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What to Watch after "The Matchmakers"

The Matchmakers starring Rowoon and Cho Yi-hyun hinted at being a light romantic comedy sageuk (historical drama) even from the start. Did it fulfill its promise or did veer too much into the well-trod dark political route? Read our spoiler-free review and recommendations below.

The Plot

Intelligent and crafty Shim Jung-woo (Rowoon, Destined with You) was widowed on his wedding day. Every day since then, he’s been writing petitions to his father-in-law, the king (Jo Han-chul), to have his marriage annulled. The king promises to do so if Jung-woo can make a match of the three most notorious spinsters in town. Meanwhile, Jung Soon-deok (Cho Yi-hyun, All Of Us Are Dead), a noble young widow, fancies herself to be the best matchmaker. Using  deduction and strategy, and with a little help from fate, Jung-woo and Soon-deok team up to find husbands for the spinsters. And in the process, they find that the chemistry and fate between the two of them is a little too hard to ignore. 

Available on Viki and Viu.

The Short Review

The series is a light romp in what is normally a genre where tragedy and political machinations pervade. The story doesn’t veer far from its title with multiple couples being drawn together and broken up within a span of an episode.  While the tone is a welcome change, it does get rather tedious at times. Inasmuch as I love a good love story without too much drama, too little friction can sometimes make it boring. 

Thank goodness the actors provide some entertainment. Hardworking Rowoon —this drama was aired two weeks after his previous one— plays an angry young man who is forced to remain celibate and provides some comedy along with a pleasant supporting cast. It is Cho Yi-hyun, though, who kept me from giving up the drama when it became tedious in the middle. Charming and thoughtful, she believably plays the difficult role of a young widow who is both naive and wise beyond her years. It is she who brings the whole show together because we hope so much for her happy ending. 

The show is a nice filler for when you’re waiting between episodes of the drama you can’t afford to miss. 


What to watch after Matchmakers

If you're looking for other light sageuks...

The King's Affection (2021

Born a princess and a twin, Dam-yi (Park Eun-bin, Extraordinary Attorney Woo) is ordered to be killed at birth but is instead banished from the palace. She later returns as a court maid (portrayed by child actress Choi Myung-bin). Noticing he resembles her, her twin brother Prince Lee Hwi (also played by Choi Myung-bin) exchanges clothes with her. Unfortunately, he is mistakenly killed; Dam-yi, the target, luckily escapes death a second time. Forced to act as Prince Lee Hwi (adult portrayed by Park Eun-bin), she guards her deadly, treasonous secret. She vows to take down the corrupt and powerful using her wisdom and power, with the help of her loyal friends.

Despite the heavy opening, The King’s Affection is still a rom-com. Dam-yi falls in love with her teacher, the wise and upright (also handsome and brawny) Jung Ji-woon played by idol group SF9’s Ro-woon. Amidst keeping her identity and hiding her feelings, hijinks ensue. Will she reveal her feelings and risk the death of those who know her secret? Will her love life get in the way of her goals for her kingdom? How will she fulfill her other royal duty of producing an heir? Read our spoiler-free review here.

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds/ Love in the Moonlight (2016)

Forced by her mother to live as a man, Hong Sam-nom (Kim Yoo-Jung) scrapes a living as a street-smart love counselor and romance novelist. The mischievous Crown Prince, Lee Young (Park Bo-gum) roams the streets incognito, hunting for the writer of his sister's love letter. It turns out, Sam-nom does pen that letter, but it’s for one of her clients. Young, thinking that the love consultant herself is seducing his sister, confronts Sam-nom. The love guru tries to escape, but both fall into a pit. The Crown Prince helps the relationship counselor out but Sam-nom leaves him behind, promising to be Young’s “dog” (slave) when they meet again. Read the full spoiler-free review here.

Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016)

Set during the Silla Dynasty, this modernized sageuk revolves around a group of young elite warriors known as Hwarang who embody principles of loyalty, friendship, and honor.

The plot follows the main character, Moo Myung (Park Seo-joon), a skilled fighter with a mysterious past. He dreams of becoming a Hwarang to uncover the truth behind his birth and identity. Disguised as a commoner named Sun Woo, he joins the Hwarang and forms close bonds with other members, including Sam Maek-jong (Park Hyung-sik, Happiness), the young king of Silla who joins the Hwarang undercover.


As the Hwarang face internal conflicts and external threats to the kingdom, they become entangled in court politics and power struggles. Throughout the drama, they strive to uphold justice and protect their nation from various challenges, including corruption, ambition, and foreign invasions.

Arang and the Magistrate (2012)

The series is a fantasy historical drama that reimagines a popular Korean folktale. It follows the supernatural story of the ghost Arang (Shin Min-a, Hometown Cha-cha-cha) and a righteous magistrate named Kim Eun-oh (Lee Joon-gi, Again, My Life). Arang is a feisty and mischievous ghost who has no memory of her past life or how she died. She seeks to uncover the truth behind her death with Eun-oh, the magistrate of Miryang, who has the unique ability to see and communicate with ghosts. As Eun-oh investigates Arang's death, they uncover a dark and tangled web of secrets and conspiracies that involve potent forces in the afterlife. They also become entangled in a supernatural world of gods, ghosts, and reapers, where ancient prophecies and unfinished business from the past intertwine with the present. Arang and Eun-oh develop a deep bond throughout their journey, and their partnership evolves from curiosity to friendship and, ultimately, to a supernatural romance.

100 Days My Prince (2018)

In this sageuk, Crown Prince Lee Yul (Do Kyung-soo) survives an assassination attempt but develops amnesia. Seeking to free herself from the royal decree that all single women of a marriageable age should wed, Yeon Hong-shim (Nam Ji-hyun, Little Women) takes advantage of Lee Yul’s amnesia and convinces him that he is her long-lost fiancé.

Yeon Hong-shim teaches the prince a thing or two about peasant life and gets him to fall in love with her in the process. But will this Joseon Cinderella end up with the prince or will her desire for independence get in the way of true love?

If you want more of Rowoon, read our article here.

If you want more of Cho Yi-hyun...

Hospital Playlist Season 1 (2020-21)

Cho Yi-hyun plays a supporting role as a young intern Jang Yun-bok in the hit series Hospital Playlist. The show follows the lives of the doctors and other hospital workers in Yulje hospital amidst their professional and personal highs and lows.

All of Us Are Dead (2022)

Ever since the genre-resurrecting Train to Busan, Korea has just kept on cashing in on their love for the zombie and the undead. All of Us Are Dead is Netflix' attempt bringing together all the elements of a guaranteed commercial hit, and they made sure they won.

The show is still one of the top most-viewed global Netflix shows, thanks to a handful of good-looking teens, hundreds of terrifying zombies, and an abundance of action sequences that stretch the limits of both fancy camerawork and your own ability to hold your breath. But also true to k-drama form, the series also pulls emotional strings every now and then, and its focus on the various relationships between teens and their parents gives the show some unexpected depth amid the bloody frenzy.

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