Best Korean Drama: have quickly become one of the top forms of global TV entertainment, captivating viewers worldwide through captivating storytelling, unique character dynamics and cultural references. Korean dramas provide something for every taste imaginable from heartbreaking melodramas and action thrillers, to romance comedies that warm hearts. With such an expansive variety of genres available to viewers today, Korean dramas cater to everyone.
As we dive deeper into the captivating realm of Korean dramas, here is our carefully compiled list of 20 Best Korean Dramas that have left an indelible imprint on viewers worldwide. No matter if you are an experienced fan or are just venturing out this list guarantees to take you on an exhilarating adventure through Korea’s unparalleled storytelling prowess.
Why Is Watching Best Korean Drama So Interesting?
Watching Korean dramas has quickly become a captivating and engaging viewing experience, captivating viewers globally and driving an insatiable demand worldwide for K-dramas:
Compelling Storytelling: Korean dramas are known for their intricate yet engaging narratives. From heartwarming romance, intense thriller, or thought provoking fantasy. K-dramas feature captivating narratives that keep audiences engrossed from beginning to end often keeping audiences hooked right from episode 1 Their emphasis on character development and intricate plot twists add an allureful dimension that keeps audiences intrigued with every episode.
Cultural Immersion: Korean dramas present audiences with the opportunity to immerse themselves in Korean culture through K-dramas, from its traditions and social norms to contemporary trends and everything in between. International audiences can take an added layer of delight out of discovering and appreciating another way of life through this immersive cultural immersion experience.
High Production Values: K-dramas are known for their impressive production values, such as top-of-the-line cinematography, set designs that stand out, and breathtaking locations. K-drama audiences are treated to captivating experiences thanks to meticulous attention paid to every detail that contributes to creating such dramas – creating visual dramas which capture audiences visually.
Emotional Resonance: Korean dramas excel at stirring a wide array of feelings within its viewers laughter, tears, joy or suspense are all expertly drawn out of K-dramas by captivating performances that tap into viewers’ feelings in both an enjoyable way but also leave lasting emotional imprints on audiences’ hearts and minds. K-drama characters’ relatability helps audiences engage with them on an individual basis for maximum emotional resonance in any K-dramas episode they watch.
Strong Characterization: Korean dramas have long been known for featuring memorable characters that draw viewers in and make an emotional connection, empathizing with their struggles and celebrating their victories. Their complex plotlines and well-developed personalities help ensure K-dramas remain popular worldwide.
Romantic Tropes and Chemistry: Romance is an integral element in Korean dramas, and they have perfected the art of crafting heartwarming romantic scenes that leave viewers breathless with longing and anticipation. On-screen chemistry between lead actors coupled with well-executed romantic tropes add an additional level of excitement for viewers watching these enthralling series.
Korean Drama Genres and Themes: Korean dramas cater to audiences with varied tastes by offering an assortment of genres and themes that span historical dramas, fantasy tales, crime thrillers, romantic comedies as well as comedies that span multiple eras and time periods – there’s sure to be one suitable to your preferences in K-drama world! Audiences will find something suitable that resonates with them personally.
Global Appeal: Korean dramas’ worldwide popularity has lead to increased accessibility through subtitles in multiple languages and this accessibility enables viewers of diverse cultural backgrounds to enjoy and appreciate the storytelling prowess of Korean dramas, increasing their international popularity and creating global appeal for audiences worldwide.
Here Is The List Of Best Korean Drama
- “Mr. Sunshine” (2018) (Best Korean Drama)
- “Love in the Moonlight” (2016)
- “While You Were Sleeping” (2017)
- “Reply 1988” (2015-2016) (Best Korean Drama)
- “Sky Castle” (2018-2019)
- “My Love from the Star” (2013-2014)
- “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” (2018)
- “Itaewon Class” (2020) (Best Korean Drama)
- “W” (2016)
- “Signal” (2016)
- “Love Alarm” (2019-2021)
- “Crash Landing on You” (2019-2020) (Best Korean Drama)
- “Healer” (2014-2015)
- “Hospital Playlist” (2020)
- “Strong Woman Do Bong-soon” (2017)
- “Goblin” (2016-2017) (Best Korean Drama)
- “Memories of the Alhambra” (2018-2019)
- “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016)
- “Kingdom” (2019-2020)
- “Descendants of the Sun” (2016) (Best Korean Drama)
20 Best Korean Drama
1. “Mr. Sunshine” (2018) (Best Korean Drama)
“Mr. Sunshine,” first released to air in 2018, has won critical acclaim since it first aired. Set against the Joseon Dynasty and early years of Korean Empire during late 19th-century, “Mr. Sunshine” tells an engaging narrative encompassing romance, patriotism and dramatic historical events that helped mold Korea to what we know now as modern day Korea.
Synopsis: This story follows Choi Yoo-jin, born into slavery but who manages to escape to America during the 1871 Shinmiyangyo expedition (U.S. expedition of Korea). There he takes on American citizenship and eventually rises through the ranks as Captain Eugene Choi of the U.S. Marine Corps before returning as military officer on another mission back to Korea where he meets Go Ae-shin, an influential noblewoman and sharpshooter, leading them into political intrigue power struggles, power struggles and fight for independence of Korea’s independence.
“Mr. Sunshine” has garnered widespread acclaim due to its stunning cinematography, exquisite historical details and compelling narrative which explores complex relationships among characters of diverse social classes against a backdrop of national turmoil. Starring Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi and Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-shin respectively delivering powerful performances, which contributed to its widespread appreciation. Boasting historical depth, romance, political intrigue “Mr. Sunshine” stands as an outstanding work within Korean drama history.
2. “Love in the Moonlight” (2016)
“Love in the Moonlight,” also dubbed as “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds,” won audiences’ hearts when it aired in 2016. Set during Joseon Dynasty times, the drama weaves elements of romance, political intrigue, and coming-of-age narrative into its gripping story of its endearing characters’ lives.
Genre: Historical Romance Comedy
Synopsis: This story follows Hong Ra-on (played by Kim Yoo-jung), a young woman disguised as a man to make money as a relationship counselor. After an eventful chain of events transpires, Ra-on becomes involved with Crown Prince Lee Yeong (Park Bo-gum), unaware that Ra-on is actually female; their friendship grows into romance while dealing with palace politics, royal duties and personal secrets in between serving their clients’ relationships as mentor and eunuch respectively.
“Love in the Moonlight” has won widespread acclaim as an exceptional combination of comedy, romance and historical drama. Park Bo-gum’s captivating portrayal as Prince Hearne and Kim Yoo-jung’s delightful performance as crossdressing Ra-on won over audiences to this beloved drama.
“Love in the Moonlight” not only explores blossoming romance between its main characters but also delves into themes such as social hierarchy and duty within royal palace confines as well as struggles that people living there face daily. Boasting both an endearing storyline and visually captivating production values, “Love in the Moonlight” remains a highly esteemed series in Korean historical drama history.
3. “While You Were Sleeping” (2017)
“While You Were Sleeping” is an epic Korean drama which perfectly blends fantasy, romance and thriller to create an exhilarating narrative that keeps audiences on edge. Premiering in 2017 it explores what happens when dreams foretell of our future along with exploring interlinked lives of its characters.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance and Thriller
Synopsis: This story follows Nam Hong-joo (Bae Suzy), an ordinary young woman with the ability to predict future events through dreams. Unfortunately, her dreams don’t offer clear guidance, leaving her uncertain of their accuracy. Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk), an attorney also experiencing precognition through dreams. Both meet as they attempt to stop tragic events they foresaw from occurring and alongside Han Woo-tak (Jung Hae-in).
As they work to alter their dreams of fate and relationships foretold in their dreams, the three become embroiled in an intricate web of mysteries and relationships that leads them deeper and deeper into danger. The drama seamlessly blends elements of romance with legal thrillers – keeping viewers guessing with unpredictable plot twists and emotional depth.
“While You Were Sleeping” centers around changing one’s destiny and its ethical ramifications. Additionally, this series explores both its emotional toll in trying to change fate as well as unexpected interdependence of lives that intertwine in unexpected ways.
Cast, particularly Bae Suzy and Lee Jong-suk have received widespread acclaim for their performances which successfully communicate the emotional depth of their characters. “While You Were Sleeping’s” unique premise, well-executed plot, and touch of supernatural intrigue make this drama standout among Korean dramas.
4. “Reply 1988” (2015-2016) (Best Korean Drama)
“Reply 1988” is an entertaining and critically-acclaimed Korean drama which ran from 2015-2016 on SBS, garnering critical acclaim and winning hearts everywhere. A third installment in its “Reply” series, it stands out for its nostalgic portrayal of life in an 1980s Seoul neighborhood and for realistic depictions of friendship, family dynamics and universal experiences such as those felt during adolescence.
Genre: Coming-of-Age Drama Romance
Synopsis: Ssangmun-dong is an intimate community in Seoul where five families have known one another since childhood. Sung Deok-sun (played by Lee Hye-ri) stands out among her group as she navigates school, family and first love challenges while reflecting back upon cultural, economic and societal events that took place between 1988-1991 in South Korea. The series gives audiences a nostalgic view back then while showing its impact today.
Reply 1988 is remarkable because its author keeps the identity of the lead character’s future husband secret until its last episodes, prompting widespread speculation among viewers and prompting further conversations among themselves. Furthermore, its combination of comedy, heartwarming moments and emotional depth creates a genuine and relatable portrayal of characters’ lives that resonates deeply.
This series has won critical acclaim for its complex characters with distinct quirks and aspirations; attention to historical and cultural details from late 1980s; strong emphasis on family relationships; depicting neighborhood as close-knit community – all these contribute to its lasting success and audience appeal.
“Reply 1988” serves not only as an engaging trip down memory lane for those living through the 1980s but is beloved classic among audiences of all ages due to its universal themes of friendship, love, and time passing by. The movie remains one of Korean dramas’ all-time classics.
5. “Sky Castle” (2018-2019)
“Sky Castle,” an award-winning South Korean drama that ran from 2018 to 2019, received critical acclaim and is widely celebrated among viewers worldwide. This riveting and thought-provoking series delves deep into the lives of elite South Korean families as they deal with society pressures such as education reform.
Genre: Drama or Satire
Synopsis: The narrative centers around residents of Sky Castle neighborhood in Seattle where wealthy families reside. Each family shares one goal – getting their child accepted to top universities to secure social standing and financial prosperity for themselves and their loved ones. But soon secrets, lies, and moral dilemmas surface, shaking characters’ beliefs while pushing the limits of ambitions to the breaking point.
The central characters include numerous families, each of which presents its own set of dynamics and struggles. However, this drama particularly follows four housewives – Han Seo-jin (played by Yum Jung-ah), Lee Soo-im (Lee Tae-ran), No Seung-hye (Yoon Se-ah), and Jin Jin-hee (Oh Na-ra) whose worlds intertwine through unexpected events.
“Sky Castle” deftly explored the darker sides of education systems by delving into academic pressure, competition and its emotional toll on both students and their families. The drama masterfully balanced suspenseful scenes with comedic anecdotes for maximum viewer engagement resulting in an engaging narrative which kept audiences riveted throughout its run time.
“Sky Castle” garnered critical acclaim for its social commentary, engaging storytelling and strong performances by its cast. It became a cultural phenomenon in South Korea as well as internationally famed due to its exploration of societal expectations and sacrifices made on behalf of success. Additionally, “Sky Castle” stands as an extraordinary drama exploring privilege, education and status issues with powerful depth and insight.
6. “My Love from the Star” (2013-2014)
“My Love from the Star,” also known as “You Who Came From the Stars,” was an immensely successful South Korean drama first broadcast between 2013-2014. This series expertly combined elements of romance, fantasy and comedy, providing viewers with captivating storylines as well as exceptional acting from its cast.
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi & Comedy.
Synopsis: This drama revolves around Do Min-joon (played by Kim Soo-hyun), an alien who came to Earth during Joseon Dynasty and has lived among humans ever since, waiting patiently for an opportunity to return back home. While waiting, he meets Cheon Song-yi (Jun Ji-hyun), an actress known for both her beauty and vibrant personality.
As Do Min-joon becomes deeply immersed in Song-yi’s life, he finds herself drawn to her due to their striking similarities, having known another woman from Joseon during their youth. After an initial coldness toward Song-yi despite initial reservations from himself and others alike he soon finds himself drawn by her charms, becoming her unexpected protector as they face challenges of love, time, and mysterious forces which brought them together. Watch as this drama unfolds!
“My Love from the Star” has earned widespread acclaim due to its original concept, quirky humor and charming interactions between its main characters. The series expertly blended romantic elements with suspenseful moments that appealed to viewers of all kinds – particularly its focus on eternal love and human sacrifice that added an additional depth and dimension.
Kim Soo-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun’s performances won widespread acclaim, contributing to “My Love from the Star’s” immense popularity both locally and abroad. “My Love from the Star” remains an acclaimed classic among Korean dramas for its captivating plot and endearing characters as well as its lasting theme of undying love that transcends both time and space.
7. “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” (2018)
“What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” is an entertaining South Korean romantic comedy television series which first premiered in 2018. Based off an online novel with the same name, it blends elements of romance, comedy and workplace dynamics into an engaging narrative for viewers to enjoy.
Synopsis: This film tells the tale of Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon), an ambitious young vice chairman in a large corporation. Kim Mi-so is his highly capable and committed secretary who often assists Young-joon; when Mi-so unexpectedly decides to resign after nine years working under Young-joon’s control he is taken aback and confronted by this unexpected news.
As Mi-so reveals her decision to leave, Young-joon, having taken Mi-so’s skills and dedication for granted, realizes he may harbor deeper feelings for her. Determined to keep Mi-so close by his side, Young-joon sets out on an journey of self-discovery to uncover why Mi-so made such an abrupt departure decision.
This drama chronicles the evolving relationship of two central characters, delving into themes such as love, self-discovery and workplace dynamics. While their characters navigate miscommunication, personal development issues and the challenges balancing professional with personal lives; humorous yet touching moments ensue throughout their adventures in life together.
“What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” quickly rose in popularity with audiences thanks to its charming leads, clever dialogue and effective blend of romance and comedy. Park Seo-joon and Park Min-young’s on-screen chemistry won praise and contributed significantly to its success; fans of romantic comedies in general enjoy watching it as it keeps things lighthearted yet entertaining – making “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” one of their top choices among Korean dramas.
8. “Itaewon Class” (2020) (Best Korean Drama)
“Itaewon Class,” a South Korean television drama from 2020 adapted from an online comic of the same name, made waves for its intriguing mix of coming-of-age, revenge, and drama elements and strong performances. This series won critical acclaim due to its intriguing storyline and stellar acting performances.
Genre: Drama / Romance
Synopsis: This series follows Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon), an idealistic young man who, following an unfortunate event, embarks upon a path of revenge against an influential food conglomerate. He opens “DanBam”, an informal bar-restaurant located within Seoul’s multicultural Itaewon neighborhood; with aspirations to become its best pub. Along his journey he forms an eclectic team with their own goals and aspirations that support one another throughout their endeavors.
“Itaewon Class” explores themes of resilience, justice and pursuing one’s dreams regardless of societal obstacles. Additionally, this drama addresses discrimination issues as well as identity politics within business environments wherein Sae-ro-yi journey is one both about revenge as well as upholding his principles in times of hardship.
The series is famed for its multidimensional characters, each with their own compelling backstory and development arc. The show explores their relationships, personal growth and how their choices shape their lives with Kim Da-mi (Jo Yi-seo) and Kwon Nara (Oh Soo-ah) both making notable performances alongside Park Seo-joon as actors in this regard.
“Itaewon Class” earned rave reviews due to its engaging plot, strong character development and focus on social issues. Other critical acclaim was due to its memorable soundtrack as well as portrayal of Itaewon as vibrant yet diverse backdrop for characters’ journeys. Overall, “Itaewon Class” stands out among Korean television drama as both engaging and socially pertinent series.
9. “W” (2016)
“W” is a South Korean television series which premiered in 2016. This fantasy thriller drama incorporates elements of romance, suspense, and science fiction to produce a riveting narrative experience.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance and Thriller
Synopsis: This story centers around Oh Yeon-joo (Han Hyo-joo), an extraordinary cardiothoracic surgeon whose father is an established webtoon artist. On accident, Oh enters her father’s webtoon world where she discovers she can change its plotline – where she meets Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk), the main character and former Olympic gold medalist turned businessman featured as its protagonist.
As the boundaries between real and webtoon worlds blur, Yeon-joo and Kang Chul become embroiled in an intricate webtoon plotline that weaves its way between both worlds. They face challenging changes to storylines and adversaries as well as discovering mysterious forces at play within both realities. The drama explores what consequences being in control of an imaginary universe has on their lives as characters within it.
“W” received widespread acclaim for its unique premise, complex plot twists and outstanding performances from its leading actors. This drama plays with characters being aware of their existence within an imagined fictional universe while their decisions affect story progression – viewers were particularly engaged by suspenseful yet romantic aspects of its narrative, making “W” one of 2016’s standout series.
“W” quickly gained widespread appreciation among Korean drama enthusiasts due to its eclectic combination of genres and unpredictable narrative. Additionally, critics praise its creative storytelling techniques as well as dynamic interactions between two main characters.
10. “Signal” (2016)
Signal is a critically-acclaimed South Korean crime thriller television series first broadcasted in 2016. Distinguished for its intense storytelling, complex plot and unique concept which involves communication across time periods, “Signal” has won international acclaim since debut.
Genre: Crime Thriller Fantasy
Synopsis: This film centers around an extraordinary walkie-talkie that allows communication between past and present time periods. Park Hae-young (played by Lee Je-hoon), an investigator working in present time who finds an inconspicuous walkie-talkie that connects him to Lee Jae-han from decades earlier (Cho Jin-woong) forms an unlikely partnership to solve cold cases that span decades at once.
While cooperating on investigations, characters grapple with the ethical considerations involved with altering past events and their impact on present affairs. As they work on various criminal cases together, this drama explores themes such as justice and corruption as well as their lasting ramifications on individuals and society as a whole.
“Signal” earned wide acclaim for its captivating storytelling, tight pacing and impressive cast performances. Not only did this series boast intense crime-solving elements but it also explored personal drama among its cast. Additionally, intricate connections between cases created an overarching mystery which kept audiences engrossed from start to finish – providing hours of suspenseful viewing entertainment!
“Signal’s” success can also be credited to its skill in seamlessly merging elements of fantasy with crime thriller genre, creating an intriguing viewing experience for its audiences. Critics laud “Signal” for its writing, direction and stellar chemistry between its lead actors – earning multiple accolades along the way.
11. “Love Alarm” (2019-2021)
“Love Alarm” is a South Korean romance drama series released exclusively to Netflix in 2019. Based off Chon Kye-young’s webtoon with the same title, “Love Alarm” examines how an app that alerts users within 10 meters if someone they like may harbor romantic feelings for them can transform lives.
Genre: Romance, Drama and Sci-Fi.
Synopsis: “Love Alarm” takes place in an near future society and centers on an innovative mobile app known as Love Alarm that sends notifications when someone with romantic feelings for another is within close proximity – sparking significant changes to how people express and experience love.
Kim Jo-jo, played by Kim So-hyun, is an unsettling young woman with a difficult past as she navigates the complex world of love and relationships in an age when technology dictates romantic pairings. Kim soon finds herself embroiled in an unpredictable love triangle between Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang), an accomplished model and close companion, and Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram), an unlikely former flame – both childhood acquaintances.
As its characters grapple with how using Love Alarm app affects their emotions and relationships, this series explores themes of love, friendship and the social impact of technology on interpersonal connections.
“Love Alarm” garnered rave reviews due to its innovative premise, contemporary themes, and talented cast. Not only did the drama explore romantic tension between its characters; but also raised thought-provoking questions regarding technology’s effect on modern relationships.
“Love Alarm” resonated with audiences through its relatable themes and exploration of emotional complexities in an age of social media and dating apps. While providing an appealing romantic plotline, “Love Alarm” also served as a commentary on changing dynamics of love and connection in digital spaces.
12. “Crash Landing on You” (2019-2020) (Best Korean Drama)
“Crash Landing on You,” an immensely popular South Korean TV series that premiered from late 2019 to early 2020, gained worldwide acclaim due to its engaging plotline and stellar cast performances. This romantic drama-comedy also earned international acclaim due to its special combination of captivating story elements with dynamic performances by lead actors who made up its cast.
Genre: Romance, Comedy and Drama.
Synopsis: Yoon Se-ri (portrayed by Son Ye-jin), an accomplished South Korean businesswoman who, due to a paragliding accident, finds herself trapped within the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. At first confused and scared she soon meets Ri Jeong-hyeok ( played by Hyun Bin) from North Korea who discovers and decides to help hide Yoon from North Korean soldiers by offering his village as shelter.
As Se-ri navigates life’s obstacles in North Korea and attempts to return home, she develops an unlikely but heartwarming romance with Jeong-hyeok – exploring cultural differences, inter-Korean relations, and love’s ability to transcend borders along the way. The series examines cultural distinctions and their effects.
“Crash Landing on You” won critical acclaim due to its captivating characters, engaging plot, and outstanding performances by its lead actors. This drama managed to effectively blend romance, comedy and drama, leaving audiences emotionally invested from episode one until episode ten. Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, who portrayed its central characters respectively, contributed immensely towards making this series such a success story.
Apart from its romantic storyline, Crash Landing on You also explored social and political topics on the Korean Peninsula that provided audiences with a new viewpoint of that region. Audiences everywhere found this drama to be highly-rated and beloved – becoming one of the highest rated Korean dramas globally! Crash Landing On You stands as testament to universal love’s capacity for transcending even difficult circumstances through human bonds that transcend borders and divides.
13. “Healer” (2014-2015)
“Healer” was a South Korean television series which ran from 2014-2015, featuring elements of romance, thriller, and mystery with its action-packed story line surrounding Healer: an unknown “night courier”.
Genre: Action, Romance and Thriller
Synopsis: This story follows Seo Jung-hoo (Ji Chang-wook), known by his code name Healer. As an experienced night courier trained in various forms of combat and surveillance techniques, Healer operates as an impartial messenger service between cities at night. Though adept in his trade, Healer strictly avoids becoming involved with clients’ personal lives despite their request to investigate an event from 20 years prior involving Chae Young-shin (Park Min-young). When hired to reveal its truth concerning an event from 20 years prior, his life takes an unexpected path that changes him permanently:
As Healer delves further into his investigation, he uncovers an intricate web of conspiracies, secrets and powerful figures. Along the way he meets Kim Moon-ho (Yoo Ji-tae), an investigative journalist with her own agenda who joins their investigations together and embarks on an unflinching pursuit for truth. Together they embark upon a dangerous path in search of its realization.
“Healer” has received widespread acclaim due to its fast-paced plot, intricate character relationships and dynamic performances by Ji Chang-wook’s portrayal as Healer; coupled with their compelling performances and the captivating chemistry between lead characters; contributed significantly to its immense success.
“Healer” has earned rave reviews for its expertly choreographed action scenes and engaging storytelling; slowly unwrapping of an intricate mystery is what “Healer” excels at doing best! Fans who prefer dramas that incorporate various genres have long revered “Healer”, making this drama one of their favorites.
14. “Hospital Playlist” (2020)
“Hospital Playlist” is a South Korean medical drama television series created and originally broadcast starting in 2020 by Shin Won-ho. Renowned for its distinctive approach to medical genre storytelling, “Hospital Playlist” showcases both clinical cases as well as characters’ personal lives and relationships within it.
Genre: Medical Drama/Friendship
Synopsis: This series follows five doctors from medical school who have become close over time and now work together at Yulje Medical Center. Their characters include Lee Ik-jun (played by Jo Jung-suk), Ahn Jeong-won (Yoo Yeon-seok), Kim Jun-wan (Jung Kyung-ho), Yang Seok-hyeong (Kim Dae Myung), and Chae Song-hwa (Jeon Mi-do).
Drama focusing on medical profession and its challenges and triumphs while exploring friendship among its characters is at its heart, with five close acquaintances having their own band that forms part of its charm outside hospital environments.
Each episode in “Hospital Playlist” typically presents at least one medical case, yet its essence lies in how each character interacts and the relationships among them. “Hospital Playlist” successfully balances moments of humor with heartwarming friendship and emotional depth to craft an affecting narrative for viewers to follow along with.
Hospital Playlist was met with praise for its realistic portrayal of medicine, well-developed characters and cast chemistry. Through medical cases, personal stories and an innovative musical score it stands out among medical drama series; thus leading to its second season being announced.
15. “Strong Woman Do Bong-soon” (2017)
“Strong Woman Do Bong-soon” was a South Korean romantic comedy television series released in 2017. This drama quickly become one of South Korea’s top ratings draws due to its distinctive blend of romance, comedy and fantasy elements as well as for featuring strong performances by its lead actors.
Genre: Romance, Comedy and Fantasy.
Synopsis: This series follows Do Bong-soon (played by Park Bo-young), who was born with superhuman strength but despite this aspires to lead an ordinary life. After receiving anonymous threats against Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), CEO of gaming company, Bong-soon becomes hired as his bodyguard as part of his bodyguard services contract.
Bong-soon finds herself caught between her new job and its challenges of concealing her strength, and falling into an intricate love triangle between Min-hyuk (Ji Soo), her childhood friend turned police detective; and In Guk Doo (also Ji Soo). The drama plays out with comedic moments, romantic tension and crime-solving subplot.
Bong-soon’s journey is not only one of finding her strength but also one of discovering where she belongs in life and understanding its complexity, including love. Additionally, this drama explores themes related to empowerment, friendship and staying true to oneself.
“Strong Woman Do Bong-soon” won high marks due to its lively yet entertaining plotline and strong acting performances by Park Bo-young as Do Bong-soon as well as Park Hyung-sik and Ji Soo delivering charismatic performances as Park Hyung Sik and Ji Soo respectively. These factors all helped contribute to its great success.
The series has earned widespread acclaim due to its unique premise, charming characters, and ability to balance humor, romance and action seamlessly. It remains an immensely popular option among viewers looking for romantic comedies with fantastical twists.
16. “Goblin” (2016-2017) (Best Korean Drama)
“Goblin,” more widely known by its original Korean title of Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, was an immensely popular South Korean television drama from 2016-2017 that received widespread acclaim due to its imaginative storytelling, breathtaking cinematography, and compelling performances by Kim Eun-sook’s cast. This fantasy romance drama garnered numerous critical accolades owing to its stand-out storyline, beautiful cinematography, and incredible acting talent from Kim Eun-sook as its director.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance and Drama.
Synopsis: Kim Shin (played by Gong Yoo), an immortal goblin living centuries of penance for past sins, finds peace when he meets a bride that can pull out his sword lodged within. But complications ensue when he encounters Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun), an ordinary high school student with ghost sighting abilities who is an unlikely match to Kim Shin.
As their paths intersect, this series explores themes of life, death, love and destiny. Kim Shin is joined by Wang Yeo (played by Lee Dong-wook) a Grim Reaper with whom there has been some tension involving goblin. Their lives become evermore intertwined as they navigate a world filled with supernatural elements as well as past grievances and hidden mysteries about themselves and life itself.
“Goblin” has long been celebrated for its intricate plot and strong character development; its blend of fantasy and romance; stunning visuals; stunning direction and haunting soundtrack all contribute to its incredible success.
“Goblin” quickly became an international cultural phenomenon due to the outstanding performances from Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun in particular; becoming one of South Korea’s highest-rated and beloved drama series with deep emotional depth, philosophical themes, enduring love themes, and themes related to redemption and transcendence. Today it still holds onto top spots on Korean drama lists.
17. “Memories of the Alhambra” (2018-2019)
“Memories of the Alhambra” was a South Korean television series released during 2018-2019 that gained notoriety for its unique plot and innovative use of AR gaming with suspenseful storytelling. Created by Jinnie Choi, it gained widespread acclaim due to its blending of AR with suspenseful story-lines.
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller and Romance.
Synopsis: Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin), CEO of an investment firm, travels to Granada in Spain in search of its creator of an innovative AR game. After exploring its historic Alhambra Palace and discovering an engaging game brimming with danger he finds himself caught up in something more sinister – an existence where reality and virtuality overlap dangerously.
Park Shin-hye plays Jung Hee-joo, an owner of a hostel in Granada; her brother Jung Se-joo (Chan-yeol) is an expert programmer engulfed by an AR game’s mystery; both brothers become embroiled in its unfolding. When Jin-woo faces unexpected dangers both online and offscreen he must unravel its secrets while simultaneously facing up to its consequences and confront its implications head-on.
“Memories of the Alhambra” has earned praise for its unique concept, gripping plot twists, and cutting-edge use of technology for storytelling. This series keeps audiences gripped as it tackles themes including reality versus virtual reality and how technology affects human experiences.
Hyun Bin’s captivating performance as Yoo Jin-woo and Park Shin-hye’s captivating performance as Jung Hee-joo were key components to its success, along with its picturesque setting in Granada and incorporation of AR elements that gave viewers an immersive viewing experience.
“Memories of the Alhambra” earned rave reviews due to its engaging narrative and stunning visual effects, marking it an exceptional contribution to Korean dramas.
18. “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016)
“Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” also dubbed as Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, was an airing South Korean historical romance drama from 2016. Based off a Chinese novel called Bu Bu Jing Xin and following modern-day woman travel back into history during Goryeo Dynasty times.
Genre: Historical Romance Fantasy.
Synopsis: The story follows Go Ha-jin (IU), an ordinary 21st-century woman, as she finds herself transported back in time during King Taejo’s Goryeo Dynasty rule and inhabiting Hae Soo’s body within it, becoming embroiled in royal court politics and love affairs as Hae Soo’s persona.
As Hae Soo navigates palace life, she encounters various princes with their own ambitions and struggles, such as Wang So (Lee Joon-gi). At first feared due to facial scarring, Wang So eventually becomes involved in complex relationships, political rivalries, and ultimately in her fight for power as seen through Hae Soo’s eyes.
“Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” has won praise for its intricate plot, historical authenticity and emotional depth of characters. This drama explores themes related to love, power, betrayal and historical events while depicting unrequited romance as well as political maneuverings affecting lives in an intimate manner.
This series quickly won over fans through its compelling storytelling, visually striking production values, and stellar acting from its cast – especially IU and Lee Joon-gi’s depictions of Hae Soo and Wang So, respectively, that won widespread acclaim and contributed immensely to its overall success.
Although “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” initially experienced difficulties in terms of ratings, it has since grown an international following and become one of the most beloved historical romance dramas on Korean TV.
19. “Kingdom” (2019-2020)
“Kingdom” is a South Korean television series which first debuted on Netflix in 2019. This historical horror drama draws its inspiration from Kim Eun-hee and Yang Kyung-il’s webcomic series entitled, The Kingdom of Gods.
Genre: Historical, Horror and Political Drama.
Synopsis: “Kingdom,” set during the Joseon Dynasty, follows Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon). As part of his investigation into an outbreak that turns people into flesh-eating monsters, Lee Chang finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into political conspiracies and power struggles within the royal court he investigates.
This series blends elements of historical drama with horror to produce an engaging narrative, building tension as characters face both undead threats as well as political maneuverings over who will seize control of their throne.
“Kingdom” earned rave reviews for its fresh take on zombie genre, marrying it with historical drama elements and providing compelling storytelling and breathtaking action sequences. Furthermore, political intrigue and undead threats added further layers of suspense and complexity into its plotline.
Success of “Kingdom” has resulted in multiple seasons and has garnered international acclaim thanks to its engaging storyline, strong character development and blend of historical and horror genres. Additionally, fans often praise its depiction of an exciting storyline within Korean historical settings.
20. “Descendants of the Sun” (2016) (Best Korean Drama)
“Descendants of the Sun,” a South Korean television series that premiered in 2016, quickly gained widespread acclaim both domestically and abroad thanks to its gripping story, outstanding cast performances and stunning cinematography.
Genre: Romance, Drama, Action
Synopsis: This series follows the romance between Captain Yoo Shi-jin (played by Song Joong-ki), an elite special forces officer, and Dr. Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo), an orthopedic surgeon. They meet while serving peacekeeping missions in Urk. Despite initial differences, however, Shi-jin and Mo-yeon form a deep bond and their romance develops amid all their respective professions’ obstacles.
“Descendants of the Sun” is widely revered for its innovative setting combining elements of romance with action set against an intense military backdrop. The drama explores themes like duty, sacrifice and its effects on individuals and relationships alike made even more captivating thanks to superb lead actor performances that give depth and emotion into characters who contribute immensely towards its success.
This drama also showcases an intriguing secondary romance between soldiers Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young (portrayed by Jin Goo) and Lieutenant Yoon Myung-joo ( played by Kim Ji-won), adding an additional romantic and complex layer to its plotline.
“Descendants of the Sun” garnered widespread critical acclaim due to its excellent production quality, compelling plotline and stellar casting performances from its cast. The show achieved phenomenal success both locally in South Korea as well as internationally across various markets further cementing Korean drama’s global popularity while becoming one of its most beloved dramas ever created for Korean television.
Best Korean Drama Conclusion
Korean dramas offer an eclectic variety of genres and captivating narratives that captivate viewers around the globe. Ranging from romance and fantasy films, historical dramas, intense thrillers and everything in between – Korean dramas are known for delivering engaging stories featuring well-developed characters through talented actors, skilled writers and high production values that contribute to its worldwide appeal.
Some standout dramas, including “Goblin”, “Crash Landing on You”, “Descendants of the Sun”, and “Kingdom”, have left an indelible mark on audiences by demonstrating Korea’s unique storytelling techniques and versatility. Not only are these tales entertaining; but also explore universal themes such as love, friendship, justice and human experience in fascinating ways.
Korean dramas continue to capture viewers with their emotional depth, cultural richness and unique storytelling – from historical epics such as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo or contemporary romantic comedies such as Strong Woman Do Bong-soon. Platforms like Netflix have enabled greater access to Korean dramas worldwide which has contributed significantly to their growing global appeal.
Korean dramas have quickly become an inescapable cultural staple, drawing viewers in from every background through captivating storytelling experiences that transcend national borders. As Korean content producers create ever more captivating pieces for television screens across the world, its impact may persist and grow into becoming part of popular culture and making an indelible mark upon society as whole.
Best Korean Drama FAQ’s
Why are Korean dramas so popular internationally?
Korean dramas have gained international popularity thanks to their unique storytelling, diverse genres, relatable characters and high production values. Additionally, Korean dramas offer emotional depth, cultural richness and universal themes which add further appeal.
Where can I watch Korean dramas with English subtitles?
Many streaming platforms provide access to Korean dramas with English subtitling, such as Netflix, Viki, Kocowa and Rakuten Viki with some available even via YouTube and other services.
How many episodes do Korean dramas usually have?
Korean dramas typically feature 12 to 16 episodes; some historical-era productions often boast higher episode counts.
Are Korean dramas only in the Korean language?
Though Korean dramas are typically produced in their original language, several platforms provide subtitles in other languages, including English, making the show accessible to a global audience.
What are some classic must-watch Korean dramas?
Classic and highly-acclaimed Korean dramas that have had an enormous effect on Korean drama include Winter Sonata,” Boys Over Flowers,” My Love from the Star” and Dae Jang Geum (“Jewel in the Palace). Each has made an indelible mark upon Korean drama history.
Do Korean dramas always have a happy ending?
Korean dramas feature unpredictable and captivating plotlines with unpredictable outcomes that vary greatly, from happy or bittersweet endings to open or uncertain resolutions. Such diverse conclusions add a further level of unpredictability and intrigue when viewing Korean series.
How is the production quality of Korean dramas compared to other countries?
Korean dramas are widely recognized for their outstanding production quality, which pays close attention to every element from cinematography, set design and costume creation to cinematography and wardrobe choices. As an industry, this has resulted in visually engaging content being produced.
Are Korean dramas suitable for all age groups?
Korean dramas appeal to various age groups; its suitability depends on its genre and content. While some dramas may be family-friendly or appropriate for teenagers, others may feature mature themes meant for adult viewers.
Are there any cultural aspects unique to Korean dramas?
Korean dramas frequently explore aspects of culture such as traditional customs, family values and societal norms that reflect Korean society as it exists today. Furthermore, viewers gain an inside glimpse into Korean cuisine, history and lifestyle – providing viewers a way into its way of life.
How often do new Korean dramas get released?
Korean dramas are regularly released for viewing pleasure, often several dramas airing every month. Production cycles for dramas vary and viewers should expect an endless supply of fresh content throughout the year.