by Salty_bae, June 12, 2020

Two years ago, I wrote an article recommending some KBS drama specials. I would like to think that there were at least few people who enjoyed the said article (and, more importantly, the specials I recommended!) and so I decided it is the right time to write a follow-up. Surely this time, I will start a revolution and we, as a society, will start watching more drama specials ;).

But when is the right time to watch a drama special, are you asking? Anytime! I like to watch specials when I get into drama slump, I get indecisive about what to watch next, want to clear my palate, when I feel like exploring a genre I don’t usually watch or when I don’t want to watch a whole drama (but watching a movie feels like an over-kill).

Drama specials are usually quite simple yet complex, experimental but familiar. They are like finger foods of drama-world, free samples given to you in a super-market of dramas. These are stories you need, but don’t know it yet!

Just like last time, I am going to introduce titles from the most underrated (based on the number of MDL members who added the title to their watchlist) simply because I liked that concept last time, and maybe it will also make you give a try to something new (because who doesn’t like being a special snowflake from time to time, right?).

So buckle up and get your plan-to-watch lists ready because today, I have some real gems for you! And don’t forget: All mentioned specials are available for free on the official KBS YouTube channel! :)

Rural Outcasts (2019)

# of MDL Members: ~92

Rural Outcasts is centred around the character of 12-years old Oh Dong Ja. She lives in a troubled, poor family – her mother left her and she lives with her grandfather who beats her. Her only solace? Her radio and the abandoned house she hides in. But, one day, a stranger who wears women's clothes moves into her hide-out.

You should watch if: you like heartwarming stories about found families, want to watch a story about the development of one precious mother-daughter relationship, love the feeling of summer in rural areas and beautiful whimsical cinematography, or enjoy great child actresses.

Socialization – Understanding of Dance (2019)

# of MDL Members: ~123

Socialization – Understanding of Dance follows the story of Soo Ji, who is an unusually tall girl. She gets bullied for being different, which makes her isolated from others. Because of her hardships, she wants to graduate from university early. Unfortunately, she needs to attend one more class. That’s how she ends up in a dancing class where she’s paired with Byung Hyun who is much shorter than her.

You should watch if: you like artsy or even a bit pretentious films, introverted characters, western coming of age movie vibes, late 90’s/early 2000’s camerawork style, the abundant presence of lens flares, odd close-ups and weird camera angles, dancing, and a great soundtrack.

Home Sweet Home (2019)

# of MDL Members: ~130

The main character of Home Sweet Home is an architect who gets newly engaged with her fiance. She finds out her soon-to-be husband is from a rich family, so she tries to hide the fact that she comes from a low-ish income background. At the same time, she is looking for her dream house. 

You should watch if: you liked Because This Is My First Life, Parasite, are a fan of Lee Joo Young or are preparing for house-hunting anytime soon.

Miss Kim's Mystery (2018)

# of MDL Members: ~ 218

In spy/comedy special Miss Kim’s Mystery, the main character Miss Kim, who seems like a cold and odd woman, joins hands with cheerful Mr. Lee in order to find the corporate spy. 

You should watch if: you like spy or investigation dramas, are a fan of SISTAR’s Dasom, or like the warm man/cool woman dynamics.

Slow (2017)

# of MDL Members: ~ 234

Slow is about Ji Won who is a promising high school baseball player. He wants to get to the national team, but his performance fluctuates a lot due to his condition. He suffers from anxiety and OCD and cannot live without his rituals. The tension never leaves his body.

You should watch if: you like serious indie movies and slow development, are a person of few words, don’t mind suffocating atmosphere, or are a fan of Kwak Dong Yeon.

Yeonu's Summer (2013)

# of MDL Members: ~271

The story of Yeonu’s Summer follows a soft-spoken Yeonu who lives with her mother in a poor neighbourhood. Her mother gets injured, and so Yeonu temporarily replaces her as a cleaning lady at a major corporation. There she meets her elementary classmate who makes Yeonu go to a blind date with a rich guy pretending Yeonu is the classmate.

You should watch if: you need to hear that all those hardships you are going through will pass and that you should be yourself, you are a fan of Han Ye Ri or Im Se Mi or if you liked Age of Youth.

The Reason We Can't Sleep (2017)

# of MDL Members: ~463

Both leads of The Reason We Can’t Sleep suffer from insomnia due to their stressful but unfulfilling life. As neighbours, it is only a matter of time for them to accidentally meet during their attempts to fall asleep. Instead, they fall in love.

You should watch if: you have things that keep you awake at night, you ever felt lost in your life, like simple but cute romcoms or are a fan of Im Se Mi.

The Dirge Singer (2014)

# of MDL Members: ~ 686

Set in the Joseon era, The Dirge Singer is centred around Yun Shim – daughter of a dirge singer whose job is to cry during funerals. She hates crying and so her dream is to become a gisaeng so she can live her life smiling, even though both jobs are considered the lowest in society.

You should watch if: you like historical dramas, are interested in the lives of the lowest social class in Joseon or are a fan of Kim Yoo Jung.

Land of Rain (2013)

# of MDL Members: ~1,042

Main leads of Land of Rain Na Ra and her student Woo Gi have one thing in common: they both lost someone important to them on the same rainy night – Na Ra lost her husband while Woo Gi lost his father. Two years later, both of them still loathe the rain. In their grief, they find comfort in each other and ease the pain they feel.

You should watch if: you don’t mind teacher/student relationship, have a complicated relationship with rain or want to watch something calm, healing, and simple.

And that’s all for today! Did you find these specials interesting? Have you already seen any of these and did you like them? Personally, I loved all of the specials on this list (honestly, I think this selection of specials is better than the one in my previous article!), but if I had to pick two best ones from this list, I would choose the ones that are the most unknown: Rural Outcasts and Socialization – Understanding of Dance. Both have amazing cinematography, charming atmosphere and were very enjoyable.

What are your favourite drama specials that I haven’t mentioned yet? Let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll check them out and mention them in some future article (that will hopefully come much sooner than this one hahaha!)


If you are interested in checking out more drama specials of this type, search here on MyDramaList "Drama Special" or "Drama City" for KBS specials, "Drama Festival" for MBC specials and "Drama Stage" for tvN specials and don't let MDL ratings intimidate you!

Image sources: ♥ 

Edited by: Cookie (1st editor), BrightestStar (2nd Editor)

drama special kbs korean drama underrated