Tired of Rom-Coms? Stream These Thrilling Asian Dramas Right Now

A change of pace

If you love Asian dramas, then you’ve surely come across a romantic comedy series. This is because rom coms are the easiest to find (and most commonly searched). Plus, they’re the most commonly recommended by fellow fans. They are palatable, funny, and lighthearted. They’re also easy to watch because of how they tap the most human instincts. However, there’s only so much you can glean from stories revolving around meet-cutes, a love-hate relationship, and maybe a little bit of second-lead angst.

Ready to switch up your watchlist to something more intriguing, unpredictable, and not solely focused on cheesy romances? Stream these thrilling Asian dramas right now.

The Penthouse: War In Life 

If intense family dramas are your thing (see: The World Of The Married), then The Penthouse: War In Life is something you need to catch up on ASAP. This drama with 21 episodes, which wrapped up last 5 January, revolves around competitive rich families living in Hera Palace. Aside from issues that birth vengeful schemes and ambitions clouding relationships, a murder happens within their homes’ vicinity and everyone becomes a suspect.

Why you should watch it and where to stream it: While it may not deliver the same gripping excitement adultery-themed K-dramas usually offer, The Penthouse: War In Life is never short of jaw-dropping twists and turns. We won’t spoil your viewing experience with specific plot points, but let’s just say this drama is so good, it got picked up for a second season, which will air soon! Stream full episodes of season one on Viu.

Alice In Borderland 

With no clue why the entire population of Tokyo disappeared in a blink of an eye, a young man named Arisu (played by Japan’s live-action prince, Kento Yamazaki) — along with his two best friends Karube (Keita Machida) and Chota (Yuki Morinaga) — started searching for answers and fellow ‘survivors’. They soon found themselves involved in a dangerous game which challenged not just their physical strength and mental ability but also their camaraderie. Later, Arisu meets Yuzuha Usagi (Tao Tsuchiya) who will help him survive and discover the truth about the games.

Why you should watch it and where to stream it: The drama received rave reviews soon after its global premiere on Netflix last December and was immediately renewed for a second season. The characters are also very wittily named after Alice In Wonderland characters (Arisu is a derivation of ‘Alice’ and Usagi means ‘rabbit’ in Japanese), making it extra fun to figure out who’s who. Catch all eight episodes of the first season on Netflix.

The Flower Of Evil

Baek Hee Sung (Lee Joon Gi) and Cha Ji-Won (Moon Chae Won) are known to their peers as the perfect couple. They also have an adoring daughter who completes their pristine family image. But because of a series of unexplained murders and questionable crimes surrounding Ji-Won’s career as a detective, Ji-Won starts to question the true identity of the people around her, including her seemingly perfect husband. She later discovers something that sends her and her entire family into an emotionally taxing journey.

Why you should watch it and where to stream it: The push-and-pull of the characters is definitely one of the highlights of this drama. You’ll also end up being emotionally invested in every major player, hero or villain, and the storyline will leave a lasting impression even after the final episode. The drama is currently available on Viu and will also land on Netflix later this month.


Kyojo Kimura Takuya Viu

Photo from: Viu Philippines

Not in the mood to binge extra-long dramas that’ll take an entire day (or two) to finish? Kyojo, starring Takuya Kimura (a.k.a. KimuTaku) as mysterious police instructor Kimichika Kazama, only has four hour-and-a-half-long episodes across its two seasons. Unlike usual police dramas that are filled with action-packed scenes and crime-chasing storylines, Kyojo takes a different approach as a slow-burn psychological thriller. Kazama’s unorthodox method as an instructor reveals certain truths about the trainees under his care, helping him weed out those not worthy to join the police force.

Why you should watch it and where to stream it: Aside from KimuTaku, who is renowned among Asian drama fans across the region, headlining the star-studded cast of this mini-series, Kyojo’s fresh take on a police drama makes it a compelling watch. Stream seasons one and two on Viu.

The Girl From Nowhere

Thailand proves that school dramas aren’t just about cheesy romances with The Girl From Nowhere. The charming Chicha Amatayakul stars in this anthology as Nanno, a student who mysteriously transfers from one school to another to reveal dark truths about the teachers and students she encounters.

Why you should watch it and where to stream it: Despite its shocking twists and turns, this Asian drama effectively raises awareness on real-life issues in the academe. Some storylines also have a coming-of-age feel that’s more raw than rose-coloured, which makes it enjoyable to watch even for more mature audiences. Binge it on Netflix while you wait for the second season!

(Cover photo from: @sbsdrama.official)

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