There’s so much that goes into creating a Korean drama. The screenwriter, director, actors, and production crew pour sweat, tears, and sometimes blood into delighting and entertaining fans. And the process can take anywhere from a few months to years. That’s why it’s important to support their hard work by watching dramas on legitimate websites and apps. But I know it’s not always easy to stream old faves or new shows you’ve been looking forward to. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of options. You may have already been aware of some of these sites, but hopefully you’ll learn about a new one you can add to your arsenal. I certainly have! Just keep in mind that access to some of them will depend on your region. But no matter who you are or where you live, let’s continue to support the industry we love.
Viki is one of the most popular K-drama streaming sites for a reason. You can watch shows without creating an account or getting a membership in exchange for putting up with a few ads. If you can’t stand ads or want access to exclusive content, the lowest membership is a very reasonable $4.99 a month. Viki’s also got a fun and chaotic feature where you can chat with people in real time while watching a drama or movie. They recently added the option to rent movies too.
Kocowa boasts having the largest collection of Korean TV shows in the Americas with subtitles in multiple languages. You need an account to watch stuff, but they have the latest dramas and even variety shows like Running Man and Weekly Idol. They have a lot of older “comfort watch” shows too. A membership is $6.99 a month, but they have a cool feature where you can just pay 99 cents for a day! So if you just want to watch a movie or a couple episodes of a show with no commitments, then this could be the perfect service for you!
Netflix is striving to become a major contender when it comes to Korean dramas. Some of their Netflix originals are dramas, and they have a nice catalogue of old and new. They have a decent amount of Korean movies too. The cons are: you need a membership to watch anything, and the basic plan is $8.99 and only lets you stream on one screen.
This service is a mixed bag of options, and you can even watch some new dramas without creating an account or paying for a membership! You’ll just have to be patient with the commercials and keep an eye out, because some shows are subbed and some aren’t. There’s a cool pay-per-view option though, and if you’re willing to shell out $6.99 per month, you’ll have access to popular dramas that are airing.
Unfortunately, Viu isn’t available in the US, but it is available in sixteen countries, so click on the link to see if yours is one of them. Like the other streaming services, Viu allows you to watch some of the latest Korean dramas with a membership. I’m less familiar with the pricing since it’s not in US dollars, but once you click on the link you should be able to find their subscription packages for different countries.
If your wallet’s hurtin’ and you don’t want any more bills, then AsianCrush is perfect for you. There’s a website and an app version, and you don’t need to sign up for either to enjoy Korean dramas with ads. They also have Chinese and Japanese dramas, as well as anime. The downside is most of them aren’t new shows, so you’ll have to be content walking down memory lane. Although, every once in a while they have something new-ish. There’s also a premium membership for $4.99 a month that’ll cut out ads and get you exclusive content if you decide you can handle one more subscription.
A few years ago, Hulu was starting to give Viki a run for their money, but around 2016 the streaming giant’s catalogue of Korean dramas dwindled. At the time of this post, you can still find some old faves like Boys Over Flowers and Descendants of the Sun on Hulu, but don’t expect much new content. Their lowest package is $5.99, and you need to sign up before you can stream anything.
Now that you know there’s a world beyond Viki and Netflix, you can explore some of these sites and apps to see if they suit your drama-watching needs. Most importantly, by watching shows through them, you’ll be supporting your faves and setting up the industry to give us more great productions in the future.