Choices To Make You Okay
With It’s Okay To Not Be Okay drawing to a close with a beautiful ending, you may be itching for another show to fill that gap. Well, we’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle of having to try and find something similar with our top 10 picks for alternate viewing.
To keep things simple for skim-readers we’ve added what similarities these have.
Of course for all the shows we’ve reviewed, we’ve also added a handy link so you can check out our full thoughts on that series and see if it’s something you want to invest your time with.
So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.
Similarities – Characters & Tone
With lots of flawed characters throughout, Extracurricular offers a slightly different flavour of spice to this teen drama genre, one that increases in pacing and tension across the episodes.
The story itself revolves around Ji-Soo, a model student in the eyes of teachers and other students. He keeps his head down, has no friends and spends most of his days acing exams and staying invisible. Under this facade however is a darker side to Ji-Soo’s persona which is revealed in the first episode and continues to snowball as his tight-knit operation goes horribly wrong.
Where this show stands out is through its depiction of characters – flawed characters to be precise. Through this idea, Extracurricular really dives into topics of mental health in a pretty compelling way.
Move To Heaven
Move to Heaven is a very special Korean drama. It’s a show that takes the taboo subject of death and lays it out across 10 episodes, complete with excellent acting, impressive storytelling and tear-jerking segments. I dare anyone to sit through Move to Heaven and not be moved to tears.
Suffering from Aspergers, Geu-Roo is our main protagonist and he’s looked after by his Father Jeong-U. These two live together, running a business called Move to Heaven.
Basically, when a loved one passes away, a team arrive and clear out the room, collecting up any valuables in a yellow box while getting rid of everything else. This team are the Move to Heaven crew.
When Geu-Roo suffers a devastating loss, he’s forced to question everything he once knew.
This poignant, beautiful K-drama is well worth watching.
I know This Much Is True
Similarities – Brotherly Love & Mental Health
One of our must-watch dramas of 2020, HBO’s latest sibling drama is quite simply brilliant. It’s a show that manages to capture mental health in a really raw and shockingly emotive state while allowing both Dom and Thomas time to grow and take the limelight. An award-winning performance from Mark Ruffalo easily propels this series and makes it a really compelling watch.
It’s hard not to watch this and immediately see similarities between Kang-Tae & Sang-Tae through these two. The hour-long episodes will likely feel right at home for K-drama fans and there’s lots of interesting themes explored here too.
Similarities – Mental Health, depression.
Another unusual pick on the list is Bojack Horseman. What could an animated series on Netflix about a horse have to do with this Korean drama? Well, surprisingly quite a bit. Both shows dive into the subject of mental health, strained relationships and depression. While Bojack does so with more of a cultural wide-sweeping brush, it’s no doubt effective in what it sets out to do.
If you can make it through the first season (which is a bit slow in truth), the rest of the show opens up in the best possible way to deliver something truly poignant and gripping.
This Is Us
Similarities – Drama, Characters & Mental Health
Admittedly, This Is Us leans in much harder toward its melodrama and soapy character woes than It’s Okay To Not Be Okay. However, its depiction of dysfunctional families and its poignant and oftentimes striking perception of mental health is great to see. It’s something that certainly strikes and chord and only grows in more confidence across the four season run.
With two more seasons on the way too, This Is Us may be a little too American for some palettes but if you can take to the tone, this is one family drama well worth watching.
Hyde, Jekyll, Me
Similarities – Mental Health & Story
While presenting itself as a quirky comedy, Hyde, Jekyll, Me dives deeper than that to ask some pretty profound questions about split personality disorder. Through this alone, it helps propel this Korean drama above mediocrity to make it a decent commentary surrounding mental health.
The main story revolves around Koo Seo-Jin (Hyun-Bin), who happens to be a man with split personality disorder. One of his personalities is cold like Hyde and the other is sweet like Jekyll. Predictably, the show takes on a romantic edge. Although some of the later episodes are a bit slow, the drama remains an entertaining watch nonetheless.
Mystic Pop-Up Bar
Similarities – Strong Themes & Healing
With an original story and some great chemistry from its cast, this latest K-Drama hits all the right notes when it comes to humour, tension and world building. It tackles a lot of important themes around life and death too, along with the consequences of our actions, which gives a nice layer of depth to this series.
The drama excels with its world building, showing us how people are judged after they pass away and what happens afterwards. There is a strong sense of karma running throughout, with emphasis on how our past actions will reflect our next life or even our future. In that respect, this healing drama and strong themes help make this a decent alternative to It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.
Similarities – Mental Health
Navillera is a beautifully written Korean drama, one that dives into the idea of dementia while juggling that with following your dream. At the center of this is Deok-Chool, a sweet old man who learns he’s got dementia, which threatens to aggressively worsen with time.
Unwilling to let this horrible disease hold him back, Deok-Chool sets out to make his dream come true – performing ballet on the stage. To help him, Deok-Chool relies on the help of Chae-Rok, a talented dancer with a short-fuse and a lot of impatience.
Both characters grow across the 12 episodes, culminating in a tear-jerking and beautifully written finale. This is one of the stronger series of 2021 and a definite must-watch.
Similarities – Characters & Healing
Split across the usual 16 episode K-drama run, Chocolate’s story intertwines two star-crossed characters together through their shared love of food. This is then mixed in with the death of a loved one to deliver a beautifully written but incredibly sad drama. The themes of healing and forgiveness come into this in a big way and for that alone, this show should definitely strike a chord with fans of tvN’s latest drama.
While some may see this show as a little too melodramatic, there’s no question that it makes for a really engaging watch and definitely hits some of those poignant heights that It’s Okay To Not Be Okay manages to hit.
It’s Okay, That’s Love
Similarities – Themes, Characters
While most Korean dramas with a premise like this double down on the jokes and feel-good vibes, It’s Okay, That’s Love most certainly does not. Instead, this show vibes much harder toward melodrama and specifically, the realism surrounding mental health.
On the surface, this show depicts a love story between a psychiatrist named Ji Hae Soo and an author who had schizophrenia named Jang Jae Yeol. What begins as a simple romance soon picks up steam and becomes something far more profound and beautiful. It’s a really well written drama and easily one of the better Korean shows to tackle mental health.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show picks to keep you busy while you try to shake off the K-drama blues of It’s Okay To Not Be Okay coming to an end.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!