What To Watch After "My Liberation Notes"

Updated: Jun 5

Though it may not be one of the highest-rated series of the year just yet, My Liberation Notes is certainly one of the most talked about. This "healing" JTBC drama about the everyday struggles of three siblings (Lee El, Lee Min-ki, Kim Ji-won) and the mysterious stranger (Son Suk-ku) who moves in next door ranked as the number one drama on Good Data’s Buzzworthy list for three weeks, with the charismatic Son Suk-ku, in his first leading role, consistently topping the actor rankings as well.


Thoughtfully written and deliberately paced, My Liberation Notes is widely celebrated by introverts who feel seen by the relatable script and characterization. Fans will surely miss this cast now that this drama has ended, so here's where you can find them. We've also put together our recommendations for other healing dramas weary souls may enjoy.


For more of Son Suk-ku...


Sense8 (Season 2, 2016-'17)

Sense8 is one of the few American shows in 2016 that embraced a truly diverse cast, and in its second season, fans were introduced to #Sun&Mun. Sun (played by Bae Doona, a mainstay of the show) gets paired up with Mun (Son Suk-gu), a detective assigned to bring her in. They meet in the fourth episode ("Polyphony") and you can immediately feel the chemistry crackle and pop between these two as they engage in their first fistfight. Detective Mun stays on for the rest of the season, even scoring a (SPOILER ALERT) pretty intense kiss from Sun in yet another rooftop scene. Mun's fate after that is still unknown, although Son's real-life interactions wih Bae Doona after filming earned them dating rumors, which they both denied.


12 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Designated Survivor: 60 Days (2019)

In this Korean adaptation of the hit US political thriller Designated Survivor, you can watch Son Suk-ku suit up as a senior administrator in the office of the unlikely new president: Chemistry professor and environment minister Park Moo-jin (Ji Jin-hee, Misty). Park is left to do the top job since he's the highest ranking government official left alive following an explosion that kills the president, most of the cabinet, and lawmakers.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Be Melodramatic (2019)

Jeon Yeo-been (Vincenzo), Chun Woo-hee (Argon), and Han Ji-eun (Bad and Crazy) star as three college best friends who end up living together as they turn 30. Son Suk-ku appears as a foul-mouthed commercial director in the latter half of this female-centric drama, but we promise you he’s worth the wait.


Aside from the truly heartwarming relationship between the three women, this witty slice-of-life/rom-com drama offers a fun and in-depth behind-the-scenes look into how k-dramas get made, from developing scripts to making sure PPL (product placement) are on-screen! After watching Be Melodramatic, you'll never quite see k-dramas the same way again.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Mother (2018)

In his first k-drama appearance, Son Suk-ku plays Seol-ak, a serial child abuser who preys on Hye-na (Heo Yool), the daughter of his live-in girlfriend (Go Sung-hee).


The suspense drama Mother examines the question of what makes one a mother. It follows the story of a substitute teacher (Lee Bo-young) who impulsively goes on the run with Hye-na when she realizes that the latter is a victim of child abuse. Adapted from a Japanese drama, this 2018 Baeksang Best Drama winner is every bit as suspenseful as it is dramatic, taking viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions as the mother-daughter pair are pursued by law enforcers and the child’s abusers. Read our full review here.


16 episodes. Available on Viki.


For more of Kim Ji-won...


Fight For My Way (2017)

Ko Dong-man (Park Seo-joon) and Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won) have been friends since kindergarten. They’re so close that as adults, they’re still neighbors. As they navigate the complex world of adulting, they realize that their feelings for each other aren’t as simple as they used to be either. These two are thisclose to sealing the deal, but an old girlfriend could ruin the timing again, or she might just be the push these two need to finally confess their feelings for each other.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.


Lovestruck in the City (2020-'21)

In a drama documenting the love stories of dating Seoulites, there’s bound to be more than one couple involved. While Park Jae-won (Ji Chang-wook) and Lee Eun-o (Kim Ji-won) try to get over their failed relationship, Choi Kyeong-jun (Kim Min-seok) and Suh Rin-i (So Joo-yeon) are trying their best to make things work between them. They seem like the perfect couple until the cracks start to appear and they realize that different financial outlooks aren’t so easy to brush off. Finally, no one can understand the platonic relationship between Lee Eun-o and her roommate Kang Geon (Ryu Kyung-soo) who’s still trying to get over a self-proclaimed serial dater Oh Seon-yeong (Han Ji-eun). Not everything’s coming up roses in this drama but it does show some insight into the joys and sorrows of the modern dating scene. (Read the full review here.)


12 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Arthdal Chronicles (2019)


Kim Ji-won reunites with Song Joong-ki (Descendants of the Sun) for this highly ambitious, big-budget ancient fantasy drama. She stars as Tan-ya, a girl burdened with an ominous prophecy over her birth, as well as the pressure of training to assume her destined role as the next Great Spiritual Mother of the Wahan Tribe. But when Arthdal forces capture her and most of her tribe, she begins to embrace her destiny as she discovers the truth behind her tribe. A second season is expected to be released next year.


18 episodes. Available on Netflix.


For more of Lee Min-ki...


Because This is My First Life (2017)

Truly one of the most underrated shows in k-dramaland, Because This is My First Life follows the life Yoon Ji-ho (Jung So-min) who is in a contract marriage with Nam Se-hee (Lee Min-ki) because she needs a place to live. But the drama also follows the lives of her two friends: Woo Su-ji (Esom) a smart, hardworking woman who suffers because of misogynistic workmates, and Yang Ho-rang (Kim Ga-eun) who wants to settle down and start a family. Su-ji meets Ma Sang-goo (Park Byung-eun) who affirms Su-ji and supports her dreams but she’s not ready to fully commit to him yet. Meanwhile, Ho-rang’s boyfriend Sim Won-seok (Kim Min-seok) is far from ready to marry and start a family. More than just a love story though, this drama really is about how these women find their place in the world and become each other’s strength. The romance is just a wonderful bonus.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.


The Beauty Inside (2018)

Based on a 2015 Korean film, this k-drama tells the story of a popular actress Han Se-gye (Seo Hyun-jin) who, once a month, morphs into a different body. She has no control over whom she transforms into (male, female, young, old) or when it happens. She spends part of her month pretending to play a character and the other half literally living in someone else’s skin. She then meets Seo Do-jae (Lee Min-ki), an airline executive. Lucky for her, he happens to have prosopagnosia, or the inability to recognize faces. As they deal with the challenges of both their handicaps, they consistently choose to hold on to what lies beneath, proving that love is not only skin deep.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.


For more of Lee El...


Matrimonial Chaos (2018)

My Liberation Notes is actually the second project that Lee El and Son Suk-ku have starred in together. In this rom-com, they play Jin Yoo-young and Lee Jang-hyun, newlyweds who probably should have gotten to know each other better before rushing into marriage. The couple moves into the same neighborhood as Yoo-young’s ex-boyfriend (Cha Tae-hyun), just as he is about to get divorced to his free-spirited wife (Bae Doona) after only three years of marriage. A remake of a Japanese series of the same title, this drama explores the different attitudes men and women have towards marriage and relationships, and what it takes to make them work.


16 episodes. Available on Viki.


Goblin/Guardian: The Great and Lonely God (2016-'17)

Although she has limited screentime in this wildly popular fantasy drama, Lee El leaves a lasting impression as Samshin, the Goddess of Birth. Dressed in bright red, she plays an important part in the life of Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun), an orphan destined to help an immortal goblin (Gong Yoo) cross over into the next realm. If you're one of the few k-drama fans who has not yet seen this massive hit, this might be your sign to hit play!

16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.


For more "healing" slice-of-life dramas...


My Mister (2018)

The most acclaimed work of My Liberation Notes’ writer Park Hae-young to date, My Mister beat out Mr. Sunshine and SKY Castle for Baeksang Best Drama in 2019. The workplace slice-of-life drama quietly explores the everyday melancholy of being human, drawing out career defining-performances from Lee Sun-kyun as a middle-aged engineer who just can’t seem to catch a break despite being a nice, upright guy, and Lee Ji-eun (IU) as a cold and cynical girl temporary office worker at Dong-hoon’s firm.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Misaeng (2014)

Based on a popular webtoon about the everyday struggles of office workers at a large trading company, Misaeng: Incomplete Life became a pan-Asian cultural phenomenon in 2014, achieving the highest ratings in Korean cable TV history at the time, and inspiring remakes in Japan and China. The workplace drama centers on Jang Geu-rae (Yim Si-wan), a baduk prodigy who struggles in a corporate setting after failing to make it as a professional player, and features a large ensemble of talented actors including Lee Sung-min, Kang Ha-neul, Kang So-ra, and Byun Yo-han, who accurately portray the different personalities you'll typically find yourself working with.


20 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Black Dog (2019)

Seo Hyun-jin (You Are My Spring) plays Go Ha-neul, a young, temp teacher— and Daechi High School’s newest hire. Because she’s hired last, she has to hit the ground running and has to navigate her way around a system that doesn’t provide much support for newbies. She finds herself having to deal with a demanding, pragmatic department head Park Seong-soon (Ra Mi-ran, Reply 1988), the most popular teacher on campus Do Yeon-woo (Ha Jun, Crazy Love), the usual office politics, and the regular workload of teachers in South Korea’s competitive educational system. This quiet, slice-of-life drama about a newbie teacher trying to make it work in a private high school in Seoul is a gem that really should be getting more love. Read our full review here.


16 episodes. Available on Netflix.


Live (2018)

Written by slice-of-life master Noh Hee-kyung (Dear My Friends, Our Blues), Live realistically portrays the daily triumphs and struggles of honest and decent field officers working at the fictional Hongil Patrol Division—unsung heroes tasked with patrolling one of Seoul’s most crime-ridden districts. Featuring a large ensemble cast led by Jung Yu-mi, Lee Kwang-soo, Bae Sung-woo, Bae Jong-ok, and Sung Dong-il, Live will have you rooting not just for them as a unit, but for every single character.


18 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Lost (2021)

If quiet, slow-paced dramas with plenty of philosophical musings about life are your jam, then you should definitely be checking out Lost. The television debuts of acclaimed film director Hur Jun-ho (Christmas in August, The Last Princess) and writer Kim Ji-hye (Architecture 101), Lost stars Korea's Cannes Queen Jeon Do-yeon and Ryu Jun-yeol as two strangers who help see each other through the loneliness of their existence.


18 episodes. Available on iQIYI.


When the Weather is Fine (2020)

When The Weather Is Fine is best experienced slowly, with a cup of coffee in one hand and your favorite book in the other. Based on a novel, the drama moves at a pace that is languid and atmospheric. Hae-won (Park Min-Young) returns to her hometown of Bookhyun Village in Gangwon Province after a dissatisfying urban life only to cross paths with introverted bookshop owner Eun-seob (Seo Kang-Joon). As both characters are weighed down by past family trauma, they rediscover what it means to open their hearts once again and see a future beyond their dark pasts. As with most small town dramas, the show is peppered with interesting village characters that form members of the neighborhood book club, who share poetry that marks each episode’s theme. (Be warned: there are depictions of graphic violence and abuse.)


16 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.


For something completely different...


Penthouse (2021)

If you need something loud after all the thoughtful silences of My Liberation Notes, you can't get any more chaotic than entering the lives of the residents in Hera Palace. Infidelity, cheating, gaslighting, corruption, and murder seem to perpetually hound its high-society members, and there's so much campiness and insanity that you'll enter "so-bad-it's-good" territory by the end of the first episode alone. Remember to take your blood pressure meds!


21 episodes. Available on Netflix and Viu.




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