Let’s get real here: One of the main reasons why K-Dramas are so popular these days is because of the handsome “oppas” they feature.
To the uninitiated, “oppa” is actually a Korean word that means “older brother”, but female Koreans also use the word to address males older than them, kinda like how Filipinos use the term “kuya.” However, on some occasions, “oppa” is also used in a rather flirtatious way, which is probably why most male K-Drama leads—who are often depicted as the perfect boyfriend—are being called “oppa” by viewers, regardless of their age.
And if you’re like us who just couldn’t get enough of oppas, you better add these K-Dramas to your watch (or rewatch) list for the oppa overload you oh-so deserve:
Boys Over Flowers (2009)
The Oppas: Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Bum, Kim Jun
It’s impossible to bring up the topic of oppa-filled shows without mentioning this classic that turned many of us into the K-Drama fans we are today. The South Korean adaptation of a Japanese manga series of the same title, Boys Over Flowers follows the story of a poor girl who gets the opportunity to attend a private school for elite youths, where she meets a group of four ridiculously good-looking wealthy boys known as—you guessed it—F4.
Shut Up! Flower Boy Band (2012)
The Oppas: Sung Joon, Kim Myung Soo (INFINITE’s L), Lee Hyun Jae, Yoo Min Kyu, Kim Min Seok, Lee MIn Ki
Members of an ambitious teen rock band — aptly named “Eye Candy,” no less — attempt to achieve their dream of breaking into the music scene. Dismissed as juvenile delinquents by many, they try to find a place in society through their music driven by a tragedy that befell their group. With good writing, an undeniably handsome cast (plus their heart-tugging onscreen bromance), and some really eargasmic OSTs, Shut Up! Flower Boy Band strikes a chord and hits all the right notes.
To The Beautiful You (2012)
The Oppas: Choi Minho (SHINee), Lee Hyun Woo, Seo Jun Young, King Ha Neul
Another K-Drama based on a Japanese manga, To The Beautiful You gives us a glimpse into the world of a high school girl from the U.S. who flies to South Korea and disguises herself as a boy to attend the school of a cold and chic athlete she admires. What we get here is an entire class of good-looking guys and an adorable wide-eyed Sulli as our heroine—so what’s not to love about this show?
The Heirs (2013)
The Oppas: Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin, Kang Min Hyuk (CNBLUE), Choi Jin Hyuk, Kang Ha Neul, Park Hyung Sik (ZE:A)
A wealthy heir to a large Korean conglomerate finds his world shaken when he meets an 18-year-old leading a difficult life. Set in a high-end school for the rich, The Heirs introduces us to privileged students who are being groomed to inherit their families’ business empires all the while dealing with their own growing pains. Poor-girl-meets-rich-boy sounds like an overused narrative, but, hey, it makes for shows you’d file under “guilty pleasures” and this is surely one of those.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
The Oppas: Lee Joon Gi, Kang ha Neul, Hong Jong Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk, Byun Baekhyun (EXO), Ji Soo, Yoon Sun Woo
In case you haven’t heard yet, this series will hurt you. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is a historical drama with a time-traveling twist that tells us about a 25-year-old woman’s journey of love and loss through the Goryeo Dynasty. Now, you might be wondering why you should watch a drama that will make you feel pain. Well, its story is compelling, it stars singing sweetheart IU, and, of course, its cast is overflowing with oppas clad in period costumes. (Not to mention, the show has an iconic bath scene with shirtless princes in the water—whew!)
Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016-2017)
The Oppas: Park Seo Jun, Park Hyung Sik, Choi Minho, Kim Taehyung (BTS’ V), Do Ji Han, Jo Yoon Woo
If you can’t get enough of period dramas with handsome oppas, mark Hwarang next on your watch list. Though it is first and foremost a romance drama, it also revolves around the brotherhood of six warriors-in-training during the turmoil of the Silla Kingdom. We’re not particularly fond of the main love triangle’s storytelling, but we kept watching because of the feelsy side plots of the supporting characters, who—we daresay—are the saving grace of the show.
School 2017 (2017)
The Oppas: Kim Jung Hyun, Jang Dong Yoon, Seo Ji Hoon, Ro Woon (SF9)
KBS’s School series is a long-running franchise that first aired in 1999. Among its most popular installments, though, is School 2017, which welcomes us to the world of an 18-year-old who dreams of becoming a webtoon artist. She then finds herself in a sticky situation when she gets caught up in the search for a mysterious troublemaker in her school. Will her handsome schoolmates come to her rescue? You gotta watch this surprisingly thrilling high school drama to find out. *wink, wink*
7 First Kisses (2016-2017)
The Oppas: Lee Joon Gi, Park Hae Jin, Ji Chang Wook, Kim Jong In (EXO’s Kai), Ok Tacyeon (2PM), Lee Jong Suk, Lee Min Ho
This show isn’t exactly your textbook K-Drama. It’s actually a promotional web series produced for Lotte Duty Free Shop. But despite that, it delivers kilig and oppas, so we’re gonna give the product placements a pass. 7 First Kisses is about a Lotte Duty Free store employee (of course) who’s never had a boyfriend before. One lucky day at work, she encounters an angel of love, who grants her the opportunity to pick her ideal partner. She is then given options; seven men with various backgrounds—from a sexy secret agent to a shiny K-Pop idol. We don’t know about you, but we’d go crazy making a decision, too! You can watch the full episodes on YouTube!
Who’s your ultimate K-Drama oppa, and which of his shows is your favorite?