Streaming Picks (ft. Cheating & Makjang)
Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) is the latest weekend soapy Korean drama on Netflix. With cheating spouses and a slightly lackadaisical approach, you may find yourself itching for more after watching this one.
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 Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce.)
The Lady in Dignity
Similarities – Deception & Lying
Dark, dramatic and split across 20 episodes, The Lady In Dignity is another Korean drama cracker. The show follows Ah Jin, a beautiful woman who enjoys her luxurious life married into a rich family. Through her wits, she gains the truth of President Ahn, who happens to be her Father-in-law and the head of the house.
When the pair look for a caregiver, they stumble upon plain but cultured Bok-Ja, who seems like the perfect fit for her family. However, Bok-Ja has other plans and after seducing President Ahn, aims to take over the household.
With strong themes about power, it’s ultimately the dynamic between the characters that keeps this one so enthralling. The story itself is okay but the main draw here are the characters, who all do a great job in their respective roles.
Similarities – Characters & Mystery
Sky Castle boasts one of the highest network ratings and held that accolade for a long time until it was beaten to the post in 2020. It’s a remarkable feat, especially when you look back and see the drama hit a measly 1% with its opening episode.
This satirical drama revolves around four housewives residing in an exclusive residential area, desperate to get their kids into university no matter the cost.
While simple in theory, Sky Castle’s examination of class and culture is partly why the show works as well as it does. Alongside this are numerous thought provoking discussions around the parental pressure of excelling at school. All of this combines to make Sky Castle one of the best Korean dramas out there and a must-watch for any K-drama lover!
Similarities – Slow-Burn Storytelling
Highly regarded as one of the best slice of life Korean dramas, Reply 1988 is a real trip down memory lane – and perfect to wash down the bitter trip that is Penthouse. Nestling itself in nicely alongside other dramas of its kind, Reply 1988 adopts a light, breezy tone but finds strength in its characters who are all well written and have lots of dramatic moments.
There are some surreal and hilarious moments here too (“Aigoo Kim Sajang!”) mixed in with more heartfelt and touching segments across this expansive story.
Split across four different families and praised as one of the more accurate depictions of Korean life, this 20 episode series is split into feature-length episodes as we follow a dozen or so characters from 1988 up to 1994. There’s a blend of romance, comedy and drama here too, meaning fans of Firefly Lane should love this one.
Lie After Lie
Similarities – Lying, Cheating & Characters
Lie After Lie is a classic makjang drama that gets the right balance between soapy melodrama and more subdued moments of quiet reflection.
The story revolves around Ji Eun-Soo, the daughter-in-law of a chaebol family who appears to have everything. Unfortunately her own life takes a turn for the worst when she’s accused of murdering her abusive husband and sentenced to ten years in prison. While there, she gives birth to a baby girl but is heartbreakingly forced to give her up.
Suspecting foul play in this case, Eun-Soo and her Father reach out to journalist Kang Ji-Min to get to the bottom of what’s happened. As the plot thickens, Eun-Soo is killed in a hit and run accident.
This is one crazy drama and to give much more away would be a disservice to the twists and turns along the way. Suffice to say, this is one makjang you should definitely check out.
The World of the Married
Similarities – Characters & Deception
The World of the Married is the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history. And for good reason too. The show is an excellent Korean adaptation of the British series Doctor Foster and manages to balance well written characters with an evolving plot over time.
With a steamy affair taking centre stage, The World Of The Married only grows from strength to strength over the episodes. The story here basically revolves around a married couple whose betrayal of one another leads to a whirlwind of revenge, grief, forgiveness and healing.
It’s also worth noting that the lead actress – Kim Hee-ae – won Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards, and the show bagged itself the Best Director award too. It’s certainly one of the best Korean dramas of 2020 and well worth watching if you haven’t already.
Similarities – Drama & Healing
My Mister is a classic healing drama, one that essentially revolves around three middle aged men and a strong cold woman named Lee Ji-An.
The story itself predominantly revolves around married man Dong-Hun whose world is turned upside down when his wife Yoon-Hee (who’s secretly having an affair with a senior executive at Dong-Hun’s work) wants a divorce. Even worse, she wants to marry this man, Joon-Young.
As Dong-Hun grapples with this reality, his jobless oldest brother, Sang-Hoon, is also separated from his wife. Meanwhile, youngest brother Gi-Hoon has dreams of becoming a movie director. Together, all these characters come together where drama obviously ensues.
Throughout the series the reasoning behind Yoon-Hee’s affair isn’t really made clear but some excellent acting from IU as the cold Ji-An really helps ignite this drama.
Big Little Lies
Similarities – Characters Keeping Secrets
While the needless second season does dampen the experience somewhat, the first season of Big Little Lies is damn near perfect storytelling. With incredible acting, a slow burn mystery and some great reveals across the 7 episodes, Big Little Lies is arguably one of the best miniseries in recent memory.
The story predominantly follows three Mums and their families. Boisterous Madeline struggles with her children growing up and not needing her anymore whilst simultaneously dealing with conflicted emotions toward current husband Ed.
There’s also some ensuing tension between Nathan and his new wife Bonnie, while Jane struggles after moving to town and finding her son Ziggy accused of biting Renata’s daughter at school. Their feud is the glue that holds everything together but there’s a much darker central mystery at work here.
That comes in form of Celeste who appears to have the perfect life with her twin sons and good looking husband Perry. Unfortunately under this sickly veil of smiles and laughter is a volatile relationship built on violence and fear. This one is a must watch.
Similarities – Soapy Drama
Korean drama Penthouse is pure Makjang. To Koreans, this term simply means extremely dramatized and exaggerated to the point of turning into an exciting guilty pleasure where anything could happen. This, as it turns out, perfectly exemplifies what The Penthouse has to offer.
With a rare 3 season order and lots of drama across its expansive seasons, Penthouse’s main storyline surrounds a girl called Seol-A who’s pushed off the 49th floor of a lavish apartment complex called Hera Palace to her death. Who pushed her? And why?
While the murder mystery element does take up a good chunk of time here, it’s the various affairs, relationships and scandalous twists that really make this such an enthralling watch.
There’s a whole array of different characters too and the villains are very easy to hate. If you’re looking for a solid binge-watch, this one has more drama in one episode than Love (ft. Marriage & Divorce) does in the whole season.
Similarities – Characters, Romance & Mystery
If you haven’t watched Desperate Housewives you’re missing out. On the surface, this looks like a simple, trashy soap opera with little in the way of redeeming features. Only, under the hood is an absorbing and engrossing show that weaves numerous secrets and truths through the lives of female friends in one suburban neighborhood.
The mysterious suicide of a neighbor is the catalyst for all this gossip but it soon materializes in surprisingly compelling ways. The fascinating way these characters progress and the secrets they begin to keep is ultimately what makes this such an enthralling watch.
Sex And The City
Similarities – Girl Power
The definitive girl-power title, Sex and the City is a funny, raunchy, well-paced series split across 6 lively seasons (and 2 movies but let’s forget those.) The main crux of drama here revolves around four (mostly) single female New Yorkers who mix romance, sex and relationship woes with a constantly evolving narrative about belonging in a rapidly changing world.
Carrie Bradshaw and her infamous romance with Mr Big props up much of her storyline, while sexed-up Samantha Jones plays up the comedy relief of the team. Miranda Hobbes is the more sensible member of the group while quiet Charlotte York slowly comes out of her shell across the seasons.
Like any show that runs for this long, there’s some good and bad episodes but largely Sex and the City hits its stride and never looks like slowing down, right the way through to its emotional ending.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished with Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) on Netflix.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!