13 TV Dramas Like It’s Okay to Not Be Okay That You Should Watch

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Listed by The New York Times as one of ‘The Best International Shows of 2020,’ It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a South Korean television series starring Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji, Oh Jung-se, Park Gyu-young, and Kim Joo-hun.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a heartwarming story of a young children’s book author, Ko Moon-Young woman who moves back to her hometown to pursue a romantic relationship with Moon Gang-tae, a psych ward caretaker who also takes care of his older brother, Moon Sang-tae, who is neurodivergent.

While working in a hospital, Moon Gang-tae meets Ko Moon-young, who is being treated for antisocial personality. During her stay at the hospital, she forms a romantic obsession with Gang-tae, to the point where she moves to another city. After this, the story follows Ko Moon-young and Moon Gang-tae’s budding relationship and how they help one another heal emotional wounds.

Praised for its narrative that emphasizes mental health, along with its unique visual storytelling and the performance by its cast, the show went on to receive commercial success around the world, receiving a nomination for the Best TV Movie or Miniseries at the 49th International Emmy Awards. People can enjoy the show on Netflix. If you find It’s Okay to Not Be Okay endearing and would love to watch other similar shows, then you have come to the right place.

Also Read: Top 50 K-drama Actors of All Time 

1. Hotel del Luna

Hotel del Luna is a South Korean dark fantasy romantic comedy series that follows the owner and manager of a hotel that caters exclusively to ghosts. The setting of the series is ‘Hotel del Luna,’ a hotel that is not visible during the day and can be accessed by human beings under special circumstances only.

The staff and clients of the hotel are ghosts who have unfinished business in their former lives and must resolve them to move on to the afterlife and finish the cycle of reincarnation.

Poster for Hotel Del Luna
Hotel Del Luna (Credits: Rakuten Viki)

The series follows Koo Chan-sung, whose father makes a deal with the owner of the hotel to save his life in exchange for his son’s servitude to the hotel 20 years later. When Koo Chan-sung comes to fulfill his father’s agreement, he tries to investigate the mysteries behind the hotel and its owner. 

Upon its release, the series became one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history and was nominated for several awards at the Korea Drama Awards, Mnet Asia Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, and Seoul Music Awards.

  • Released in: 2019
  • Seasons: 1 (16 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 1/10
  • Cast: Lee Ji-eun, Yeo Jin-goo, Jung Dong-hwan, Shin Jung-geun, Bae Hae-sun, Pyo Ji-hoon, Kang Mi-na, Lee Do-hyun, and Lee Tae-sun
  • Created by: Studio Dragon
  • Streaming Platform: Rakuten Viki, and Netflix

2. This Is Us 

This is Us is an American family drama television series that follows the lives of two parents, Jack and Rebecca, and their children, Kevin, Kate, and Randall, across different time periods.

Each episode consists of flashforwards and flashbacks to show significant moments in the Pearson family. The show follows the struggles, career-defining moments, and key celebrations of the Pearson children over the years.

Poster for This is Us
This is Us (Credits: Deadline)

Viewers and critics alike have praised the show for its earnest portrayal of struggles with death, weight, sexuality, and mental illness. It is also lauded for its emotional authenticity.

Throughout its six-season run, This is Us was nominated for and won several accolades, like the African-American Film Critics Association Awards, GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards.

3. Hyde Jekyll, Me 

Hyde Jekyll, Me is a South Korean television series based on Dr. Jekyll is Mr. Hyde by Lee Choong-ho. Gu Seo-jin seemingly has everything; he is next in line to become the CEO of his family business, but he also has dissociative identity disorder.

Poster for Hyde Jekyll, Me
Hyde, Jekjyll, Me (Credits: Rakuten Viki)

Whenever his heart rate exceeds a certain limit, the other personality known as Robin would emerge. Unlike Gu Seo-jin, Robin has a kind and gentle soul. When Jang Ha-na takes over as the circus master at Wonder Land, she finds herself butting heads with Gu Seo-jin.

Gu Seo-jin notices that after every interaction with Ha-na, his heart rate increases, Robin appears, and Ha-na falls in love with him. However, when Ha-na’s life gets in danger, Gu Seo-jin must work with Robin to save her.

  • Released in: 2015
  • Seasons: 1 (20 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 1/10
  • Cast: Hyun Bin, Han Ji-min, Sung Joon, Lee Hyen-ri
  • Created by: Kim Ji-Woon
  • Streaming Platform: Rakuten Viki and Netflix

4. Crash Landing On You

Crash Landing on You is a South Korean television series that became the fourth highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history.

The series follows Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean entrepreneur who crash lands in North Korea after a paragliding accident. There, she is discovered by Ri Jeong-Hyeok, captain of the Korean People’s Army, who provides her with shelter and helps her plan her secret return to South Korea.

Poster for Crash Landing On You
Crash Landing On You (Credits: Netflix)

Yoon Se-ri and Ri Jeong-hyeok’s story is intertwined with Seo Dan, the daughter of a wealthy North Korean department store owner whose marriage is arranged with Jeong-hyeok, and Gu Seung-jin, a North Korean defector who is running away from Yoon Se-ri’s half-brother, Yoon Se-hyung.

Just like It’s Okay to Not to Be Okay, Crash Landing on You is praised for its acting, unique yet beautiful cinematography, and amazing soundtrack.

  • Released in: 2019
  • Seasons: 1 (16 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 7/10
  • Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye, and Kim Jung-hyun
  • Created by: Studio Dragon
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix

Also Read: One Piece Live Action Series Season 2: Everything We Know So Far 

5. It’s Okay, That’s Love 

It’s Okay, That’s Love is a South Korean romantic television series that follows author and DJ Jang Jae-yeol and Ji Hae-soo, a first-year fellow at a university hospital.

As a kid, Jae-Yeol witnessed his mother accidentally murdering his physically violent father. In order to save his mother, he falsely testifies that his brother was the culprit. Guilty of doing so, he develops obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Poster for It's Okay, That's Love
It’s Okay, That’s Love (Credits: Rakuten Viki)

On the other hand, Ji Hae-soo is a driven, career-oriented woman known for being compassionate toward her patients but not so kind towards her own feelings and personal relationships.

At first, there is a lot of contention between Hae-soo and Jae-yeol. As the series progresses, they fall head over heels with one another. However, there are several obstacles in the way of their fairy tale ending, especially Jae-yeol’s mental health issues.

  • Released in: 2014
  • Seasons: 1 (16 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 3/10
  • Cast: Zo In-sung, Gong Hyo-jin, Sung Dong-il, Lee Kwang-soo, and Do Kyung-soo
  • Created by: Noh Hee-kyung
  • Streaming Platform: Rakuten Viki

6. Good Doctor 

Good Doctor is a South Korean medical drama television series that was adapted into a popular American television show, also known as Good Doctor, starring Freddie Highmore and Daniel Dae Kim.

Poster for Good Doctor
Good Doctor (Credits: Netflix)

The Good Doctor follows Park S-on, a resident in the field of pediatric surgery who is on the autism spectrum, has photogenic memory, and has very keen spatial skills. Even though he wants to prove to his superiors that he is capable of the job, he runs into trouble because he is often viewed as childlike and unreliable.

Other than being adapted for American television, the success of Good Doctor in Korea led to it being remade into a Japanese, Turkish, and Hong Kong television show. Upon its release, the show was also honored by the Korea Association of the Welfare Institutes for the Disabled for bringing awareness about autism and how it can contribute to society.

  • Released in: 2013
  • Seasons: 1 (20 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 8/10
  • Cast: Joo Won, Moon Chae-won, Joo Sang-wook, Kim Min-seo, Chun Ho-jin, Kwak Do-won, Na Young-hee. Jo Hee-bong, and Jung Man-sik
  • Created by: Park Jae-bum
  • Streaming Platform: Rakuten Viki and Netflix

7. I Know This Much Is True 

I Know This Much Is True is an American drama miniseries based on author Wally Lamb’s novel ‘I Know This Much Is True.’ The show follows Dominick Bridsey and his twin brother, Thomas Brisdey, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Although Thomas occasionally suffers from severe episodes of his illness, he is able to work and live normally with proper medication.

Poster for I Know This Much Is True
I Know This Much Is True (Credits: Hulu)

During one such severe illness, Thomas cuts off his hand while at a library as a sacrificial protest that will spot the Gulf War. When he is sent to a hospital for the dangerously mentally ill, Dominick tries to free his brother. The show received generally favorable reviews and was praised for Mark Ruffalo’s acting skills.

  • Released in: 2020
  • Seasons: 1 (6 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 1/10
  • Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Melissa Leo, Rob Huebel, Juliette Lewis, Kathryn Hahn, Rosie O’Donnell, Imogen Poots, and Archie Panjabi
  • Created by Derek Cianfrance and Anya Epstein
  • Streaming Platform: Apple TV and Hulu

8. Descendants of the Sun 

If you are a fan of the medical drama and war genre, then you are in for a treat with Descendants of the Sun. This South Korean drama television series follows the captain of a special forces unit, Yoo Shi Jin, and a hospital trauma surgeon, Kang Mo Yeon.

Poster for Descendants of the Sun
Descendants of the Sun (Credits: Rakuten Viki)

While Yoo Shi Jin immediately falls in love with Kang Mo Yeon, Mo Yeon has a terrible first impression of him and thinks he is a thief. But when Shi Jin is able to prove his innocence, they develop an unlikely relationship and quickly realize that they have extremely conflicting views on life.

Soon, it is too much for them to deal with each other’s philosophical differences, and they decide to break up. However, when Mo Yeon is assigned to travel to a war-torn country where Shi Jin is stationed, they give their relationship another star.

  • Released in: 2016
  • Seasons: 1 (16 episodes + 2 specials)
  • IMDb Score: 2/10
  • Cast: Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-won
  • Created by: KBS Drama Production
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix and Rakuten Viki

Also Read: Painkiller Filming Locations: Where is the Netflix Show Filmed? 

9. Thirty But Seventeen 

Winner of the Top Excellence Actress Award in a Monday-Tuesday Drama, Excellence Actor Award in a Monday-Tuesday Drama, Best Supporting Actress, Best New Actor, and Best Young Actress Award at the prestigious SBS Drama Awards, Thirty but Seventeen also known as Still 17 is a South Korean romantic comedy series.

Poster for Thirty But Seventeen
Thirty but Seventeen (Credits: Netflix)

It follows the lives of a 17-year-old violin prodigy, Woo Seo Ri, who is left comatose after a serious car accident, and Gong Woo Jin, the man who is left traumatized after causing said accident.

When Seo Ri wakes up after 13 years, she goes on a search for her relatives, who have since moved to a new house. The plot also follows Seo RI and Woo Jin’s romance, which helps Woo Jin become more emotionally vulnerable.

  • Released in: 2018
  • Seasons: 1 (32 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 9/10
  • Cast: Shin Hey-sun, Yang Se-jong, and Ahn Hyo-seop
  • Created by: Jo Sung-hee
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix and Rakuten Viki 

10. Romance Is a Bonus Book 

Romance is a Bonus Book is a South Korean television series that follows Cha Eun-ho, a famous author who also works as the chief editor at a publishing company, and Kang Dan-I, a woman who saved him from an accident when they were both young children.

Poster for Romance is a Bonus Book
Romance is a Bonus Book (Credits: Netflix)

While they remained friends throughout their childhood, Cha Eun-ho and Kang Dan-I’s friendship fell apart after Kand Dan-I started dating an inconsiderate man whom Cha Eun-ho disapproves of.

Now, as an adult, Cha Eun-ho learns that Cha Eun-ho is a single mother looking for work and helps her find a job in his own company. As the story progresses, their love story begins to unfold.

  • Released in: 2019
  • Seasons: 1 (16 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 8/10
  • Cast: Lee Na-young, Lee Jong-suk, Jung Yoo-jin, Wi Ha-joon, Kim Tae-woo, Kim Yoo-mi, Jo Han-chui, and Kim Sun-young
  • Created by: Studio Dragon
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix

11. Extracurricular 

Extracurricular is a South Korean psychological crime drama television series. The show is centered around four high school students- Ji Soo, Min Hee, Gyu RI, and Ki Tae.

Poster for Extracurricular
Extracurricular (Credits: Netflix)

Extracurricular follows the exploits of four high school students who commit crimes to earn money and must deal with the unpredictable consequences of their dangerous actions.

  • Released in: 2020
  • Seasons: 1 (10 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 6/10
  • Cast: Kim Dong-hee, Park Ju-hyun, Jung Da-bin, Nam Yoon-su, Choi Min-soo, Park Hyuk-Kwon, Kim Yeo-jin, Seo Ye-Hwa, and Kim Yi-Kyung
  • Created by: Jin Han-sae
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix

12. BoJack Horseman 

BoJack Horseman is an English-language American psychological comedy television series that revolves around a horse called BoJack Horseman, who used to be the star of a sitcom and is planning a comeback.

Poster for BoJack Horseman
BoJack Horseman (Credits: Variety)

The show follows his relationship with his ghostwriter, agent, former rival, and roommate, along with his struggles with mental health issues. The show is hailed by its man for its realistic and grounded depiction of issues like depression, addiction, racism, sexism, pregnancy, self-destructive behavior, adoption, and abortion.

Over the course of its six-season run, the show was nominated for several Critics’ Choice Television Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards, and Primetime Emmy Awards.

  • Released in: 2014
  • Seasons: 6 (77 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 8/10
  • Cast: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul
  • Created by: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix

13. Mystic Pop-Up Bar 

Based on author Bae Hye-soo’s novel ‘Twin Tops Bar,’ Mystic Pop-up Bar is a South Korean supernatural fantasy television series that focuses on a mysterious drinking establishment by Weol-ju.

Poster for Mystic Pop-up Bar
Mystic Pop-up Bar (Credits: Netflix)

Weol-ju is known for being an ill-tempered woman who mistreats her innocent employee, Han Kang-bae, who has the supernatural ability to make people divulge their secrets when he touches them.

The show also follows Chief Gwi, a detective from the afterlife who must settle the grudges of 100,000 souls before ascending into heaven. Therefore, with the help of Kang-bae, he tries to solve the problems of the customers visiting the restaurant by going into their dreams.

  • Released in: 2020
  • Seasons: 1 (12 episodes)
  • IMDb Score: 8/10
  • Cast: Hwang Jung-eum, Yook Sung-jae, Choi Won-young, Yeom Hye-ran, Lee Jun-Heyok, Na In-Woo, and Oh Young-sil
  • Created by: Ha Yoon-ah
  • Streaming Platform: Netflix

Also Read: The Place Beyond The Pines Filming Locations: Where Is The Movie Filmed? 

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