By: Gem Yelin Lee, Copy Editor and Michelle Young, Editor-in-Chief
There is something about the approaching colder and rainier months that makes me crave some comforting and melancholic content. I love slice-of-life shows that explore existential questions; shows that tenderly unspool difficult topics or perfectly encapsulate life’s euphoric moments. These shows feel as though they will be timeless, with their strong focus on humanity and community. Wind down with a cup of tea and escape into these rich stories.
If you’re looking for a show jam-packed with the pitfalls and glories of youth, all set in the vibrant aesthetics of the ‘90s–’00s, this is the drama for you. The story follows a young adult trying to find a dream amidst navigating a family crisis, and a vivacious high-school fencer determined to become the best in the world. Together, they try to keep their spirits alive amidst a changing world and the pressures that come transitioning into adulthood. From the soundtrack to the artistic direction, the show is full of life and passion, even in its sad moments. It serves as a love letter to the bittersweet coming-of-age days: memories that stay with you for a long time.
Content Warning: the drama contains scenes alluding to depression, suicide, and domestic abuse
Structured as an episodic narrative, Our Blues follows the townspeople of Jeju Island, a popular and beautiful seaside destination in South Korea. The show does a great job of building a fictional community that you will think about long after you finish the series. Each episode visits a character and their “blues,” in other words, the burdens or sufferings that impact who they are and why they live their lives the way they do. Instead of being depressing to watch, I found it remarkably charming, heartwarming, and really funny at times. Our Blues doesn’t try to solve the characters’ “blues,” but rather repeatedly shows how a tight-knit and loving community can make a life full of suffering feel hopeful and bright again.
Content Warning: the drama contains scenes depicting terminal illness and illness-related blood
The writing in this show really surprised me — in a good way. I started watching this drama because one of the lead actresses, Son Ye-jin, did so well in Crash Landing on You. Expecting this to be a slice-of-life drama of middle-aged swinger best friends and their love lives, what I got within the first few episodes was the start of love plots that majorly lacked chemistry and the foretelling of a tragedy among the three friends. I realized soon that the writers purposefully made the love plots of these three women not particularly memorable because they wanted to highlight the chemistry in the relationship between the three women themselves. The story follows the three women approaching 40, loving each other through the hardest and most joyful moments of their lives together. You’ll wish for a long-lasting friendship like this, and find your heart moved by the strength of their bonds with each other.
Content Warning: the drama contains scenes of domestic abuse and ableism
Following a 40-year-old structural engineer and a 20-something temporary worker, this drama presents a melancholic portrait of grief, loneliness, and what it truly means to connect with someone. For those who are turned away by the large age gap, rest assured this is not a romance. The cold blue colour palette and soft piano score makes this drama perfect to watch with a warm drink. Lee Sun-kyun and Lee Ji-eun (also known as IU) play the two main characters, who increasingly find their lives crossing paths as they tread through life and demonstrate resilience. Stuck in their day-to-day routines, these two protagonists learn to find solace in one another and embrace the woes of the human condition.