Every once in a while, I’ve come across a few shows with characters that I get to know really well. Quirks, inside jokes that transcend seasons, typical behaviors, even voice inflections. In some cases, I feel drawn to them with the closeness of a family.
I can probably count those shows on a single hand: The Office, Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin. While there are series that have incredible casts and plot-driven storylines (Stranger Things, Good Omens, The Americans), the former shows have a common theme: you get to know characters through watching the nuances of daily life and average interactions. It’s not about the scheme or the major event, it’s all about how the characters deal with them.
Here’s another amazing character-driven show to add to your list, immediately: Kim’s Convenience.
To quickly summarize, Kim’s Convenience is a show about a Korean-Canadian family that lives in Toronto. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kim (typically referred to as Appa and Umma), own a small convenience store called—you guessed it—Kim’s Convenience. They have two adult children, Janet and Jung.
The series—which has three seasons on Netflix—follows their lives and relationships, with one another, within the church, in school, and at work. It’s a comedy, with plenty of authentic and sincere moments throughout.
It stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Andrea Bang, and Simu Liu.
Why I Love It
There are several reasons why Kim’s Convenience has quickly shimmied itself to the top of the list of my favorite shows.
It’s funny. No, hilarious. I laugh out loud constantly in every episode—you just can’t help it. I could watch Mr. Kim alone on repeat all day long.
Not only do you get to know the characters, you love them. Each character comes with their own set of quirks, flaws, and admirable traits, all of which adds to their charm and charisma.
It’s not too awkward. If you suffer from secondhand embarrassment like I do, fear not! Kim’s Convenience doesn’t make your skin crawl with too-much-to-bear awkward moments. There are plenty of small-scale, more manageable ones that are funny without being painful.
It’s a full ensemble cast. While you have the nuclear family, the side characters are ones that you get to know intimately too. I especially love any screen time with the lovable Kimchee, the advice-offering Mr. Chin, the boss hat-wearing Shannon, or the well-meaning Pastor Nina.
It’s super easy to watch several episodes in a row. They’re short and funny and leave you wanting more. So, you’ll watch more. Warning: Netflix will likely do that judgy thing where it asks you if you’re still watching.
Press play. Again and again. You won’t be sorry.