Top 25 Best Korean Dramas of All Time
Top 25 Best Korean Dramas of All Time. Korean dramas, or K-dramas, have captured the hearts of audiences all over the world with their unique blend of romance, drama, and cultural themes. From classic series that set the standard for K-dramas to modern hits that have taken the world by storm, here are 25 of the best Korean dramas of all time.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Goblin (2016)
“Goblin” is a South Korean fantasy drama series that aired in 2016 on tvN. The series was written by Kim Eun-sook and directed by Lee Eung-bok, who previously collaborated on the hit drama “Descendants of the Sun.”
The story revolves around a goblin, played by Gong Yoo, who has been cursed with immortality and seeks to end his life by finding a human bride who can remove the curse. He crosses paths with a high school student named Ji Eun-tak, played by Kim Go-eun, who has the ability to see ghosts and is destined to be the goblin’s bride.
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The series explores themes of love, sacrifice, redemption, and the supernatural, and is known for its stunning visuals, cinematography, and soundtrack. It also features an ensemble cast of talented actors, including Lee Dong-wook, Yoo In-na, and BTOB’s Yook Sung-jae.
“Goblin” was a commercial and critical success, breaking records for tvN’s highest ratings and winning numerous awards. It remains one of the most beloved and iconic Korean dramas of all time and is a must-watch for fans of the fantasy and romance genres.
4. My Love from the Star (2013)
“My Love from the Star” is a popular Korean drama that aired in 2013 on SBS. The series stars Kim Soo-hyun as Do Min-joon, an alien who has been stranded on Earth for 400 years and falls in love with a top Hallyu actress, Cheon Song-yi, played by Jun Ji-hyun.
The story follows Do Min-joon, who has extraordinary powers and a cynical outlook on human beings, as he tries to find a way to return to his home planet. Along the way, he becomes entangled with Cheon Song-yi, a self-centered but lovable actress who he saves from various dangers.
“My Love from the Star” was praised for its unique storyline, strong acting performances, and beautiful cinematography. It also gained immense popularity both domestically and internationally, and was even referenced in Korean pop culture and fashion trends. The drama won numerous awards, including the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the 2014 SBS Drama Awards, and is still considered a classic in the K-drama genre.
5. Legend of the Blue Sea (2016-17)
“Legend of the Blue Sea” is a romantic comedy fantasy drama that aired in 2016-2017 on SBS. The series stars Lee Min-ho as Heo Joon-jae, a con artist who falls in love with a mermaid, Shim Cheong, played by Jun Ji-hyun.
The story takes place in both the Joseon era and modern-day Seoul, and follows Heo Joon-jae and Shim Cheong’s journey as they navigate through various obstacles to be together. The series also features a strong supporting cast, including Lee Hee-joon, Shin Hye-sun, and Sung Dong-il.
“Legend of the Blue Sea” was praised for its stunning visuals, engaging storyline, and charming lead performances. It was also notable for its fusion of traditional Korean folklore with modern-day elements, as well as its intricate plot twists and turns. The series was a commercial and critical success, breaking ratings records and winning several awards, including the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the 2017 SBS Drama Awards. It is a must-watch for fans of romantic comedies and fantasy dramas.
6. 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.
7. Strong Girl Bong-soon (2017)
“Strong Girl Bong-soon” is a popular Korean drama that aired in 2017 on JTBC. The series stars Park Bo-young as Do Bong-soon, a young woman with superhuman strength who dreams of becoming a game developer. She becomes the bodyguard of Ahn Min-hyuk, played by Park Hyung-sik, the CEO of a gaming company that has been receiving death threats.
The story follows Do Bong-soon as she navigates her personal and professional life, all while trying to hide her superhuman strength from those around her. Along the way, she falls in love with Ahn Min-hyuk, who is initially drawn to her strength but eventually realizes his feelings for her go beyond that.
“Strong Girl Bong-soon” was praised for its unique storyline, strong acting performances, and a blend of action, comedy, and romance. It was a commercial success, breaking viewership records for JTBC and winning several awards, including Best Drama at the 2017 Seoul International Drama Awards. The series is a must-watch for fans of romantic comedies and action dramas and showcases the talents of its lead actors, Park Bo-young and Park Hyung-sik.
8. Flower of Evil (2020)
“Flower of Evil” is a popular Korean drama that aired in 2020 on tvN. The series stars Lee Joon-gi as Baek Hee-sung, a man who has been living under a false identity for years, and Moon Chae-won as Cha Ji-won, a detective who begins to suspect that her husband Baek Hee-sung may not be who he seems.
The story follows Baek Hee-sung as he tries to protect his family and keep his past hidden from his wife, all while Cha Ji-won begins to uncover secrets about his true identity. Along the way, the series explores themes of love, trust, and betrayal.
“Flower of Evil” was praised for its intense storyline, suspenseful plot twists, and strong acting performances by Lee Joon-gi and Moon Chae-won. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of complex themes and psychological depth. The series was a commercial and critical success and won several awards, including Best Drama at the 2020 APAN Star Awards. “Flower of Evil” is a must-watch for fans of crime dramas and psychological thrillers.
9. Hotel Del Luna (2019)
“Hotel del Luna” is a popular Korean drama that aired in 2019 on tvN. The series stars IU as Jang Man-wol, the CEO of a hotel for ghosts, and Yeo Jin-goo as Goo Chan-sung, a hotelier who becomes the new manager of the hotel.
The story follows Jang Man-wol as she runs the hotel for ghosts and helps them resolve their unresolved emotions before they move on to the afterlife. Goo Chan-sung becomes her new manager and the two develop a close relationship as they work together to run the hotel and help the ghosts.
“Hotel del Luna” was praised for its unique concept, stunning visuals, and strong performances by its lead actors. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of themes of love, loss, and redemption. The series was a commercial and critical success, and won several awards, including Best Drama at the 2019 Seoul International Drama Awards. “Hotel del Luna” is a must-watch for fans of fantasy and romance dramas, and showcases the talents of IU and Yeo Jin-goo.
10. 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.
11. Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
“Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is a popular Korean drama that aired in 2016 on SBS. The series is a historical romance based on the Chinese novel “Bu Bu Jing Xin” by Tong Hua and stars IU as Go Ha-jin, a woman from the present who time travels back to the Goryeo dynasty and becomes involved with the princes of the ruling family.
The story follows Go Ha-jin as she navigates the political and romantic intrigue of the Goryeo court, and becomes entangled with the princes, including the cold and aloof Wang So (Lee Joon-gi), who becomes her love interest.
“Scarlet Heart Ryeo” was praised for its epic scope, stunning cinematography, and strong performances by its cast, including IU and Lee Joon-gi. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of themes of love, loyalty, and betrayal, and for its realistic portrayal of life in the Goryeo dynasty. The series was a commercial and critical success and has become a beloved classic among fans of historical dramas. “Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is a must-watch for fans of epic romances and historical dramas.
12. Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021)
“Kingdom: Ashin of the North” is a special episode of the popular Korean drama series “Kingdom” that aired in 2021 on Netflix. The episode is a prequel to the main series and stars Jun Ji-hyun as Ashin, a mysterious figure who holds the key to a deadly outbreak that threatens the kingdom.
The story follows Ashin as she embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth about the outbreak and its origins, and to seek revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.
“Kingdom: Ashin of the North” was praised for its strong performances, stunning visuals, and thrilling action sequences. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of themes of identity, power, and revenge, and for its compelling character development of Ashin.
The special episode was a commercial and critical success, and has been hailed as a worthy addition to the “Kingdom” series. “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” is a must-watch for fans of the main series and for viewers who enjoy thrilling and thought-provoking dramas.
13. Extraordinary You (2019)
“Extraordinary You” is a 2019 Korean drama series that aired on MBC. The series is based on the webtoon “July Found by Chance” by Moo Ryoo, and stars Kim Hye-yoon, Rowoon, and Lee Jae-wook.
The story follows Eun Dan-oh (Kim Hye-yoon), a high school student who discovers that she is a character in a comic book and that her life is predetermined by the author. She begins to rebel against her fate and tries to find a way to change her story and create her own destiny.
As Eun Dan-oh navigates her way through the comic book world, she meets and falls in love with Ha Roo (Rowoon), a character who is not bound by the predetermined storyline. Together, they try to uncover the truth about their existence and break free from the constraints of their comic book world.
“Extraordinary You” was praised for its unique and creative storyline, strong performances by its cast, and stunning visuals. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of themes of free will, identity, and love, and for its commentary on the power of storytelling.
The series was a commercial and critical success, and has become a beloved fan favorite among viewers who enjoy romantic fantasy dramas. “Extraordinary You” is a must-watch for fans of creative and thought-provoking dramas.
14. True Beauty (2020)
“True Beauty” is a 2020 Korean drama series that aired on tvN. The series is based on the webtoon of the same name by Yaongyi and stars Moon Ga-young, Cha Eun-woo, and Hwang In-yeop.
The story follows Lim Ju-kyung (Moon Ga-young), a high school student who is bullied for her appearance. To escape her insecurities, she learns makeup skills from YouTube tutorials and becomes a “goddess” at her new school. She catches the attention of two boys, Lee Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo) and Han Seo-jun (Hwang In-yeop), who both fall in love with her.
As the love triangle between the three characters unfolds, they must navigate their relationships while dealing with personal and family issues. Lim Ju-kyung struggles to maintain her “perfect” appearance while hiding her true self, and the boys grapple with their own past traumas and secrets.
“True Beauty” was praised for its fresh take on the high school romance genre, strong performances by its cast, and its handling of important social issues such as bullying, mental health, and self-esteem. It also received critical acclaim for its exploration of themes of identity, beauty standards, and self-acceptance.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
10. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
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.