15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

Categories: Asia | Celebrities | Cinema | Entertainment | Relationship

From comedies and romance to fantasy and horror, these are the best K-dramas for teens.

What’s not to love about teen dramas? They not only entertain but also provide valuable lessons while addressing relevant and sensitive issues that young people often face. Korean dramas boast a vast collection of teen series that feature relatable characters, compelling coming-of-age narratives, and universal themes. These teen shows often incorporate elements of romance, love triangles, heartwarming friendships, intense drama, and everything that can whisk viewers away to a lively high school setting, capturing the essence of youth and the challenges that come with it.

This list of K-dramas isn't just for teens, but also for those who are interested in K-dramas that don't just focus on adult life, marriage, or office dynamics. They bring all the excitement and trials of teenage experiences to the forefront. These dramas revolve around teenage characters and are tailor-made for fans of young adult narratives, including teenagers themselves. From romance and comedy to mystery and horror and fantasy, here are the best Korean dramas for teens.

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15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

15. School 2017 (2017)

No Korean drama caters to teens quite like the heartwarming and relatable School 2017, which captures the essence of youth and the transformative power of friendship. This compelling teen drama revolves primarily around high school students, Eun-ho and Tae-woon, as they navigate the challenges of attaining their dreams and other challenges they face in their pursuit of their education and self-discovery. It also sheds light on the corrupt practices in the educational system as well as the importance of standing up for what is right.

Despite occasional pacing issues, it shines with incredible chemistry between its leads, lots of friendships, and a cast of likable characters, all while weaving a touch of mystery to keep many entertained throughout. However, while some feel it is an outstanding series, others consider it rather dull despite its engaging themes.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

14. True Beauty (2020)

True Beauty is a well-known K-drama starring Moon Ga-young as Joo Kyung, a bright and kind-hearted high school student battling with low self-esteem. Due to her perceived low self-esteem, she becomes an expert in make-up techniques, using cosmetics to hide her true self. While trying to keep her identity hidden, two boys, Han Seo-jun and Lee Su-ho, begin to develop feelings for her and there emerges a love triangle.

Throughout the series, True Beauty combines humor, romance, and heartfelt moments to emphasize the importance of being true to oneself. Although targeted at teen audiences, it is an engaging and relatable K-drama that will resonate with viewers of all ages. With a plethora of amazing and endearing characters, it is often hard to choose a standout character. It is undeniably a sweet and delightful pick for teens.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

13. Boys Over Flowers (2009)

Boys Over Flowers, which debuted in 2009, remains one of the finest teen K-dramas ever made, even 14 years later. Adapted from the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango, this timeless Korean drama follows a working-class girl who finds herself entangled with a group of wealthy and charismatic boys known as the F4. Koo Hye-sun portrays the feisty and strong-willed high school girl, Geum Jan-di, while Lee Min-ho takes on the role of Jun-Pyo and Kim Hyun-Joong plays Ji-hoo, forming a love triangle.

Apart from this captivating love story, the series delves into Jan-di’s struggle with fitting into a prestigious school, dealing with bullying, and coping with social pressures, which teen audiences will likely relate to. While the characters are quite adorable and the story interesting, some viewers find this series filled with clichéd twists and some irksome characters.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

12. Dream High (2011-2012)

A Korean musical melodrama, Dream High has a total of 16 episodes, plus one special, each with a run-time of approximately 65–70 minutes, providing ample time for viewers to get wrapped up in all the drama and fun it offers. Set within a performing arts school, it follows the lives of a group of talented and aspiring young students as they work hard to achieve their dreams of becoming K-pop Idols.

While presenting the challenges these kids face in pursuit of their dreams, the series also offers emotional storytelling, romantic sub-plots, and a blend of musical performances. Beyond being a beloved series for lovers of K-drama, it also appeals to music enthusiasts. The series essentially exudes a positive vibe, delivering strong moral messages on friendship, failure, resilience, acceptance, and other essential coming-of-age themes.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

11. At Eighteen (2019)

At Eighteen is a coming-of-age K-drama that centers around three high school students: introverted Choi Jon-woo, popular Yoo Soo-bin, and ambitious Ma Hwi-young. Jon-woo, a loner grappling with past trauma, begins a new chapter at a new school where he forges an unexpected friendship and finally experiences his first love. At Eighteen beautifully portrays personal growth and the impact of meaningful relationships on the lives of these young characters.

It is one of the most touching coming-of-age dramas that can bring many to tears as it addresses academic pressures, bullying, and the sweet essence of first love. Alongside these heartfelt moments, there’s a blend of light-hearted moments that makes it an overall delightful watch. With its amazing cast, well-written story, and just the right amount of drama, it keeps many engaged without resorting to excessive plot twists.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

10. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (2016-2017)

Like many other teen-focused K-dramas, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo places a strong emphasis on friendship and love. The story revolves around Kim Bok-Joo, a talented weightlifter at Haneol Sports University, as she faces the challenges of being a young woman athlete in a male-dominated sport. Her life, however, changes when she meets Jun Joon-Jung, a carefree swimmer, and they develop a strong friendship which eventually turns into love.

While the series highlights the real-life struggles faced by athletes in weightlifting, swimming, and gymnastics, it also emphasizes the importance of following one’s passion and the value of genuine friendship. The series is a completely fun and heartwarming experience that will have many laughing and cheering these characters as they grow and overcome their obstacles. Lee Sung-Kyung and Nam Joo-hyuk are also delightful to watch as the endearing lead characters.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

9. Extracurricular (2020)

While Extracurricular features teen characters, it is more of an intense and dark drama not suitable for all ages. It explores the themes of morality, crime, and the consequences of one’s actions through the story of Oh Jisoo, played by Kim Dong-hee. By day, he is an ordinary, bright student, but by night, he is involved in illegal activities, including running a prostitution ring.

His life takes a dark turn when he becomes involved with a troubled girl, Bae Gyu-ri and they both get caught up in the dangerous life of crime and its repercussions. Extracurricular captivates viewers with its intense plot from start to finish. It deviates from the typical K-drama formula, steering clear of clichés and romance while fearlessly depicting issues like sex, drugs, social pressure, and friendship. It is indeed a refreshing departure from the norm.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

8. Reply 1997 (2012)

Reply 1997 stands as the first installment in the Reply series created by director Shin Won-ho and writer Lee Woo-jung. It revolves around a close-knit group of friends who are avid fans of the first-generation K-pop group H.O.T. As the series unfolds, it takes viewers back and forth between the character’s high school life in 1997 and their lives in 2012.

This technique manages to keep many interested in the story and the character. One of the central mysteries in the series is the identity of Shin-won’s husband in the 2012 timeline. Reply 1997 may not boast the immense popularity of some K-dramas or an overly famous cast, but it indeed stands among the best. Its strength lies in its written and intelligent script and its departure from formulaic storytelling.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

7. Extraordinary You (2019)

Starring Kim Hye-yoon, Rowoon, Lee Jae-wok, Lee Na-eun, and others, this charming and imaginative drama is an adaptation of the webtoon July Found by Chance. It follows a high-school girl named Eun Dun-oh who discovers that her fate is subject to the whims of a comic book. Determined to escape her fictional existence, she forms a deep connection with Dan-oh, who shares a similar plight, and together they fight to change their fate.

Extraordinary You is certainly extraordinary, as the title suggests, offering a high school drama with a unique twist. It skillfully combines elements of fantasy, comedy romance, and coming-of-age themes to create an immensely enjoyable series. It is a rollercoaster of emotions that will evoke tears and laughter and a strong desire to see the characters achieve their goals.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

6. Sassy Go Go (2015)

Also known as Cheer Up, Sassy Go Go follows outgoing Kang Yeon-deon and Kim Yeol, a brilliant student who joined forces to form a cheerleading group in the wake of a cheating scandal. Within the backdrop of cheerleading, the series depicts heartwarming friendships, and love between young characters all while they deal with the challenges of high school life. With its solid storyline, star-studded cast, love triangle, and relatable themes, this teen drama will particularly be appealing to teenagers and viewers who enjoy coming-of-age narratives with a focus on school life and friendship.

There also exists a well-high-lighted love story, complete with a compelling love- triangle adds to the spice of the series. Like many other high-school dramas, it is filled with familiar tropes, heartwarming moments, comic scenes, and drama, making it an irresistible watch for fans of K-dramas.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

5. All of Us Are Dead (2022)

All of Us Are Dead takes the familiar zombie apocalypse premise to a high-school setting, crafting a unique experience that resonates with both younger and older lovers of horror. Based on a webtoon, this zombie series unfolds within the walls of Hyosan High School, where a mysterious outbreak of a deadly virus transforms both students and teachers into bloodthirsty creatures. Amidst the chaos, students like Le Sun-hyeok and Nam On-jo and others find themselves trapped in the school and forced to unite to survive.

While presenting the thrills and kills of zombie narratives, this series does not lose its emotional depth and skillfully crafts backstories for each character. All of Us Are Dead stands as a testament to Korean filmmakers’ ability to create the most riveting zombie flicks. Many eagerly await its forthcoming second season.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

4. My Roommate Is a Gumiho

The South Korean romantic fantasy drama, My Roommate Is a Gumiho, is about a college student named Lee Dam, who lives with a mythical nine-tailed fox-tailed spirit named Shin Woo Yeo after mistakenly swallowing his bead. As they cohabit, their relationship deepens and viewers are unable to take their eyes off their undeniable chemistry. It is one of those shows that get many hooked right from the start even if it may seem predictable.

The fantasy elements only add to the appeal of the show. Both Jang Ki-Yong and Hyeri deliver standout performances in their roles, complemented by a supporting cast that adds to the fun. However, there are mixed feelings about this. Nevertheless, it will be totally appealing to those who love humorous Korean dramas with a blend of romance and fantasy.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

3. A Love So Beautiful (2020-2021)

Based on a Chinese series of the same name, this romantic comedy revolves around two childhood friends, Chen XiaoXi and Jiang Chen as they navigate the ups and downs of growing up, friendship and love. These young characters are initially friends, but as the series progresses, their feelings for each other deepen. A Love So Beautiful effectively captures the innocence and nostalgia of youth while also celebrating the enduring bonds of friendship and love. This makes it a delightful choice for teens who enjoy sweet and relatable romantic comedies.

Also, it does not fail to capture the academic challenges that plague these young characters. The characters are so endearing and adorable, making it easy to become invested in their romantic journeys. While the plot follows a predictable path, its heartwarming qualities compensate for any lack of surprises.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

2. The Heirs (2013)

The Heirs is a popular South Korean series that falls into the romance and drama genres. It revolves around the lives of wealthy and privileged high school students and their complex relationships, including love, friendship, and family dynamics. The Heirs is generally suitable for teenagers, especially those who enjoy romance with a touch of melodrama.

It includes the classic trope of a poor girl falling for a rich handsome, catering to those who have a penchant for such storylines. It features a young and attractive cast, with Lee Min-ho and Park Shin-Hye playing the adorable lead characters. While some viewers may find its plot over-the-top and predictable, others may embrace its predictability, finding the story deeply touching and unforgettable. Despite its flaws, the series features really cool characters well-played by the talented cast, and a compelling love story.

15 Best K-Dramas for Teens

1. The Uncanny Counter (2020-2023)

If you like your teen drama with a touch of mystery, supernatural intrigue, and intense action sequences, then Uncanny Counter is the ideal choice. The second season also promises a dash of romance. The story follows the physically disabled high school student, So Mun, who possesses the unique ability to sense danger and other-worldly beings. His life takes a dramatic turn when he joins a secret organization dedicated to fighting demons, known as "Counters."

From the very first episode, this series hooks viewers and maintains its addictive nature till the end. It also excels in providing the personal backgrounds for each character, delving into their past traumas and the reasons behind their dedication to fighting demons, making it quite different from other superhero series. The TheUncanny Counter is a well-rounded narrative with a combination of action sequences, suspenseful storytelling, character developments, and moments of levity.

Keywords: K-Dramas | Teens | Fantasy | Korean dramas | Asia | Korean series | Cinema

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