Really good kdramas

Really good kdramas DEFAULT

If you're not watching Korean dramas, better known as K-dramas, then you're missing out in several ways. First, there's the big-picture, cultural impact to consider: K-dramas have become a worldwide phenomenon, and if you're going to be a pop culture connoisseur/productive denizen of the entertainment-loving internet—and you're here, so you obviously are both of those things—then you need to be versed in all things K-drama. And then there's the more important reason to watch K-dramas: They are addictive and amazing, and you'll thank yourself for adding them to your pop culture diet.

Known for their interesting storylines and intense (if sometimes predictable) plot twists, Korean dramas can go from super sappy to incredibly heartbreaking to "WTF, what was that?" in a heartbeat. That variety is exactly what keeps viewers coming back for more. Here, we've listed the best K-dramas to watch.


Squid Game

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If you haven't yet checked out Squid Game, which is set to become Netflix's most-watched show ever, then here's one more recommendation: This edge-of-your-seat Korean thriller is definitely worth a look. In the viral hit, a group of people in serious debt sign up to play a series of children's games for a chance at 45.6 billion won (about $38 million). The catch? If the players loose at Tug of War or Red Light, Green Light, they die.

watch it on Netflix

Crash Landing on You

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A South Korean heiress, Yoon Se-ri, gets caught in a storm while paragliding and finds herself blown off course into North Korea. Se-ri then runs into Ri Jeong-hyeok, Captain of the North Korean Special Forces and a member of the North Korean elite family. Captain Ri eventually hatches a plan to get Se-ri back to South Korea with the help of his squad, but not before they all tackle the obstacles that come their way—and then some. This drama mixes romance with comedy and ultimately tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers. It's currently the highest rated tvN drama and the second-highest Korean drama in cable television history.

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Goblin (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)

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This series, written by Kim Eun-sook, is the fourth highest-rated Korean drama of all time. The fantasy romance is about a modern day goblin, Gong Yoo, who needs a human bride (Kim Go Eun) to end his cursed immortal life. His life then becomes intertwined with a grim reaper, Lee Dong-wook, who is unable to remember his past. The story evolves as all these strangers lives intertwine.

WATCH IT ON VIKI

Sky Castle

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This series follows the journeys of four women and their families as they try to maintain the status quo among the upper crust of South Korean society. The drama revolves around one mother's obsession with getting her daughter into an elite university by any means necessary...sound familiar? This one is a nice mix of romance, soapy drama, and comedy, so if you enjoy human-interest stories, Sky Castle is definitely the K-drama for you.

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Vincenzo

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If you're looking for something in the middle of the Venn Diagram of "K-Drama" and "Mafia Drama," then Vincenzo is the show for you. In it, Song Joong-ki stars as a Korean man named Vincenzo who was adopted by an Italian mafia family and raised in the mob life in Italy. When his adoptive father dies, his adopted brother sets out to kill him, forcing Vincenzo to flee back to Seoul.

watch it on netflix

Law School

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How to Get Away With Murder fans are sure to love Law School, which focuses on students and professors are prestigious Hankuk University Law School. The show's plot kicks off when one law professor at the school is found dead and another, Professor Yang (played by Kim Myung-min) is arrested for the crime, forcing the students to team up to prove Yang's innocence.

watch it on netflix

100 Days My Prince

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In 100 Days My Prince, Prince Lee Yul is forced to flee the palace after he discovers a secret that puts his life at risk. After an accident causes him to lose his memory, he's nursed back to health by a commoner and told he's betrothed to their daughter, Yeon Hong-shim. The story focuses on their next 100 days together, with Lee Yul living life as a commoner and their love story growing in the process.

watch it on netflix

Boys Over Flowers

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Boys Over Flowers is an old-school teen drama, focused on a group of popular/privileged/not-so-nice boys at the prestigious Shinhwa High School. The group, known as F4, bully others to get their way—until a working class girl named Geum Jan-di arrives at the school on scholarship and stands up to the boys.

watch it on netflix

Navillera

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Fair warning: Navillera is the kind of show that is best watched with a full box of tissues at your side. The series focuses on Shim Deok-chul, a 70-year-old retired mailman who dreams of being a ballet dancer. As Deok-chul pursues his dream, he also battles advancing Alzheimer’s.

watch it on netflix

The Penthouse

If you thought Big Little Lies and Sky Castle laid the melodrama on thick, just wait until you take a bite out of this rollercoaster of a series. Penthouse follows three wealthy families vying for power in the exclusive Hera Palace community–a luxurious 100-floor high-rise that juts out of the Seoul skyline. Like its forebears, the series centers on three women who hide behind their various secrets and traumas with piles of money and their boundless ambitions for their children. Their world begins to crumble after a mysterious girl falls to her death and the trio attempt to cover up the location of her death to protect the reputation of Hera Palace. It’s messy, and I am living for it.

watch it on viki

The Uncanny Counter

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This show loosely reminds me of Ghostbusters, but with an eclectic group of characters who each possesses special abilities. The five-person group, called "Counter," work at a noodle restaurant by day and at night, hunt down evil spirits who have escaped from the after life to go after humans. (Their red tracksuits in the show are iconic and honestly would make for great group Halloween costume in 2021—just putting the idea out there.) This K-drama has been very well received by the audience and will have you binging all the episodes in one weekend.

watch it on netflix

Sweet Home

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If you enjoyed Korean movies like The Call and Alive, you'll be able to stomach and love Sweet Home. The show follows a guy who moves into a new apartment complex after the death of his family. Depressed and a loner, he starts witnessing frightening things in the building from some of his odd neighbors. If you're a peek-over-the-blanket-type person when watching horror shows like I am, then I'd advise you to tune into this during the day time. (I made the mistake of starting this show at night—never again.)

watch it on netflix

Run On

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The storyline: Ki Seon-gyeom, a popular sprinter turned sports agent, meets Oh Mi-joo, who writes subtitle translations for movies, and Mi-joo believes they were destined for each other. The story centers around their budding romance alongside some strong secondary characters. Mi-joo is played by actress Shin Se-Kyung (from Rookie Historian) while Seon-gyeom is played by Im Si-Wan (from Strangers From Hell), so if you're familiar with both famous faces then give this show a chance.

watch it on netflix

Start-Up

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Suzy Bae and Nam Joo-hyuk stans will want to tune into this drama, which mixes comedy with romance. The show centers around a group of young individuals who are all eager to start their own businesses. When Bae and Nam's characters, Seo Dal-mi and Nam Do-san respectively, are chosen to join Sandbox (a tech accelerator for entrepreneurs), along with Seo's sister Won In-jae, the three are pitted against one another in a contest to be the best. Little does Dal-mi know, however, someone important from her past (Han Ji-pyeong, played by Kim Sun-ho) has her back throughout this start-up journey. Viewers will be rooting for Dal-Mi to end up with Do-San or Ji-pyeong. Personally, we are team Ji-pyeong.

watch it on netflix

Tale of the Nine Tailed

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You might want to keep the lights turned on for Lee Dong-wook's new show because it's a little scary (think scenes with ghosts and a water well à la The Ring). Aside from some minor scenes that make you shudder, however, the story largely revolves around his character Lee-yeon, a mythical fox known as gumiho, and a documentary filmmaker Nam Ji-a (played by Jo Bo-ah) who were once lovers in the past. (The foxes adopt human appearances, but have special powers.) Circumstances in the present bring the two on a treacherous journey that involves solving Ji-a's parents mysterious deaths and the two rediscovering their love for each other.

watch it on viki

Record of Youth

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New to Netflix, this show centers on three ambitious individuals from different social classes working in the cut throat world of show business and fashion. Sa Hye-joon (played by Park Bo-gum) and Won Hae-hyo (played by Byeon Woo-seok) are models who aspire to be actors. They end up becoming friends with makeup artist An Jung-ha (played by Park So-dam) and together the trio must face a variety of obstacles that threaten to stop them from achieving their dreams in the entertainment industry.

watch it on netflix

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung

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In a Romeo and Juliet-esque storyline, this show revolves around a romance between an aspiring palace historian and a lonely prince. Together, they go on a journey to break societal norms and uncover secrets from their pasts that could have consequences on their present day lives. This show is suited for those seeking sweet, heart-fluttering moments and will have you rooting for the couple until the very end.

watch it on netflix

It's Okay to Not Be Okay

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The story centers around a caretaker at a psychiatric ward, Moon Gang-tae, who crosses paths with a children's book writer Ko Moon-young. Gang Tae has lived life on the run while taking care of his older brother, Sang Tae, who is autistic and suffers from reoccurring nightmares of the day their mother was murdered. He is a big fan of Ms. Ko, who is known to be antisocial and has a difficult personality. After a series of events, all three lives become intertwined and their dramatic back stories are revealed. Gang-tae, Sang-tae, and Ms. Ko share more in common with one another than they think. Aside from the fact that the two leading romantic pairs are both gorgeous, this show will keep viewers glued to their seats thanks to Gang-tae and Ms. Ko's push-and-pull dynamic.

watch it on netflix

Mother

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When substitute teacher Soo-jin (played by Lee Bo-Young of When My Love Blooms) discovers one of her students Hye-na (played by the brilliant Heo Yool) is being abused by her mother and her boyfriend, she impulsively decides to run away with the little girl. Soo-jin sets out to travel from South Korea to Iceland (she is a bird researcher and has been given a grant to work at an institution there), but before she can make it to Iceland so many unexpected events happen. Viewers will discover why Soo-jin is so drawn to Hye-na and they will grow into the quite unexpected mother-daughter pair we're all rooting for. This show will ask viewers to think about what it means to be a mother/who gets to be one and will leave your eyes puffy from sobbing after every episode. Mother is one of South Korea's most highly-rated series.

watch it on viki

Love Alarm

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In a world where an app lets you know whether or not someone is in love with you within a 10-meter radius, feelings are transparent even when you don't want them to be. The story centers around a hardworking and studious student Kim Jo-jo who catches the eye of two guys (who just so happen to be best friends and basically are like brothers) in her school: Hwang Sun-oh and Lee Hye-yeong. Sun-oh is a model from a rich family and could not be any more different from Jo-jo but they fall for each other. As time passes, the two drift apart and Hye-yeong sees this as a chance to finally confess his feelings for Jo-jo. At the end of season one we're left with a cliffhanger: who will Jo-jo choose to be with?

watch it on netflix

Strangers From Hell

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If you're looking for a creepy, pull-blankets-up-to-your-eyes kind of drama, watch this show. It follows a young man in his 20s, Yoon Jong-woo, who moves to the countryside to Seoul after his friend offered him a job. He needs a place to live and ends up finding Eden Gosiwon, an unkempt but inexpensive apartment with a communal kitchen and bathroom. He decides to stay for six months until he has enough money to move out, but starts noticing weird behaviors and strange happenings in the apartment building. One of his neighbors, played by Goblin's Lee Dong-wook, is a dentist by day and serial killer by night. We'll stop here and let the other suspenseful events shock you to your core.

watch it on netflix

The King: Eternal Monarch

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This Korean drama has it all: parallel universes, time travel, a handsome king, a strong female detective, tragedy, and romance. The show tells the story of Lee Gon (played by one of South Korea's most popular actors: Lee Min-ho), a Korean emperor who rules The Kingdom of Corea (the North and South are still unified in this world) and discovers a portal opening in the bamboo forest that leads him to a parallel universe—the world that we know today. He meets, and falls in love, with detective Jung Tae-eul (played by Goblin's Kim Go-eun) in this world and they have to work together to close this time portal before their two worlds collide and freeze in time forever. Will they succeed in their journey and will their love be able to transcend time?

watch it on netflix

Hospital Playlist

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Grey's Anatomy and other medical drama stans will want to dive right into this drama that depicts the stories of people working at a hospital. The five doctors have been friends for 20 years (they all went to the same medical school) and now they're colleagues navigating through a career centered around life and death. This show is currently one of the highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history and a second season is set to premiere in 2021!

watch it on netflix

Extracurricular

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Sky Castle's Kim Dong-hee stars in a lead role as Oh Ji-soo in this show. The drama centers around three high school students who commit crimes to earn money and along the way encounter dangerous enemies and obstacles. It will take an episode or two for you to fully grasp what is happening before you appreciate the intricate storytelling that is being told by director Kim Jin-min. Hang in there for the journey.

watch it on netflix

Mystic Pop-up Bar

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This show checks off the boxes for drama, fantasy, and mystery. The storyline centers on Ssanggab Cart Bar, which is only open at night on the rooftop of a building. Wol-Ju (played by Hwang Jung-eum) runs the mysterious food cart and customers who visit her consist of the living and dead. While drinking and eating, they converse with Wol-Ju about themselves and their internal struggles.

watch it on netflix

Memories of the Alhambra

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This fantasy drama is perfect for Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye fans (you may remember her from the popular show The Heirs). The two actors play each other's romantic interest in Memories of the Alhambra, which is set between Spain and South Korea. (Fun fact: Park Shin-hye learned Spanish for the show, so her voice is not dubbed!) They encounter each other in Spain when Hyun Bin's character, Yoo Jin-woo, arrives to the hostel owned by Park Shin-hye's character, Jung Hee-joo, because he wants her to sign over the rights to develop her brother's augmented reality game. (The brother, meanwhile, has vanished into thin air). Jin-woo starts playing the game and eventually realizes it is causing those around him to die. If he wants to save himself and Jung Hee-joo's missing brother, he has to complete the dangerous quests.

watch it on netflix

Hyena

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Yoon Hee-jae is a handsome attorney who's confident in crushing his opponents in court. He has a "chance" meeting at a laundromat with a mysterious woman and ends up falling for her only to later discover that the woman, Jung Geum-ja, is actually an attorney representing the opposite side. She had strategically won Hee-jae's heart (and his case files) because she really needs a win to save her struggling business. Despite being wronged, Hee-jae is attracted to Geum-ja and the pair duke it out in court. If Yoon Hee-jae looks familiar to you it's because the character is played by Ju Ji-hoon, who also plays the dazzling Crown Prince in Kingdom.

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Hi, Bye Mama

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If you like a little supernatural pizazz with your drama, this show is for you. Cha Yoo-ri is a ghost who died five years ago, leaving behind her husband, Jo Kang-hwa, and their child. In a move to become a living human again, Cha Yoo-ri carries out a reincarnation project for 49 days. When she reappears to Jo Kang-hwa, however, she finds that her husband has changed a lot since she died.

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Itaewon Class

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Where to start with this one? This series tells the story of Park Sae-roy, who opens a restaurant in Itaewon after having spent a few years in prison for beating up Jang Geun-won, the son and heir to Jangga Group. The two have a rough history and now, with a fresh start, Park Sae-roy wants to not only franchise his restaurant DanBam, but have it overtake Jangga Group as a household name. (His ultimate goal is to get revenge for his father's death, which was caused by the Jangga family.) The CEO of Jangga Group is a self-made man of success and he will not let Park Sae-roy defeat him or his son. The two engage in a power struggle throughout the entire series that's filled with juicy plot twists and turns.

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

The Heirs

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This drama tells the story of a group of rich, privileged high school students who will one day take over their families businesses. The coming-of-age themes explored in the drama include identity, wealth, and relationships. One of the main characters is Kim Tan, a chaebol heir to Jeguk Group, who hasn't had the easiest relationship with his older half-brother Kim Won because he thinks Tan is trying to steal their father's company from him. To make Tan's life even more difficult, he ends up falling in love with his housekeeper's daughter, Cha Eun-sang, much to his father's disapproval and he has to compete with classmate Choi Young Do's sudden interest in Eun-sang too when she transfers into their elite school. Tan seeks to overcome all the obstacles to be with Eun-sang no matter what his family or friends at school say.

watch it on netflix

Legend of the Blue Sea

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This fantasy romance show explores the relationship between a con artist and a mermaid who meet and fall in love. The mermaid, Shim Cheong, (played by the talented and beautiful Jun Ji-hyun) follows her lover Heo Joon-jae (Lee Min-ho) to land unbeknownst to him that she is a mer person. Juxtaposed against present day, the storyline also focuses on the two's Joseon-era incarnations, town head Kim Dam-ryeong and the mermaid Se-hwa. That pair met a tragic fate, so what does this mean for their current counterparts? Will Shim Cheong and Joon-jae meet the same bad fate?

watch it on hulu

Autumn in My Heart

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This 2000 South Korean drama's legacy and popularity is the equivalent to that of Titanic. The show is considered a pioneer in Korean melodramatic series and helped launch the "Korean Wave." The plot: Two girls are born in October and an accidental switch of their name tags at the hospital leads them down very different paths. Eun-suh has a happy life with her loving parents and brother, Jun-suh, while Shin-ae is raised by a single parent in poverty. One day Eun-suh gets into a car accident and a blood test reveals Eun-suh and Shin-ae were swapped at birth. The girls go back to their original parents. Years later, Eun-suh and her "brother" Jun-suh meet again, the start of a love story. Make sure to have some tissues on hand because this show is a major tearjerker.

WATCH IT ON AMAZON PRIME

Touch Your Heart

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I'm somewhat biased because I am an unabashed Lee Dong-wook stan, but Touch Your Heart is really, really fun to watch. Things take place in a high-powered law firm, where a washed-up actress works as a secretary for a cranky attorney. The two leads have great chemistry—they've played star-crossed lovers in another drama, Goblin—and they're both extremely good-looking. Plus, it's another workplace love story! Is the universe trying to send me a sign?

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Angel's Last Mission: Love

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In this KBS drama, a tough as nails former ballerina tries to regain her prima donna status with the help of her mischievous guardian angel. Blinded in a tragic accident, Lee Yeon-seo is desperate to get back to the stage, but the scheming and conniving of the people around her prevents her from making her return. Dan, a guardian angel just one mission away from completing his duties on earth, gets suckered into yet another assignment and falls in love on the job.

(True k-pop stans will immediately recognize the lead character in Angel's Last Mission: Love—it's L from the iconic group Infinite! Sadly, I don't think we'll be getting much singing in this drama...but you can stream "The Chaser" on all platforms.)

WATCH IT ON VIKI

Perfume

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Fans of Shin Sung-rok (The King's Face, The Last Empress), rejoice—your second lead syndrome is over! The actor finally snagged a leading role in the KBS romantic comedy Perfume as Seo Yi-do, an eccentric fashion designer plagued with endless phobias. He's known for often playing the villain (he's really good at being bad), but in this drama, you can actually root for him to get the girl!

The premise is simple, at least for a Korean drama: A depressed housewife on the brink of a breakdown receives a magic perfume that makes her into an entirely new person. With her new face and identity, she decides to pursue a modeling career, and ultimately clashes with the prickly self-proclaimed god of fashion.

WATCH IT ON VIKI

Chief of Staff

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Remember House of Cards? The Netflix original series followed the complex and super sheisty lives of politicians and journalists in Washington, D.C. The show was nothing short of a hit, but it came to an unfortunate end once its star became embroiled in a very serious, very disturbing controversy.

Chief of Staff is a lot like House of Cards, but rest assured, the drama is maintained within the show. There's scheming, manipulation, illicit affairs, serious criminal activity, and a whole lot of lying to the general public by the voters by the very people they put in office—sounds appropriate for the day and age we're living in, no?

WATCH IT ON NETFLIX

Something in the Rain

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Although we love outrageously plotted k-dramas, Something in the Rain is a more straightforward and realistic look into an ill-fated romance and workplace discrimination. Yoon Jin-ah is a single career woman who begins a romance with her friend’s little brother after he returned from a stint abroad. But their relationship draws an immense amount of scrutiny from their families, who don’t approve. Jin-ah also faces a sexist workplace, where she and her female co-workers are demeaned by their male colleagues.

watch it on netflix

Because This Is My First Life

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Does broke millennials working underpaid jobs and dealing with today’s high cost of living sound familiar? The characters in Because This Is My First Life are just like us–following their dreams, working in high-powered industries, all the while just barely reaping the benefits. Nam Sae-hee (Lee Min-ki) is a software developer working for a start-up who suffers from a mortgage that eats up all his disposable income. Yoon Ji-ho (Jung So-min) is a struggling screenwriter who dreams of developing her own k-dramas, but she’s relegated to being a highly underpaid writer’s assistant on mediocre shows. After she’s forced to move out of her apartment, she ends up renting out a room in Sae-hee’s house. When they realize that a fake-marriage would be mutually advantageous for both their precarious financial situations and societal expectations, they decide to tie the knot. Obviously, one thing leads to another and they’re unable to separate their contractual marriage from the real feelings that they begin to develop.

watch it on netflix

My Mister

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My Mister tells the story of two people struggling with financial troubles, family drama, and loneliness. Park Dong-hun (Lee Sun-kyun) is a middle-aged engineer working under a boss who is younger than him, all the while providing for his two unemployed brothers and their mom. To make matters worse, Dong-hun’s wife is having an affair with his boss (yikes). Meanwhile 20-something Lee Ji-an (K-pop star IU) is in a mountain of debt and will do just about anything to get the loan sharks off her back. After she catches Dong-hun accepting a bribe, she decides to steal gift certificates he received in an attempt to pay off her loans. Heart-wrenching and hopeful, the show tells the story of two people developing a sweet kinship while trying to dig themselves out of trouble.

watch it on netflix

Dear My Friends

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Featuring a star-studded cast of industry veterans–most notably Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung (!)–this heartwarming slice-of-life drama follows elderly friends who are just vibing in their last years of life. After Park Wan (Go Hyun-jung) decides to write a novel about the life of the elderly at the behest of her mother, she gets close to her mother’s group of lifelong friends and learns their small but significant life stories. The series is a love story about friendship and lifelong connections that looks through time at old memories and the ways those moments thread into our twilight years.

watch it on netflix

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If you haven't already been sucked into the Korean drama craze, first, what have you even been doing? And second, 2021 is as good a time as ever to get started. I don't know what sort of magic these shows possess, but there's nothing like a K-Drama to put my emotions and fangirling tendencies into overdrive. So if you're looking for a good laugh, a good cry, a good scare, or a good dose of butterflies in your stomach (thanks to all the drop-dead-gorgeous stars), a Korean-language show will probably give you your fix. And, yes, they are absolutely worth the minimal effort it takes to read subtitles.

While there are libraries full of essential K-Dramas from years past that absolutely deserve your attention, this year's roster has brought some really good new options that belong to the canon. From silly romantic comedies to series that explore psychological trauma—you'll definitely find something to your liking. Here are some of the best Korean dramas to watch this year.

Squid Game

The K-drama of the year (yes, we're calling it) and Netflix's biggest debut hit in history, Squid Game has captured the hearts and minds of Netflix-bingers (and Twitter users) everywhere, and for very good reason. Centering on a desperately indebted group of people who . The game, a sadistic tournament of seemingly harmless children's games, promises winners they will finally get the large sum of money they need to pay their (sometimes life-dependent) debts. It's literally life or death for all of them, preying on people that will go to drastic lengths to make ends meet.

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My Name

This highly-anticipated dark thriller about a revenge-driven woman has only just hit Netflix today, but it's already at the top of our list for one of the most suspenseful, noteworthy dramas in recent memory. Actress Han So-hee steps into the shoes of Ji-woo, who, after her father's murder, joins a crime ring in hopes of finding his killer, and in the process, ends up infiltrating the Korean police force with a new identity. The premise and storyline are wondrously compelling, the dialogue well-written, and the acting superb.

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Lovers of the Red Sky

This period love story between polar opposites Hong Chun Ki and Ha Ram, a painter and and astrologer, adds a new dimension to the Joseon Dynasty. Ha Ram lost his vision in a childhood accident, but can read the future by tracing the movement of the sky at night. Of course, they fall for each other, but their love story is not without difficulty and interference from the royal court, particularly two princes, the free-spirited Prince Yang Myung and the vindictive Joo Hyang who is determined to become the next Joseon king.

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Nevertheless,

Based on a popular webtoon series, Nevertheless, focuses on two of the “I don’t believe in love” types that fall in love— art classmates Han and Song. It does what K-dramas have been doing so well lately— balances the fairy-tale aspects of falling in love with the realities of a budding romance in the modern world. Its hyper-realism is what makes it outstanding, and with so much to relate to, it's certainly a must watch for anyone navigating the dating world in 2021.

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Sweet Home

Can you say chilling? This show sure can. This apocalyptic horror series follows Cha Hyun-su as he moves to a new town, toGreen House, and witnesses his neighbor being bitten by a monster. As everyone around him (and around the world) falls victim to this cruel monster (and turn into one themselves), the troubled Cha Hyun-su, still reeling from the loss of his entire family in a car accident, joins forces with his unbitten neighbours to battle the monsters while remaining human and reconciling with his grief. This show is also based on a popular webcomic "Sweet Home” by Kim Kan-Bi & Hwang Young-Chan.

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Kingdom: Ashin of the North

The long awaited spinoff to Kingdom, the famous zombie period drama that puts The Walking Dead to shame, Kingdom, has finally arrived, and it’s glorious. Starring Jun Ji-hyun as Ashin of the North— heiress to a northern Jurchen town— the series follows her quest for the healing plant that promises to bring even the dead (and those on the brink of it) back from their suffering. Although it’s not technically a series, it’s meant to be a prequel of the 2020 series, as the events of the spin-off take place quite a bit of time before the present series.

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Mouse

The series follows Geu-ru, a young man with Asperger syndrome who had just lost his father, and his guardian and uncle, Sang-gu, who had recently done a stint in jail. The two work as crime scene cleaners— often the only people that really get intimate with the nitty gritty details of a crime scene— running the family trauma cleaning company “Move To Heaven” and uncovering untold, humanizing stories about the deceased that even detectives had missed, while Sang-gu tries to deal with his turbulent past.


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Penthouse

The residents of Hera Palace, a luxury penthouse apartment with 100 floors, have many secrets. And with so many people living there, you can rest assured that there’s drama upon drama.


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Beyond Evil

Looking for a good fright? This show will give you one. Two fearless policemen from the small-town Manyang Police Substation encounter a killing that resembles a cold case from years ago, leading them on a harrowing search for a returned serial killer. And of course, it’s not a K-drama unless the two main characters have secrets of their own, and in this series, they are oh-so-juicy.

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Law School

A Professor (and former prosecutor) and his students at prestigious Hankuk University Law School find themselves involved in an unprecedented case when a professor at the school is found dead during a supervised mock trial class. Relationships are tested, rules are bent, and students are left reeling as their Professor is arrested as a suspect. It's a classic whodunnit, and it'll truly keep you at the edge of your seat.

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The Uncanny Counter

In this sci-fi series, demon hunters called Counters pose as workers in a noodle shop, keeping undercover as they do the dirty work of catching evil spirits. Like the Power Rangers, they all have their own combat specialties, and it’s all about teamwork in this light-hearted, easy watch.


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Hi Bye, Mama!

If you're into the supernatural-type dramas, this one may be a great choice. Cha Yoo-ri is a ghost who died in a car accident five years ago while pregnant, leaving behind her husband, Jo Kang-hwa, and their young child, whom she had never met. Tired of ghost-hood, Cha Yoo-ri tries everything to become human again, and finally stumbles upon a reincarnation project that will successfully allow her to see her daughter and husband again for 49 precious days. However, when she returns, she finds that things have changed drastically in the last five years, and she discovers that her (remarried!) husband is not the person he was all those years ago. Will she regret her decision to come back? That's for you to find out!

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Move to Heaven

The series follows Geu-ru, a young man with Asperger syndrome who has just lost his father, and his guardian and uncle, Sang-gu, who had recently done a stint in jail. The two work as crime scene cleaners— often the only people that really get intimate with the nitty gritty details of a crime scene— running the family trauma cleaning company “Move To Heaven” and uncovering untold, humanizing stories about the deceased that even detectives had missed, while Sang-gu tries to reconcile with his turbulent past.

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Start-Up

Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) dreams of becoming the next Steve Jobs. She wants to take Sandbox (a fictional Silicon Valley of South Korea) by storm and become a CEO, and she believes she can do it with her pen pal and childhood sweetheart Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), the founder of Samsan Tech. But what happens when she discovers he hasn't been the man she's been exchanging letters with all along?

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Record of Youth

Sa Hye-jun (Park Bo-gum) is a popular part-time model who really wants to make it as an actor but is struggling to book gigs. Meanwhile, fangirl An Jeong-ha (Park So-dam) aspires to become a makeup artist, though her mom would rather she worked a normal office job. Record of Youth follows the two as they go through the trials of trying to achieve their dreams in a world that seems to care more about money and connections. They eventually find their way together and root for each other through it all.

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Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol

Goo Ra Ra (Go Ara) is a talented pianist who goes from riches to rags real quick after her father's bankruptcy and death. It doesn't help that she also got left at the altar. She ends up in the small city of Eunpo, searching for a social media user named “dodosolsollalasol,” who's been messaging her since she's gone through hard times. There she meets Sunwoo Jun (Lee Jae-wook) in a small piano academy. Despite his seeming cold-heartedness, he decides to help her.

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When My Love Blooms

Han Jae-hyun (Yoo Ji-tae) and Yoon Ji-soo (Lee Bo-young) were college sweethearts who now lead very different lives. He's now a successful businessman, while she's living a difficult life as a contract worker and a mother. Twenty years since they parted ways, they meet again and reignite their feelings for one another.

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Tale of the Nine-Tailed

Lee Yeon (Lee Dong-wook) is a gumiho (nine-tailed fox) who sacrificed his life as a mountain god and guardian in order to protect the woman he loved. Now he lives among humans, waiting for her reincarnation to reappear so he can protect her and help her lead a longer life. He then meets Nam Ji-ah (Jo Bo-ah), a producer who's been seeking out supernatural stories ever since she was saved from a car accident with her parents. She sees the strange man who saved her as a child in CCTV footage of a recent wedding, and he looks exactly like Lee Yeon.

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Crash Landing On You

Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is a successful CEO who owns her own makeup and clothing brand, which she built without the help of her estranged family. Because of her success, her father considers her as the top contender to take over his own company instead of her two older half-brothers (hell yes). But when she goes paragliding one day, a storm takes her over the North Korean border, where she meets a soldier named Captain Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin).

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Itaewon Class

Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon) is someone who always stands up for what he thinks is right. But when his father dies in tragic car accident, he makes a bad turn and winds up in jail. After vowing to avenge his dad and fulfill his dreams, he is able to open up a bar in Seoul hotspot Itaewon. Now he just has to work on making it a hit, with the help of cool girl Jo Yi-seo (Kim Da-mi). Though his childhood crush Oh Soo-ah (Kwon Nara), who works for his competitor, may get in the way.

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It's Okay to Not Be Okay

Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) is a busy health worker at a psychiatric ward, and has no time to find love. But one day he meets children's book author Ko Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji), who suffers from antisocial personality disorder. Soon, the two manage to unravel each of their dark pasts, and work through their trauma together.

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The World of the Married/ A World of Married Couple

Based on BBC One's Doctor Foster, this drama follows the story of family doctor Ji Sun-Woo (Kim Hee-Ae) and her husband Lee Tae-Oh (Park Hae-Joon). She seems to have a perfect life, with a successful career and a happy family... until she finds out her husband (and other people she trusted) betrayed her. The couple finds themselves entangled in dangerous affairs that could cost them their lives. Scandalous!

Hospital Playlist

Hospital Playlist tells the story of five doctors who all went to medical school together in 1999, and share a love for music. The show follows the friends as they go through the physical and emotional challenges of working in a hospital, dealing with patients, and living their own lives outside of work.

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Memorist

Dong Baek (Yoo Seung-ho) is a detective with the unique ability to see all of a person's memories upon touching them. This skill definitely comes in handy when he helps criminal profiler Han Sun-mi (Lee Se-young) hunt down a serial killer. But as they chase down the killer, they both spiral while thinking about their own troubled pasts, and figuring out the answers to the string of killings becomes more complicated than they thought.

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Hi Bye, Mama!

Cha Yu-ri (Kim Tae-hee) died in a tragic accident five years ago, and now wanders the earth as a ghost looking after her family. But one day, the deities decide to bring her back to life. Now, she has exactly 49 days to reclaim her place in her family, or else she'll be forced to move on from the earth and into the afterlife.

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Dr. Romantic 2

Yes, this is a sequel, but you don't have to watch Dr. Romantic to dive into this series (but you can, obviously, because both are great). Three years after the original series, Kim Sa-bu (Han Suk-kyu)—also known as Dr. Romantic—recruits new surgeons to join his team at Doldam Hospital. He hires social outcast Seo Woo-jin (Ahn Hyo-seop), and confident 2nd year fellow Cha Eun Jae (Lee Sung Kyung). Together, they deal with the corruption in the hospital, try to stick to their principles, and may or may not find some romance along the way.

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To All the Guys Who Loved Me

Seo Hyun-Joo (Hwang Jung-Eum) is the leader of a webcomic planning team, and she's hyper-focused on her career, with no plans of finding a partner anytime soon. But just as she declares she wants to remain single, two men confess their feelings for her. There's pharmaceutical company CEO Hwang Ji-Woo (Yoon Hyun-Min), and popular webcomic writer Park Do-Gyeom (Seo Ji-Hoon)—who grew up like brothers, but now have to compete for their crush's affections.

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Mystic Pop-up Bar

Han Kang-bae (Yook Sung-jae) encounters a mysterious pojangmacha (outdoor drinking establishment) that only opens at night. It's run by a woman named Wol-joo (Hwang Jung-eum), with the help of former supernatural investigator Chief Gwi (Choi Won-young). Wol-joo decides to hire Kang-bae as a part-time employee. What he doesn't realize immediately is that the Ssanggab Cart Bar is actually where both the dead and alive gather, and they actually visit customers in their dreams to help resolve their problems.

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Extracurricular

Oh Ji-soo (Kim Dong-hee) is a quiet, straight-A student whose only goal is to be able to go to college. Because his dad's a gambler and his mom abandoned him, he provides for himself. He runs an illegal side business—an app that sex workers can use to set up compensated dates. He comes close to earning enough for his college tuition, but things take a turn when his classmate Bae Gyuri (Park Joo-hyun) finds out about his secret.

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Hyena

Yoon Hee-jae (Ju Ji-hoon) is a lawyer who is absolutely confident, but he meets his match in Jung Geum-ja (Kim Hye-Soo). Geum-ja is still struggling with her career, and desperately needs a win. She's willing to do anything, including breaking a few hearts and causing personal damage to her opponents. But Hee-jae isn't going down without a fight.

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My Unfamiliar Family

Lee Jin-sook (Won Mi-kyung) and Kim Sang-sik (Jung Jin-young) are parents to three kids — daughters Kim Eun-joo (Choo Ja-hyun) and Kim Eun-hee (Han Ye-ri), and son Kim Ji-woo (Shin Jae-ha). Now that their children are all grown, the flaws in their family begin to show, especially when Jin-sook decides she wants to leave her marriage and start anew.

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A Piece of Your Mind

Moon Ha Won (Jung Hae In) is an A.I. programmer and founder of who is working on creating a device that extends a person's life by storing their memories, emotions, and personality through voice recordings. He tries to create the likeness of his ex Kim Ji-soo (Park Joo-hyun) with the help of music engineer Han Seo-woo (Chae Soo-bin). But instead of chasing what once was with his ex, he winds up falling in love with Seo-woo.

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Vincenzo

Park Joo-Hyeong (Song Joong-Ki) moved to Italy at eight years old after being adopted. He now goes by Vincenzo Cassano, and has grown up to be a lawyer who works for the mafia. He's forced to flee to South Korea because of a mafia war. And there, he meets Hong Cha-Young (Jeon Yeo-Bin), a lawyer who is willing to go to great lengths to win her case.

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Love Alarm Season 2

The much-anticipated second season of Love Alarm picks up where the first season left off, four years after the Love Alarm dating app. Now, Love Alarm got a 2.0 update, and Kim Jojo (Kim So-Hyun) is finally ready to confront her feelings head-on, and figures out how she truly feels about Hwang Sun-Oh (Song Kang) and Lee Hye-Yeong (Jung Ga-ram).

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Mr. Queen

Jang Bong-hwan (Choi Jin-hyuk) is a 21st-century chef who cooks for the country's top politicians. Somehow, his soul winds up in the body of Queen Cheorin (Shin Hye-sun) in the Joseon period. He has to find a way back to his own body and own time.

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Sisyphus

Han Tae-Sul (Cho Seung-Woo) is a genius engineer and the co-founder of Quantum and Time Company. Things for the company haven't been going so well since the mysterious death of his brother 10 years ago. He begins to look into the truth, but trouble comes as people from the future come to his time using the time machine he will eventually invent. One of them is trying to kill him, and one of them—a warrior named Gang Seo-Hae (Park Shin-Hye)—is doing everything she can to save him.

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Hello, Me!

Thirty-seven-year-old Ban Ha-Ni (Choi Gang-Hee) is nowhere near where she thought she'd be back when she was younger. She's single, and is a temp employee who fears getting fired at any moment. And at one point, she even ends up in jail for something as petty as ignoring a subpoena. But one day, her 17-year-old self shows up to remind her of the confidence and optimism she used to have.

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The Best Korean Dramas on Netflix Right Now

By Devon ForwardUpdated

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Here’s your go-to guide for jumping into the Korean drama craze. 

The world of Korean dramas is a strange and beautiful place. The South Korean entertainment industry is slowly growing to worldwide dominance, as Kpop, Korean movies like Parasite and Minari, and Korean television series take the world by storm.

The term Korean drama, or Kdrama, refers to almost any South Korean fictional television series, no matter the subject or genre. That includes comedy, romance, sci-fi, horror, you name it. Most of these television series are based on webcomics, a form of storytelling similar to comics that originated in South Korea. You should generally expect a love story no matter the genre (save maybe horror), and the same actors are in pretty much everything. Fair warning, almost all Korean dramas have quite outlandish premises, but that’s honestly what makes them so good. You just have to learn how to accept the strange and unexpected and go along for the ride.

Recently, Netflix has become the go-to place to find the best Kdrama offerings for US audiences, with many shows being labeled as Netflix Originals. This partnership, as well as the overall shift to streaming, has also changed the business and structure of Kdramas, as previously, pretty much all Kdramas were around 16 episodes long and one season only. Although Korea and their media is still generally conservative, the international audience is definitely shifting perspectives to be more inclusive and representative of all types of people.

In order to help you jump headfirst into this new and expanding area of television, here are 28 of the best Korean dramas available to watch on Netflix, both original and not.

Editor's Note: This list was most recently updated on October 7.

Newly Added: Squid Game

RELATED: The Top 10 Most Popular TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

Squid Game

Creator: Hwang Dong-hyuk

Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon

You’ve definitely heard about this one, in fact, there’s a good chance it’s the show that brought you here! Netflix’s 2021 original Squid Game charted an immediate and unprecedented climb to the top of Netflix’s most-watched lists, becoming a social media sensation and water cooler talking point. And for good reason, it’s a clever spin on familiar genre archetypes with an exceptional cast that makes for an irresistible binge-watch. Set across nine episodes, the series follows 456 debt-ridden contenders through a series of deadly children’s games for the promise of a life-changing jackpot for whoever survives. Action-packed, horror-tinged, and threaded through with rich character drama, Squid Game can be a bit of a bleak bummer, but in a series exploring the pitfalls of capitalist excess and the people it leaves behind, that’s kind of the point. And like all great genre allegories, it never forgets to lace those themes into its endlessly engaging thrills. - Haleigh Foutch

Crash Landing on You

Writer: Park Ji-eun

Director: Lee Jung-hyo

Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye, Kim Jung-hyun

Probably the most popular Korean drama on Netflix to date is a love story between a North Korean soldier and an heiress from South Korea called Crash Landing on You. Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is a young, beautiful, and supremely wealthy woman who decides to go paragliding one weekend. She gets caught in a tornado that brings her over North Korea, where she lands. Trying to escape getting caught by North Korea, Se-ri is protected and hidden by Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin).

While Jeong-hyeok attempts to help Se-ri and smuggle her back to South Korea, the two can’t deny their growing feelings for one another. As the ultimate Romeo and Juliet, Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri’s chemistry is amazing, and considering the actors started officially dating after shooting the drama, this isn’t a surprise. Crash Landing on You is the quintessential Korean rom-com series, so it’s definitely a great series to introduce you to the genre.

Vincenzo

Writer: Park Jae-bum

Director: Kim Hee-won

Cast: Song Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-bin, TaecYeon

In Vincenzo, Song Joong-ki plays a Korean man who was adopted by an Italian family as a child and raised in Italy as part of a mafia family. After his adoptive father dies, the man’s biological son attempts to kill Vincenzo, leading him to flee back to Seoul, South Korea, where he has a stash of gold hidden under an old apartment building. Unfortunately, Vincenzo has no easy access to the gold unless he tears down the building, and there’s a community of people who live there.

At the same time, a corrupt business called Babel Group illegally takes over the building, leading Vincenzo to team up with the talented, strong-willed lawyer, Hong Cha-young, played by Jeon Yeo-bin, who wants to take down the company for personal reasons. Vincenzo is part action, part drama, and part romance, and altogether a can’t-miss show.

Record of Youth

Writer: Ha Myung-hee

Director: Ahn Gil-ho

Cast: Park So-dam, Park Bo-gum, Byeon Woo-seok, Kwon Soo-hyun

One type of series that South Korean television excels at is the coming-of-age drama, or any story centering around a group of young adults finding their place in the world. Record of Youth is a great choice for new fans of K-Dramas, especially given the fact that the cast is led by none other than Park So-dam, who many will recognize for her role as Kim Ki-jung in Parasite, the daughter of the scammer family who pretends to be an art teacher.

Record of Youth centers around three young people, two models and a make-up artist, involved in the modern fashion industry in Korea. The show follows the general storyline you’ll find in most romance Korean dramas, but the actors in the cast help elevate the series and create characters that you want to stick around with.

RELATED: If You Liked 'Parasite', Check Out These 20 Other Great South Korean Films

Itaewon Class

Writer: Jo Gwang-jin (webcomic and show)

Director: Kim Sung-yoon

Cast: Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Na-ra, Ahn Bo-hyun

The first drama on this list based on a webcomic (although don’t worry, there will be more), Itaewon Class is a drama based in the hipster, super-popular area of Seoul called Itaewon (think Soho or the East Village in Manhattan). Park Seo-joon plays Park Sae-Ro-Yi, the owner of an up-and-coming restaurant in Itaewon called DanBam. When he was in high school, Sae-Ro-Yi got expelled for punching a privileged kid named Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo-hyun), whose father owns a powerful company called Jangga Group. This kickstarts a series of events that lead to Sae-Ro-Yi’s father’s death, followed by a seven-year plan for revenge.

Itaewon Class is an extremely popular drama both in South Korea and internationally, and it accurately depicts the diverse experiences of young adults right now. It is also the first mainstream K-Drama to feature a transgender character, played by Lee Joo-young, signifying a major shift in attitudes for the historically conservative country.

Law School

Writer: Seo In

Director: Kim Suk-yoon

Cast: Kim Myung-min, Kim Beom, Ryu Hye-young, Lee Jung-eun

A newer Netflix series, Law School focuses on a group of students and professors at Hankuk University Law School. When a law professor is found dead and former prosecutor and professor Yang Jong-Hoon (Kim Myung-min) is arrested for the crime, the other characters work together to uncover the truth of what really happened and prove Professor Yang’s innocence.

You can certainly draw similarities between Law School and How to Get Away with Murder, as the Korean drama focuses on law students putting their schooling to the test to help out their professor. At the same time, there are plenty of smaller storylines happening as well, like a mysterious connection between a top-tier student named Han Joon-hwi (Kim Bum) and the professor who is killed. If you want a serious drama with a central mystery, Law School is a great option.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Writer: Jo Yong

Director: Park Shin-woo, Jung Dong-yoon

Cast: Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji, Oh Jung-se

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a modern romantic drama that stands out from the crowd due to its portrayal of an adult on the autism spectrum. The series stars Kim Soo-hyun as Moon Gang-tae, an orphaned young man who works as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital. He spends most of his life taking care of his older brother, Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who has autism. The two brothers have lived a lonely life, constantly moving around, ever since Sang-tae witnessed their mother’s murder years earlier.

One day, Gang-tae meets a woman named Ko Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji), a children's author who has antisocial personality disorder. After realizing that the two have crossed paths before in the past, Moon-young develops a small obsession with Gang-tae and follows him around. As Moon-young, Gang-tae, and Sang-tae spend more time together, they begin to open up about their trauma and heal. The series features a general romance story, but it shines through its portrayal of Sang-tae and his relationship with his brother. Sang-tae exhibits typical “spectric” traits, as they are called, and the show presents a relatively accurate and compassionate portrayal of an individual with autism.

The Uncanny Counter

Writer: Yeo Ji-na, Yoo Sun-dong, Kim Sae-bom, Jung Do-yoon

Director: Yoo Sun-dong

Cast: Jo Byeong-gyu, Yoo Jun-sang, Kim Se-jeong, Yeom Hye-ran

If you want a superhero-style story, look no further. The Uncanny Counter is the story of So Mun (Jo Byeong-gyu), a kind, intelligent boy who has a walking disability as a result of a tragic car accident he was in as a child, which killed both of his parents. One day, So Mun is possessed by a spirit that grants him the power to banish demons that escape the afterlife. He joins a team called the Counters, which includes Mo-tak (Yoo Jun-sang), Ha-na (Kim Se-jeoung), and Mae-ok (Yeom Hye-ran), who fight together against a rising threat of evil in the area. It gets even more complicated for So Mun when he finds out that his parents’ deaths weren’t accidents after all, and an evil spirit was involved.

Another series based on a webcomic, The Uncanny Counter is a stylish, action-packed thrill ride that doesn’t pull any punches. With a dark, threatening villain that keeps the team on edge, the show maintains a quick pace, while the fantastic acting by the cast adds a deeply emotional side to the story. Despite being advertised as an action fantasy show, you should still be ready to shed some tears when you watch.

Start-Up

Writer: Park Hye-ryun

Director: Oh Choong-hwan

Cast: Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, Kang Han-na

Start-Up is set in a fictional Korean version of Silicon Valley, where Bae Suzy’s character Seo Dal-mi dreams of being the Korean Steve Jobs. Following her passion, Dal-mi gets involved with a start-up business and quickly becomes entangled with a complicated love triangle. One young man named Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) is her first love, now a successful venture capitalist, while Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk) is a young man down on his luck, who Dal-mi thinks is her first love. This gives Do-san the motivation to give his start-up another try, while also attempting to make Dal-mi’s mistake a reality. Like Itaewon Class, Start-Up presents a new style of life for young people. While taking on the modern industry of start-ups, the show also gives everyone the classic romance they know they want.

RELATED: The Best Netflix Shows and Original Series Right Now

Memories of the Alhambra

Writer: Song Jae-jung

Director: Ahn Gil-ho

Cast: Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Hoon, Chanyeol

A true amalgam of genres, Memories of the Alhambra takes place mainly in Granada, Spain with a Korean cast. A science-fiction drama of sorts, the series follows the CEO of an investment company, Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin), who travels to Spain in search of the creator of an AR game in development that feels way too real. When game and reality start to blur and someone is killed, Jin-woo, with the help of the developer’s sister, Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin-hye), must find the bug in the game and fix it before more people die.

Memories of the Alhambra is a breath of fresh air for Kdramas due to its setting and innovative premise. While at times the story lacks sense, the concept and execution are spot-on, and honestly, you can’t help but fall in love with Hyun Bin.

Sweet Home

Writer: Hong So-ri, Kim Hyung-min, Park So-jung

Director: Lee Eung-bok, Jang Young-woo, Park So-hyun

Cast: Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young, Lee Do-hyun

Based on the webtoon of the same name, Sweet Home is an energetic, thrilling apocalyptic horror story about monsters trying to kill everyone and take over the world. No big deal, right? Song Kang makes a rare appearance in a horror show, as the actor usually sticks to romantic dramas (which you will see later on in this list). Kang plays a character named Cha Hyun-soo, a traumatized high school student who moves into an apartment by himself after his parents are killed in a car accident. Unbeknownst to Hyun-soo and the other residents, their apartment building happens to be ground zero for a species of monsters hoping for world domination.

Sweet Home is a great example of the crazy stories that come out of webcomics, which somehow work so well when adapted to the screen. The series is dark, bloody, and unpredictable, and a definite win for Netflix.

Run On

Writer: Park Shi-hyun

Director: Lee Jae-hoon

Cast: Im Si-wan, Shin Se-kyung, Choi Soo-young, Kang Tae-oh

Run On is an effortless romance that focuses on the relationship between Oh Mi-joo (Shin Se-kyung), a hardworking movie translator who takes pride in her work, and Ki Seon-gyeom (Im Si-wan), a former sprinter for the national team who wants to become a sports agent. The drama is light-hearted, with not too much action, but it works well with the story. There’s also a major plotline revolving around gender inequality in the workplace, as another character is disregarded despite being the natural heir of her father’s company and becoming the CEO of a sports agency all on her own.

With the main two characters, Run On also provides a close look at some unique and interesting professions that aren’t normally portrayed on-screen. While it might not be as exciting and heart-pounding as some others on this list, Run On is a must-see for the acting and the soft chemistry between the two lead characters.

Navillera

Writer: Lee Eun-mi

Director: Han Dong-hwa

Cast: Park In-hwan, Song Kang, Na Moon-hee, Hong Seung-hee

If you want to watch something that will pull at your heartstrings, Navillera is the show. Released in 2021 and one of the newest Netflix Original Korean dramas, Navillera stars Park In-hwan as Shim Deok-chul, a retired mailman who just turned 70. Feeling unfulfilled, Deok-chul decides to try and fulfill his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. But aside from his late start, another obstacle he faces is his worsening Alzheimer’s disease. One day, he comes upon a young man named Lee Chae-rok (Song Kang) practicing ballet for an upcoming competition. While Chae-rok is a talented dancer who loves what he does, he is in a bad financial situation and his father is in jail. His mother, who passed away, was a ballerina, and it’s one of the few remaining connections he has with her.

When Chae-rok and Deok-chul meet, they become friends and learn from one another, encouraging the other to continue pursuing whatever makes them happy. Navillera is another example of the shifting perspectives in the Korean entertainment industry, with the series exploring tough topics of death, old age, Alzheimer’s, and the challenges people can face regarding gender, class, and age when trying to achieve their dreams.

The King: Eternal Monarch

Writer: Kim Eun-sook

Director: Baek Sang-hoon, Jung Ji-hyun, Yoo Je-won

Cast: Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun, Woo Do-hwan, Kim Hyung-nam

The King: Eternal Monarch is written by Kim Eun-sook, the writer of Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, also known as Goblin. This 2016 series is probably one of the most beloved Korean dramas in South Korea, and the one many people use to introduce their friends to this world. The newer series, The King: Eternal Monarch, shares a star with Guardian in Kim Go-eun, who plays the character Jeong Tae-eul, a police officer in the violent crimes squad. In this fantasy drama, there are two alternate realities — one, the Korea we know today where Tae-eul lives, and the Kingdom of Corea, where Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) rules as Emperor.

When Lee Gon discovers that he can pass over to the parallel universe, he meets Tae-eul, and you can probably guess what happens next. While The King: Eternal Monarch isn’t as good as Guardian, the series is a unique, ambitious story with fantastic acting from the main cast, and a great choice for fantasy fans.

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

Writer: Kim Ho-soo

Director: Kang Il-soo, Han Hyun-hee

Cast: Shin Se-kyung, Cha Eun-woo, Park Ki-woong

A historical romantic comedy that still manages to explore very serious topics, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung centers around the title character Goo Hae-ryung (Shin Se-kyung), a noblewoman who becomes one of the first four women historians of the Joseon Dynasty. Still single at 26, Hae-ryung already challenges the intense gender roles of the era, and she continues to encourage the independence of ideas and choices for women everywhere. She soon meets Yi Rim, a.k.a. Prince Dowon, (Cha Eun-woo) the heir to the throne whose true passion lies in writing romance novels under a pseudonym.

Through the romance between the two main characters and their story, the show further explores and challenges historical topics of Catholic persecution, censorship, and sexism. Overall, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is a hilarious and truly romantic series that manages to feel modern despite the older setting.

My Mister

Writer: Park Hae-young

Director: Kim Won-suk, Kim Sang-woo

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Ji-eun (IU), Park Ho-san, Song Sae-byeok

A truly unique Korean drama, My Mister tells the story of a cold woman who has suffered many hardships in her life, who finds sympathy and comfort in the company of three brothers who are healing from their own trauma. The series is deeply profound and addresses a number of serious topics. The cast is led by Lee Ji-eun, also known by her stage name IU, who plays Lee Ji-an, a woman who will do anything to support her ailing grandmother. She encounters the middle brother, Park Dong-hoon (Lee Sun-kyun), when she is hired as a temp worker at his company. A coworker instructs her to find out Dong-hoon’s secrets, but soon enough she’s falling for the man, who seems to understand more about her than anyone she’s ever met.

Although it’s definitely a slow-moving story, the astounding acting and remarkably written characters will drag you in and keep you enthralled until the last episode. My Mister is a must-watch, especially if you are a fan of serious dramas.

100 Days My Prince

Writer: No Ji-sul

Director: Lee Jung-jae, Nam Sung-woo

Cast: Do Kyung-soo, Nam Ji-hyun, Kim Seon-ho

100 Days My Prince is a period drama about Crown Prince Lee Yul (Do Kyung-soo), who finds out a secret that ignites a fight for the throne, making him a target for assassination. Running for his life, Lee Yul gets shot by an arrow and hit his head, which causes him to lose all of his memories. Nursed back to health by a commoner who finds him in the woods and choses to take advantage of the situation, Lee Yul is told that he is the betrothed of the commoner’s daughter, Yeon Hong-shim (Nam Ji-hyun), and so the two get married to save her from becoming the wife of a man she hates. For the next 100 days, Lee Yul lives as a commoner, relatively useless with the day-to-day chores, as Hong-shim slowly warms up to this strange man that shows up out of nowhere.

100 Days My Prince is a charming and well-acted drama, and very light-hearted despite the initial premise. If you’re looking for a cute, pick-me-up romance, this is it.

Love Alarm

Writer: Seo Bo-ra, Lee Ah-yeon

Director: Lee Na-jung

Cast: Kim So-hyun, Jung Ga-ram, Song Kang

A lot of Korean dramas feel like fanfiction made real, and considering many are stories taken right out of webcomics (like this one), they practically are. With Love Alarm, another Netflix Original, the series is set in a world where there is an app that notifies you whenever someone in a 10-meter radius has romantic feelings for you. Kim So-hyun plays Kim Jo-jo, a diligent high school student who finds herself in a love triangle with two best friends. The boys in question? Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang), a handsome teenager from a rich family who is intrigued when Jo-jo doesn’t naturally want to date him, and Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram), a normal boy who doesn’t use the Love Alarm app at all.

Love Alarm takes on the hypothetical question of what would happen if technology evolves to be able to read our feelings, and how people would deal with being unable to hide attraction or the lack thereof. The series is also one of a handful of shows here that have more than one season.

Stranger

Writer: Lee Soo-yeon

Director: Ahn Gil-ho

Cast: Bae Doo-na, Cho Seung-woo, Lee Joon-hyuk, Yoo Jae-myung

Stranger stars Bae Doo-na, arguably one of the best Korean actresses working right now. If you watch a lot of Netflix shows, you may recognize her as Sun Bak from Sense8, the 2015 sci-fi drama that ended way too soon. In Stranger, Doo-na plays Police Lieutenant Han Yeo-jin, who helps Prosecutor Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo), a man who lacks empathy and social skills after having a surgery to address sound hypersensitivity, solve an important murder case.

Unsurprisingly, their investigation uncovers intense corruption in the system, particularly with the other prosecutors, and well, you’ll see what happens. Like Love Alarm, Stranger also has two seasons right now on Netflix. The series was a huge hit, both in South Korea and internationally, with many praising the cast’s performances and the tight plot.

RELATED: The Best Thrillers on Netflix Right Now

Boys Over Flowers

Writer: Yoon Ji-ryun

Director: Jeon Ki-sang

Cast: Ku Hye-sun, Lee Min-ho, Kim Hyun-joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon

Based on Japanese manga written by Yoko Kamio, Boys Over Flowers joins the ranks of many other different adaptations, including the very popular Chinese drama, Meteor Garden. Made in 2009, this follows a group called F4, the name of four privileged and popular boys who rule over others at the prestigious Shinhwa High School through bullying. Through a series of strange events, a girl from a working-class family named Geum Jan-di (Ku Hye-sun) gets a full scholarship for swimming to the same high school, and after finally meeting F4, she really doesn’t understand everyone’s fascination with them.

After the leader of F4, Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), tries to bully Jan-di and she stands up to him, he starts to fall in love with her. Cliché, but the series is from 2009, so bear that in mind. Soon enough, Jan-di is involved in a twisted story that goes places you’d never expect. Mainly, if you are interested in seeing what more classic Kdramas look like, Boys Over Flowers is definitely the one to pick, and it’s still highly recommended over a decade later. Expect plenty of melodrama, outdated fashion and hairstyling, and a lot of fun.

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Devon Forward (18 Articles Published)

Devon Forward is an entertainment writer with bylines at Collider, Looper, Screen Rant, Young Hollywood, and more. Based in New York City, she loves iced coffee, libraries, Guillermo del Toro movies, 90s cartoons, and Florence Pugh.

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My Top 10 Favorite Korean Dramas EVERYONE Must Watch pt.2

29 Korean Dramas That'll Keep You Entertained While You're Social Distancing

Starring:1997: Jung Eun-ji, Seo In-guk, Hoya, Eun Ji-won, Shin So-yul, Lee Si-eon

1994: Go Ara, Jung Woo, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Ho-jun, Baro
1988:
Lee Hye-ri, Park Bo-gum, Go Kyung-pyo, Ryu Jun-yeol, Lee Dong-hwi

Genre: Comedy, romance, coming-of-age

What it's about: The Reply series follows a similar storyline in each of its three iterations, and if you love one you’ll adore all of them. The storylines center on a group of friends and moves back and forth between its eponymous year (i.e. 1988, 1994 or 1997) and the future to see how the characters have grown and changed since then. Each version delves deeply into the reality of being a teenager in that year, and also follows important cultural events that affected their lives, like obsessing over first generation K-pop idol groups Sechs Kies and H.O.T. in Reply 1997. There’s romance, heartbreak, friendship, and even more — at the end, you’ll feel like you grew up with the characters as well.

Where to watch: All three series are available on Netflix!

Sours: https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahhan/here-are-29-addicting-k-dramas-that-you-can-binge-watch

Kdramas really good

Here’s a post I probably first drafted at the beginning of this blog (aka five years ago) and then let sit in the blackhole of my drafts folder: the best Korean dramas I recommend to anyone who will listen!

I have been a watcher of Korean dramas for a decade and an Asian drama watcher for even longer. For years I suffered through bad kiss scenes, questionable fashion choices, and frustratingly conservative romances complete with aggressive wrist grabs. You guys don’t know how good you have it these days!

Anyway, I completely missed the first Hallyu (Korean Wave), so I never got sucked into “Winter’s Sonata” and its contemporaries. Instead, my introduction came because one of my favorite Taiwanese dramas, “It Started with a Kiss,” was turned into a Korean one called “Playful Kiss” in 2010. The drama was cute but forgettable. What it really introduced me to was how much better quality K-dramas were.

I went from “Playful Kiss” to “Boys Over Flowers” since it was based off my favorite manga. Considering “Boys over Flowers” helped launched the second Hallyu, you can see how quickly I was sucked in!

Now, ten years later and I feel like a seasoned pro! Keep in mind, I’ve watched significantly less dramas than a hardcore fan. I probably average a few a year and walk away loving even less.

Before I tell you my favorites, here are some quick tips for viewing!

My Best Korean Drama Tips

I know what you’re thinking. It’s easy TV, why the heck do I need tips for watching? Trust me, friend, as any K-drama watcher knows, there’s a certain art to enjoying them, especially if you don’t speak Korean.

1. Korea is much more conservative than you might be used to.

Socially, Korea is like… the US in the 1950s and 1960s. Trust me, it’s progressed a lot in the last decade, but it’s still got a ways to go. The fact that “Itaewon Class” had a trans character is like the most risk-taking I’ve ever seen.

This means the restrictions for dramas are crazy high, and why if you get a love scene, it’s like the most PG love scene known to man. It’s also probably why kiss scenes back in the day were so, so, SO bad.

2. The best stations these days are tvN and JTBC.

You know how HBO and Netflix can get away with all sorts of tawdry things ABC, NBC, and CBS in the US can’t? Same with TvN and JTBC. Keep in mind this is still Korea, so add about ten more layers of conservative restrictions.

Anyway, I’m not super sure when tvN and JTBC became the phenomenons they are today, but they far outperform KBS, SBS, and MBC in terms of cultural relativity. I’m sure regular network dramas still get higher numbers, but you don’t hear people talking bout them nearly as much as you do about tvN or JTBC dramas.

3. Never watch a drama live

Of all the times I’ve watched a drama lives, I’ve been satisfied once. Every other time I’ve wanted to throw my laptop at a wall. There’s this curse most dramas face because of how they produce them. Without fail, the second half of most dramas do two things: 1) dragggggg and 2) begin to make no sense and go off the walls. If you’ve ever experienced this, I’m sorry. It’s caused a lot of distrust in me. After two back-to-back betrayals, I actually stopped watching them for a year and a half!

Why does this happen, you ask? Well, the problem is when a show goes live in Korea, it’s actually only been pre-filmed for the first six or so episodes. Which means after those six, everyone is on set trying to pump out at least two episodes a week. That’s minimum an hour a week but usually it’s closer to three with the big dramas. With 30-minute episodes, you’re looking at a minimum of an hour/week but most dramas wind up being 90 minutes, which means it’s more like three. Movies half that long take months to film and edit, so imagine how hectic and crazy drama sets are.

This also means drama teams get realtime feedback on their plots and couples and it can really affect how the plot goes towards the end. It drives me NUTS.

For example, one drama I kind of liked but am not recommending below is “The Producers.” Initially it was like a mockumentary-type show and I thought the premise was so fun! Sadly, Koreans apparently did not find the style interesting, so PDs scrapped the whole thing before it got going and it became paint-by-numbers drama that not even the charm of the main cast could make unique.

4. Remember, K-dramas take more concentration than regular TV.

This kind of a “duh” tip, but I do think it’s important to note. With a K-drama, you need to focus 100% because otherwise you won’t understand a thing going on. I feel like when we watch shows in our native language, we can do ten other things simultaneously and still know what’s happening, but unless you speak fluent Korean, this will not ring true.

And you know how I said many dramas suffer from the second part curse? Yeah, imagine having to sit through minutes of just staring without playing Candy Crush on your phone.

5. The best places to watch are Netflix and Viki.

*Puts on bifocals* Back in my day, we had to find all sorts of way to watch our favorite Asian dramas. I remember downloading a special video player just to get subtitles to work or scrounging Youtube for bits and pieces.

These days, it’s so easy to watch any of these K-dramas! Most of them are on Netflix but if you can’t find them there, then head over to Viki, which has been around forever.

Bonus: I also like going over to Drama Beans to read recaps and comments after I’ve finished an episode.

6. Don’t sleep on the OSTs

So unlike US shows, which typically use songs that already exist, Korean dramas create brand new original soundtracks (OSTs). Yes, every single drama gets its own score and original songs. And if a drama does well, those songs usually dominated the digital charts. I highly recommend getting into the OSTs; you’ll have songs you still listen to years later.

The Best Korean Dramas I Tell Friends to Watch

Alright, now what you came here for! My picks for the best Korean dramas; aka the ones I tell all my friends to watch.

1. Crash Landing on You (2019-2020)

QUICK PLOT

When Yoon Seri falls into North Korean territory after a freak accident, she must rely on a group of soldiers to keep her safe all while falling in love with their leader, Ri Jeong Hyuk.

WHY I LOVED IT

Remember when I said of all the dramas I’ve watched live, I was satisfied once? This was that one exception! I still can’t believe I watched it live after all the betrayal I’ve suffered, but between Hyun Bin’s cheek bones, Son Ye Jin, and the plot, I just had to.

The premise honestly sounds ridiculous but “Crash Landing on You” turned out to be SO GOOD. It’s just the right amount of funny, sweet, and utterly heart-wrenching. Two dramas have made me cry at the end, and this was one of them. Every character was so well done, from the duckling soldiers (got that term from Drama Beans) to the funny ahjummas and more, our lead couple was so well supported.

On a bigger scale, I think this did a LOT to humanize the typical North Korean. One of the things I’ve heard is that the longer the peninsula remains split, the more foreign North Koreans seem to the south (and the world), and I think this show and its popularity has done a lot to combat that.

2. Hotel del Luna (2019)

QUICK PLOT

Jang Man Wol runs a peculiar hotel right in Myeongdong. Hotel del Luna isn’t just any old luxury hotel, it’s a luxury hotel for ghosts, and Man Wol has been running it for over a millennium. After meeting Goo Chan Sung’s father, she makes a deal with him that Chan Sung will come work for her hotel as their human manager in return for his father’s life and financial security.

WHY I LOVED IT

It’s always fun to watch IU play a feisty character because what got her famous was being the Nation’s Little Sister! I’m definitely a fan of where she’s taken her career the last decade, and “Hotel del Luna” is one of her many amazing decisions.

The mystery of why Man Wol is made to be the hotel CEO is interesting, and the blossoming romance between she and Chan sung is hilarious. Plus I love the secondary characters so much! Quite the crush on Block B’s PO after this and his variety stuff.

A big thing that makes “Hotel del Luna” unique is how it handles death, and we see it throughout the whole show. I feel like it’s actually been very cathartic for me watching the different ghost plot lines of each episode.

Oh, and Man Wol’s fashion is incredible.

3. Hello My Twenties! (2016 & 2017)

QUICK PLOT

This drama follows five girls who wind up rooming together at a house called Belle Epoque while attending the nearby university. Throughout the show you get to know each of their personalities and follow their different trials and tribulations. There are two seasons, and one of the girl is swapped out for a new character while one of the original characters changes actresses. It’s done really well, don’t worry. I’m still mad we don’t have a Season 3.

WHY I LOVED IT

This drama! I love it so much and I just want to hug all the girls and make sure they get through life okay. You’ll be rolling with laughter and then wishing you too lived with a group of girls in a city like Seoul.

It also has SO MANY good messages for women, especially in Korea, and I’ve never seen a show that so casually references things we all go through. Sex? Periods? Adult diapers? Female sexuality? It has it all. Plus, it also goes into a lot of heavier material incredibly well: work harassment, stalking, domestic abuse, childhood trauma… I promise it doesn’t feel forced.

4. Reply 1997 (2015)

  • Korean Name: 응답하라 1997
  • Best OST Song:“All for You” Cover by Eunji & Seo In Guk (org. by Cool); Did you know there’s actually no official OST for Reply 1997? This cover was done after the fact!

QUICK PLOT

Turn back the clock to 1997 and experience what it was like to be a Korean teenager in the late nineties during the First Generation of K-pop stars! In the present day (2012) our cast meets up for a high school reunion and we must guess who the main character’s husband is based on the story that unfolds 15 years prior.

WHY I LOVED IT

You know, maybe “Reply 1997” was what started the cable channel storm. It seriously did SO much in its run:

  • 7.5% viewing at a time when successful cable dramas got 1 to 2%
  • filmed mostly in Busan, complete with the satoori dialect, at a time when nearly all dramas were filmed in Seoul
  • featured an LGTBQ character in a satisfying way
  • sparked the retro trend that is still very much a thing today

I binge-watched in college at some point during my junior or senior year because I liked APink and Eunji. It immediately became my favorite drama. The pacing is perfect as all 16 episodes are under 30 minutes, so you can watch this in a day or two.

Even if you have no relation to Korea in the nineties and won’t get 80% of the pop culture references, you’ll enjoy the ride. Just the pure fact they managed to get Eun Ji Won, a First Gen idol, to convincingly play a high school student in 2012 is a joke goldmine. By the end, you’ll have all the feels for this rowdy group of friends and wish you had twice as long with them.

5. Reply 1988 (2015-2016)

QUICK PLOT

Turn back the clock another nine years to Seoul in 1988! This is the year of the Seoul Olympics and takes place right in the middle of Korea’s rapid growth from a war torn country of the 50s to the technological behemoth it is today. In a little Seoul neighborhood, lives a handful of families whose kids are all teenagers navigating the late eighties.

WHY I LOVED IT

As you might guess, the success of “Reply 1997” spawned two more spinoffs with the Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa playing the main parents in every iteration. While there’s a “Reply 1994,” I didn’t love it and thought it got a bit draggy towards the end, which why it’s not on this list.

By the time “Reply 1988” premiered in 2015, the show’s team knew what to do to make the perfect drama. While the first two relied more heavily on the main romance, they must have realized the real reason Korean audiences loved them was more for the accurate nostalgia and cast camaraderie. So what to do they do with a bigger budget? Amp up the scenery and the cast!

More than 1997 and 1994, which are in the past but still somewhat resemble the present, 1988 really does feel like we’re seeing a whole different Korea. Not only do you care about the main teen crew, you care about each and every one of their families and their individual plot lines. If you got nostalgic watching the first two, you’re going to be sobbing by the time Duk Seon warns her friends not to try to revisit their old neighborhood because too much as changed in the last 30+ years.

Guys, I loved this drama so much that I’m not even mad about the romantic ending. It’s so much more of an ensemble cast than any other drama on this list, so it softens the blow. I watched it semi-live, so I was pretty ticked off at how shoehorned the romance ending was, but looking back, in a 90 minute episode, that was maybe 5 minutes of disappointment versus 85 minutes of happiness.

6. She Was Pretty (2015)

QUICK PLOT

Kim Hye Jin wants her childhood friend, Ji Sung Joon, to remember her as the pretty preteen she once was, so she gets her friend, Min Ha Ri, to pretend to be her when they reunite as adults. The only problem is he’s now her superior at The Most magazine.

WHY I LOVED IT

Listen, if you developed a crush on Park Seo Joon from “Itaewon Class,” you’ll adore him in “She Was Pretty,” and he has better hair. This has to be one of my favorite “realistic dramas” as the cast is so damn charming and the plot is fun and light. Super Junior’s Siwon absolutely steals the whole show as the goofy, eccentric senior feature editor, and I still haven’t looked at danmuji the same way since.

Of all the “makeover” dramas, this one does the best job. A reviewer pointed this out, and I agree, one of the best things about the male lead is that he never once comments on her appearance, no matter what changes she goes through. And I love that her makeover is temporary and more of a confidence boost than a complete lifestyle change.

7. The Last Empress (2018-2019)

QUICK PLOT

What if Korea still had a monarchy? Pretty much the premise of this drama as Emperor Lee Hyuk marries commoner Oh Sunny, and she must go from being a silly girl with a crush to the Empress of the Korean Empire.

WHY I LOVED IT

I watched this drama in 3 days. THREE DAYS. Sure, the episodes are around 35 minutes, but there are FIFTY-TWO episodes and I watched it on Viki, which meant commercials! From the initial scene where they’re exhuming the body of the first empress to the very last scene, this is the most bonkers K-drama train I’ve ever ridden. I struggled to even give you a quick plot because there’s SO much going on every episode!

Let us all take a moment to appreciate Jung Nara who is a national treasure who manages to go through so many different emotions in one drama. Also honorable mention to Princess Ari, who is hilarious, and Sunny’s family, who have the best reactions to everything.

8. Fated to Love You (2014)

QUICK PLOT

A remake of the Taiwanese drama, Lee Gun and Kim Mi Young find themselves in a shotgun marriage after their accidental one night stand ends up with a pregnancy.

WHY I LOVED IT

This was another K-drama where I’d seen the original first, so I knew how much heartache I was asking for. I do feel like they sanitized things a lot (this is where I learned that pounding rice cakes is a euphemism for sex) and added a lot more plot elements the Taiwanese omitted, but it’s still a lot of fun and pulls at your heartstrings. Plus we’ve got Jung Nara again, this time with Jang Hyuk, and the two are just perfect in their roles.

9. I Need Romance 3 (2013-2014)

QUICK PLOT

A noona romance! Heh heh. Shin Joo Yeon is 33 and committed to her job at a home shopping network. Her love triangle includes the 26-year-old Joo Wan who she used to babysit until he went abroad 17 years ago, and her sunbae, Kang Taeyoon, who’s still hurt by his ex-girlfriend, Oh Se Ryung.

WHY I LOVED IT

There are three “I Need Romance” series, but the third is the only one I really liked (more on the others below). Of all of them, this one balances the romance with the workplace and friendships the best. The main romance is really sweet, and at the time there weren’t a lot of shows where the woman was the older, more established one in the relationship.

10. Secret Garden (2010-2011)

QUICK PLOT

Gil Ra Im is a tough stunt woman whose only weak spot is her fan love for Oska, a Hallyu idol, while Kim Joo Won is a prickly department store CEO and also cousin of Oska. While the two initially clash, they develop feelings for each other. Toss in a case of body swapping, you’ve got the biggest drama of 2011!

WHY I LOVED IT

I’m honestly not sure how this drama would hold up today because technically it’s pretty full of cliches. However, it was my favorite drama for a long time even though the second half just barely avoids the curse. I think it’s a lot because Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin were so good in it and their chemistry was off the charts. I remember I used to have the finale saved to my iTunes, and I’d watch it for a pick-me up!

2 Drama’s I’m in the Process of Finishing or Need to Start

11. Mister Sunshine (2018)

I’m about halfway through this historical drama and it’s just utterly breathtaking. The shots of the Korean countryside are something else. It focuses on the Korean Empire in the late 1800s as Eugene Choi returns to his homeland as an American soldier.

It feels more like a complete movie production than it does a drama, especially with names like Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri attached. The only things I don’t love is the massive age gap (luckily romance is like 1/100th of the drama), and the English acting, which is the best I’ve seen in an Asian drama but not great.

12. Kingdom (2019 & 2020)

Autumn has been telling me to watch this for a year, and she is the pickiest person I’ve ever met when it comes to pop culture, so I’ll take her word. It sounds kind of ridiculous: zombies in Joseon, but it’s supposed to be amazing. And Autumn says the cinematography is some of the best she’s ever seen of Korea!

4 Dramas Not to Waste Your Time On

1. Cheese in the Trap (2016)

This drama starts off SO good. Like the webtoon is incredibly clever and nuanced, and the show seems to do a good job taking that on and then…. the main guy disappears half way through the show! Turns out there was drama behind the scenes that we’ll never know the details of, but it makes the show go from clever to bad in a matter of episodes. I don’t even think I watched the finale once I read the recap!

2. 12 Years Promise (2014)

I could not get through this drama. It was so drawn out and boring, and the characters made no sense. Even how they wind up sleeping together is weirdly forced and awkward. I started skipping through it to see what would happen, and when I realize the way they reconcile in the end was crappy too, I gave up altogether.

3. I Need Romance

Cho Yeo Jeong (who you guys might recognize as the rich mom from Parasite), is one of my favorite actresses. However, this drama was a mess. Her character was insanely annoying (like you know Cho is an amazing actress when you realize she was doing Concubine and Bangja around this time). The whole relationship between In Young and Sung Soo is weird and toxic, and I don’t really think he ever did anything to deserve being forgiven for cheating on her.

4. I Need Romance 2012

So… I didn’t hate this one as much as I disliked the first one. But it didn’t really do anything for me. I remember thinking Ji Hoon and Yeol Mae got way too serious way too fast for the plot, and Yeol Mae was just kinda whiny.

Phewww! If you just read nearly 4,000 words on my K-dramas, I’m sorry haha, But also, I hope it was helpful! Now I have a proper list to send my friends when they ask me for recs!

What do you think are the best Korean Dramas to watch?

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12 Best Korean Dramas from 2020 That Will Blow Your Mind! [ft. HappySqueak]
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    Crash Landing on You (tvN, 2019), also known as Love's Emergency Landing, is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. While paragliding, a wealthy South Korean heiress accidentally lands in...  more

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    Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (SBS, 2016) is a South Korean historical romance television series, based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin by Tong Hua. During a total solar eclipse, a 25-year-old...  more

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    Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (tvN, 2016), also known as Goblin, is a South Korean romance fantasy television series. Goblin and protector of souls, Kim Shin, seeks a human bride to end his...  more

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    What's Wrong with Secretary Kim (tvN, 2018) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series, based on the 2013 novel by Jung Kyung-yoon. Misunderstandings arise when a highly capable secretary...  more

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    Strong Woman Do Bong-soon (JTBC, 2017), also known as Strong Girl Bong-soon, is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. Born with superhuman strength, Do Bong-soon becomes the bodyguard of...  more

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    My Love from the Star (SBS, 2013), also known as You Who Came from the Stars, is a South Korean fantasy romantic comedy television series. An alien who has been stranded on Earth for more than 400...  more

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    Descendants of the Sun (KBS2, 2016) is a South Korean romance drama television series. Finding themselves in the middle of great events and dangers in a war-torn country, Korean Special Forces...  more

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    Healer

    Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young

    Healer (KBS2, 2014) is a South Korean action thriller romance television series. A fighter posing as a night courier agrees to protect a tabloid journalist whose investigation into a long-buried...  more

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    W: Two Worlds (MBC, 2016), also known as W, is a South Korean fantasy mystery romance television series. When her comic artist father goes missing, a surgeon gets pulled into the fictional world...  more

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    Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (MBC, 2016) is a South Korean romantic comedy sports television series. A group of college athletes who are fighting for their dreams experience and find love in the...  more

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    Hotel del Luna (tvN, 2019) is a South Korean fantasy romantic comedy television series. Forced to run a hotel for ghosts due to a past curse, Jang Man-wol meets the new manager....  more

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    Mr. Queen (tvN, 2020), also known as Queen Cheorin, is a South Korean historical romantic-comedy television series. When a modern day chef gets trapped in the body of a queen in the Joseon era, chaos...  more

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    Itaewon Class (JTBC, 2020) is a South Korean television series based on the webtoon by Gwang Jin. Park Sae-roy (Park Seo-joon) decides to follow in his father's footsteps by opening up a restaurant...  more

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    Oh My Venus

    So Ji Sub; Shin Min Ah; Henry Lau; Sung Hoon

    Oh My Venus (KBS2, 2015) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. A disgraced Hollywood personal trainer helps a once-beautiful woman get back in shape only for both to develop feelings...  more

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    It's Okay to Not Be Okay (tvN, 2020) is a South Korean romance drama television series. An extraordinary road to emotional healing opens up for an antisocial children's book writer and a selfless...  more

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    The Legend of the Blue Sea (SBS, 2016) is a South Korean fantasy romantic-comedy television series. A magistrate's plan to release mermaids into the ocean backfires when they're caught by fishermen....  more

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    I Am Not a Robot (MBC TV, 2017) is a South Korean romantic-comedy television series. Kim Min Gyu, a wealthy man who is allergic to people, meets and falls in love with a girl who is pretending to be...  more

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    The Heirs (SBS, 2013), also known as The Inheritors, is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. After a chance encounter in LA, two teens from different social backgrounds reunite at an...  more

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    Fight My Way (KBS2, 2017), also known as Fight For My Way, is a South Korean romantic-comedy television series. Two childhood best friends confront the change in their feelings towards each other as...  more

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    #33 of 153 The Best K-Dramas To Watch On Viki#7 of 102 The Best Romantic Comedy K-Dramas Ever

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    Pinocchio (SBS, 2014) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. A reporter with a secret past and an ambitious journalist with an unusual syndrome put their differences aside after...  more

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    Kill Me, Heal Me (MBC, 2015) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. Having developed dissociative identity disorder, business heir Cha Do Hyun tries to regain control over his life with...  more

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    Flower of Evil (tvN, 2020) is a South Korean mystery romance television series. A homicide detective discovers her husband's dark secrets while working on a strange case....  more

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    She Was Pretty (MBC, 2015) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. After a complete reversal of fortune and looks, childhood sweethearts reunite for the first time in 15 years as...  more

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    Oh My Ghostess (tvN, 2015), also known as Oh My Ghost, is a South Korean fantasy romantic comedy television series. When timid assistant chef gets possessed by a lustful virgin ghost, the two girls...  more

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    My Mister (tvN, 2018), also known as My Ahjussi, is a South Korean drama television series. Three middle-aged brothers, who are enduring the weight of their lives, and a strong, cold woman, who has...  more

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    Dr. Romantic (SBS, 2016), also known as Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, is a South Korean medical drama television series. A famous surgeon with the nickname of "Hand of God" suddenly disappears and...  more

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    Boys Over Flowers (KBS2, 2009) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series, based on the Japanese manga series Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio. Unassuming high school girl Jan-di stands up to...  more

    #23 of 55 The Greatest TV Shows About Rich People#33 of 37 The Best Teen Shows On Hulu

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    Welcome to Waikiki (JTBC, 2018) is a youth South Korean television series. Three men who are struggling with their careers run a failing guesthouse....  more

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    Mr. Sunshine (tvN, 2018) is a South Korean historical action drama television series. After returning to Korea as a United States Marine Corps officer, Choi Yoo-jin falls in love with an aristocrat's...  more

    #20 of 55 The Best Historical Shows On Netflix To Watch Now#6 of 32 The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in the 1900s

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    Master's Sun (SBS, 2013) is a South Korean horror-romantic comedy television series. A young woman who can see ghosts finds a safe haven when she touches the hand of a pompous CEO; in return for her...  more

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    Doom at Your Service (tvN, 2021) is a South Korean fantasy romance television series. Tak Dong-kyung lives a fairly ordinary life until she stumbles into an unexpected fate and ends up signing a...  more

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    Love in the Moonlight (KBS2, 2016) is a South Korean historical romantic comedy television series, based on the 2013 novel Moonlight Drawn by Clouds by Yoon Yi-Soo. A crown prince begins to fall in...  more

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    Fated to Love You (MBC, 2014), also known as You Are My Destiny, is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. A chance encounter turns everything upside down for wealthy CEO Lee Gun and...  more

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    Coffee Prince (MBC, 2007), also known as The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. Pretending to be gay so he can avoid blind dates arranged by his grandma,...  more

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    A Korean Odyssey (tvN, 2017) is a South Korean television series and a modern spinoff of the Chinese novel Journey to the West. Looking for a true light in a dark world where evil thrives, powerful...  more

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    Hospital Playlist (tvN, 2020) is a South Korean medical drama television series. The story of five doctors who have been friends since they entered medical school in 1999....  more

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    True Beauty (tvN, 2020) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series based on the webtoon by Yaongyi. A high school girl rises to pretty girl fame in her school after she masters the art of...  more

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    Suspicious Partner (SBS, 2017) is a South Korean romantic-comedy television series. Noh Ji-wook, a prosecutor, and Eun Bong-hee, a prosecutor trainee, work together on a mysterious case involving a...  more

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    #12 of 123 The Most Romantic Korean Dramas Ever#31 of 94 The Best Korean Crime Dramas Ever

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    Hwarang (KBS2, 2016), also known as Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, is a South Korean historical romance television series. An elite group of male warrior youth called Hwarang grow through passion...  more

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    Secret Garden (SBS, 2010) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series. A wealthy young man and a poor stunt woman fall for each other, but when their souls swap they soon learn how different...  more

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    I Can Hear Your Voice (SBS, 2013), also known as I Hear Your Voice or The Voice You Can't Hear, is a South Korean fantasy romance television series. A sharp female lawyer with no filter teams up with...  more

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    Full House (KBS2, 2004) is a South Korean romantic comedy television series, based on the manhwa by Won Soo-yeon. In a bid to reacquire her childhood home, a free-spirited woman agrees to a...  more

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    The K2

    Ji Chang-wook, Im Yoon-ah

    The K2 (tvN, 2016) is a South Korean television series directed by Kwak Jung-hwan. Framed for the murder of his lover, a former mercenary soldier (Ji Chang-wook) is hired to become a bodyguard, while...  more

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    City Hunter (SBS, 2011) is a South Korean romance action thriller television drama series, based on the 1985 Japanese manga by Tsukasa Hojo. Lee Yun-seong is trained by his father's best friend in...  more

  • Sours: https://www.ranker.com/list/best-korean-dramas/onlysuy

    Now discussing:

    While the South Korean TV and film industry has been around for over half a century, the last two decades in particular mark a rise in global recognition of the incredible body of work—culminating in a historic win for Parasite at the 2020 Academy Awards and South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn's win for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Minariat the 2021 Academy Awards. Further evidence? The latest Netflix global hit is a 2021 K-drama called Squid Game. Like Parasite, Squid Game is an unpredictable parable that explores life under socialinequalityand takes the characters' fights for survival to extreme heights.

    Already binged it? Whether you're looking to dip your toes into more K-dramas, or you're already a fan seeking additional highly-rated, easily streamable options, here are 22 of the best Korean dramas that you can watch on Netflix right now—from romantic comedies, to superhero flicks, zombie horror shows, crime-busting detective thrillers, historical fiction and more. Pick a genre, and settle in for a marathon, because we can guarantee you're going to find your latest binge-worthy addiction.

    Sours: https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/tv-movies/g30852507/best-korean-drama-series/


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