15 Best Taiwanese Dramas of All Time: Must-Watch Shows

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taiwanese dramas

Asian cultures have always had a flair for dramatization in their TV shows and movies — a fact that’s become well-appreciated today. Popular examples include Anime/Manga, Chinese historical films, and Taiwanese drama.

What is it about these shows that make them unique? Do they offer a radically different outlook on life, romance, and friendship? Or do they take you on an unpredictable adventure? As far as Taiwanese drama is concerned, the answer is yes and yes, and here’s why.

Why Watch Taiwanese Drama?

Taiwanese Dramas are Chinese-language TV shows made in Taiwan. They’re in demand internationally and have strong viewership across Asian countries like China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea.

If you’re a sucker for romance, Taiwanese drama offers a whole universe of it. Some of them are hilarious enough to make your sides hurt laughing, while some others will make you tear up.

Another major benefit of some T-drama binging is that it can help you pick up Mandarin faster. It also exposes you to a variety of accents to improve your comprehension skills.

Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in the world today, so if you’re learning Mandarin, T-dramas can offer you great practice while keeping you entertained.

Best Taiwanese Dramas

Over the years, the Taiwanese film industry has expanded exponentially. Creative stories and rising new talents have led to some outstanding Taiwanese dramas. Here’s a list of some of the best Taiwanese dramas to get you hooked.

#1. Autumn’s Concerto (2009)

Autumn’s Concerto

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Ren Guang Xi is an uppity law major who, from the looks of it, has a pretty sweet life. He’s good-looking, wealthy, about to inherit a large and profitable family business, and is skilled at ice hockey. He has lots of friends and gets attention from girls too.

However, it’s his popularity and vanity that’s left him feeling lonely and devoid of laughter and joy. This all changes when he meets Liang Mu Cheng, a new employee at his school canteen.

They are brought together by a harmless bet and Guang’s temperament starts to change slowly as Mu Cheng teaches him to be compassionate. This beautiful romance, however, is tragically shut down when Guang Xi has to undergo brain surgery that makes him lose his memory.

#2. Some Day or One Day (2019)

Some Day or One Day

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Some Day Or One Day is full of twists and a complete mystery for the most part.

In the year 2019, a 27-year-old woman named Huang Yu Xuan is yearning for her boyfriend, Wang Quang Sheng, who is presumed to be either missing or dead from an airplane accident. Huang Yu Xuan is desperate and keeps sending him messages on social media hoping that one day he’ll reply.

But when Huang Yu Xuan receives a mysterious package with an old-school Walkman and a cassette tape of Wu Bai’s album, “The End of Love”, she falls asleep on the bus listening to the tape and gets into an accident.

When she wakes up in a hospital bed, delirious, and finds an old schoolmate, Li Zi Wei, sitting next to her. And she’s actually in the body of a 17-year-old girl named Chen Yan Ru. And, it’s 1998. Weird, right?

Before you know it, a whole new love tangent begins. How Huang Yu Xuan woke up almost two decades in the past in the body of a different girl remains shrouded in mystery.

#3. It Started with A Kiss (2005)

It Started with A Kiss

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Jiang Zhi Shu is a prodigy college freshman with an IQ of over 200. Yuan Xiang Qin, however, is an intellectually challenged, mumbling, stuttering mess of a schoolgirl who develops a crush on Jiang Zhi Shu after meeting him at freshman orientation. She confesses her love to him but is sadly unrequited, possibly due to a difference in their relative smarts.

Things take a turn when an earthquake destroys Xiang Qin’s house and she and her father decide to move their family in with his old college buddy, who just so happens to be Jiang Zhi Shu’s father. This new proximity gives her a second chance with Jiang only to soon find out that opposites do attract.

#4. HIStory3: Trapped (2019)

HIStory3 Trapped

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Not all Taiwanese dramas are hetero-romantic. If you’re really looking to take the edge off with something out of the ordinary, why not try HIStory3? It’s got action, romance, and is LGBTQ+ friendly.

The show follows the story of an undercover cop, Meng Shao Fei who, in the process of investigating a gang leader, becomes trapped in the underworld life and develops feelings for the gang leader. The action-packed romance escalates throughout the show and is sure to leave you wanting more.

#5. Just You (2013)

Just You

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Qi Yi is a fastidious, obsessive-compulsive young stripling who likes to have his life organized and proper. He gives up a job in New York to move back to Taiwan and start his firm where he is considered a nightmare by his employees. He even has an anti-office-romance rule putting a damper on people’s fun.

One of his employees, Chen Liang Liang, is the polar opposite of everything he represents. She’s carefree, peppy, and also happens to be Qi Yi’s tenant. Her co-workers task her with convincing Qi Yi to remove the anti-romance laws and the two of them end up falling for one another along the way.

#6. MARS (2004)

MARS

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MARS is a simple, slice-of-life romance to help you rediscover the joys of ordinary everyday love.

It follows the story of a shy young girl named Han Qi Luo, a fantastic sketch artist. One day in the park, she runs into Chen Ling, the school playboy who asks her for directions to the hospital to see his injured friend.

She draws him a map on the back of one of her sketches and leaves in a hurry. When Chen Ling later flips the paper and discovers the beautiful drawing, he takes a shine to her. And when he saves her from being sexually harassed by a teacher, it heralds the start of a budding romance.

But both Han Qi Luo and Chen Ling have a secret past that needs addressing before their relationship can mature.

#7. Devil Beside You (2005)

Devil Beside You

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Qi Yue has been sitting on a crush for a long time, and after finally mustering the courage to pursue her longings, she writes a love letter to Yuan Yi.

She tries handing it to him in school but unfortunately goes unnoticed as Yuan Yi walks past her. Who does take notice is Jiang Meng, the school bully and evil overlord, and becomes fixated on Qi Yue. Jiang Meng is infamous for his devilish ways but despite his cruel exterior is kind-hearted and warm on the inside. Something Qi Yue takes notice of.

But there’s a problem with Qi Yue that she can’t get past when it comes to Jiang. Her mother happens to be marrying his dad in the not-so-distant future.

#8. Before We Get Married (2019)

Before We Get Married

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Zhou Wei Wei is about to get married to a doting fiancé. Chu Ke Huan is also about to marry his girlfriend of 10 years. All seems well in both their lives but neither can escape the feelings they have for each other.

They try their best to keep things platonic and remain loyal to their soon-to-be spouses, but cupid has other plans for the so-called “platonic” duo. This is a slow-burn tense drama about friendship, love, and betrayal.

#9. They Kiss Again (2007)

They Kiss Again

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Remember the couple from It Started with a Kiss (2005)? The genius Xiang Qin and the playful quirky Zhi Shu are now married and just got back from their honeymoon.

However, they learn that life for a married couple is often far from perfect, and they start experiencing problems like a misinterpreted pregnancy, newfound jealousies, and misunderstandings.

They both end up switching to medical school to become a doctor and nurse, but as they branch out and make new friends, troubles start to brew in paradise.

#10. Bromance (2015)

Bromance

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Because of a slip of tongue at birth, Pi Ya Nuo, a girl, was raised as a boy her whole life. An incident takes place where she saves her town’s underworld mob boss, Du Zi Feng, and his sister. They instantly become acquainted and Feng’s sister falls in love with Pi Ya Nuo.

Complications start to arise for them when Pi Ya Nuo joins the brotherhood of the mob boss. She comes to a crossroads by her 26th birthday — she can either continue being a sworn brother or return to being a woman.

#11. Attention, Love! (2017)

Attention Love

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Here’s a story about two lovebirds who were destined to be together at birth. They are also the kids of two best friends.

Their names are Li Zheng, meaning “attention,” and Shao Xi, meaning “at ease.” They both grow up to embody the qualities of their respective names.

Li Zheng is a studious, careful, and attentive young man while Shao Xi has a more playful and carefree nature. Li Zheng has spent his whole life in Japan. He crosses paths with Shao Xi when he returns to Taiwan and joins her high school, and so begins the story of two opposite individuals being pulled together by the strings of fate.

#12. Murphy’s Law of Love (2015)

Murphy’s Law of Love

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According to Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong usually does.

Guan Xiao-tong has been cursed with this law. Every time her desires are right within reach, her jinx acts up and she fails terribly. Upset with her boyfriend who just broke her heart, she starts her own match-making service to help people solve their romantic problems.

Right across the street from her office is a divorce law firm owned by a brash and seemingly cold-hearted guy named Ji-Jia Wei who believes Tong’s notions of love are childish.

However, Murphy’s law starts to act up again as Ji-Jia Wei ends up falling for Guan Xiao-tong, who thought she wasn’t interested in him but ends up warming his ice-cold heart.

#13. Behind Your Smile (2016)

Behind Your Smile

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Zhao Yiting lives a drab and miserable life and is hell-bent on pursuing his revenge on Lin Man, because of whom he lost his father.

However, because of several accusations and an angry mob after her, Lin Man deserts her daughter Lei Xinyu and flees. With the angry mob after the family, Zhao decides to help Lei Xinyu, all while having ulterior motives.

Eventually, Lei Xinyu’s charm, innocence, and kindness get under Zhao’s skin and he begins to question both his feelings for her and his revenge.

#14. Prince of Wolf (2016)

Prince of Wolf

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A modern-day Tarzan story, Prince of Wolf follows the life of Du Zhe Ming who was marooned as a boy while vacationing with his family. He ended up being accepted into a wolf pack and grew up among wolves, learning how to hunt and survive.

However, unlike Tarzan, Du Zhe Ming was much older when he was abandoned so he still had human traits which he never forgot. One day, Mi Mi, an amateur photographer gets into trouble and Du Zhe Ming saves her. They fall for each other, and now Du Zhe Ming has to decide if he can abandon his wolf pack and re-join civilization with Mi Mi.

#15. Dark Blue and Moonlight (2017)

Dark Blue and Moonlight

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Another LGBTQ+ friendly drama, Dark Blue and Moonlight follows the story of Yan Fei, a marketing director with a boyfriend. One day, he is spotted by an aspiring artist, Hai Qing, who secretly clicks a picture of him.

A series of unfortunate events lead to the two of them developing strong chemistry. Yan Fei ends up giving Hai Qing his number, hoping they’ll get to talk again, but he ends up losing the number by accidentally dropping his phone into a swimming pool. Will their connection bloom into something more?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where Can I Watch Taiwanese Dramas?

A lot of Taiwanese dramas and regional films are now available on Netflix. But it’s possible Netflix may not have some of the obscure ones, in which case you can download streaming apps made specifically for Asian Dramas such as Rakuten Viki or DramaCool.

There are also plenty of sites that allow you to stream for free. Just Google search the name of the drama you want to watch and you’ll probably find the platforms.

2. Who are the Most Famous Taiwanese Drama Actors?

Here are some of the most critically acclaimed and recognizable Taiwanese Drama Actors whose shows are definitely worth checking out.

• Aaron Yan – I Love My Wife (2004), Fall In Love With me (2014), Refresh Man (2016)

Aaron Yan

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• Marcus Chang – Happy Together (2015), Behind Your Smile (2016)

Marcus Chang

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• Vaness Wu – Meteor Garden (2001), Ti Amo Chocolate add (2012)

Vaness Wu

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• Roy Chiu – Starry Starry Night (2002), Dear Ex (2018)

Roy Chiu

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• Mike He – Seventh Grade (2004), Sunny Happiness (2011), Spring Love (2013)

Mike He

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You might also want to take a look at this list of some of the best Taiwanese drama actors.

A Few Parting Words

One way to conceptualize Taiwanese dramas is that they’re like invisible roller coaster rides. You have no idea which direction they’ll take you in and the momentum changes when you least expect it.

All TV shows are made to keep you entertained, and a Taiwanese drama is no exception. It tends to explore the romance theme in greater depth but there’s a lot of variety, from corny (although some folks like that) to original and deep. You might end up learning something new.