If you’re like me, maybe you were suddenly shocked when you went to watch this week’s episodes of your favorite Kdramas only to be met with the disastrous news that Dramafever is now and forever shut down for good. Dramafever owned the majority of “Exclusive” titles that could only be viewed by having a premium membership on their site.
Furthermore, Dramafever handled their shuttering of their service so poorly it makes my skin crawl. I had 4 episodes left to watch in one such “exclusive” series… But Dramafever.com did not even have the decency to email or alert their PAYING premium subscribers about their plans to end their service. Had they sent out an email a week or even 48 hours in advance, fans would be far less pissed than they are right now. Because that way, we could have at least finished watching whatever show we were in the middle of watching at the time.
To top it off, I have heard rumors on other sites, that Viki tried to purchase the “exclusive” rights from Dramafever for many of their shows before the closing of the site, and they were denied. I have heard other rumors and rumblings that Warner Brothers who purchased Dramafever just one year ago, has plans to bring out their own streaming service similar to netflix or disney, and that is why they do not want to release the rights to their shows, because they will capture some audiences who will pay to join their streaming service just for their kdrama fix. But that is merely a rumor… So in the meantime, what are the fans of Korean Pop Culture left to do? There already exists a number of alternatives to Dramafever, but none were quite as good in my opinion, and with Dramafever having several titles on lockdown, many fans are left feeling upset that they can’t see how their favorite dramas end.
I have compiled a list of places to watch Kdrama, but many do not have the exclusive Dramafever titles. However, there are a few pirate or fansites that have managed to scrape content from Dramafever over the past 9 years, so if your drama wasn’t a currently airing drama, there may be hope for you to find the drama on this list.
For me, I ended up purchasing a DVD on Ebay of the drama I was trying to finish. I liked it enough to own it anyways. I wonder if I will be disappointed in the quality of the translation. I guess we will find out once the DVD arrives in the mail. Earlier, a few weeks ago, I had added this very DVD set to my Amazon wishlist in preparation for the holiday season and people inevitably asking what I’d like for Christmas. At the time – prior to Dramafever closing – the DVD set was 20-30 bucks… However… 3 days after Dramafever shut down… It’s now $74. I found mine on Ebay, for $34 (close to the price Amazon had it for prior to the shutdown) However, it said 10 people were watching the listing and very few in stock. I struck immediately buying it in an instant.
KDrama are already obscure and hard enough to find. There are special sites like PlayAsia, but they are pricey, and older dramas that are out of print are notoriously hard to find. I have heard that the reason they are so expensive is because they are illegal in North Korea, and they think the high price tag will detour people from purchasing them there in that country. But it does make it difficult for fans who legitimately want to purchase and support their favorite series.
Still, your best bet is to buy the DVDs NOW, before prices go up even further – especially if your drama of desire is one that Dramafever had exclusive rights to.
I purchased Goblin on Ebay, and would recommend checking there first since it was much cheaper than Amazon, and both are usually cheaper than PlayAsia.
Speaking of Amazon, they fed most of their “Prime Video” streaming Kdrama through a partnership with Dramafever – I checked there to see if I could watch Goblin since I am a Prime Video customer. It still comes up in the search results, but it says this video is currently unavailable.
If anyone has enough money to pick up the licenses, it’d be Amazon – but will Dramafever let the licenses go? The future is unclear at this time as to what will happen to Dramafever’s exclusive titles.
If you really don’t want to purchase the DVDs, there are still several options for you to watch KDrama, it just may mean that you have to give up the drama you were watching and find something new to watch instead.
Here are several websites and apps, to get your Kdrama fix. As always please practice safe browsing – I cannot vouch if these sites are safe, and many streaming sites are notorious for having malware. I take no responsibility and am not affiliated in any way with any of the following sites. I can vouch that Viki is safe, but I have not yet tried these other sites.
Alternatives to Dramafever:
Be sure to read the whole list – the best ones are not necessarily at the top, as I’ve researched and written this post on the fly.
Viki Rakuten – Viki is a good site with Roku and other popular streaming media player apps available. Or you can watch it right on your computer. It is free with ads, or you can purchase a Viki Pass to gain premium access without ads. They have thousands of Kdrama, but they do not have Dramafever’s exclusive titles. They do have exclusives of their own though (So I have already subscribed to them for that) And after Dramafever’s closing, they were able to arrange a partnership with Kocowa, which gives them rights to many series on popular korean broadcasting networks such as KBS, SBS, and MBC. However, shows like Goblin, are still not available in North America due to Dramafever holding the license.
Asiancrush – Haven’t tried this one yet, I saw they have a Roku Channel, so that’s a plus for me. I had bought a Roku just for Dramafever when they mysteriously cancelled their playstation app earlier this year. My first sign that something was up with Dramafever was when I went to turn on my Roku this week and it said channel no longer available – thinking they had just cancelled their roku app as they had done with their playstation app, I went to their website and was shocked to see they had shut down.
OnDemandKorea – is another “new and noteable” roku app – I have yet to check it out, I’m not even sure if it will have English subtitles, but here’s hoping. You can also watch kdrama on their website.
Netflix has a small but growing collection of Kdramas, and also has exclusives created just for them – I have found most of their kdrama exclusives to be a bit cheesy but that’s just me – you might like em, so check it out, especially if you already have a netflix subscription – As other bloggers have pointed out, Netflix makes you wait until the series has finished airing in Korea, before adding it to their platform for North American viewers. – And in some cases they buy rights to a show and do not release it at all.
Amazon Prime may still have a few kdrama available, but they lost the majority of their catalog when Dramafever closed down this week.
http://gooddrama.net – has a lot of ads, probably malware… But they DO have a lot of the previously “exclusive” Dramafever titles. Use at Own Risk. Also similar sites over the past 2-3 years have been issued cease n desist orders such as dramafire, dramacool, dramanice, etc. So watch it while you can, before it gets taken down too!
http://newasiantv.ch/ – Have not used prior to just clicking around for this blog post – it has been around since 2015. Seems cleaner/less ads than the one above. Still quite a few ads – They do have Goblin among other Dramafever “Exclusives” with English subtitles. The site seems slow, video stutters a bit. Might be worth checking out if you’re wanting to watch a Dramafever Exclusive title. – As mentioned, a lot of these sites are being shut down, so watch while you can!
http://kissasian.sh/ – This site is sister to kissanime – the kiss family of sites are very popular with fans – and also very dangerous – they are often spoofed with different domain names like kissanime.ru (I believe that one is the official real one) vs kissanime.me (a clone site full of malware and viruses) (i believe or I could have it backwards lol). A quick google shows similar case in store for kissasian.sh – I got the url from mydramalist forum, it was kissasian.ch which redirected me to the sh… They do have Dramafever Exclusives like Goblin, but they have tons and tons and tons of popups and popunders and banner ads… Seriously Use At Own Risk
Youtube can be a good source of Kdrama, but they get taken down super quickly! I was issued a cease and desist even for making a music video using clips of one Kdrama, Angel Eyes. And Youtube isn’t the easiest to search, and quality isn’t the highest. You also run into scams such as click here to watch this video which take you to unsafe malware full sites.
https://www.kocowa.com – This looks like a nice clean site with no ads and no bullshit – They also now have a partnership with Viki as I mentioned at the beginning of the list. They offer networks such as SBS and MBC. They do not have any of the Dramafever exclusives.
Hulu has quite a few Kdrama but they are hiding from you. If you look at Genre, you won’t see Korean right away, however a page DOES in fact exist for it… You can bookmark this page and hope Hulu doesn’t change their page structure lol. https://www.hulu.com/genre/korean-0ad5098f-58aa-41ae-baf3-1292970bf8c8
http://www.dramawall.com/ – has a lot of ads – and their search function absolutely does not work. They may or may not have dramafever exclusives. I type in Goblin into search and it instead lists every show, over 200 results, and Goblin isn’t on the first page – so if I had to guess, I’d guess it does not work and that they do not have dramafever exclusives and therefore would not recommend this one.
https://tubitv.com/category/foreign_favorites/s/korean_drama – looks like a nice clean site but they do not have the Dramafever exclusives either.
https://www.hancinema.net/korean_drama_Goblin.php – Hancinema may have some Kdrama, but as you can see, they do not host their own shows, and their links are still pointing to sites such as Dramafever and others which have long since been shut down.
http://www.koreantvshow.com/ – seems clean but does not have dramafever exclusives.
http://www.dramago.com – Has a lot of ads but does have the Dramafever exclusives. Use at own Risk, also as I’ve mentioned many of these sites are being taken down at a rapid pace, so hurry and watch your show before it’s gone.
https://viewasian.tv/country/korea/ – Has a lot of ads – but appears to have most of the Dramafever Exclusives. I did notice that for Goblin they only list 16 episodes when there are in fact 18 episodes… and it is a series that is 2 years old… so it’s not like they’re waiting on episodes to air… so it may be hit or miss in which dramas you’ll be able to watch there. And I’ll reitterate that these sites that do have the exclusives are being banned and removed quickly, and as more people ask, and more people answer with blog posts like this, these sites will be at greater risk of being discovered and removed.