Period Dramas with Mysterious Protagonists
The Forbidden Marriage was the latest addition to sageuks (Korean historical dramas) that gave us a blend of rom-com and melodrama. We had the mischievous So-rang pretending to be possessed so she could trick the grieving King Lee Heon into lifting a marriage ban he had imposed. This, of course, led to hijinks as the two unknowingly fall in love while also solving the overarching mystery of who killed the King’s wife.
But now that you have finished The Forbidden Marriage, are you in the mood for more? Do you want more of a loveable but con artist of a protagonist like our gutsy So-rang? Or does a funny Joseon-era K-drama have you reaching for your screens? Well, then you’re in luck.
Here are 10 hilarious TV shows with a similar premise to watch if you liked The Forbidden Marriage.
The Red Sleeve
Similarities – Joseon era, forbidden romance
The Red Sleeve is portrayed as a tragic court romance based on the true story of King Jeon-ho who was responsible for the renaissance during the Joseon era. The K-drama starts off as an annoyance-to-lovers trope with crown prince Yi San unwittingly falling for his court lady, Seong Deok-im. Their romance then has him struggling between putting his nation first or the love of his life.
Secret Royal Inspector & Joy
Similarities – Joseon era, Mistaken identity
What happens when a foodie accidentally becomes an inspector and clashes with a no-nonsense and brash divorcee? Chaos ensues as they end up teaming up to unearth all the corruption in the city and meting out justice.
If you also happen to be a K-pop fan, then this list was probably made for you as we have 2PM’s Junho as the regal King in The Red Sleeve while his group member Taecyeon stars as the bumbling royal inspector in Secret Royal Inspector & Joy.
Legend of the Blue Sea
Similarities – Con artist protagonist
Did you like the Goblin and Hotel Del Luna references in The Forbidden Marriage? Then strap in as Legend of the Blue Sea gives us Prince Eric as a con artist who takes in our naive little mermaid with the intention of robbing her. But as all rom-coms would have it, he starts falling her and her innocent charm.
The King’s Affection
Similarities – Joseon era, Secretive female protagonist
In a time when it was illegal for a royal heir to have a twin, King Lee Hwi struggles with a secret that could cost him his life. He happens to be the female twin who took Lee Hwi’s place when the male twin was accidentally murdered. She must keep her secret but starts faltering when her childhood friend, Jung Ji-woon enters the palace as her teacher and confidante and falls in love with her.
Similarities – Joseon era, Breaking the law
Did you know that even during the Joseon dynasty, they had a prohibition era which sets the premise for Moonshine? Kang Ro-seo must do everything she can to bring food to the table and if that also means illegally making alcohol, so be it.
Meanwhile, Nam-young is a righteous and stubborn officer who is responsible for hunting down those who break the prohibition law. That is till he is smitten by Ro-seo.
Similarities – Joseon era, Secretive female protagonist, slow-witted male protagonist
In a twist of fate, the handsome womaniser Jang Bong-hwan travels back in time and gets stuck in the body of a Joseon queen. Not only does he have to figure out how to get back home, he also has to keep the queen alive as she has enemies everywhere including her own husband who loathes her.
Tale of Nokdu
Similarities – Joseon era, Secret identity
Another gender-bending K-drama that makes the list is Tale of Nokdu where our male lead Nok-du has an explosive origin story that makes him the royal family’s target. To find out who the assassins are, he enters their hideout, an all-girls community, by pretending to be a woman. But he can’t seem to get rid of the clever Dong-joo who has her own reasons for wanting the royal family dead.
Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency
Similarities – Joseon era, matchmaking
If you want to see more of Aedaldang and So-rang’s matchmaking capabilities, turn to Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency. Flower Crew is a successful matchmaking agency run by Ma-hoon who prides himself on predicting everyone’s marriage compatibility. However, a wrench is thrown in when one of their clients is announced as the king of the country.
100 Days My Prince
Similarities – Joseon era, Secret identity
Do you like mysteries but also light-hearted rom-coms? Well, then the secret identity trope is the perfect way to get your dose as seen again in the K-drama 100 Days My Prince. Again a treat for K-pop lovers, this K-drama is led by EXO’s D.O. as the crown prince who loses his memory and is found by some villagers.
Having never lifted a finger to work, he soon becomes a nuisance to the villagers including his betrothed, Hong-shim as her father takes advantage of his memory loss and pairs him with his daughter.
Arang And The Magistrate
Similarities – Joseon era, ghosts
Let’s be honest, we are all curious as to how The Forbidden Marriage would have turned out if So-rang could indeed communicate with the dead. Well, if you want a supernatural alternative, Arang and the Magistrate is for you. Magistrate Kim Eun-oh can see the dead but hates this power of his.
Meanwhile, A-rang is a ghost who cannot find peace till she gets back her memories and keeps pestering Eun-oh till he finds an unlikely connection between her and his mother.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished watching The Forbidden Marriage.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!