4 K-dramas to watch if you liked Doona!

Gabriela Silva
Bae Suzy in Uncontrollably Fond and Doona!

One of 2023’s most talked-about Netflix K-dramas was Bae Suzy’s Doona! thanks to its complex outlook on love and relationships – here are some other worthwhile K-dramas that follow the same idea.

A K-pop idol at the top of her career suddenly decides to call it quits from the spotlight. Doo-na is a global star but decides to hang up her mike and move to a share house near a college campus. Hidden behind her stardom is a young woman at the end of the road.

She soon meets an ordinary college student Lee Won-jun (Yang Se-jong). He’s kind, warm, and smart. At first, the two butt heads until Won-jun realizes the reality behind Doo-na’s fame and beauty. Over time, the two learn to lean on each other as Doo-na can’t escape her life.

They dive into a complex relationship marred by the troubles of her life as an idol. Doona! had fans invested until its cliffhanger finale. With the K-drama leaving a lasting impression, here are other K-dramas that fit the bill.

Nevertheless

The Netflix K-drama is irrevocably one of the most well-known “red flag” romance storylines – and for good reason. The K-drama pairs well with Doona!’s message on complex love stories. As well as each character’s personal issues as they look for comfort in someone else. But does a relationship based on need mean true love?

Nevertheless starred Sweet Home actor Song Kang as Park Jae-eon and GyeongSeong Creature star Han So-hee as Yoo Na-bi. Set in college life, Nevertheless unravels the somewhat destructive yet addictive relationship between Na-bi and Jae-eon.

Jae-eon is known for being a player and incredibly handsome and charming. He’s also well known for never having been in a committed relationship. Meanwhile, Na-bi is dealing with a disastrous breakup with an ex after public humiliation. The two cross paths and start a whirlwind of a steamy and complex relationship – that could or may not be love.

While one doesn’t believe in love, the other no longer wants a relationship. Na-bi sees the red flags in Jae-eon, but something keeps pulling them together.

Nevertheless is available to stream on Netflix.

Uncontrollably Fond

When it comes to complex yet heart-wrenching romances, Uncontrollably Fond is at the top of the list. Many K-drama fans would warn newbies to have a box of tissues ready. It’s one of the K-dramas that best fits Doona! Coincidentally, it also stars Bae Suzy as Noh Eul, alongside Kim Woo-bin as Shin Joon-young.

The two were pulled apart as teenagers due to a crumbling relationship. They part ways and re-meet years later as adults and at different stages in their lives. One may think the K-drama has a long-awaited and emotional reunion – but it doesn’t.

Noh Eul had a tough childhood, having to give up school after her father’s death to help her family. Meanwhile, Joon-young had his whole life planned for him. A certain event has him give up being a prosecutor and become a singer. Now adults, Noh Eul is tasked to film his documentary.

But due to unresolved issues of the past, Joon-young rebuffs her and wants nothing to do with her. Uncontrollably Fond depicts Joon-young’s harshness towards her, but as they begin to work together, their past emotions creep back in.

Uncontrollably Fond is available on Viki.

Love Alarm

Before the global Hallyu Wave, Squid Game, and Doona!, Love Alarm was one of the first globally recognized K-dramas among fans. It was also Netflix’s first. Love Alarm is notorious as a webtoon adaptation and for making fans upset.

In this world, a dating app has become extremely popular at deciding people’s love stories and relationships. The app lets the person know when someone in their vicinity has feelings for them. Kim Jo-jo (Kim So-hyun) is a hardworking high school student who doesn’t believe in the app. Unknown to her, her best friend Lee Hye-yeong (Jung Ga-ram) has unrequited feelings for her.

But when Hye-yeong’s childhood friend returns, it causes unexpected turmoil. Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang) is a handsome model, rich, and his Love Alarm rings non-stop. When he realizes Hye-young has feelings for Jo-jo, he also decides to pursue her.

The K-drama is known for its intense love triangle as Jo-jo falls for Sun-oh but can’t find it in herself to trust him. But Sun-oh and Hye-young become confident in their feelings for her, creating a rift. Fans were left divided on who to root for and had a K-drama first in Love Alarm Season 2.

Love Alarm is available to stream on Netflix.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One

This K-drama is a complicated love story that had every fan sobbing uncontrollably by the end. Twenty-Five Twenty-One was 2022’s biggest hit from Netflix. Set in 1998, Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) learns her high school fencing club has been cut due to the IMF Crisis. Seeing it as an opportunity, she switches schools to train with her idol Ko Yu-rim (Bona).

On the other end of the crisis is Baek Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk), whose family loses everything. Wanting to restore his family, he stays behind to work and save money. The two meet in a fateful encounter and strike a friendship for the ages. But as time goes on and they grow older, their feelings for each other also grow.

But Twenty-Five Twenty-One isn’t meant to be a fairy tale but a lesson on first loves and what it means to become an adult. As Yi-jin and Hee-do try to understand their love for each other, the stress and reality of life could pull them apart.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is available to stream on Netflix.

Read more of Dexerto’s K-drama coverage here, details about Death’s Game here, Sweet Home Season 2 here, Gyeongseong Creature here, and My Demon here.

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