What’s the worst K-drama you’ve ever watched? Today, Korean drama titles are dominating the trending topics in Pinoy Twitter with everyone discussing which K-drama is the best, the worst, and everything in between. A lot of people have their own opinions, and it’s igniting a lot of discussions. The 8List team and friends are all avid fans of K-dramas (just look at our extensive K-drama archive!), and we’ve always talked about the best ones we’ve seen. So this time — just for a change — we’re gonna talk about the worst K-dramas that we’ve unfortunately watched.
Disclaimer: These are just our opinions, wag niyo kaming awayin!
The Heirs (a.k.a Inheritors), is one of the worst K-dramas I’ve ever watched. The plot is basic: it revolves around a bunch of teenaged scions poised to take over their family’s respective business empires. Enter the poor girl who catches the attention of two wealthy, good-looking male leads and becomes the bane of every rich Asian mom’s existence.
I attempted to watch it since I knew the series had a stellar cast — Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye, and Kim Woo-bin! I signed up for great acting and brainless high school kilig and all I got was hours of footage of Park Shin-hye crying. The creators weren’t afraid to be generous with the tropes and clichés. It could’ve been handled better, but I guess they decided teenage angst and weird OST timing was already god-tier for a 2013 drama.
If you get a kick at watching emotionally unstable high schoolers in a rich-guy-falls-in-love-with-dirt-poor-girl trope, this is right up your alley. By all means, waste 20 hours of your life on this. It’s a show that needs as few brain cells as possible so you can just stare at the screen until the credits roll.
— Kyzia Maramara, writer
The World of the Married
While many fell in love with this show, I just couldn’t stand it. I only lasted four episodes, I think, mainly because I wasn’t a fan of the plot. We’ve had enough agawan plots, and while this drama took it to the next level, it was just too triggering for me. The first episodes felt like ages when I watched it, and I just couldn’t accept the lengths people would take to cheat and the people who tolerate it. I hurt for Sun Woo: the worry, the anxiety — everything she had to go through to confirm the infidelity of her husband. She was basically feeling like she was out of her mind, which is a familiar feeling I didn’t want to see anymore.
— Ina Manto, writer
Memories of the Alhambra
Before it aired, Memories of the Alhambra was so hyped up that everyone was talking about it. And why wouldn’t they when it starred Park Shin-hye and Hyun Bin and even had a special role from EXO’s Chanyeol? Even the premise of an augmented reality video game coming to life is so refreshing and intriguing that people flocked to it even if they weren’t in it for the actors. The attention to detail, the aesthetic camerawork, the worldbuilding — all of it promised a brilliant, attention-grabbing drama.
Unfortunately, my expectations were so high coming into the drama that I got rather disappointed coming out. After the first few interesting episodes, the show got into such sluggish pacing that it was hard to find the plot in between the romance (which, by the way, was rather unnecessary in my opinion). The premise, the actors, the worldbuilding, the marketing effort — it all went down the drain when the plot just started to peter out to be another romance-focused K-drama just set in a unique alternate universe. I don’t think I would’ve been as disappointed as I was if I had the right level of expectations coming in, but with how hyped it was, the bar was set too high. It’s been three years since it aired and I’m still thinking, sayang pa rin talaga.
— Meryl Medel, writer
Unpopular opinion, but I didn’t really like True Beauty, even if I’m a fan of Cha Eun-woo. The drama’s storyline was all over the place. I tried watching up to the last four episodes but eventually gave up. While I do want to commend Eun-woo and Hwang In-yeop for their amazing acting, the female lead was too annoying for me. I felt like I couldn’t take her seriously and I didn’t really feel like she had chemistry with her male leads. I honestly feel like True Beauty could’ve been written way better since it did come from a very popular webtoon. But yeah, I feel like they wasted such a star-studded cast and a very popular webtoon — although I would like to thank this drama for teaching me how to wear make-up!
— Bianca Katipunan, writer
Arang and the Magistrate
I tried to watch it, but I’m not a fan of the K-drama Arang and the Magistrate. I started it multiple times and eventually gave up. It’s about a Joseon female ghost asking a government official to help her find her murderer. The premise seemed interesting, but after trying so many times to get through the first few episodes and failing, it didn’t seem worth the effort.
As someone who is really into historical shows — K-drama or otherwise (Iljimae, Faith, Medici, The Tudors, to name some), I really thought I would get on well with this one, but for some reason, I just couldn’t. I even remember making a list of all the historical K-dramas available and ticking them off one by one, but I’ve never been able to tick Arang and the Magistrate off. I’m pretty sure it was the way the story was set up that I just couldn’t get into.
— Nikki Blanco, international relations officer
The hype was real for Hwarang. Imagine Park Seo-joon, Park Hyung-sik, Go Ara, Choi Min-ho, Do Ji-han and Kim f*cking Tae-hyung all in one series?! Hwarang was a fanfic writer’s dream come true, a reverse harem you’d wish to be in the middle of. As a fan of everyone in the cast, I was in for it. But then the plot got clunky, then there were the terrible wigs, and then the unnecessary story elements and arcs that seemed like they were just blindly picking from a box of random ideas. Hey, let’s throw in a dance sequence just because. Why not?! Let’s not focus on character development or whatever it is that will get the plot moving, because WE NEED TO SEE THESE SEXY MEN DANCE!
Don’t get me wrong though; there were really nice things that worked. The bromance moments (I am still a fangirl who has needs after all), the mysterious lead characters, the no-time-for-your-bullshit Ah Ro, and of course, Kim Tae-hyung, the most beautiful man to ever exist (who they killed off!!!!!! Yehey). But despite these positives, the negatives outweigh them. Hwarang was more of a fanservice show than an actual drama. The characters were not developed and established well, the plot felt forced and jumpy, and I did not feel compelled, intrigued, nor even empathetic at any point of the series. But hey, at least they gave us our beloved Wooga squad. But really, that’s about it.
— Abu Poblete, social media manager
Extra Ordinary You
I think what made Extra Ordinary You such a disappointment was how promising it was. It had such an interesting premise (girl discovers that she’s not a real person, but a side character in a romance manga, and decides she wants to change her destiny), so I was excited to watch it. Because the first few episodes poked fun at romance drama/manga tropes, it felt like the show would be something completely fresh and original. I thought it’d be like a K-drama version of Stranger Than Fiction.
(Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.)
After the promising first episodes, the show’s pace started to drag. I still gave it a chance. But the protagonist Dan-o was so unlikable. She was selfish, whiney, and even though she talked big about “changing her destiny”, all she really seemed to want was to be the main character of the story. Her love interest Haru literally had no personality. Seriously, he just existed for Dan-o, which is the worst kind of trope that I thought the show was supposed to be subverting…??? So I gave up halfway and ended up reading the synopsis of the rest of the show just to get closure, and I’m glad I did because the show really went off the rails. Honestly, they could’ve finished Extra Ordinary You in 5 or 6 episodes.
— Cristina Morales, online editor
How do I hate Start-Up? Let me count the ways.
- Do San’s character is shallow and selfish. His actions throughout the entire show was for self-gain. Meanwhile, Han Ji Pyeong was looking out for Dal Mi and Grandma’s wellbeing — although admittedly, his methods were a little questionable.
- Good Boy Han Ji Pyeong had the best character arc, but the show ruined it by not giving him a better ending.
- Do San and Dal Mi’s relationship was based on a lie and they never really hashed it out.
- Even after realizing that the boy in the letters was Han Ji Pyeong, Dal Mi never examined her feelings for him, which doesn’t make sense.
- Han Ji Pyeong had THREE YEARS to pursue Dal Mi when Do San was in the US yet he did nothing. THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Any dude in their right mind would make a move!!!! They turned Han Ji Pyeong into the ultimate torpe guy just so Do San and Dal Mi could end up together. UGH.
I know I’m gonna ruffle some feathers because this was one of the most popular K-dramas from 2020, but the fact that I was so invested in the show made the last few episodes so much worse. In sum, I’m still Team Good Boy and soooo salty that he didn’t get the girl.
— Timmy Del Rosario, content strategist
At the end of the day though, we’ve all got to remember that these are just shows made to entertain us. So even if you think differently, don’t throw hate at others who don’t share the same opinions when it comes to the worst K-drama. We’re all just here to enjoy some good ol’ kilig and the occasional angst with a generous dose of good-looking oppas and noonas.
How about you? What’s the worst K-drama you’ve ever watched? Share them with us!