3 Family-Centered K-Dramas to Watch for the Holidays

The dynamics and relationships of a family make for a great Korean drama storyline. The family-centered K-dramas has become a fan favorite over the years for its comedy and comical antics. While many melodramas and slice-of-life dramas like Hospital Playlist have enamored fans, K-dramas like Reply 1988 inhabit a different aspect of K-dramas that make for the perfect watch during the holidays. As central families deal with their own quarrels, the characters also get tangled in love, friendship, school debacles, and getting through tough times.

'Reply 1988' family-centered K-drama official poster with all the main characters smiling.
‘Reply 1988’ family-centered K-drama official poster | via tvN

‘What Happens to My Family?’ stars some of Korea’s most well recognized actors

Some viewers might be shocked to learn What Happens to My Family? has 53 episodes in one season. It was a long-running K-drama in 2014 compared to the six-episode Hellbound on Netflix. The family-centered K-drama focuses on widower Cha Soon-bong (Yoo Dong-geun), who has dedicated his life to raising his three children and running his tofu shop. Each one of his children has their own dilemmas to deal with.

Starring Hellbound actor Kim Hyun-joo, she plays the eldest daughter Cha Kang-shim. After a failed relationship, she vows to stay alone for the rest of her life. Actor Yoon Park plays Cha Kang-jae, the oldest son and gifted oncologist. Happiness’s Park Hyun-sik plays the youngest child Cha Dal-bong. Dal-bong has a hard time finding a stable job.

‘My Father is Strange’ is a family-centered K-drama classic from 2017 (Viki)

RELATED: 4 Must-Watch K-Dramas to Get New Fans Started

My Father is Strange has a dramatic twist in its storyline that will hook fans and make for an interesting K-drama. Its focus is on a middle-class family that lives on the outskirts of Seoul. Byun Han-su/Lee Yoon-seok (Kim Yeong-cheol) is the family patriarch and owns Father’s Snack Bar. His wife is Na Young-sil (Kim Hae-sook). The couple has three daughters and one son.

Their lives are like any others as the children deal with the problems of trying to have a successful career, their marriages, personal lives, and everything in between. But the family dynamic is drastically changed when a K-pop idol turned actor named Ahn Joong-hee (Lee Joon) claims to be Han-su’s son. My Father is Strange takes viewers into a complex story of past lies finally catching up.

‘Reply 1988’ and ‘Reply’ series are staples in the K-drama world (Netflix)

RELATED: ‘Lovers of the Red Sky’: 4 Scenes From the K-Drama That Captured Fans’ Hearts

Reply 1988 was a smash hit in 2015 and has been a staple in the K-drama world for years. The K-drama has an impressive list of well-recognized actors like My Roommate is a Gumiho’s Lee Hye-ri in her breakout role. The family-centered K-drama focused on a group of friends from the same neighborhood and their families.

Its popularity led to the development of the fame love-triangle trope often seen in K-dramas. According to Soompi, Reply 1988 created “one of the biggest fan wars in K-drama history – Jung-hwan vs. Choi-taek.” Its storyline deals with teenage love, overbearing parents, and sibling rivalry. There is likely not one K-drama fan who has not heard or seen the drama.

Just as Reply 1988 is a classic, so are the other installments in the Reply series by director Shin Won-ho. The first installment in the series was Reply 1997, followed by Reply 1994. The K-dramas are more rooted in the lives of high school characters with their present time well into adulthood.