Teen and high school themed stories are quite a popular genre of Korean dramas. They can be relatable, nostalgic, and also offer a little wish fulfillment for some of our teenage fantasies. I’m fairly picky when it comes to this genre and tend to prefer teen dramas that are more dramatic rather than realistic. But both types of stories made my list of personal favorites when it comes to teen and high school dramas. So let’s move onto the list!
10. Lingerie Girls’ Generation
Plot: Lingerie Girls’ Generation is about teenagers growing up in the 1970’s in a rural town. Relationships are turned upside down after a girl from Seoul transfers there.
Lingerie Girls’ Generation is very much a slice of life teen drama with a nostalgic feel to it both in look and tone that completely captures its 1970’s setting. It’s breezy and fun as we get to know this group of teenagers and go along with them on their relationship journeys. Yet behind the fun was a melancholy undertone as it follows some serious issues the teens have to deal with. The drama develops a very bittersweet quality to it as it progresses.
It delivers at being both a cute and fun relationship drama as well as a thoughtful and poignant look at life in 1970’s Korea. It’s a very moving and heartfelt drama that offers a little something different. (Lingerie Girls’ Generation Review)
Plot: A singer (Yong Jun Hyung) in a popular boy band has to go to high school to clean up his image. He gets involved with an odd transfer student (Ha Yeon Soo) who is talented in music, and they become part of a band with several other students all dealing with difficult issues.
Monstar is a very fun and compelling drama with a refreshing focus on music. It beautifully weaves the music into the narrative of the story, and the songs frequently reflect the emotions the characters are going through at the time.
The students all have difficult things they are dealing with, and their stories are all presented well which allowed me to emotionally connect with them. It created a heartfelt and moody atmosphere that I found very pleasant and refreshing. Monstar is a great example of a well done high school drama. (Monstar Review)
8. White Christmas
Plot: A group of eight students and their teacher are the only ones left at their prestigious school located deep in the mountains during Christmas break when a snowstorm cuts them off from civilization. After all of the students receive a cryptic letter, they soon learn there may me a murderer among them. Trust within the group quickly deteriorates as everyone finds themselves fighting for their lives.
This teen drama is quite a bit darker, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s an intense drama that delivered a lot of suspense as we watched a game of life and death play out when students found themselves facing a killer.
The atmosphere was very dry, stark, and lonely with some excellent music to really set the mood for the drama. White Christmas is a very fascinating exploration of the human mind and the lengths we might go to in order to survive. Definitely a memorable drama. (White Christmas Review)
7. Sassy Go Go
Plot: The unpopular dance club and an elite group of high achieving students at a high school are forced to come together when their clubs are combined into a cheerleading club in order to enter a competition.
Sassy Go Go is such a pleasant watch. It’s cute, fun, and heartwarming. Throughout the drama, we watch our students come together as a team to participate in a cheerleading competition. We see them struggle, grow, and become closer friends.
Our main couple played by Lee Won Geun and Jung Eun Ji was pretty darn cute. And Ji Soo put forth a wonderful performance our sweet second lead. The 12 episodes passed by quickly with this one. (Sassy Go Go Review)
6. Playful Kiss
Plot: A high school girl (Jung So Min) moves into the home of her popular crush (Kim Hyun Joong) after her house is destroyed. The drama follows their relationship through high school, college, and beyond.
Playful Kiss is light and cute with a fun feel to it. It’s classic kdrama with the cold boy and the quirky and obsessive girl. Jung So Min was adorable, and she truly was the highlight of the drama.
I thought it was particularly nice to see our characters go through high school and college together over a several year period. Don’t expect anything grand or different with Playful Kiss, but just enjoy the laid back feel and the little world it creates for you to experience. (Playful Kiss Review)
5. Dream High
Plot: Teens pursue their dreams and face life’s challenges at this musical high school.
Dream High is probably the most well known musical kdrama and for good reason. These teens from different walks of life come together in pursuit of their dreams at this musical school. It has one of the best love triangles with both guys having a genuine chance to win the girl. And it’s full of fun and catchy songs to sweeten the ride along the way.
4. Reply 1997
Plot: The story of a group of friends living in Busan during the 1990’s as they develop relationships and fall in love.
Reply 1997 is one of those dramas that really stirs up all of those feelings of nostalgia because of its 90’s setting. The friendships depicted felt real and genuine. We also had a nice love triangle with a fun “who does the girl end up marrying” mystery. I really enjoyed our group of friends that made Reply 1997 a great watch. (Reply 1997 Review)
3. Orange Marmalade
Plot: Vampires and humans now coexist together, but vampires must keep their identities secret since they are still feared among the people. A complicated love story begins between a teenage vampire (Seol Hyun) who transfers to a new school who draws the attention of a popular human (Yeo Jin Goo) who fiercely hates vampires.
For the most part, Orange Marmalade is a classic teen drama with a side of vampire fantasy. But there is another interesting side to it that I can’t go into since I don’t want to spoil it 😉 I really enjoyed the high school romance and sympathized with the vampires struggle to fit into human society. There’s also a nice little bromance. The visuals and music in this drama were truly outstanding too. There was just so much beauty to see along with such a sweet story. (Orange Marmalade Review)
2. The Heirs
Plot: The complicated love life of a rich teenager (Lee Min Ho) and an ordinary girl (Park Shin Hye) who gets involved in his world.
The Heirs tends to get a bad wrap as far as dramas go, but boy did I love it! It’s teen angst and melodrama at its best as you just get dropped into this world of rich kids and love triangles. All of the problems feel big and the presentation of them feels very dramatic. For those who like these sorts of stories, it really is a hefty dose of soapy goodness. (The Heirs Review)
1. Boys Over Flowers
Plot: Four rich, handsome guys (Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon) rule the school, but their world is turned upside down by a spunky transfer student (Gu Hye Sun) who steals their hearts.
Boys Over Flowers is the classic high school drama that is practically required viewing for any kdrama fan. People tend to love or hate this drama, and as you can see, I happen to be in the love camp.
The drama is messy, angsty, and full of misunderstandings and outlandish scenarios, but it sure is addicting and a whole lot of fun! Just embrace it for what is and go on a crazy journey in this kdrama classic. (Boys Over Flowers Review)
As you can see, my list of favorites contains a little bit of everything in the genre from more slice of life realistic stories to teen melodramas and even a bit of fantasy and thriller is included. It’s a wide variety for sure!
What are your favorite teen and high school Korean dramas?
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