Swoon worthy – that is an apt description of ‘boys love’ (BL) dramas. With heart fluttering storylines, handsome protagonists, strong chemistry, BL Dramas are bound to snatch hearts.
To give a brief for the uninitiated, ‘boys love’ drama revolves around a coming of age, gay love story. Dating back to the 70’s, BL has its base in Japanese Yaoi manga – a subgenre of homoerotic stories. These were written by women and catered to young female audience. The genre has vigorously evolved since then, adding more in terms of character development and romance.
Asian BL dramas, specifically from Thailand and Taiwan have become hugely popular especially after the industry successfully adapted many BL novels into TV series, including SOTUS, 2gether, TharnType, etc. As compared to Thailand and Taiwan which has seen a rise of popularity since 2017, South Korea has only recently joined the bandwagon with a sudden boom of BL productions. While entertainment in South Korea couldn’t boast of giving the best representation to the queer community, BL dramas brings in a refreshing change especially over the last one year.
Korean dramas have featured queer characters and there are a handful of LGBTQ movies but despite having captivating storylines, it failed to get the attention they deserved. With the 2020 BL web series Where Your Eyes Linger, the scene started changing rapidly. While this was followed by a flurry of mostly bite sized dramas, the recently concluded long form BL series Light on Me has created a huge buzz.
Featuring few K-POP idols in the lead roles, engaging storylines, great acting and good OST’s you really shouldn’t be missing out, here is a list of some of the finest BL Korea has to offer, that you should binge watch right away.
Light on Me
The list has to begin with this Viki original which is a 16 episode high teen romance drama. Set in Saebit Boy’s High school, protagonist Woo Tae Kyung played by former Produce 101 idol contestant Lee Saeon, finds friendship and love.
A loner, he joins the school’s council where he meets the cold Noh Shin Woo and popular Shina Da Won and falls in love and discovers friendship. Whether you are Team Shinwoo or Team Dawon, all the characters will win your heart. K-pop group A.C.E even sang the OST ‘Spark’ for the series, making it even better.
Where Your Eyes Linger
Despite its short 10 minute long episodes, this series managed to grab eyeballs and became the first Korean BL drama that shot to fame. Heir to a conglomerate Han Tae Joo, played by Han Gi Chan (former contestant on Produce X 101), realises his feelings for his best friend Gang Gook who also happens to be his bodyguard. The tension and chemistry between the protagonists whenever they appear on screen is extremely real. The top notch acting as their supressed feelings slowly unfolds makes it a must watch.
Long Time No See
This 2017 gem was released long before BL started trending in Korea. It was originally released as a drama with five episodes but later on was released as a movie available on GagaOOLala. This tale of assassins follows the story of two hitman Flying Dagger and Wild Dog as they fall in love. With gangsters on their chase, this action packed romance has solid acting and sets it apart from other BL dramas.
Wish You: Your Melody from My Heart
Member of idol group IMFACT’s Lee Sang and MYNAME’s Kang In Soo are casted perfectly in this drama and they have also lent their voice for the OST making it dreamier. The drama follows the life of a busker who catches the eye of a keyboardist working at a major record company. The two starts working together and soon develops a relationship that faces hurdles to take off. The movie version of the drama with a few additions can be watched on Netflix.
You Make Me Dance
The unlikely romance in this drama is what catches the attention. A 22-year-old Song Shi On majoring in contemporary dance comes across 28-year-old debt collector Jin Hong Seok and they decide to share an apartment to save money. The duo forms a bond as dance brings them closer. The stunning cinematography and the well written characters deserves a special mention here.
To My Star
This one is almost like your classic K-Drama. An extremely popular celebrity gets into a scandal and is asked to lay low till it dies down. However his hideout has already been rented by a handsome chef and the two enter into an unexpected living situation. The dialogues, chemistry, and good looking protagonist will keep you hooked. While the story is predictable it will still give you butterflies with their realistic acting.
If this list isn’t enough, we have more! A special mention to two upcoming BL dramas that has already created a buzz. To be released on August 30, Peach Of Time stars Korean and Thai actors Choi Jae Hyun and Karn Kritsanaphan respectively. Peach, the 22-year old Thai boy, takes a daring step in his life and decides to fly to Korea to meet his online Korean friend, Yun Oh.
Another upcoming BL The Tasty Florida is set to premiere this September and follows the story of how love blossoms in a Chinese restaurant. This one is coming from the makers of Wish You and Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding.
Do you love BL Drama? Do let us know which BL drama has caught your attention.
Proma Chakraborty is a reporter based in New Delhi. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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BL dramas are a whole new world!