It is often difficult to find enjoyable supernatural Korean dramas that feature strong female leads you can root for and address important issues. There are a few that do exist, however. For this Korean drama list, I will provide a basic summary for each series, describe what makes the female lead strong and why you root for them, rate the series on a scale of one to five, and go into some details about the important topics they address. All of these supernatural Korean drama series bring up issues that may be triggering, and be forewarned, there may be some spoilers.
Article by Rebecca Fultz
The Master’s Sun
This drama follows Tae Gong-Shil, played by Gong Hyo-Jin, a woman who can see and talk to ghosts after surviving an accident. She then meets Joo Joong-Won, played by So Ji-Sub, a cold and distant CEO who happens to be the only person who can make the ghosts disappear. In order to stay by his side, she makes herself useful and acts as his “money radar” to find a necklace belonging to his deceased mother.
Throughout the drama, Tae Gong-Shil goes from a woman haunted by her past and ghosts to a powerful independent woman who uses her gift to help others and herself. Seeing the transition she goes through is amazing and inspiring. There are cringey moments along the way, but this show more than makes up for it. The issues brought up are PTSD, body positivity issues, child abuse, depression, insomnia, and coping with the death of a loved one. They bring these issues up when Tae Gong-Shil helps fulfill ghosts’ last wishes, allowing them to eventually move on. Be ready to feel many emotions with this drama. I rate this drama 5 out of 5 stars.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
This drama follows Do Bong Soon, played by Park Bo-Young. Bong Soon is blessed with superhuman strength that is passed down to the females of each generation in her family. There is a catch, however, that if she uses her powers for selfish reasons or hurts someone who is innocent, then her powers will disappear and bad things will happen to her. She becomes the bodyguard of Ahn Min-Hyuk, CEO of Ainsoft, a video game company. When women are starting to be kidnapped in Bong Soon’s neighborhood, it’s up to her and Min Hyuk to save the day.
When we first see Bong Soon, she is unwilling to help others because she wants to lead a normal life but, as the drama progresses, she starts to realize her powers are more of a blessing than a curse as she originally believed them to be. The issues brought up in this drama are insecurity, PTSD, mental health, female empowerment, violence against women, and domestic abuse. There are some very awkward moments in this drama, but overall I would rate this drama 4 out of 5 stars.
This drama follows Gil Ra-Im, played by Ha Ji-Won, a stuntwoman who meets Kim Joo-Won, played by Hyun Bin, a high-end department store CEO, through a misunderstanding caused by a scandal involving his cousin Oska, a famous singer played by Yoon Sang-Hyun. Initially, Ra-Im is already a female lead you can root for, but as the drama continues you see how sad and lonely she is and you can’t help but want her to find happiness.
The supernatural kicks in when Ra-Im and Joo-Won switch bodies throughout the drama as they get to know each other and themselves better. Issues brought up in this drama are isolation, depression, loneliness, and self worth. I would rate this drama 3 out of 5 stars.
The Scholar Who Walks The Night
This drama follows Jo Yang-Sun played by Lee Yu-Bi, a nobleman’s daughter who must make ends meet by crossdressing as a male bookseller after her father was framed for treason. She meets mysterious scholar Kim Sung-Yeol, played by Lee Joon-Gi, who is a vampire haunted by the death of his first love. They work together to stop evil vampire Gwi, played by Lee Soo-Hyuk, who uses his powers to prevent the crown prince from ascending the throne. Yang-Sun is intelligent, kind, and ready to do what needs to be done to protect her family. It didn’t take long for me to like her. You almost immediately root for her to get justice for her father and herself. The issues brought up are coping with death, loneliness, and depression. I would rate this drama 4 out of 5 stars.
W: Two Worlds
Oh Yeon Joo, played by Han Hyo-Joo, is a cardiothoracic surgeon whose father disappears before finishing his webcomic “W.” When Yeon Joo goes to her father’s office to find him, she is shocked to see main character Kang Chul, played by Lee Jong-Suk, dying on a computer screen. As she is reading a note left to her by her father, a hand comes out from the computer screen and pulls her into the comic. She saves Kang Chul’s life. She later finds out she can only leave the comic when Kang Chul’s feelings change. Yeon Joo handles her situation really well and adapts to situations pretty quickly. She is smart, kind, loyal, and loves her father. The issues brought up are insecurities, depression, and isolation. I rate this drama 5 out of 5 stars.
There are many amazing Korean dramas that feature a strong female lead that you can root for. The ones mentioned above are just a few examples. K-dramas can be daunting to start at first, but as you dive in and find out which genres, actors, and cliches you like, it becomes easier. And with so many different genres, actors, plot twists, and cliches, the amazing world of K-dramas offers so much to viewers of all ages and all over the world. I recommend for you explore.