K-Dramas are too predictable – that’s the number one complaint I hear from many K-Drama critics.
Enough of the “rich guy, poor girl” fantasies and rich-poor divide tropes, they say. Any scenes with the all-too-familiar “wrist grabs”, “drunken piggyback rides” and the “white truck of doom” also make them roll their eyes.
Still, there are promising shows with fresh themes and engaging plot lines every now and then. Here are our top four recommendations:
1. Voice 4: The Judgement Hour
Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological, Crime
About: Voice, which first began airing in 2017, is a multi-season drama about an emergency call center and the detectives there who try to prevent crime by using the limited information from the calls they receive.
Voice 4 follows Kang Kwon Joo (Lee Ha Na), a detective with an enhanced hearing ability. As the leader of the emergency 112 call center, she excels at voice profiling and assists her teammates in investigations with her ability to pick up on even the most minute of sounds.
What to look out for: The new season will introduce a new villain, Circus Man, who shares the same extraordinary hearing abilities as Kang Kwon Joo. To bring this formidable villain to justice, Kang Kwon Joo will partner Derek Jo (Son Seung Heon), an experienced detective from the Los Angeles Police Department.
2. Deluxe Taxi
Genres: Action, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
About: Deluxe Taxi is a revenge-themed drama based on the webcomic of the same name. The story follows Kim Do Ki (Lee Je Hoon), a graduate from The Naval Academy whose life changes after his mother falls victim to a serial killer.
After the tragedy, Kim Do Ki works as a deluxe taxi driver for Rainbow Taxi, a secret organisation that gets revenge for victims whom the law fails to protect.
Meanwhile, Kang Ha Na (Esom) is a prosecutor who is suspicious of Rainbow Taxi’s motive. While she disagrees with the squad’s lawless behaviour, she feels frustrated with the limit of the law, especially when her colleague is killed mercilessly while the perpetrator remains at large.
Review: The drama features a range of hot-button issues such as forced labour, campus bullying, workplace violence, voice phishing, organ trafficking and more. Each case brings light to certain grey areas in Korean laws that make it possible for these people to get away with their crimes.
Some episodes in Deluxe Taxi are also based on true stories. The element of realism makes the drama all the more meaningful and interesting to watch.
Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological, Crime
About: Mouse is set in a world where psychopaths can be identified in advance through the analysis of fetal DNA. The story follows Jung Ba Reum (Lee Seung Gi), an honest and hardworking rookie police officer who’s on the hunt for a ruthless serial killer.
Review: Despite my rich knowledge of K-Drama cliches, this mystery drama has bested me with its many unpredictable twists and turns in every episode. There are times when I get so immersed that I feel like I am also part of the detective squad that is trying to catch the serial killer.
If you’re a fan of crime-themed K-Dramas, Mouse is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat.
4. Sell Your Haunted House
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Comedy, Fantasy
While checking out a client’s house, Hong Ji Ah meets Oh In Bum (Jung Yong Hwa), a conman who’s selling a device that is said to be able to protect homes from spirits.
After discovering that he has psychic abilities, Hong Ji Ah ropes him in as they tackle lingering spirits in their clients’ properties together. In the process, they also learn that there’s more than meets the eye to the deaths of her mother and his uncle some 20 years ago.
Review: Besides the entertaining ghost-busting rituals, Sell Your Haunted House tells many heart-wrenching stories about the social ills and family conflicts that lead to the deaths of those who turn into restless spirits.
As Hong Ji Ah and Oh In Bum navigate between the world of the living and the dead, they often have to decide if they should go beyond their duty and share the spirits’ last words with their families and the cops. Viewers will be hooked as they watch how the pair confront this dilemma and resolve the trauma from their past.
If you’re intrigued by the unique K-Dramas listed above, you can check them out for free on Viu.
Proofread By: Kuan Qin Yi Tricia