Since Red, White, and Royal Blue has won everyone’s hearts, we are scrambling to get more of the couple and even more stories similar to theirs. There has been an explosion of queer love stories in recent years, ones that don’t completely focus on the determination of their identities and their expression to their near and dear ones. East Asian content has paved the way for this, which is why these series take up the majority of the list. Each one of these is a must-watch, and we promise you that you will not get enough.
How could Heartstopper not have been at the top of the list? If chemistry and sweetness are your cup of tea, this is a must-watch. It also has better discussions than Red, White, and Royal Blue regarding the complexities of coming out and owning your identities. Season 1 of Heartstopper was perfect, but Season 2 is excellent. A third season will definitely be out, and we cannot recommend it enough that you read the graphic novels and watch both seasons before that happens. Heartstopper is one series that you do not want to miss out on.
2. Bad Buddy
Thai Boys Love stories are set in a universe where coming out is not that big of a concept. While it is detached from real life, it gives a chance to explore stories that are not just about coming out. Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat play their roles of Pat and Pran to perfection, and the chemistry is as electrifying as it gets. If Alex and Henry were royalty, Pat and Pran would be the modern-day Romeo and Juliet living across from each other. How they go from enemies to friends and finally to lovers is probably the stuff of legends and is made possible mostly by how well-suited the actors are for their characters. It also helps that Pran has dimples that Pat and we cannot get enough of.
Another popular Thai series that was released during the lockdown and took the world by storm. In fact, this was the gateway for many to start watching queer love stories set in Thailand, where this has established itself as a whole other industry that is thriving more and more by the day. You would need to willfully ignore some of the problematic terminology to feel the magic of the stories, but once you do that, they become an addiction. Tine and Sarawat are really that couple who come under “he fell first, but he fell harder.” They start out as fake lovers because Tine needs to get rid of his unwanted admirer, and in the process, he and Sarawat end up being one of the most sincere couples we have ever come across. This is a must-watch.
4. Semantic Error
Talking about global hits, how could we leave out this Korean series? We have all heard that if someone is annoying you, they have a crush on you. Well, that only applies if you are Jang Jae Young. Fun fact: Park Seo Ham (the actor) used to train with BTS before they debuted. We are not complaining because, literally, no one should replace him as Jang Jae Young. His and Cho Sang Woo’s love story is another case of “enemies to lovers,” and this is how it should be done. Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself addicted to the music in this series.
5. Kinn Porsche
East Asia has entirely dominated this list. But fair warning, this particular series has problematic themes, which raises the question of why you should watch it. That’s because it is a love story set in the mafia, and we can never get enough of them. Also, don’t be surprised if you find yourself ogling a little too much at Apo Nattawin, who plays Porsche Pachara. Season 2 of Kinn Porsche is not likely at all, and the makers had to go through hell and high water to make the first season, but it is all so worth it. Ignore the problematic aspects of it and the subsequent drama with its actors and Kinn Porsche is a must-watch.
6. Cherry Magic
This Japanese series is going to get its Thai counterpart very soon, but there is something about the way Eiji Akaso and Keita Machida have immortalized Adachi and Kurosawa. No shade to New Thitipoom and Tay Tawan, but we don’t see them creating the same magic. We will be watching it regardless because they are capable actors, but the Japanese version is in a league of its own. The story of a shy man and how he discovers love and the fact that the world will give him a chance if he allows it to is portrayed with such sensitivity that it managed to untangle some of the knots we did not know we carried in our hearts. The lift scene is a huge bonus as well and will always be iconic.
7. A Tale of a Thousand Stars
There is something very special about the process of falling in love. If slow burns are your thing, this story should be on your watchlist. It is love at first sight for Chief Phupha, but he is as difficult as Tian, who is the person he has fallen in love with. But there are enough secrets in their past, and they are severe enough to tear them apart. Be it Tian’s guilt or Phupha’s betrayal, how these two overcome these obstacles through time, and distance is the crux of the show. Both the actors are objectively good-looking, and Mix Sahaphap as Tian was a genius casting choice. The show remains feel-good for the most part, and its cinematography is just chef’s kiss. Give this a try.
8. Love is in the Air
Another smash hit from recent times, we are recommending this show specifically for the love story in the latter half of the show. In fact, we would say that you can directly start watching it from its eighth episode, where the Prapai-Sky story starts. You will fall in love with it, and then you can move on to the Payu-Rain story if you like. In Red, White, and Royal Blue, it was Alex who was setting the standards, and in Love in The Air, popularly known as LITA, it is Prapai who has raised the bar a little too high. His and Sky’s love story is unmissable.
9. Cutie Pie
A lot of Thai queer romances are adapted from books, and Cutie Pie is an especially mushy find. Zee Pruk Panich has been one of the best discoveries of the Thai entertainment industry in recent years, and his chemistry with Nunew Chawarin is unmatched. Their characters, Lian and Kuea, create magic on screen, and for all of its mush, the way it addresses the vulnerabilities of the protagonists and the cracks in their relationship is admirable. It starts with a forced relationship with closed proximity, only to reveal something we cannot tell without it being a spoiler. Do give this a watch because it is really hard to look away from Zee Pruk Panich’s face, whether he is smirking, smiling, or crying.
This entire list is made up of feel-good romances. Just like in Red, White, and Royal Blue, there are snippets of important conversations here and there, but the heart of the story lies in romance. Your standards would be significantly higher once you are done with it.