What is a “makjang” K-drama? The TV series genre is best described as having exaggerated plots that “take things too far.” Fans will see dramatic characterizations, scandalous affairs, and intense murderous drama, often revolving around the filthy-rich elite who can get away with it all. Netflix’s revenge K-drama The Glory can be categorized as one, but there are plenty more to enjoy.
‘The World of the Married’ has a woman’s perfect life crash into pieces
The 2020 K-drama is a remake and based on the BBC series Doctor Foster. The World of the Married takes fans through a whirlwind of drama, deceit, affairs, and the downfalls of marriage in a high-class society. Ji Seon-u (Kim Hee-ae) has everything anyone could ever want. She is a well-known doctor and associate director of a large hospital. Her seemingly perfect life is complete with her aspiring director husband, Lee Tae-oh (Park Hae-joon).
Fans can likely guess where the Makjang K-drama story headed next. While Tae-oh loves his wife and is thankful for her help with his career, he falls into a dangerous affair with Yeo Da-kyung (Han So-hee). Seon-u’s life falls apart when she learns the horrible truth.
To make matters worse, her supposed close friends knew and helped keep it a secret. She embarks on a journey of hatred, loneliness, and her own path to finding a lover. The World of the Married is also known for its NSFW scenes.
‘Penthouse’ is the best Makjang K-drama to binge-watch for extreme drama
The Penthouse: War in Life grand success is astounding. The Makjang K-drama broke the rules by developing three seasons that were all highly rated on cable television. Its storyline is well known among fans for its jaw-dropping displays of drama among an elite social class.
The premise centers on a group of high-class mothers and their families living in Hera Palace. Their primary focus is on their children at Cheong-ah Arts School and preserving their status. The mothers would do anything for their children, even cover up a murder. When a mysterious girl falls to her death at the Palace, they use their resources to keep it a secret. But along the way, their greed, jealousy, and fear get the best of them as they suspect each other.
Fans also watch the teen children fight amongst each other and the stresses of their overbearing families. Each season intensifies the dramatic storyline with more coverups, fake deaths, scandals, and more. The Penthouse: War in Life is available on Viki.
‘Little Women’ depicts three sisters who find themselves going against the elite
Netflix and tvN’s Little Women is not only a Makjang K-drama but based on the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. The storyline focuses on three sisters who have lived their lives in poverty. But the eldest sister, Oh In-joo (Kim Go-eun) works hard to ensure her youngest sister has everything she needs. For Go-eun, money can solve all of her problems
Meanwhile, Oh In-kyung (Nam Ji-hyun) is the middle sister and a reporter who thinks the opposite. Oh In-hye (Park Ji-hu) is the youngest and goes to a special high school for her natural gifts for art. Little Women takes on extreme drama when In-joo’s company co-worker is found dead. She leaves In-joo millions of dollars inside a hiking backpack.
Behind the money is a scandal with Korea’s elite, specifically one family with ties in politics. In-joo and her sisters find themselves entangled in their affairs, as their money is dirty and tied to secret power organizations. Little Women is available on Netflix.
‘Eve’ has a woman scorned and seeking revenge against a powerful and rich family
Like The Glory, Eve is one of 2022’s most intense revenge K-dramas that received immense success. Actor Seo Yea-ji returned to the small-screen for Eve as Lee Ra-el, a woman on a mission. Eve is a prime example of a Makjang K-dramas Ra-el vanished as a teenager after her family was betrayed and her father was killed by the people closest to him.
Fueled by anger and revenge, Ra-el returns years later as a poised and elegant woman who has infiltrated the elite. Her goal? To get close to LY Group chairman Kang Yoon-gyeom (Park Byung-eun). The people involved in his life are responsible for her family’s demise, and she seeks vengeance. Her plan involves worming her way into his fascination and illicit one of the most expensive divorces in Korean history.
Eve is drama to the core as Ra-el planned every step of her meticulous plan and has her enemies turn feral. All the while, she fights her need to revenge and her growing feelings. Eve is available on Viki.
‘Sky Castle’ is a Makjang K-drama with the same level of intensity as ‘Penthouse’
For fans of Penthouse, Sky Castle is in the same ballpark. Following similar themes, the Makjang K-drama focuses on a group of wealthy and luxurious mothers and wives. The satirical drama takes a deep dive into the greedy desires of the female elite and what they would do to secure their families’ futures.
The main characters all live in SKY Castle, a luxury residential building. Han Seo-jin (Yum Jung-ah) is married to a doctor and wants the same for her daughter. She hired a top tutor to make sure it happens. No Seung-hye (Yoon Se-ah) is married to a top prosecutor. Her daughter, who is studying abroad, hides a secret.
Jin Jin-hee (Oh Na-ra) is also married to a doctor and wants the same for her children. But after the death of Lee Myung-joo (Kim Jung-nan), a new family moves in and causes some trouble due to differences in opinion. Sky Castle is available on Netflix.