Favorite "Non-romanced-centered" Dramas

Hey guys!

So I just finished watching the Korean drama “Signal” not too long ago, and it is now one of my favorite Korean dramas of all time.

I feel like a lot of Asian dramas tend to be romanced-centered, and I’ve just been getting tired of that recently. I couldn’t even get into DOTS. gasp (I’m sorry. Don’t shoot me). So I’d love to read what some of your fav dramas are that aren’t all about romance. And this discussion isn’t limited to K-dramas.

And if you haven’t seen Signal, GO WATCH IT! So GOOOOD.


Ooooh Signal, on my to-watch list. I am just missing the time to do so. XD
Indeed, a lot of Asian dramas tend to focus on romance, but there are some gems that are thrillers/detective dramas first and foremost. For example, I loved and still absolutely love “Missing Noir M”. In there, it’s all about the cases. A slighty older drama would be TEN (and TEN 2), I found it really well-done, and the characters are cutie-pies. (^_^)

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I haven’t watched Signal, but if you want an excellent drama without romance, try Misaeng, aka Incomplete Life. It’s an amazing drama about rookies at work, figuring out about themselves and learning about life. I know it sounds dry but it’s really so so good!

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I love the Japanese drama Tumbling. It’s all about tumbling - obviously - and the relationship of the team. The only little bit of “romance” is more of an little side joke that’s not taken very seriously. All in all I just really loved the dynamics and the story and I didn’t miss the romance at all since there is enough about non-romantical relationships :slight_smile:

There are many thrillers/detective dramas, but they are often romance-centered.
I don’t mind a balanced romance story, but the majority of those shows won’t get out of the front door without exhibiting a couple with imaginary obstacles.
I started watching Wind Chime thinking it would be different, but now I’m just clicking through it to see where the story goes.

Hey I’m not sure if they suit your taste but i’m on Pied Piper (really dark. deals with darker woes of society) and Memory. It’s not centered around love the latter though, the lovey dovey is more like comic relief.
Memory’s about a middle age man reflecting on himself and how he copes and about the changes around him. Slow and steady like a reliable ship.

Misaeng is probably the MOST love dry one I can think of right now… Three Days is also very love dry. Very MOTHER LOVE. errr… tyna think. Are you just seeking ones without a central love plot?

A classic k-drama that remains one of my favorites is School 2013. I know its school focused and may not be at the mature level you are seeking but I truly love it and was surprised when it ended with no romance, since it twas my first non-romance drama. ^^


Missing Noir M is one of my favorite non-romance dramas. Well acted, written and directed. It is 10 episodes and very worth watching if you enjoy the crime/thriller/suspense genre. :slight_smile:

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Just like mirna023_316 I like ‘Missing Noir M’. There’re some non-romance dramas as well. For instance Korean ‘Liar Game’. This show thrilled me to the end, Spy was very good. Also first drama adaptation of ‘Great Teacher Onizuka’.

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Oh, I just found out that Signal is the next project of Misaeng (Incomplete Life) production team! I’m definitely going to check it out!


Thanks for all the recommendations!

@littleangele @mirna023_316 @fulko Wow, I’ve never heard of Missing Noir M, but it definitely looks interesting! I’m gonna give it a go this week.

GTO is one of my favs! And I was thinking of reading the liar game manga instead of watching the drama.

If you’re gonna watch signal, I recommend setting aside time to binge it in one go if you can. The suspense was such torture. It’s so thrilling and fast-paced. I wish I could re-experience it all over again! Enjoy it when it comes out!

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Oh yes I’m watching Memory also, it’s very good.

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You can too watch signal again!!! It’s coming to Viki!!! some of my current team members are on it, including me

If you like Liar Game, same writer wrote Pied Piper ^-^
I also liked TEN, TEN2, and Vampire Prosecutor!!! All on viki. I like Viki cuz they host cable :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re like my analog. I come to Viki to watch Chinese historicals :stuck_out_tongue:
Still waiting for Mi Yue to get licensed. I really like watching Sun Li!!!

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Also if you haven’t started watching yet, “Memory” is on air right now. It is not romance centered and I really enjoy it so far. It’s not really popular since it is not romance-centered but I feel like it’s very well written (so far, I’m on episode 8) and definetly interesting. I like the subtle crime theme without having to watch murders all the time :smiley:

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I love you!! SO MUCH!!! as one of two translation editors on memory, knowing people are watching EXCITES ME!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

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  • Achiara
  • Bad guys
  • Liar Game
  • Lives of Omission
  • Punch (still watching this)

As other people have mentioned, a love story is in almost every drama, not only romcoms, even if it’s isn’t the main focus.

Series that have a love story in the plot, but are about other things and are worth watching:

  • Healer
  • I hear your voice
  • Pinocchio
  • You are all surrounded
  • King2Hearts

You could also watch The Lost Tomb. It’s bubblegum for the brain, but VERY entertaining. No love story. I had a great time watching it.

I’m so excited about Mi Yue! I’ve been wanting to watch it since I saw the stills. Absolutely gorgeous!
I’m glad to see more people branching out to other Asian dramas. The Mainland dramas on Viki need more love <3<3

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Lol. Yeah, looking for no romance at all from Asian dramas would be asking for too much.

I never really liked Healer. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the cliche mary-jane/spiderman feeling I get from it. But Pinnochio was great!

I was actually on the subbing team for Lost Tomb, but the chinese company wanted to do their own subs. Waited forever to see that and then completely forgot about it. I think they’re doing something like 6 seasons in 6 years? We’re in for the long haul. Haha.

I guess I am happy then too? :stuck_out_tongue: I am actually the German editor and first I wasn’t too sure about it. But from the first episode on I thought it could be interesting and by now I just love the secretary+JJ. In general the storyline is pretty unpredictable without being too insane. I am just hoping for a good ending but with that topic… who knows.

But yeah, I guess it’s one of the non-romance dramas that should be watched! Did I mention I love the soundtrack and I am still waiting for this one slow song to be released? :smiley:

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honestly I hate the slow song (“so hollow. before I fall asleep” that one?), but that’s totally off topic. We have a new OST like 30-min in and I think our chief already translated. At first I wasn’t sure either. I kindof watched cuz I believed. I skipped eps 2~4. I was sold on 8 or nine? The one with the tree and SYJ sushi scene. I love the bromance between JJ and PTS. I am in love with Secretary Bong.

The plot… is unpredictable… yet so cynically dark that I wonder if it’s really like that. I imagine for some it could seeing that a popular term nowadays to call my mother and father’s home “hell-joseon.”

I trust writer-nim here!

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