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I started watching subtitled Korean Historical Drama TV Shows through Netflix a few months ago with Arang and the Magistrate. This show is fantastic, combining supernatural abilities, gods and shinigami [1], kickass fight scenes and music, a well-done and surprisingly subtle romance, and a very good plot. I then branched out to The Mighty Chilwu/Strongest Chil Woo, which is even better! This show contains many elements which Errol Flynn fans will recognize: unjustly oppressed minorities; cool whips, horses, swords and masks; more romance with complex female characters with a past [2]. Anyone who knows about Toshiro Mifune or Akira Kurosawa or old Western movies will also find much to relate to in these shows.

An important detail which stuck out for me with these two shows was that the important people always wear fancy hats of some kind. Anyone who is anyone has a fancy hat, or fancy hairdo, or those little embellished metal rings which go around their topknots [3]. You can easily pick out evil hats, good hats, police hats, peasant hats, emperor hats, scholar hats, nobility metal rings, backstabbing two-faced aristocratic hats, seriously depraved evil sorceress hairdos, delicate heroine hairdos. Exceptions to this rule do exist, as neither Chilwu nor Dol Sue, (bodyguard of the Magistrate,) wear much in the way of hats. They are, however, surrounded by people who DO have hats or fancy hairdos, and/or are the hero, so this all works out.

Check out these shows on Netflix or whatever your source of Korean drama is. It is well worth the trip. I also recommend eating Korean Beef Bowl or other Korean food while watching [4], as it adds to immersion and makes it so much better.


[1] I use the Japanese term for death god because I am unsure what it is in Korean.

[2] You have no idea how hard it is for me to not spoil the plot to these two shows. NO IDEA.

[3] Anyone know what those are actually called?

[4] Wearing a hat while cooking Korean food makes it come out better. Any hat will do, so long as it does not interfere with food preparation.