Why did I wait so long to try Crash Landing on You? From the other side of my first viewing (and second, if I’m being honest), I can no longer remember why I let the popular Korean drama languish for so long in my Netflix queue, unwatched. Once I started the series, though, I couldn’t stop. I fell hard and fast for the epic love story of beautiful South Korean businesswoman Yoon Se-ri and her dashing North Korean pianist-turned-reluctant-soldier, Captain Ri Jeung Hyeok, who meet through an incredible twist of fate (or two). Now, weeks after I watched the finale, the characters still linger in my mind. I can’t let go! This big-hearted, candy-colored show stole my heart, and life will never be the same. There is only Before CLOY and After CLOY.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and risk missing out on this gloriously romantic tale. Use the checklist below to find out whether or not Crash Landing on You is the right kind of show for you and, if so, how soon you should start the first episode. (Spoiler: It is, and immediately.)
Crash Landing on You may be the perfect TV romance for you if…
#1: You have a Netflix account.
Hey, would you look at that?! Already the stars are aligning, because Crash Landing on You is available to watch on Netflix, and you just so happen to be a subscriber! To quote my new favorite show: “See? It’s not a coincidence. It’s fate.”
#2: You’re a sucker for any of the following tropes:
b) Fated mates
c) Fake relationship
d) Star-crossed lovers
f) Bodyguard romance
g) There’s just one bed
h) Grumpy one’s soft for the sunshine one
i) Reunited lovers
j) All of the above
CLOY has a little something for everyone. At first it’s a straightforward enemies-to-lovers story: Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean citizen, gets swept up in a freak tornado while out paragliding and crash-lands in North Korea, where she’s discovered by a stone-faced soldier, Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok. Since their countries are still technically at war, it’s not exactly love at first sight…or is it? You’ll start to wonder, because it doesn’t take long for Jeong Hyeok to cease all talk of turning Se-ri over to his government for questioning. In fact, he goes to great lengths to hide and protect her, including by announcing their (fake) engagement to his whole village and later staging a fake makeout to prevent her from being caught trying to escape back to the South.
And that’s just in the first few episodes! Trust me, Se-ri and Jeong Hyeok’s romance will check ALL your boxes.
#3: You love to read.
Fellow bibliophiles, you know how it is. Something magical happens when you’re in the middle of a page-turner that you absolutely cannot put down. Laundry, cooking, and even sleep come second to learning how the story ends. You can’t even bring yourself to regret the sacrifice afterward, while in the throes of your wicked book hangover, because it was totally worth it.
The experience of watching Crash Landing on You is exactly like that. Sure, the time commitment may seem daunting at first—”16 episodes, 70-90 minutes each, all in Korean with English subtitles?! H o w”—but soon enough, you’ll be clearing your schedule to fit in just one more “chapter” before bed. Think of it as a deeply satisfying romance novel, complete with a Happily Ever After.
#4: You’d never turn down an opportunity to witness sizzling onscreen chemistry.
We’re all friends here, so I don’t mind telling you that a big part of why I finally gave in and hit “Play” on the first episode of Crash Landing on You is because of its stunningly beautiful leads, Korean superstars Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin (a.k.a. BinJin). Several friends had recommended the show to me in the months since it was released simultaneously in South Korea and in the U.S. between December 2019 and February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe. CLOY could have been my perfect lockdown distraction, but like a fool, I didn’t end up taking their advice until a year later, when rumors (since confirmed) of the lead actors’ real-life relationship caught my eye on Twitter.
Pictures and gifs don’t even come close to doing the actors or their characters justice, however. He’s tol, she’s smol. Jeong Hyeok’s broody and has got that smoldering thing down, whereas Se-ri is charmingly expressive and can make him smile like no one else. They are good, decent people who enjoy being sweet and soft with each other, an irresistible combination. I’ve told friends they have Mulder-and-Scully-level chemistry, and I stand by this bold claim.
#5: You’ve been meaning to dip your toe into the K-drama genre.
Come on in, the water’s fine! Maybe I’m biased (narrator: she’s definitely biased), but I can’t picture a better introduction to K-dramas than CLOY. At only 16 episodes, its runtime is modest compared to other series, and the masterful translation is easy to follow in the captions. Plus, did I mention how cinematic it is, with beautifully shot scenes set in bustling South Korea, rural North Korea, and the majestic mountains of Switzerland? And don’t even get me started on the music; I sought out the soundtrack midway through my binge and listen to it on an endless loop. This show is a feast for the senses and will open your eyes to a whole new world of entertainment. You may even begin to question why you ever watch American TV at all…
#6: You’re ready to laugh, cry, and swoon.
Crash Landing on You, like any K-drama worth its salt, has just the right mix of action, drama, comedy, and romance. One minute, you’re chuckling at the hilarious, good-natured banter between a hero and heroine who aren’t quite ready to admit they’re crazy about each other. The next minute, you’re holding your breath as that same leading man jumps in front of a bullet, parachutes off a cliff, and/or army-crawls through a tunnel for 20 hours straight to save the woman he loves. By the time they get to hugs and kisses and declarations, you’ll be putty. PUTTY, I say.
Did you answer “yes” to one or more of the statements above? Then you owe it to yourself to try at least one episode. I’m betting it won’t be your last.
P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you will be happy to know there are more coming! Consider this blog a Crash Landing on You and K-drama fan page for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, you may also enjoy this list of 7 International Couples to Ship Based on your Favorite American Pairings.