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What to Watch After "Thirty-Nine"

Thirty-Nine is a celebration of love and friendship and all the heavy things in between, portrayed by a top-tier cast.

The female-centric melodrama starring Son Ye-jin, Jeon Mi-do, and Kim Ji-hyun as lifelong best friends aired to its highest ratings on March 31 (which just so happened to be the real-life wedding day of Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin!), becoming one of JTBC’s top 10 dramas of all time.

While celebrating love and friendship, Thirty-Nine also explored such heavy themes as adoption, infidelity, terminal illness, and death, showcasing its lead cast’s top-tier acting talent.

If you want more of this talented cast or similarly-themed dramas, here are our recommendations for your next k-drama.

If you want more of Son Ye Jin...

Crash Landing On You (2019-20)

In case you're one of the few people left who hasn’t seen the highest-rated tvN drama of all time, well, what are you waiting for?

Now real-life married couple Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin star as a North Korean soldier and a South Korean heiress whose stars cross when she literally crash lands on him after a freak paragliding accident. As the stoic military captain helps the feisty businesswoman get back to Seoul, the pair of course fall in love in what is one of the most globally successful k-dramas ever.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Something in the Rain (2018)

Coffee franchise supervisor Yoon Jin-ah (Son Ye-jin) unexpectedly falls in love with her best friend's much younger brother, Seo Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in) in this slow-burn noona romance.

Beyond exploring the complications that may come with a gender-reversed age difference, Something in the Rain also portrays the everyday struggles of South Korean women against workplace politics and sexual harassment.

16 episodes. Available on Netflix.

Alone in Love (2006)

Son Ye-jin was only 24 years old when she took on the role of Yoo Eun-ho, a young divorcee, in this drama co-starring Kam Woo-sung, earning her the Baeksang Best Actress award.

In what is considered a masterpiece by many Koreans, Alone In Love (Yeonae Sidae/Love Generation, literal title) is a quiet slice-of-life drama that was ahead of its time. Based on the Japanese novel Renai Jidai, Alone in Love is completely devoid of any tropes, opting instead to realistically portray the feelings that may linger and the struggle to find one's footing after divorce.

16 episodes. Available on other streaming sites.

The Last Princess (2016)

This award-winning movie is an account of how Princess Deok-hye (Son Ye-jin), who was exiled by the Japanese when she was only 13, struggles to remain a steadfast symbol of pride for her country while abroad and in captivity.

Before she is finally allowed to go home to Korea some 38 years later, she has to endure a forced marriage, residence in an asylum, many deep betrayals, and accept the worst fate of any royal: the pain of watching one's country suffer from afar. Read our full review here.

127 minutes. Available on Netflix

Be With You (2018)

Seventeen years after playing siblings in the drama Delicious Proposal, Son Ye-jin and So Ji-sub reunite in this family-oriented movie, a remake of a 2004 Japanese film by the same name.

Son Ye-jin stars as Soo-ah, a young mother who mysteriously returns to visit her family after she passes away. Make sure to have a box of tissues handy when you watch this tearjerker!

131 minutes. Available on Netflix.


If you want more of Jeon Mido...

Hospital Playlist 1 and 2 (2020-2021)

A multiple award-winning musical theater veteran, Jeon Mi-do landed her first major television role in this medical slice-of-life drama. Devoid of real villainy and makjang, Hospital Playlist reminds its viewers that the everyday experiences of common folk—the highs and lows of the workplace, the ups and downs of romances, and the solid, well-worn relationships of family and friends—are more than enough drama to entertain and enlighten.

At the heart of the series are the highly enviable and surprisingly relatable love and friendship of the ‘99ers, a moniker for the five surgeons at Yulje Hospital who all happen to be medical school friends and bandmates. Jo Jung-suk, Yoo Yeon-seok, Jung Kyung-ho, Kim Dae-myung, and Jeon Mi-do and their equally lovable co-stars have wonderful and palpable onscreen chemistry that will surely make this (and its first season) a fan favorite for years to come. Check out our blog post on why we love these characters so much.

Mother (2018)

Jeon Mi-do's first television role is in the Baeksang Arts Award Best Drama winner Mother, starring Lee Bo-young and child acting phenomenon Heo Yool.

In this suspense drama about a substitute teacher who goes on the run with one of her students after realizing the child is being abused at home, Jeon Mi-do plays the small but pivotal role of a woman with links to the child's abuser. Read our full review of this masterpiece here.

Wise Camping Life/Camping Playlist feat. The Game Caterers (Mar. 2021)

For at least a few more hours, you can spend some extra time with the ‘99ers, this time outside of their scrubs and characters as they go camping for two days/one night. Watch them set up camp (Yoo Yeon-seok is definitely a pro at this), discuss their meals, and then get unceremoniously interrupted by PD Na Young-suk.

It’s Na-ception as the popular producer brings the variety show The Game Caterers to five unsuspecting actors. A few games are played, and lots of laughter ensue. Then, it’s back to the camping life. The series of healing and heartwarming episodes might soften the blow of having no new episodes of Hospital Playlist to look forward to for the foreseeable future. (Or, it might make you miss them more.)

Click here for the full playlist.

Three Meals a Day: Doctors (2021)

As a gift to Hospital Playlist fans for their love and support, the cast and production staff came up with a spin-off of the popular variety show Three Meals a Day featuring the beloved TV doctors.

Three Meals a Day: Doctors takes the whole gang of ‘99ers on a getaway to scenic Jungseon in the mountains of Gangwon Province, where they have to prepare their own meals using vegetables they harvest from nearby farms. Other cast members, including Kim Hae-sook (Rosa) and Shin Hyun-been (Dr. Jang Gyeo-ul), visit them as special guests.


If you want more of Yeon Woo-jin...

I Wanna Hear Your Song / Let Me Hear Your Song (2019)*

What can a tone-deaf pianist do outside of an orchestra? He can apparently put an insomniac to sleep. Of course, the pianist could only be Jang Do-hoon (Yeon Woo-jin), and the insomniac Hong Yi-young (Kim Se-jeong, The Uncanny Counter, Business Proposal). Yi-young also happens to be a timpanist involved in a murder case but has lost her memory.

Do-hoon, meanwhile, attempts to find the truth about the crime. Could Yi-young be the key or a distraction? Song Jae-rim (Moon Embracing the Sun, How to Be Thirty) joins the duo as Nam Joo-wan, a charming conductor of the orchestra in this KBS2 mystery rom-com (though Yi-young insists "this is not a love story").

32 episodes. Available on Viu

*Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Suicide, Murder