LIST: Dramas that Koreans adapted from other countries
From left: Poster of the Korean adaptation of 'Suits'; Meghan Markle as seen in the original US TV series.
KBS Drama; USA Network

LIST: Dramas that Koreans adapted from other countries

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - April 5, 2021 - 1:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — With the recent reveal of the cast of the Korean adaptation of the hit Spanish Netflix heist drama, "La Casa de Papel" ("Money Heist"), it now puts the spotlight on Korean dramas that you might not know have been adapted or remade from Western or Asian shows.

Philstar.com looks at these said dramas that you might want to check out.

Adapted from other Asian countries

'Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo' (2016)

Almost five years since it last aired its bittersweet finale on November 1, 2016, "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo" still haunts the hearts and minds of those who have watched all 20 episodes of pure madness and sadness.

It's a time-travelling story where a 21st century woman finds herself trapped in a body of a Goryeo noblewoman with the same face. As she tries to go back to her time, she befriends and even falls in love with one of the princes of the ruling dynasty.

One would imagine that since she fell in love with a prince it would eventually end on a happy note like any Christmas romance movies but the opposite happens.

The Korean adaptation stuck to the canon of the Chinese novel "Bu Bu Jing Xin" by Tong Hua, which was also adapted into a Chinese drama "Scarlet Heart" in 2011. The Chinese series was a hit that it had a sequel that aired in 2014.

The sequel sees the heroine going back to her time, and resume the love she left behind in Qing Dynasty in the person of a man with the same face as the prince she fell in love with.  

'You're My Destiny' (2014)

This is another Cinderella story, but with more romance and heartbreaks. Jang-Hyuk and Jang Nara are reunited after starring in the 2002 series "Successful Story of A Bright Girl."

The Korean adaptation follows six years after the original Taiwanese drama "Fated To Love You" starring Joe Chen and Ethan Ruan released in 2008.

The story's canon begins with a sticky note or pushover office girl who tries so hard to please people. She goes on a much-awaited cruise with her boyfriend but ends up getting pregnant with a rich and self-assured guy. They agree to a marriage of convenience upon the insistence of the rich guy's family who is in desperate need of an heir. While in a fake marriage, they reluctantly and unwittingly fall in love with each other. Conflict arises when the guy's former love, who left him for a budding career, reenters his life.

This happy ending franchise is a success that it was remade in other countries. Succeeding remakes are titled "You're My Destiny." Thailand's 2017 remake stars Bie Sukrit and Esther Supreela.

Japan and China also made their version released last year. The Japanese drama stars Takimoto Miori and Kizu Takumi. The Chinese remake stars  Xing Zhaolin and Liang Jie, the actors who starred in the popular Chinese series, "The Eternal Love," another popular time-travelling drama that has two seasons.

'To The Beautiful You' (2012)

This is the latest adaptation from the Japanese manga "Hanazakari no Kimitachi e" or simply known as "Hana Kimi" by Hisaya Nakajo. The Korean version stars the late Sulli, Lee Hyun-woo, and Choi Minho.

The first to have adapted the manga into a live-action series is Taiwan in 2006 that stars Ella Chen, Jiro Wang and Wu Chun. The following year, Japan's Fuji Television made its own version that starred Oguri Shun, Maki Horikita, and Toma Ikuta. Four years later in 2011, Fuji Television made another version with Atsuko Maeda, Aoi Nakamura, and Shohei Miura. The Taiwanese and Japanese adaptations all retained the manga's title.

"Hana Kimi" is a gender-bending drama where the female protagonist dresses up in boy's clothing in order for her to go to an all-boys school. The heroine finds herself in a class of popular yet naughty boys, among them is their former star athlete who shunned away from his sport after an accident. She feels somehow guilty for his accident and she makes it her mission to convince him to go back to the sport he loves.

'Boys Over Flowers' (2009)

Who does not know of this cult phenomenon that catapulted Lee Min-ho into Hallyu superstardom? Lee Min-ho is Korea's equivalent of Taiwan's Jerry Yan. The two played the bratty leader of the notoriously snob and uber rich foursome childhood bestfriends, F4.

"Boys Over Flowers" is adapted from the Japanese manga "Hana Yori Dango" by Yoko Kamio. Korea is not the first to adapt, however, as Taiwan came out with the first live-adaptation titled "Meteor Garden" starring Yan, Vic Chou, Ken Chu, Vaness Wu, and Barbie Hsu in 2001.

In 2018, China made their own version titled "Meteor Garden," starring Dylan Wang, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu, Connor Leong, and Shen Yue. Thailand is set to premiere this year its own version with the title "F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers" starring Bright Vachirawit and Win Metawin, the actors of the popular Boys' Love drama "2gether: The Series."  

"Boys Over Flowers" tells the story of a poor girl who finds herself going to an exclusive school for the rich. She discovers the school is full of brats, bullies, and snobs, among them is F4. She tries not to be noticed but fails when she finds herself standing up for her newest friend who is the latest victim of bullying led by F4.

Adapted from the West

'The World of the Married' (2020)

Who would have thought that this thrilling extra-marital affair JTBC drama is an adaptation? Yes, it is adapted from the 2015 BBC One drama "Doctor Foster."

It is a cautionary tale for wayward husbands and sneaky mistresses as they find themselves at the receiving end of a woman scorned. Her revenge is deep-rooted as she felt betrayed by her friends and acquiantances who all knew of the affair except her.

It is the highest-rated drama in South Korea's cable TV history with its final episode raking in 28.371% in nationwide ratings.

'Criminal Minds' (2017)

Lee Joon-gi and Moon Chae-won reunites for the Korean adaptation to portray the roles equivalent to Derek Morgan and Emily Prentiss in the original American series of the same name.

"Criminal Minds" is one of TV's most popular crime thriller dramas. It tells the story of a group of profilers at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit.

Aside from the brawny Morgan and the level-headed multilingual Prentiss, the series' other popular and well-loved characters are the dry-witted, team leader Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson); bubbly hacker-turned-technical analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness); cool, calm and collected media liason Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook); and the socially awkward genius with eidetic memory Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).

Their Korean counterparts are Kang Ki-hyung (Hotchner, played by Son Hyun-joo); Nana Hwang (Garcia, played by Yoo Sun); Yoo Min-young (JJ, played by Lee Sun-bin); and Lee Han (Dr. Reid, played by Go Yoon).  

The American series has seen many characters leaving and returning throughout its 15-year run, culminating in its 15th and final season in February 2020. It has two spin-offs, namely, "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" and "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders".

'Entourage' (2016)

A story loosely based on Mark Wahlberg's experience in Hollywood finds itself adapted into a Korean series in 2016. "Entourage" is a 2004 American series that ran for eight seasons and ended in 2011.

The Korean adaptation with the same name stars Cho Jin-woong, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Kwang-soo, Park Jung-min and Lee Dong-hwi. It is a black comedy that tells the story of five individuals and their experience navigating South Korea's entertainment industry.

'Suits' (2018)

Park Hyung-sik gets a role outside of a romantic comedy drama for a change. He plays the role of the young man with a retentive memory who gets hired by a distinguished lawyer (Jang Dong-gun) in the Korean remake of the American series.

The role made Patrick J. Adams famous and even earned him a nomination at the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Apart from Adams, it also stars Gabriel Macht and Meghan Markle before the latter decided to quit showbiz to marry Prince Harry.

The show started airing in 2011 and ended in 2019 after nine seasons.

'Designated Survivor: 60 Days' (2019)

The Korean adaptation of the same name is led by an all-star cast composed of Ji Jin-hee, Heo Joon-ho, Kang Han-na, Lee Joon-hyuk and Bae Jong-ok.

The original series aired for three seasons, from 2016 to 2019. It stars Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, Kal Penn and Maggie Q.

Ji Jin-hee plays a minister in the South Korean government who was supposed to resign from his post but had to be sworn in as acting president after the presidential line of succession was broken due to the bombing at the National Assembly. His role is equivalent to Sutherland's Tom Kirkman.

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