Korean dramas, more commonly known as K-dramas, have made a significant impact on global entertainment in recent years. Among the diverse genres within K-dramas, period fantasy dramas stand out for their unique blend of historical settings and imaginative elements. These dramas take us on a thrilling journey through time and fantasy, enchanting viewers with captivating stories, rich cultural backgrounds, and intriguing characters. Let’s explore some of the most beloved period fantasy K-dramas, complete with the years they were released and a brief synopsis of each:
(1) Goblin: The Lonely and Great God (2016)
In a fantasy version of the the Joseon era, Kim Shin, once a mortal, is condemned to an eternity as a goblin, burdened with the weight of loneliness and immortality. His existence takes an unforeseen turn when Ji Eun Tak, a young girl with the ability to see spirits, unexpectedly summons him. Their fateful encounter sets off a chain of events that bring unexpected joy into Eun Tak’s life. However, as she grows closer to Kim Shin, she discovers unsettling truths that unravel the delicate fabric of their relationship, leaving her to grapple with the consequences of his deceptions.
(2) Arthdal Chronicles (2019)
Arthdal Chronicles takes viewers on an epic journey through a world that blurs the lines between history and fantasy. While loosely based on the legendary founder of the oldest Korean kingdom, Dangun, the show delves into a realm where historical realism takes a backseat to imaginative storytelling. In this world, two human species, the regular humans, and the powerful Neanthals, coexist, setting the stage for a tale of ambition, power and cultural clashes. As the story unfolds, viewers are introduced to characters like Eun-seom and Saya, portrayed with skill and nuance by Song Joong-ki and the resilient Tan-ya. These characters’ journeys are marked by growth, sacrifice and a constant struggle for survival in a world where alliances shift, betrayals loom and secrets abound.
(3) Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramun (2023)
In Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword Of Aramun eight years after the events of the previous season, an inevitable and momentous war looms on the horizon. The stage is set for a colossal clash between TaGon’s powerful Arthdal and EunSeom’s resilient Ago Union. EunSeom, born under a fateful blue star, remains a stranger to Arthdal and his unique birth sets him apart with a distinct appearance, personality and extraordinary abilities. His twin brother, SaYa, raised by TaGon, is confined, hidden from the world and estranged from his father. TanYa, a pure-blooded descendant of the Wahan tribe and born under the same blue star, emerges as a wise and formidable warrior with a unique gift. Meanwhile, Tagon’s son, the brilliant strategist of Arthdal, readies for a war against the Ago Tribes, with EunSeom as their leader. Amid this turbulent backdrop, the empress-to-be of Arthdal, known for her ambition and intelligence, schemes to elevate her power and shape the future of this evolving kingdom. As we witness the impending war, alliances, and aspirations, the fate of Arthdal hangs in the balance, with a new life at its core, promising to alter the course of history.
(4) Alchemy of Souls: Part 1 (2022)
In Alchemy of Souls: Part 1 we are transported to the enchanting realm of Daeho, a fictional land where the destinies of young mages are intricately woven with the threads of love and transformation. The tale unfurls in a world touched by the forbidden sorcery known as the “alchemy of souls,” a mysterious magic that permits the exchange of souls between bodies. Our journey commences with Nak-su, an elite warrior whose existence takes an unexpected turn when her soul becomes accidentally ensnared within
the frail vessel of Mu-deok. As Nak-su navigates the unfamiliar confines of her new, less formidable form, her path converges with that of Jang Uk, a scion of nobility. Bound by circumstance, Nak-su becomes both Uk’s servant and master, leading to an intricate dance of power dynamics and knowledge exchange. In the midst of this enchanting tapestry, an irresistible love blossoms between Nak-su and Jang Uk, transcending the boundaries of their contrasting worlds. As they grapple with the consequences of the alchemy of souls and their hearts become entangled, the stage is set for a captivating narrative that explores the complexities of identity, destiny and the enduring power of love.
(5) Alchemy of Souls: Part 2 (2022)
In “Alchemy of Souls: Part 2,” set three years after a tragic event orchestrated by Jin Mu, we rejoin Jang Uk, who has returned from the dead due to the powerful Ice Stone within him. He is now an unwavering hunter of soul shifters, isolated and tormented by the loss of his love, Mu-deok, who was driven to commit unforgivable acts. His path takes a new direction when he encounters Jin Bu-yeon, the enigmatic heiress of Jinyowon, bearing a striking resemblance to Nak-su, the woman he once cherished. Against a backdrop of sorrow, vengeance, and the enigmatic alchemy of souls, this installment promises an enthralling narrative, delving into redemption, love, and the relentless pursuit of answers in a world where the boundaries between life and death continue to blur with each soul shift.
(6) Lovers of the Red Sky (2021)
In “Lovers of the Red Sky,” set in the Dan dynasty era, the boundaries between the human world and the realm of ghosts, demons and gods blur, unraveling a tale of destiny and love. The story revolves around a talented female painter, Hong Cheon-gi, and a blind astrologer, Ha Ram, whose lives are forever intertwined by a cursed sealing ceremony that unleashed the Demon King. Born on the same fateful day, Ha Ram and Hong Cheon-gi are marked by the curse, with Ha Ram gaining a unique ability linked to water and Cheon-gi miraculously regaining her sight. As they navigate the challenges of their lives, love blossoms between them, but the specter of the Demon King’s possession looms large. Their love story is further complicated by the intrigue of the royal court, where two princes, Prince Yangmyeong and Prince Juhyang, vie for power, and the fate of the kingdom hangs in the balance. Amidst a backdrop of supernatural forces and political machinations, “Lovers of the Red Sky” weaves a captivating narrative of love, sacrifice, and destiny.
(7) Bulgasal: Immortal Souls (2021)
In Bulgasal: Immortal Souls a thousand-year-old tale unfolds, focusing on Hwal, a man who has become immortal, driven by a deep desire for revenge against a mysterious woman responsible for his immortality and his suffering. As Hwal’s quest for vengeance plays out in the present, it becomes intertwined with the lives of Sang-Un and her sister Sang-Yeon. Themes of reincarnation, destiny, and romance are explored within the narrative. The story delves into complex family relationships, involving characters like the determined detective Kwon, a young boy named Do-Yun and an enigmatic old lady named Hye-Seok. Additionally, the series teases out mysteries from the past, challenging Hwal to make difficult moral choices to protect his family.
(8) Gu Family Book/ Kang Chi, the Beginning (2013)
In “Gu Family Book,” the tale unfolds in the Dan dynasty era, where sorcery, tragedy, and a mystical secret known as the Gu Family Book shape the destiny of its characters. Yoon Seo-hwa, her younger brother Jung-yoon, and their maid Dam are sent to a gisaeng house after their father is wrongly accused and killed. Seo-hwa’s life takes a tumultuous turn as she becomes entangled with Jo Gwan-woong, the man responsible for her father’s demise. A chance encounter with Gu Wol-ryung, a mystical forest protector and gumiho, sparks a deep and forbidden love, leading to their marriage. However, secrets and curses drive a wedge between them. Years later, their son Choi Kang-chi, unaware of his unique heritage, navigates a world filled with intrigue, revenge, and supernatural forces. As he falls in love with Dam Yeo-wool, a skilled martial artist, Kang-chi’s quest for identity and the elusive Gu Family Book takes center stage, leading to a journey of self-discovery, love, and unimaginable challenges.
(9) Moon Embracing the Sun (2012)
In “Moon Embracing the Sun,” a captivating tale of love, treachery, and destiny unfolds in the Joseon era. When the Queen Dowager orchestrates the assassination of her stepson to secure her own son’s ascent to the throne, a shaman named A-ri witnesses the gruesome act and vows to protect the unborn child of the palace’s Chief Scholar. However, A-ri is arrested, tortured, and killed for treason, leaving her friend and fellow shaman, Jang Nok-yeong, to safeguard the child’s future. Years later, Heo Yeon-woo, the child A-ri swore to protect, and Crown Prince Lee Hwon fall in love, despite the Queen Dowager’s schemes. The story takes a tragic turn when Yeon-woo is struck by a deadly curse, declared dead, and buried alive, only to be rescued by Nok-yeong. However, the trauma erases her memories, and she adopts the name Wol as she embarks on a journey to reclaim her true identity. As political intrigues and secrets unravel, “Moon Embracing the Sun” weaves a tale of enduring love and the pursuit of justice in a world where destiny is intertwined with the fates of its characters.
(10) The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016)
Legend of the Blue Sea unfolds a captivating narrative that transcends time and space. The series delves into the love story of Shim Cheong, a mermaid, and Heo Joon-jae, a cunning con artist, in the modern world, while their timeless romance is paralleled with their past lives as Kim Dam-ryeong and Se-hwa during the Joseon era. As they navigate the complexities of love, fate, and memory, their entwined destinies are marked by recurring encounters and the enduring power of love. Spanning generations, this tale weaves a poignant and mesmerizing narrative of love’s resilience against the odds.
(11) Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
In “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” a total solar eclipse catapults 21st-century woman Go Ha-jin back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty, specifically to the year 941. She awakens in the body of Hae Soo, surrounded by the many princes of the powerful Wang family, all during the reign of King Taejo. Initially drawn to the gentle 8th Prince Wang Wook, Hae Soo’s life takes a dramatic turn as she becomes entangled with Wang So, the formidable 4th Prince who conceals his identity behind a mask and carries the unflattering moniker of “wolf-dog.” As the narrative unfolds, Hae Soo unwittingly finds herself embroiled in the intricate web of palace politics and the intense rivalry among the princes, each vying for the coveted throne. Love, power, and intrigue intertwine in this captivating historical drama.
(12) A Korean Odyssey (2017)
In A Korean Odyssey Seon-mi possesses the unique ability to see ghosts and spirits, a gift that has made her an outcast, with her grandmother and a protective umbrella as her only allies. During her childhood, a mysterious man in a suit and top hat, Woo Ma-wang, intervenes when a ghost follows her. He requests her help to retrieve a magical fan from a majestic house but warns her to avoid everyone inside. However, inside the house, she encounters Son Oh-gong, the powerful Monkey King, imprisoned by Heaven for his past transgressions. Oh-gong offers her a deal: if she releases him by extinguishing five candles, he promises to protect her whenever she calls his name. After she agrees and sets him free, Oh-gong erases his name from her memory, leaving her stranded. In the present day, Seon-mi is an adult with a real estate business dedicated to purging haunted houses. At a fateful intersection, she crosses paths with Oh-gong, questioning the motives behind his past actions. Meanwhile, Oh-gong seeks to regain his immortality and discovers the existence of Sam-jang, a figure whose flesh can grant immortality. However, he realizes that Sam-jang is Seon-mi, the same girl he vowed to protect. Their complicated relationship unfolds as Oh-gong grapples with his desire to consume Sam-jang and the promise he made to safeguard her. As Seon-mi and Oh-gong’s feelings deepen, they face a bleak prophecy of the world’s end, forcing them to confront their destinies as protector and sacrifice, even as love blossoms amidst the chaos and danger of their supernatural world.
(13) My Love From the Star (2013)
In “My Love From The Star,” Do Min-joon is an otherworldly being who crash-landed on Earth in 1609 and, over the centuries, has adopted various identities as he watches the world change around him. With his near-perfect human appearance and extraordinary abilities, he has grown cynical about humanity. However, his world takes an unexpected turn when he becomes the neighbor of the famous Hallyu actress, Cheon Song-yi. Song-yi’s life is marked by her celebrity status and a turbulent personal life, including strained family relationships and a ruthless entertainment industry. As Min-joon gets entangled in Song-yi’s life and saves her from numerous predicaments using his special powers, their paths become interwoven. Despite his initial attempts to stay emotionally detached, Min-joon falls in love with Song-yi, who bears a striking resemblance to someone he loved four centuries ago. As their love story unfolds, they must navigate obstacles, including a dangerous figure from Min-joon’s past and the looming departure date that threatens to separate them forever. Amidst the complexities of fame, love, and supernatural abilities, “My Love From The Star” weaves a captivating narrative of love and sacrifice that transcends time and space.
(14) Hotel Del Luna (2019)
“Hotel Del Luna” is unlike any ordinary hotel as it caters to supernatural guests, visible only under unique circumstances, and is managed by an enigmatic owner, Jang Man-wol. Located in the heart of Myeong-dong, Seoul, the hotel serves as a temporary haven for ghosts who must resolve their unfinished business before moving on to the afterlife. The staff, haunted by their unresolved grudges, have remained there for centuries. The hotel’s general manager, however, is a human passerby, and their role involves bridging the gap between the living and the dead, addressing ghosts’ requests with their living relatives and handling real-world matters. Jang Man-wol, the hotel’s owner, is bound to it due to a grave sin committed over a thousand years ago. A twist of fate brings Koo Chan-sung into the world of Hotel Del Luna. His father, desperate to save his son’s life, makes a pact with Jang Man-wol, ensuring his son’s future employment at the hotel. Chan-sung, raised as a principled and compassionate individual, returns to South Korea following his father’s passing and begins his role as an assistant manager at a multinational hotel corporation. Little does he know that his path will cross with Jang Man-wol, leading him to fulfill the agreement and assume the position of manager at Hotel Del Luna. Through Chan-sung’s journey, the mysteries surrounding the hotel and its enigmatic owner slowly unravel, revealing secrets that span across centuries.
These period fantasy K-dramas offer a delightful escape into worlds where history, imagination, and magic converge. Whether you’re a fan of romance, adventure, or political intrigue, there’s a period fantasy K-drama to suit your taste. So, grab your popcorn and get ready for a mesmerizing journey through time and fantasy with these outstanding K-dramas.