What is Dramabeans?
Dramabeans is a site dedicated to Korean dramas (K-dramas): discussing what they are, what we feel about them, why we love them, what we don’t love about them — anything and everything.
We cover shows in their pre-production phase, promotional stages, and through broadcast primarily with:
- Episode recaps
Examples: the classic Boys Before Flowers, Alchemy of Souls (broadcast by tvN), Business Proposal (broadcast by SBS), and Extraordinary Attorney Woo (broadcast by ENA)
- Series reviews
Examples: Kingdom and All of Us Are Dead (both released by streaming service Netflix)
- Year-end write-ups that review dramas in the context of the past year
Examples: Year in Review 2022; Year in Review 2021; Editors’ Picks for 2022).
- News about upcoming dramas, casting, and promotional beats
Examples: Park Eun-bin returns as Desert Island Diva, Dimples and smiles with Shin Mina, Kim Sun-ho in new promos for Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Song Hye-gyo hashes revenge, reveling in The Glory darkness, Song Joong-ki is Reborn Rich to face off against Lee Sung-min
- Open chats and discussions with the Beanie community
Examples: Your current top 10 dramas, The drama that wrecked your heart, Binge watch vs. live watch, You can only pick one: Ultimate love triangle
- Essays and editorials that dissect tropes, compare storytelling devices across different shows, or talk about the K-drama landscape
Examples: Why is Squid Game such an international success?, K-drama kisses, Tumbling down the rabbit hole
Basically, we love dramas, and we love to celebrate them in any way we can.
Dramabeans was born in 2007, when a lone drama fan searched the internet high and wide for a place to discuss K-dramas with the loving attention and excruciating detail she felt they deserved. She decided she’d have to build it herself, took the name “javabeans,” and started blogging about the dramas she was watching at the time. This quickly grew into something much bigger than she’d ever dreamed, and suddenly she was writing about dramas day and night, day after day. It became the best job ever.
In 2010, javabeans met a kindred spirit in girlfriday, who was exactly the same kind of top-level nerd about dramas as she was, and they hit it off. Girlfriday came onboard as her, well, Girl Friday, a beautiful partnership was born, and thousands of recaps later they’re still going strong, analyzing and deconstructing and squeeing over their favorite shows.
Over the years, the site has expanded and the Dramabeans family has grown to include a staff of recap minions, because people get tired but the dramas keep coming, and the more dramas we could cover, the better we could serve everyone’s TV addictions. You’re welcome!
I discovered K-dramas many moons ago through the most conventional means possible: I watched Boys Before Flowers, and found I couldn’t look away. Once you get a taste of dramaland’s magic potion of quirky humor, heart, and predictably delightful storytelling, it’s hard to watch anything else. So I didn’t. I just enjoyed a steady diet of years and years of K-dramas and became a tried and true forever fan. And something like a K-drama Librarian?
When I’m not watching dramas, writing about dramas, or handling the site’s editorial, I’m most usually found playing in the kitchen with a podcast on in the background, bread baking in the oven, and food cooking on the stove.
I have been watching Korean dramas for decades, and for some reason, I can’t seem to quit. I don’t think I ever will.
I have never known a life without K-dramaland. Although I must admit that I may, on occasion, notice our neighbors over the fence. Sometimes I stop to chat for a bit and peek at the grass on their side. But they’re just friends! I promise! My true love and greenest grass is with K-dramaland.
I got into dramas for the language learning and stayed for the stories. After I started learning Korean years ago as a hobby, I wanted a fun way to practice listening comprehension. Enter the wild ride that was Boys Before Flowers, one of the very few dramas on a major streamer at the time. While that particular drama wasn’t my cup of tea, I was fascinated and started searching out other dramas to watch. There was just something so engaging about the storytelling, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s stories.
Nothing is as comforting or exciting as getting lost in a good story. Books are my first love, but I’m a fan of stories in all forms, especially ones that transport me to new places or teach me new things about the world. K-dramas have a particular immersive quality, so it didn’t take long before I was hooked. The combination of warmth and strong character focus had me invested in that stay-up-all-night-binging way.
Once I was fully down the rabbit hole and had exhausted the minimal drama offerings on major streamers, I needed a way to find new dramas. That’s when I discovered Dramabeans whose witty, passionate recaps not only helped me decide what to watch next but made watching it that much more fun. I never imagined that dramas would become such a steady part of my entertainment life over the years, much less that I’d end up writing for the site that helped fuel my love of them. Then again, maybe it was only natural that at some point, my love of writing and dramas would converge. Or maybe that’s just the power of dramas.
Little did my college sophomore self know that letting my friend rope me into watching a fun little show called Playful Kiss would spark something much bigger than a single show to watch together on the weekends — and little did I know that I’d someday write for the K-drama recap site I stumbled across several months into my new obsession. Many K-dramas and years later, my life looks totally different than it did back then — I’ve moved to the other side of the world and back, I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones, I’ve learned a ton about myself and outgrown some of my old ideologies — but my love for K-dramas and Dramabeans is still going strong.
I’ve always had a thing for stories, which is why I majored in English Writing (a writing/literature hybrid degree), but college-me was way too shy to share my thoughts and opinions with the class unless I was forced… at which point I’d normally freeze up and blurt out as few words as possible (sorry, Dr. A — you tried!). Now here I am, putting my thoughts and opinions out there to live on the internet forever!
When I’m not watching or writing about K-dramas, I’m usually writing other things (from fantasy fiction to marketing blogs), listening to K-pop or other K-artists (especially but definitely not limited to ATEEZ and DAY6), cuddling my cats, traveling, or playing the piano.
I consider myself a Renaissance personality — someone with many interests who picks up and puts down hobbies like a tourist browsing a souvenir shop and repeatedly getting sticker shock. I write (obviously), but among my many other hobbies are: cosplay — and all the related skills involved with sewing and constructing my own costumes, props, and armor — building miniatures and book nooks, sculpting, 3D design and printing, wiring and programing LEDs to put into various creative projects, photography, and video editing. I rarely turn down the opportunity to learn something new, and my worst enemy is the limited amount of time I have in a day to do everything I want to accomplish.
Writing and K-dramas are some of the few interests that have consistently stuck with me over the years — partly because I love them and — if I’m being honest — partly because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (unlike my craft-based hobbies). So when the opportunity to write for Dramabeans appeared, I went for it! It’s been so fun combining my love of K-dramas with my passion for writing, and this community of like-minded K-drama aficionados has been great!
Is it any surprise that an avid bookworm, theater kid, and literature nerd would end up diving headfirst into the richly imaginative world of K-dramas? What originally began as a bonding activity with my grandma soon morphed into a favorite pastime, and Kim Nam-gil’s captivatingly complex portrayal of Bi-dam in Queen Seon-deok sealed the deal. I fell down the rabbit hole of K-dramas, and I haven’t looked back since.
Before long, Dramabeans became an indispensable part of that experience; there are only so many hours in a day, and countless more dramas waiting to be watched. School 2013 brought me here, and the insightful discussions made me stay. Ever since then, I’ve always aspired to write for Dramabeans someday — and now, a decade later, that dream has finally come true!
The best part about K-dramas is their versatility; you can rest assured that there’s something out there for you. Want a coming-of-age tale about the boys of a high-school rock band finding a home in one another? Sure thing. Fancy an investigative thriller about preventing murders via time-traversing walkie-talkies? Oh, most definitely. Looking for realistic and insightful commentary on the prosecutor-police tensions in South Korea? Dramaland’s got you covered. I mean, we even have Joseon-era zombies and self-aware manhwa characters!
Regardless of genre, there’s something captivating about K-dramas that feels almost akin to magic — whether it’s the pathos, the evocative OSTs, or the insightful depictions of the human condition. It’s why I keep coming back to them, and why I always have endless words to write.
I pledge to fight against anyone who dares to besmirch my oppa’s honor!
When I was much younger, I wanted to become a pharmacist — even though the smell of medications made me sick. Several years down the line through sheer determination and many sleepless nights, I beat the odds and officially joined the dispensing profession.
2eps × 1 wk
Refill: 8 weeks
Allergies: Noble idiocy and the Truck of Doom
A win is a win, and being a professional dramacist is the best thing that has happened to me, yet. Like medication, I believe there’s a drama for everyone and we just need to find the one that speaks to us and to our current situation — which is why I will never shut up about K-dramas. For me, dramas are a source of entertainment and escapism combined, and I consider it an honor to share my love for dramas with others here on DB. 💙 I may or may not have magnified what being a DB minion entails to the people at home, but it feels good to put on a cross expression and say, “I’m in the middle of work!” whenever my drama watching sessions are interrupted.
In the few hours of the 24 when I’m not doing anything drama related, I’m either focused on real life endeavors — or procrastinating, as usual — or curled up asleep in bed. Or on the sofa. But the thing about K-dramas is that there is no off season. So, my dreams are often plagued with flashbacks of the needless separation of an OTP in Episode 14, or of a grandparent’s sudden diagnosis of terminal illness in Episode 35 of a weekender. In any case, I reckon these are still better than Ji Chang-wook’s Subway PPL dream in The K2.
Living between three continents for more than a decade has meant that I have a lot of instability. Every time I change cities, I’ve got a new home, new neighborhood, new people around me, and even a new language to negotiate. With so much upheaval, I hold tight to pop culture constants that I can take with me wherever I go. Dramas entered my life just after I moved abroad for the first time and have become my emotional home — the place I settle down when I want to find comfort, beauty, empathy, and optimism. And that’s also where Dramabeans comes in. It provides a constant community that travels with me and a connection to a common culture (rather than all the difference I see when I look out my window).
As a former social science researcher, it’s sometimes hard to get out of my head, but as a creative writer, I let my instincts steer the way. Writing about dramas has helped me learn to also lead with my heart, as there is no shame in over-the-top obsessions when it comes to K-dramas (and certainly not on Dramabeans). Since my favorite genres are romance and slice-of-life, watching and writing about dramas is like having a continual crush — one that’s just about to be confessed, when you’re pretty sure it’s mutual. That level of anticipation is why I keep coming to K-dramas and their stories about the human heart. No matter the relationship depicted, I can count on realistic feelings, even in unrealistic circumstances. To write for Dramabeans is like a dream (or drama) come true — and it turns out I can put all those years of training in social analysis to use. It’s just that, now, I apply it to fictional characters instead of real people.
My love of K-drama was, like all good romances, a slow burn. It started off with Oh My Ghost, where I could hardly watch enough of Park Bo-young’s antics. Still, it took a little while for my brain to take up residence in dramaland (where it now happily resides most hours of the day). My fondest memories come later: binge-watching 50-episode sageuks with my parents, crying over Six Flying Dragons, and avidly browsing King Taejeong’s Wikipedia page as a family bonding experience.
You may know me from my various appearances on Dramabeans as ‘that one writer who never shuts up about Alchemy of Souls’, ‘that woman who’s kind of obsessed with Naksu’, and ‘yes, yes, Wook and Naksu are in love; get over it, Alathe’.
I adore dramas with a bit of bite: ones that are complex and consciously weird. Give me epic meditations on history, clever genre deconstructions, or soaring fantasies! Plus, a touch of the Gothic will always delight my inner literature nerd. You’re likely to find me waxing lyrical about charismatic female villains, sobbing ad infinitum over my favorite OTPs, and furiously pondering the precise words to describe the exact micro-expression of my latest actor crush. And no, I will never be over Alchemy of Souls.
Once upon a time, before our current world of abundant subtitles, recaps, and Netflix, the internet was a wild frontier where a tween wanting to know what happened to Nana in the latest episode of City Hunter would have to scour Youtube for English-subbed episodes or read ultra-live recaps that the author uploaded to their blog sentence by sentence.
It was in this desert landscape where I first encountered Dramabeans, an oasis for English-speaking drama lovers where writers did the lord’s work of recapping episodes in English (in detail! with pictures!). I remember obsessively visiting this site each morning, checking in to see if the latest recap of my favorite show had dropped. I not only fell in love with the campy characters and many, many time slip stories, but also the thriving and oftentimes hilarious discussion that surrounded each show on this site. I wanted to know, what did Javabeans and Girlfriday have to say about that last episode? What would get voted worst fish-lipped kiss in the year-end poll? Would someone be kind enough to recap You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin so I wouldn’t have to assault my poor mom with constant questions over what was happening? (Eventually someone would.)
Some ten years later, I’m now a writer for Dramabeans! Crazy how life works out. I’m excited to contribute to a space that fostered my love of K-dramas, and I can’t wait to gush over plot twists and rant about makjang plots with everyone else here.
I grew up watching K-dramas with my Halmoni when I would stay with her for a few weeks at a time during the summer. The first drama I can remember watching with her was Iris while we slurped down Shin ramyeon together (because that is the only acceptable answer for one’s ramen of choice, objectively.) Anyways, I was so deeply invested in the two episodes I watched, that I didn’t watch K-dramas again on my own time until several years later. I know, super invested. If we’re being honest, I was super interested in it, but my 8-year-old brain had much more “important” things to worry about at that time, I guess. Although, as I got older, that memory chased me down, tackled me, mugged me, and even curb-stomped me as I can’t go a single day without watching a K-drama now. Pull my head away from an enthralling drama for about 30 seconds tops and I’ll go cold turkey.
K-dramas have changed my life. They’ve been there for me when no one else was, provided me with endless meal plans and spur-of-the-moment cravings, given me countless songs worthy of being added to my playlist, and handed me a completely and utterly false understanding of how romance and love work outside of dramaland. There are no downsides. I now have great music taste, a fantastic palate, and too high of expectations to find a girlfriend. Oh well, guess that means more time for K-dramas for me!
Besides K-dramas, I love all film and TV along with sports, music, and pop culture in general. I love to talk about anything and everything regarding those categories! Also, of course, I love to write. I currently write about and take pictures of food on my own time for fun. I also used to find anywhere and everywhere to use as my outlet for writing about movies, TV shows, and music, so once Dramabeans and I met eyes, the snow started to fall in my head, but like, not the super cold, wet snow… more like the nice, soft, romantic-scene snow. The sweet kind of snow. Dare I say… SugarSnow? 😮