10 TV Shows Like ‘Pachinko’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Gambling Through More Period Dramas

Pachinko is a special show, centering on a single family through four different generations. Sunja is our protagonist and through her eyes, we see the ever-changing world and dynamic her family navigate.

If you’ve finished this one and are looking for something similar, we’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle 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 Pachinko.


Mr. Sunshine

Similarities – Epic Generational K-Drama

Another heavy hitting tvN drama, Mr Sunshine is an epic period piece that combines impressive visuals with a really well written story. Exceptionally well written infact. Coupled with some brilliant casting, this is one Korean drama not to be missed.

Set during the Joseon period in 1871, Mr Sunshine begins with a brief glimpse of the past as a Korean boy boards an American warship and grows up in the US as an American. Only, when he returns to his hometown again, it’s as an American soldier causing plenty of inner turmoil and conflict. To spoil much more would be a disservice to this drama but suffice to say when it dropped back in 2018, it was easily one of the best shows of the year.

The story is brilliantly paced, even across the extended 24 episode run, and the show backs up its solid writing with some excellent production design and set pieces. Given this one is available to watch on Netflix, Mr Sunshine is another must-watch.

You can read our thoughts on Mr Sunshine in our full season review here!

Roots (1977)

Similarities – Slavery & Unflinching Look At America

Although Roots was rebooted back in 2006, it’s the original 1977 version that really strikes a chord. For those unaware, Roots plays out as a TV event following the dramatization of author Alex Haley’s family line.

Starting with Kunta Kinte’s enslavement around the year 1750, Roots follows Kunta’s journey to white supremist America, where he’s sold at a slave market. What follows is an incredible family journey, spanning multiple generations while looking broadly at the evolving landscape of America. To give much more away would be a disservice to this series, but suffice to say it’s an incredible journey.

Well written and essential viewing, Roots is one of the best miniseries released in quite some time.


Similarities – Generational Drama

Progressive, sharp and armed with a good observational wit, Ramy is as funny as it is heartwarming. There’s some surprising emotional sucker punches here nestled in the comedy too making Ramy a smartly written comedy series with some real depth.

At the heart of this one is Ramy, the son of Egyptian immigrants who finds himself torn between his duties to his Muslim family and his millennial friends. From finding love and drinking alcohol through to drugs and finding meaning in your life, Ramy’s dedication to his religion is as tumultuous as the world around him.

After being laid off from his cyber job with best friend Steve, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, he finds himself torn over what direction he wants to take his life whilst adhering to his parent’s wishes of settling down and finding a wife.

You can read our thoughts on Ramy in our full season review here!

Youth Of May

Similarities – Period drama

The Gwangju Uprising marks a horrific moment in Korean history. Back in May 1980, protestors were shot down and beaten for their part in protesting against the government.

Released at the start of May no less, Youth of May is a well written romantic Korean drama that centers on this conflict while weaving in a forbidden love angle around that. The result is one of this year’s bigger surprises; a beautifully written and touching tribute to those 600 people who lost their lives during this horrific incident.

This is easily one of the bigger surprises this year; a mid-week gem that tells a compelling story well with enough emotion, heartache and tension to stand the test of time. Youth of May is a wonderful Korean drama and a must-watch for 2021.

You can check out our full season review of Youth Of May here!

Bridal Mask

Similarities – Oppressive regime

Lee Kang To is an ambitious but callous Korean officer employed by Japanese colonists. Kang To continues to play by the colonist’s rules in hopes of becoming successful and bringing his family out of poverty.

However, when a mysterious figure shows up wearing a bridal mask, they become a protector of the people from the Japanese colonists’ oppression and abuse of power. As fate would have it, Kang To and this mysterious figure cross paths, changing his future – and the nation’s as a whole – forever.

Armed with strong characters and some good characterisation, Bridal Mask is well worth checking out.

Crash Landing on You

Similarities – Oppressive regime

Who knew an innocent paragliding incident would cause such a stir in the world of K-Dramas. Crash Landing On You has been dubbed by many as 2020’s crowning jewel. It’s also arguably the gateway drama that attracted a whole new crowd of people to experience Korean dramas thanks to Netflix’s desire to showcase more of these wonderful shows. Crash Landing On You manages to effortlessly blend romance, action and comedy together into one heady cocktail of delight.

It’s a show that manages to constantly surprise with every episode, featuring twists and turns that leave you speechless, in tears, elated or even all three! While some may bemoan the ending and long for a second season, this K-Drama successfully crash lands onto our list for all the right reasons. It’s also one of the must-watch shows of 2020.

You can read our thoughts on Crash Landing On You in our full season review here!

Joseon Gunman

Similarities – Period drama

Despite sagging a little during the second half of the 22 episode run, Joseon Gunman is another good historical drama that should please fans of period pieces.

The story here takes place deep in the heart of 19th century Joseon. After the death of his father and enslavement of his younger sister, Yoon-Kang sets out on a revenge mission to make those responsible pay for their actions. With a rifle in hand, he unwittingly becomes a hero for the people.

Lee Joon Gi goes an excellent job in his role, while the show manages to continue delivering enthralling drama and character work throughout its extended run. It’s not perfect, but it’s another show that tackles oppression and enslavement well.

The Hymn Of Death

Similarities – Period drama

Based on the true story of Kim Woo Jin and Yun Shim Deok, The Hymn of Death is a well written and enthralling historical drama.

The story here centers on stage drama writer Woo Jin who’s living in Korea under Japanese occupation. Despite being married, he falls in love with Yum Shim-Deok, who happens to be the first Korean soprano. When she records the song “Praise of Death”, it becomes the first Korean pop song in 1926.

For those unaware of what happens, we won’t spoil anything here but suffice to say, the ending will not be forgotten in a hurry. Well written and beautifully presented, The Hymn of Death is certainly worth checking out.

Different Dreams

Similarities – Epic period drama

Different Dreams is set deep in the heart of 1919 during a turning point for Korean history. During the Japanese colonial period, the March 1st Movement and establishment of the Korean Provisional Government gives birth to an armament of freedom called the Heroic Corps.

The man leading the corps goes by the name of Kim Won Bong. He’s dead-set on turning the fate of Korea for the better, desperate to help restore the country’s independence.

Lee Young Jin, a Korean woman raised by a Japanese military doctor, follows in her adopted father’s footsteps, and through a series of events, attends a prestigious medical university in Shanghai. She soon becomes the first female surgeon in Joseon and inevitably she crosses paths with Won Bong. With both chasing their dreams, the pair find their fates intertwined.

Be prepared for an epic watch with this one though, boasting 40 episodes in total to chew through.

My Country: New Age

Similarities – Period drama

Set during the end of the Goryeo period and entering the early Joseon dynasty, My Country: New Age backdrops a changing wave of Korean traditions with two friends caught in an epic conflict.

On the one hand you have Seo Hwi, a warrior whose father is a famous commander. By comparison, Seon-Ho is a smart and talented figure. Unfortunately a corruption scandal involving Seon-Ho’s Father destroys his dreams of passing the military service examination. As things progress, he and Seo-Hwi form an intense rivalry as they disagree over the direction of the country.

Armed with some excellent fight sequences (and some miraculous recoveries from stab wounds!), My Country: New Age is a decent series and one armed with a bittersweet ending.

So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished with Pachinko on AppleTV+.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

Feel free to check out more of our TV Show recommendations here!

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