What is your idea of a perfect night? Some people like to spend their time watching TV, others would rather read. But for me, the ultimate way to unwind after work on a Friday evening is by watching Korean dramas. I know that might sound strange if you don’t watch them too often but trust me they are amazing! In this article, we will explore some of the 13 best Korean dramas that have been released in recent years and give you an idea of where to start when looking for something new.
Please note, these shows are what we liked and may not be what everyone likes. Of course, we are all built differently. If you are into Anime, don’t worry, we got you covered. Take a look at our 6 Top Japanese Animes to start with.
Let us take a look at the 13 Best Korean Dramas
Signal: The best KDrama of all time
Coming from the director of “A Bittersweet Life,” and starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo, and Cho Jin Woong this show is sure to be a hit. As part of an emergency task force in 1986 Seoul, detectives work together to stop those who use high-tech gadgets while committing crimes. This show will have you hooked as it slowly reveals answers about each member’s pasts one by one!
What makes this Korean drama different from many others is that it starts with a murder mystery. This show features plenty of action and intrigue. That being said, Signal does have some excellent performances by Lee Je-hoon (a Secret Service agent) and Kim Hae-soo (an intelligent detective).
Reply 1988 is a Korean drama series that was aired from May 18, 2015, to November 22, 2016. The show revolves around the lives of people who live in apartment complex Reply 1994 across two decades – 1987-1994 and 1989-2014 respectively with five main characters in their teens or early twenties as its focal point.
The show is directed by Shin Won-ho and written by Lee Woo-Jung, both of whom had previously worked on the successful Reply series in 2012 with “Reply 1997”. The production team initially wanted to create a third installment, but it was later decided to do ‘another story’ set 20 years prior instead; hence leading up to the title – ‘1988’.
It’s Okay to Not be Okay
It’s Okay to Not be okay is a Korean TV show on tvN network that focuses on mental health and the lives of people who suffer from depression. The drama was written by Kim Kyu-Jung, one of Korea’s most popular screenwriters for K dramas such as Please Come Back Mister (2012) and Pinocchio (2014). It stars Lee Joon-gi, Shin Hyeon-soo, Jung So Min, Yoo Ah-in.
The title comes from the words “it’s okay not to be okay” which encapsulates what this story is about – it has comedy but also deals with difficult issues like suicide or self-harm etc. Showing how even someone who seems perfect can suffer and how we all need to work together in order to help people who are struggling.
My Love from the Star
The “My Love from the Star” Korean TV Show is a fantasy romance based on a novel of the same name. Song Joong Ki plays Do Min Joon, an alien who landed on Earth 400 years ago and has been living among humans ever since. His latest challenge? Falling in love with top actress Chun Song Yi (played by Jun Ji Hyun).
Do Min Joon’s race comes to earth every 400 years for reconnaissance purposes before heading back home to report their findings. In his previous visit more than 300 years ago, he was able to meet two potential partners but only ended up staying for one night each time, so he never got serious about either woman. However, this go-round around it looks like that might not be possible as he’s been on earth for 400 years and the time is running out to return home.
The King: Eternal Monarch
You might not know the story behind Korean Emperor Yi Gon. There is a deep tale that goes back 36 years ago. When he was only eight, he saw his father getting killed before his eyes following a coup. Today, instead of honoring his familial duties, he prefers to escape the palace in order to attend university conferences. During one of his escapades, he is swept into a parallel world wherein he meets Jeong Tae Eul—an inspector with whom he joins forces in order to defeat the criminals but also closes the door between their two worlds.
The summary of this drama is about a spoiled, rich heir to Korea’s largest conglomerate who has it all. But after he gets thrown in jail for committing a white-collar crime, his life takes an unexpected turn. He becomes part of the company again on one condition: he must work with the illegitimate daughter of his father’s mistress. He learns how to become one of the people and understands what’s important in life.
The drama stars Lee Min-ho as Kim Tan, a rich Korean heir who becomes part of his family’s company after spending years in America during high school. The show is primarily about an unlikely romance between two very different people: he comes across as cold and arrogant, while she is poor but warm-hearted.
Lee Min Ho stars in this drama about a spoiled heir to Korea’s largest conglomerate who gets thrown in jail for committing a white-collar crime and then becomes part of the company again on one condition: he must work with the illegitimate daughter of his father’s mistress. He learns how to become one of the people and understands what’s important in life.
The Legend of the Blue sea
The show is about a man who becomes immortal and has to search for the woman he loves. It’s been three hundred years since he lost her, but she suddenly appears in front of him again. The drama follows these two as they try to understand what their fate holds while dodging other people that also want them dead because of this immortality. There are lots of good twists!
Joon Ji Hoon plays our main character – an average human male with one major difference (immortality). He falls madly in love with Chun Song Yi (a top actress) at first sight and continues to follow her around relentlessly until it works out between them. Plus, his best friend is played by Lee Min-Ki who is the guy that played Jang Hyun on Arirang TV’s Secret Garden.
Watch if you like: dramas with lots of twists and turns! Also, ones about life/death? Or are just people trying to find true happiness?
Crash Landing on you
A wealthy South Korean woman ends up in North Korea after being carried over the border by a tornado while paragliding. Yoon Se-ri (played by Son Ye-jin) owns her own fashion brand and is also a chaebol heiress. She disappears one day after her father chooses her to be his successor, taking on the responsibility for running an expansive business empire. With Se-ri now presumed dead, members of her family scramble to claim what they believe must now be rightfully theirs—the chairmanship of the company.
Son Ye-Jin stars as an heiress in South Korea. One day, while paragliding due to strong winds she was caught and landed in North Korea. There she met Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin), a North Korean army officer who soon falls in love with her.
In big K-dramas, there are many characters and plots. Some people want different things from the show. Sometimes the show ends with an ending that is good for everyone in it. That is what happened in Mr. Queen, which had a lot of people and a happy ending that everyone liked.
Despite a number of awkward moments and the occasional unbalanced mix, Shin Hye-sun’s bravorous performance kept viewers hooked throughout. The series finale was equally strong with gripping suspense, slapstick comedy, and some major schadenfreude as King Cheol-jong storms the palace.
“Aired in 2016, this K-drama is the story of a group of doctors and their patients as they navigate life, love, and career. You’ll get your dose of medical drama with some light romance sprinkled on top.” The Doctors are a refreshingly different kind of medical drama. Rather than tackling the cutthroat world of competitive medicos, we focus on what happens when they’ve found their place in life.
Pinocchio is a Korean drama about an ordinary guy who is suddenly turned into a celebrity overnight. It has some dark humor, and it can be quite suspenseful at times.
The show centers on the main character Lee Ho-Jin (played by Yeo Jin-Goo), an average college student who is a one-day gets called in for jury duty to become part of a panel that will judge high-profile cases. One night he bumps into Eun Sang-Min (supposedly played by Kim Sae Ron) while walking home from school with his friend Ji Hoon after they had been studying late at her place; she spills coffee all over him as well as herself before being pulled away quickly by someone wearing sunglasses.
The next day he’s pitched to become a national celebrity based on the fact that his coffee-stained shirt is now seen as an iconic fashion statement. As Ho-Jin becomes more and more popular, he starts dating Eun Sang Min who seems like she has her own share of secrets.
Ho Jin eventually learns that there are people out there with some pretty nefarious plans for him–plans which have been set in motion years ago. It turns out that this case isn’t just about coffee spilling; it delves into how fame can be so addictive that you would go through anything to hold onto it even if it’s at the expense of your humanity or life itself. Pinocchio also tackles issues such as mental illness, the steps people will go through to become famous, and how power corrupts.
Love Struck in the city
The City Hall (Love Struck in the city) is a 2014 South Korean television series starring Park Ye Jin and Yoo Ji Tae. It aired on tvN from September 11, 2014, to November 12, 2014, for 16 episodes.
The show depicts Kim Sun Ah’s character as she juggles her personal life with that of being Seoul’s first female mayor who has just been elected into office. The drama began filming on June 13, 2012, at SBS Production Center located in Ilsan and finished filming on February 17th, 2013. This Drama contains some violence including scenes where people have guns fired near them or fire their own gun offscreen/at someone else but never actually hit anyone which would be considered to be a dangerous weapon.
This is a show that might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you get hooked after the first episode please continue to watch it to experience a different Korean show.
Extracurricular activities are good for high school records. They show that you’re interested in many things and they will look good on your record. But make sure they are not the kind of extracurricular activities shown in Korean dramas.
Oh, Ji-soo is a tenured student at the school who has never been in trouble and his grades are excellent. There’s just one issue: he’s not very involved with outside extracurricular activities to boost university applications. What the advisor doesn’t know is that Ji-soo, played tragically by Kim Dong-hee, has some serious side activities, only they are not to type that colleges are likely to approve of.
Please feel free to comment below what are your favorite shows, and we would like to hear the ones that we missed.