goo's acting. The drama felt gorgeous, but let itself get caught up in the videography and thus I felt the story lacked something. MPOB on the other hand was a silly, crazy romp the entire way through, but had some deeper emotional beats that really spoke to me.

The School Nurse Files - I need to read the rest of the comments, but I was surprised I didn't see this one right off the bat! I loved the School Nurse Files. They were downright ZANY, but felt like they knew exactly what they were going for and I respected that. I only wish there was more of it to watch.

I Hear Your Voice - I love all the LJS fantasy dramas out there, but this one I think did a really good job with the fantasy element. Although I like the plot and loveline of Pinnochio more, I really appreciate LJS character in this drama and his portrayal of what it would be like to read minds.

The Witch's Diner - Although it's the last on this list, I think the Witch's Diner is the most fantasy-like of all my recommendations. It's the only one with a straight up witch and spells, after all. Super cute show, and I appreciated that they didn't just go for the vanilla "and they got their wish, no consequences" route. I heard they might be getting a second season... anyone know anything more?

The only reason why I didn't include titles like Tunnel, Signal, Circle, Train, Hometown, My Love from Another Star, Queen In-Hyun's Man, Nine: Nine time travels, and other wonderful titles here is that they all seemed a bit more in line with other genres like time travel (not necessarily fantasy?) or sci-fi. :)

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I've always said that MPUB was HDLL done right. Like the writer saw HDLL and went "no, I can do this better" hahaha
A lot of beanies love MPUB, but I know a lot loved HDLL when it was airing also.
Personally I love the former, and can't stand the latter haha; Mystic just knew what it was and what it wanted to be and how to get there and did it.

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Did anybody mention Are you human too?. Kang Seojoon befriending a Roomba vacuum and (double-)winking lie detection feature were great. Drama had its kdramey flaws, but all in all it was very fun and sweet

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It's more SFI than fantasy.

I think I have an issue with writers who make the FL choosing the robot over the human.... it's so unrealistic...

But SKJ was great in this role.

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SKJ was terrific in his multiple roles in AYHT?

I have wondered for those fans whose first SKJ drama was WEATHER how they reacted to the ‘’nasty’ SKJ in AHYT? i.e. in his portrayal of Nam Shin (you know the real one.).

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I first saw KSJ in Weather, and while it aired watched AYHT? and Watcher and must say that seeing him in such different roles made me appreciate his range. By the way, shout-out to Grid, which is airing now! KSJ is good at playing cinnamon rolls, but he's great at his grey-est!

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WATCHER is my favorite SKJ drama. His physicality was outstanding. Unfortunately GRID airs a no go because of availability.

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Dang, just realized that been mixing up Seo Kangjoon's name this whole thread 😱
I really like him, but my brain is a bit broken 🤦 Sorry about that

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Ah, fantasy... My most favorite genre in almost any form of story telling (well, I am wary of it in k-drama, but even then, I usually can't help myself).

Talking about fantasy reminded me of writer Song Jae-jung, though, especially since there are 2 of her dramas mentioned above. She is like that emotionally abusive lover who enabled my boundless addiction for fantasy, promising the boldest and most interesting premise only to mess it up a few steps before the final, sent me home with grief and trauma, and left me swearing up and down that I would never touched her drama ever again. And then a year or so later she would come back with another shiny new story, something no other writer have attempted before, and I would come back to her just as quickly despite knowing the almost guaranteed pain and frustration at the end of the journey.

Sigh...
When is her newest drama due again??

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Lmaooooo~!!
What a mood, except I think I might finally be free of her clutches.
(You know why though? It's because she doesn't plan her plots and in the long run has no idea what she's doing. And she doesn't see it worthwhile to change that apparently. Ahem.)

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I think, she is still active in writing as she is the one who wrote the drama script for Yumi's Cells adaptation. Well, it's not a totally new idea for her as it is mostly based from the webtoon. I still wish that she will write an original story and concept again. I loved her fantasy-romance dramas like Nine: Nine Times Time Travel and W.

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I do like her dramas despite all the frustration, and her fantasy-romance simply works for me. I'm simultaneously dreading and anticipating the day she comes back with another original idea.

As for Yumi's Cells, I love it, but I thought Song Jae-jung is billed as the creator for that drama instead of the writer.

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So many excellent rec's in the above comments - another couple to throw in the ring:

Go Back Spouses: Utterly fantastic, kicked me in the feels almost every episode but that might just be the Jang Nara effect.

18 Again: I don't think I have ever laughed so hard and cried so much in a drama. The cast was amazing and Lee Do Hyun was a revelation.

Sweet Home: Look, this one is more of a personal indulgence, it's good campy, horror fun. Also Lee Shi Young's back muscles make a very important cameo. Honestly unsure why they didn't make top billing.

Not sure if this counts, but Another! Oh Hae Young: Hilarious, heartfelt and was my first glimpse of Seo Hyun Jin who knocked it out of the park.

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I was reading to see if Oh Hae Young would get mentioned. It has the fantasy thing happening with the male lead. And yes, a star-making performance for Seo Hyun Jin. A personal favorite.

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I always forget that Another Oh Hae Young has that fantasy element. I love that show, and I love Seo Hyun Jin in it!

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Right, 18 Again! 🤦I wasn't considering that one because one's conscience going back in time to right past wrongs is totally realistic 😂, but of course it is a great fantasy drama! Also, on the same note, Hello: Me!

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I don't think I can limit myself to only 5. Here is my list:
True Sci Fi:
Circle
Duel

Totally Clever:
Chicago Typewriter

With a cop theme:
Tunnel
Two Cops

Just Plain Fun:
Strong Woman
W - gets A+ for concept
Extraordinary you - also A+ for concept and implementation
Arang and the Magistrate - total fun

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OMGGGGGG Chicago typewriter is the best I don’t know way this drama is not famous the story is so good and funny, it’s one of the best dramas in 2017 I just recently watched it again

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I believe that I don’t care for the fantasy genre. But then I realize how much of the kdrama I love is “fantastical” when trying to describe a show to someone who doesn’t watch kdrama. Try describing CLOY or Mr Queen, for example 🤨 Or Happiness. Or YFAS, Oh My Ghost, Beauty Inside (movie version). Not exactly 100% grounded in everyday life, let’s say. Apparently I like fantasy very much 😁

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W is definitely one of my favorites!

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I watched all of these dramas and I love them all are gooood because I love this kind of stories 💜👍

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