Best Korean Dramas on Netflix You Should Watch Before You Die
Best Korean Dramas on Netflix. Korean dramas, also known as K-dramas, have been taking the world by storm for quite some time now, and it’s easy to see why. With their compelling storylines, complex characters, and often intricate plot twists, K-dramas have captured the hearts of audiences all over the globe. Fortunately, Netflix has a vast collection of some of the best Korean dramas available, making it easy for viewers to indulge in this addictive genre. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best Korean dramas on Netflix that you won’t want to miss.
1. Crash Landing on You (2019)
Crash Landing on You tells the story of a South Korean heiress who crash-lands in North Korea while paragliding. There, she meets a North Korean soldier who tries to help her return home. This drama is a perfect blend of romance, humor, and action, with an excellent cast that delivers outstanding performances. It’s easy to see why this drama was a massive hit in Korea and internationally.
2. Itaewon Class (2020)
Itaewon Class is a story of a young man who, after being wrongfully accused of a crime and expelled from school, opens a bar in Itaewon, a neighborhood in Seoul. His goal is to make the bar a success and take revenge on the man who ruined his life. This drama deals with themes of justice, revenge, and perseverance, and is a heartwarming story of a man who overcomes adversity to achieve his dreams.
3. Kingdom (2019)
Kingdom is a historical horror-thriller that takes place during the Joseon dynasty in Korea. The Crown Prince of Joseon investigates a mysterious plague that is spreading throughout the country, only to discover that the dead are coming back to life. This drama is an excellent blend of horror and historical fiction, with an engrossing storyline and outstanding performances.
4. Stranger (2017)
The stranger is a crime thriller that follows a prosecutor and a police officer who team up to solve a murder case. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they uncover a web of corruption and cover-ups that go all the way to the top. This drama is a well-crafted mystery with complex characters and an intricate plot.
5. Vincenzo (2021)
Vincenzo is a story of a Korean-Italian mafia lawyer who returns to Korea and becomes embroiled in a battle with a conglomerate over a valuable piece of land. This drama is a perfect blend of comedy, action, and drama, with an outstanding cast and excellent writing.
In conclusion, Korean dramas are a fantastic genre with something to offer to everyone. With Netflix’s vast collection of Korean dramas, there’s no excuse not to dive into this world of intricate plots, captivating characters, and heartwarming stories. Whether you’re a fan of romance, comedy, horror, or crime thrillers, there’s a K-drama out there for you.
6. Reply 1988 (2015)
Reply 1988 is a nostalgic drama that depicts the lives of families and friends living in the same neighborhood in 1988. This drama is known for its heartwarming storyline and relatable characters.
7. Signal (2016)
The signal is a time-traveling crime thriller that tells the story of a detective who communicates with a detective from the past through a mysterious radio transmitter to solve cold cases. This drama is known for its engaging plot and fantastic acting performances.
8. Extracurricular (2020)
Extracurricular is a drama that revolves around high school students who get involved in illegal activities to make money. This drama tackles social issues such as class, privilege, and the pressure to succeed.
9. Hospital Playlist (2020)
Hospital Playlist is a medical drama that follows five doctors who have been friends since medical school. This drama is known for its heartwarming and realistic portrayal of the medical profession.
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10. Reply 1994 (2013)
Reply 1994 is a drama that depicts the lives of college students living in a boarding house in Seoul in 1994. This drama is known for its realistic portrayal of college life and relatable characters.
11. Stranger 2 (2020)
Stranger 2 is the sequel to the first season of Stranger and follows the same characters as they investigate a new case that involves political corruption and cover-ups.
12. Mr. Sunshine (2018)
Mr. Sunshine is a historical drama that takes place during the early 1900s when Korea was under Japanese rule. The drama tells the story of a Korean-born American who falls in love with a noblewoman while trying to fight for his country’s independence.
13. Start-Up (2020)
Start-Up is a drama that revolves around a group of young entrepreneurs who start a business in the technology industry. This drama tackles themes such as ambition, family, and love.
14. Record of Youth (2020)
Record of Youth is a drama that follows the lives of three young people who aspire to become successful actors and models. This drama is known for its realistic portrayal of the entertainment industry.
15. Hi Bye, Mama! (2020)
Hi Bye, Mama! is a South Korean television drama that aired on tvN in 2020. It is a heartwarming and emotional story about a ghost who is given a second chance to come back to life and be with her family.
The main character of the drama is Cha Yu-ri, played by Kim Tae-hee, who dies in a tragic accident five years before the start of the story. However, she is given an opportunity to return to earth for 49 days to spend time with her husband, Jo Kang-hwa, and her daughter, Jo Seo-woo.
The story revolves around Cha Yu-ri’s journey as a ghost, trying to figure out how to reconnect with her family and make amends for her past mistakes. She finds out that her husband has remarried and is now raising their daughter with his new wife, Oh Min-jung. Cha Yu-ri is determined to help her family move on from her death and find happiness.
The drama explores themes of family, love, loss, and forgiveness. The performances by the cast, particularly Kim Tae-hee as Cha Yu-ri, are exceptional and add a depth of emotion to the story.
Overall, Hi Bye, Mama! is a touching and heartwarming drama that tugs at the heartstrings. It beautifully portrays the struggles of a mother who longs to be with her family once again and showcases the power of love and forgiveness.
16. My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018)
My ID is Gangnam Beauty is a popular South Korean television drama that aired on JTBC in 2018. The show is based on a webtoon of the same name and explores the themes of beauty standards, self-esteem, and relationships.
The story revolves around Kang Mi-rae, played by Im Soo-hyang, who undergoes plastic surgery to change her appearance and start a new life in college. She was bullied for her looks in high school and believes that plastic surgery will help her gain confidence and acceptance.
Mi-rae soon realizes that changing her appearance doesn’t solve all her problems, as she continues to face challenges from those who judge her for her past. She becomes friends with Do Kyung-seok, played by Cha Eun-woo, a handsome and popular student who accepts her for who she is. The two develop a complex relationship as they navigate their own insecurities and the judgment of others.
The drama tackles the issue of society’s obsession with physical beauty and the pressure placed on individuals to conform to certain standards. It also explores the theme of self-acceptance and encourages viewers to love themselves for who they are, rather than seeking validation from others.
The performances by the cast are excellent, with Im Soo-hyang delivering a convincing portrayal of a young woman struggling with her identity and self-esteem. Cha Eun-woo’s performance as the charming but troubled Kyung-seok also adds depth to the story.
Overall, My ID is Gangnam Beauty is a thought-provoking and heartfelt drama that addresses important social issues. It delivers a powerful message about the importance of self-love and acceptance and showcases the transformative power of kindness and compassion.
17. The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)
The King: Eternal Monarch is a South Korean television drama that aired on SBS in 2020. It is a romantic fantasy drama that tells the story of a parallel universe, where a king and a detective from different worlds work together to save both universes from destruction.
The show stars Lee Min-ho as Lee Gon, the king of the Kingdom of Corea, a parallel world to modern-day Korea. Kim Go-eun plays Jung Tae-eul, a detective from Korea who finds herself drawn into Lee Gon’s world after a series of mysterious events.
The drama is a mix of genres, including romance, action, and political intrigue. The story revolves around Lee Gon’s efforts to prevent the evil Lee Lim, his uncle, from taking over the throne and destroying both worlds. He teams up with Tae-eul, who helps him navigate the strange new world and its secrets.
The King: Eternal Monarch is visually stunning, with intricate sets and beautiful cinematography that transports viewers to a parallel universe filled with magic and wonder. The performances by the cast, particularly Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun, are excellent and add depth to the story.
The show explores themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle between good and evil. It also raises questions about fate, destiny, and the consequences of our choices. The romance between Lee Gon and Tae-eul is heartwarming and adds an emotional touch to the story.
Overall, The King: Eternal Monarch is a captivating and engaging drama that is worth watching for its unique storyline and stunning visuals. It showcases the talents of its cast and delivers a powerful message about the importance of love and sacrifice in the face of adversity.
18. Love Alarm (2019)
Love Alarm is a South Korean television drama that premiered on Netflix in 2019. It is based on a webtoon of the same name and explores the themes of love, technology, and the impact of social media on our relationships.
The show is set in a world where a mobile app called Love Alarm has been developed, which notifies users if someone within a 10-meter radius has romantic feelings for them. The story follows the lives of three young adults, Kim Jojo, Hwang Sun-oh, and Lee Hye-yeong, as they navigate the complexities of love and friendship in a world where the Love Alarm app has become an integral part of society.
Kim Jojo, played by Kim So-hyun, is a high school student who has faced numerous challenges in life, including the loss of her parents. She is torn between her feelings for Hwang Sun-oh, a popular and wealthy student who is infatuated with her, and Lee Hye-yeong, her childhood friend who has always been there for her.
The drama explores the impact of technology on our relationships and raises questions about the nature of love and how we express it. It also highlights the darker side of social media and how it can impact our mental health and self-esteem.
The performances by the cast, particularly Kim So-hyun, are excellent and add depth to the characters. The cinematography and soundtrack of the drama are also noteworthy, adding to the overall emotional impact of the story.
Overall, Love Alarm is a touching and relatable drama that captures the struggles of young adults as they navigate the complexities of love and relationships in the modern world. It delivers a powerful message about the importance of honesty and communication in building meaningful connections with others.
19. Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
Memories of the Alhambra is a South Korean television drama that aired on tvN in 2018. It is a sci-fi mystery thriller that combines elements of virtual reality gaming and romance.
The story follows Yoo Jin-woo, played by Hyun Bin, a successful CEO who travels to Spain to meet with a game developer. He becomes embroiled in a dangerous and mysterious game that takes place in the historic Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. He meets Jung Hee-joo, played by Park Shin-hye, a hostel owner who becomes his ally and love interest as they work together to unravel the secrets of the game.
The drama explores themes of technology, reality, and the blurred lines between them. It also touches on issues of trust, betrayal, and the consequences of our actions. The intricate storyline keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, as they try to decipher the clues and unravel the mystery.
The performances by the cast are excellent, particularly Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye, who have great chemistry on screen. The stunning cinematography and use of special effects create a visually captivating and immersive world that draws viewers in.
Overall, Memories of the Alhambra is a gripping and thrilling drama that delivers a unique and captivating storyline. It combines elements of sci-fi, mystery, and romance to create a memorable viewing experience that will leave viewers wanting more.
20. Descendants of the Sun (2016)
Descendants of the Sun is a South Korean television drama that aired on KBS2 in 2016. It is a military romance drama that tells the story of a special forces captain and a doctor who fall in love while working together on a peacekeeping mission in a fictional country called Urk.
The drama stars Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Si-jin, a skilled and charismatic special forces captain, and Song Hye-kyo as Dr. Kang Mo-yeon, a strong-willed and compassionate doctor. Their love story unfolds amidst the backdrop of a dangerous and unpredictable mission in a war-torn country.
The drama explores themes of sacrifice, duty, and the challenges of maintaining a relationship while working in dangerous and unpredictable environments. It also touches on issues of diplomacy, cultural differences, and the impact of war on civilians.
The performances by the cast are excellent, particularly Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, who have great chemistry on screen. The cinematography and use of special effects create a visually stunning and immersive world that transports viewers to the heart of the conflict.
Overall, Descendants of the Sun is a heartwarming and engaging drama that delivers a powerful message about love, sacrifice, and the importance of duty. It showcases the talents of its cast and crew and is a must-watch for anyone who loves military dramas or romantic stories.
21. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? (2018)
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? is a South Korean television drama that aired on tvN in 2018. It is a romantic comedy that tells the story of a narcissistic CEO and his long-time secretary, who suddenly decides to resign from her position.
The drama stars Park Seo-joon as Lee Young-joon, a wealthy and successful CEO who is used to getting his way. He is shocked when his talented and capable secretary, Kim Mi-so, played by Park Min-young, announces that she wants to quit her job after nine years of loyal service. The drama follows their journey as they confront their feelings for each other and learn to navigate their complicated relationship.
The drama explores themes of love, family, and personal growth. It also touches on issues of self-esteem, identity, and the importance of communication in building meaningful relationships.
The performances by the cast are excellent, particularly Park Seo-joon and Park Min-young, who have great chemistry on screen. The witty and humorous dialogue, combined with the charming and endearing characters, make for an entertaining and enjoyable viewing experience.
Overall, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? is a delightful and heartwarming drama that delivers a powerful message about the importance of recognizing and valuing the people who support us in our personal and professional lives. It is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys romantic comedies and stories about personal growth and self-discovery.
22. Be Melodramatic (2019)
Be Melodramatic, also known as Melo is My Nature, is a South Korean television drama that aired on JTBC in 2019. It is a comedy-drama that follows the lives of three women in their 30s who are struggling to navigate their careers, friendships, and romantic relationships.
The drama stars Chun Woo-hee as Im Jin-joo, a successful and talented documentary producer who is recovering from a recent breakup. Han Ji-eun plays Lee Eun-jung, a struggling writer who is dealing with the aftermath of a failed marriage. And Jeon Yeo-been portrays Hwang Han-joo, a marketing manager who is trying to balance her career and personal life.
The drama explores themes of friendship, love, and the challenges of adulthood. It also touches on issues of career and identity, and the struggles that many women face as they try to balance their personal and professional lives.
The performances by the cast are excellent, particularly Chun Woo-hee, who delivers a standout performance as Im Jin-joo. The witty and relatable script, combined with the strong and complex female characters, make for an engaging and entertaining viewing experience.
Overall, Be Melodramatic is a refreshing and heartfelt drama that offers a unique and honest portrayal of modern women and their struggles. It is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys comedy dramas and stories about friendship and personal growth.
23. Love Alarm 2 (2021)
Love Alarm Season 2 is the second season of the popular South Korean television drama Love Alarm, which is based on a webtoon of the same name by Chon Kye-young. The series premiered on Netflix on March 12, 2021, and continues the story of the Love Alarm app, which rings when someone within a 10-meter radius has feelings for the user.
The second season picks up where the first season left off, with Jojo (Kim So-hyun), Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram), and Sun-oh (Song Kang) still caught in a love triangle. The Love Alarm app has now been updated with a new feature that reveals people’s real emotions, causing even more confusion and heartache.
The second season explores themes of love, friendship, and the consequences of technology. It also delves deeper into the backstories of the characters and their relationships, revealing new secrets and conflicts.
The performances by the cast are once again excellent, particularly Kim So-hyun, who brings depth and nuance to her portrayal of Jojo. The visual effects and production design are also top-notch, creating a vivid and immersive world that captures the mood and tone of the story.
Overall, Love Alarm Season 2 is a worthy continuation of the series, offering a compelling and emotional story that will keep viewers hooked until the very end. It is a must-watch for fans of the first season, as well as anyone who enjoys romantic dramas with a sci-fi twist.
24. Kingdom 2 (2020)
Kingdom Season 2 is the second season of the critically acclaimed South Korean television series Kingdom, which is a historical horror-thriller set in the Joseon Dynasty. The series premiered on Netflix on March 13, 2020, and continues the story of Crown Prince Lee Chang as he tries to stop the spread of a mysterious disease that turns people into flesh-eating zombies.
The second season picks up where the first season left off, with Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) and his allies fighting to survive against the zombie horde. The story takes several twists and turns, as the characters uncover new secrets and conspiracies that threaten to tear the kingdom apart.
The second season explores themes of power, politics, and survival in the face of a deadly threat. It also delves deeper into the backstory of the zombie outbreak and the role that the corrupt nobles played in its spread.
The performances by the cast are once again excellent, particularly Ju Ji-hoon, who brings gravitas and intensity to his portrayal of Prince Lee Chang. The visual effects and production design are also top-notch, creating a visceral and immersive world that captures the horror and desperation of the story.
25. Squid Game (2021)
Squid Game is a South Korean thriller television series that premiered on Netflix on September 17, 2021. The series, created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, has gained widespread popularity and critical acclaim since its release, becoming one of the most-watched Netflix series ever.
The story follows a group of 456 contestants who are brought together to play a series of children’s games, with the promise of a huge cash prize for the winner. However, the games quickly take a deadly turn, and the contestants must fight for their survival against each other and the mysterious figures running the game.
The series explores themes of survival, morality, and the dark side of human nature. It features a diverse cast of characters, each with its own backstory and motivations, and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its unpredictable plot twists and shocking reveals.
The performances by the cast are excellent, particularly Lee Jung-jae as the protagonist Seong Gi-hun, and the visual effects and production design are top-notch, creating a gritty and intense atmosphere that heightens the tension and suspense of the story.
In conclusion, Korean dramas have become a popular form of entertainment worldwide, and with the growing availability of streaming services like Netflix, fans of the genre have never had more access to quality content. This list of the 30 best Korean dramas on Netflix offers a wide variety of options, from historical epics to romantic comedies, from horror thrillers to heartwarming dramas.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of Korean dramas or just discovering the genre, these 25 shows are sure to entertain and captivate you with their compelling stories, memorable characters, and stunning visuals. From classic hits like “Descendants of the Sun” to more recent releases like “Squid Game”, Korean dramas continue to showcase the country’s vibrant culture and artistic talent, while also providing a unique perspective on universal themes of love, friendship, family, and the human condition.
So grab some popcorn, settle in, and get ready to be swept away by these amazing Korean dramas, all available to stream on Netflix.