Every year KBS airs a series of short (usually) 1-episode drama specials that are shot and written by different crews and showcase all kinds of actors – up-and-coming newbies or seasoned veterans.
They usually explore short stories that are not complicated enough to be made into long dramas or movies, are somewhat experimental or just have interesting idea that shows the directors' or writers' skill. These specials are easy to watch, especially when you are in a drama slump or when you have an hour or so of time and you don’t know what to do. They are fun to watch and if you by any chance pick a special that does not really fit your tastes, the regret is not that big because it is only a single episode story.
As a bonus, many of these drama specials are on the official KBS YouTube channel in HD quality and with English subtitles which makes them incredibly easy to access!
Despite this all, specials are not very popular or known here on MDL and their ratings, trailers or story summaries are sometimes not tempting enough to encourage users to check them out. That’s why I would like to show you seven drama specials that are in less than 1,000 MDL watchlists (and one a bit more popular). My descriptions are short because I definitely do not want to spoil the whole story to you and I only aim to show you something new to watch.
# of MDL Members: ~53
The story of Dance from Afar is centered around the suicide of theatre director Parang and how people around him cope with his death. One of them is scriptwriter Hyun who reacts calmly but does not understand why he decided to kill himself. She retrospectively looks at the last moments she spent with Parang and at the same times tries to rewrite ending of a sci-fi theatre play she created with him.
You should watch if: you enjoy things that are a little bit different, you like stories with hidden meaning or are into existential nihilism.
# of MDL Members: ~74
A short story about a "bad family" that consists of a cheating mother, a weak father, a reckless daughter and a spoiled son. They hate each other but they still stay together... kinda.
You should watch if: you like absurd situations or anti-heroes as main characters.
# of MDL Members: ~357
Oh Man Bok is Pretty is a family drama about Man Bok who is the adoptive daughter of a Chinese restaurant owner. It is a very sweet and heart-warming story that will make you emotional. The main character is played by child actress Kim Hyang Gi who showed incredibly strong performance.
You should watch if: you like family dramas, enjoy great child actors or are a fan of Ra Mi Ran.
# of MDL Members: ~415
The Three Female Runaways is a story of three women who run away from their homes due to different reasons – Su Ji runs away from her controlling father, Hyung Ja runs because her husband treats her badly and takes her for granted and Yeo Jin runs from a hostess bar she works in because customers and bar owners are rude to her. These three meet accidentally and together try to run from their worries and enjoy their life.
You should watch if: you like a good sismance or comedy based on misunderstandings.
# of MDL Members: ~452
The Red Teacher is a story set in 1985 when a strict all-girls high school teacher buys a banned erotic book. The book gets accidentally spread around his school where it gets really popular. Unfortunately, the book ends with a cliffhanger and so, one of his students decides to write her own version.
The Red Teacher is probably my most favourite drama special on this list. It has really great cinematography and is a captivating story of student – teacher friendship.
# of MDL Members: ~815
We All Cry Differently is a family drama about Ji Hye who is trying to contact her lost father so she can obtain a passport and get to a study abroad programme. It is a quite realistic drama about family struggles.
# of MDL Members: ~912
The Legendary Lackey is set in all-boys high school where is very strict hierarchy of students. The weak ones are bullied by the strong ones and are made into their lackeys. To this school comes a transfer student who used to be a lackey in his previous school and is willing to do anything to not get into the same position again. Expect a hilarious story about friendship and a not so brave hero.
You should watch if: you like high school dramas, bromance, losers who stand up to bullies and absurd comedy.
# of MDL Members: ~2,903
The Happy Loner (also known as Individualist Ms. Ji Young) is a 2-episode special about a woman who loves to be alone and a man who hates being alone. These two meet as neighbours and eventually find a way to each other’s heart.
A sweet drama about how love can change you with a somewhat realistic view on life.
SO! These were some drama specials I wanted to show you! Did you find some of them interesting? What are your favourite drama specials that I did not include in this article? Let me know in the comments below and maybe I (or someone else) will write a follow up article about more drama specials in the future!
If you are interested in checking out more drama specials of this type, search here on MyDramaList "Drama Special" and "Drama City" for KBS specials, "Drama Festival" for MBC specials and "Drama Stage" for tvN specials and don't let ratings intimidate you!