Best Korean TV Shows: A Comprehensive Guide to the Finest Titles in K-Drama

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Looking for the best Korean TV shows to binge-watch that will transport you to a whole new world of riveting stories and captivating characters? Look no further! In this article, we have compiled a thrilling list of must-watch dramas that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From heart-wrenching melodramas to action-packed fantasies, we've got something for everyone. Get ready to be hooked by the allure of "Hometown Cha-cha-cha," mesmerized by the heartwarming "Hospital Playlist," and immersed in the gripping world of "The Penthouse: War in Life." Whether you're a long-time K-drama fan or just starting your journey into the Korean entertainment world, these extraordinary shows are not to be missed. So get cozy, grab some popcorn, and let's dive into the captivating realm of the "best Korean TV shows.

Hometown Cha-cha-cha (2021)

The TV series "Hometown Cha-cha-cha" is a delightful romantic comedy that offers an easy and enjoyable viewing experience. It follows the story of a pragmatic dentist named Shin Min-a who finds herself in a charming seaside village and forms an unlikely bond with a skilled handyman portrayed by Kim Seon-ho from "Start-Up." Although some might dismiss the show for its familiar opposites-attract plot, many find it to be healing and comforting, especially during the pandemic. In fact, the series gained popularity and even ranked in Netflix's Top 10 non-English language dramas when it was released alongside the hit show "Squid Game."

Slice of Life Korean Dramas

If you're in the mood for heartwarming and relatable stories, look no further than slice of life Korean dramas. These shows focus on everyday emotions and experiences, providing a comforting and familiar viewing experience. You'll witness characters going through various situations and feel like they're your own friends. Additionally, you'll come across some fantastic coming-of-age stories in this genre.


"Pinocchio" is a captivating drama set in the world of journalism, revolving around the lives of two talented reporters. Choi Dal-po, played by Lee Jong-suk, has a troubled past with the media due to misreporting and public backlash during his childhood. On the other hand, Choi In-ha, portrayed by Park Shin-hye, aspires to become a competent reporter but has a peculiar condition where she hiccups whenever she tells a lie. As the two rookies navigate their shared history and the challenges in their industry, they also find themselves falling in love. Witness their journey by watching the show on Viki.

Search: WWW

"Search: WWW" is a workplace drama that explores the complex relationships between three women working at competing web portal companies. Bae Ta-mi, portrayed by Im Soo-jung, was the director of the search department at Unicon until she becomes a scapegoat for company corruption and gets fired. She then joins Barro, a rival company aiming to surpass Unicon. Together with Barro director Cha-hyun, played by Lee Da-hee, they strive to outdo their mutual frenemy, Unicon director Song Ga-kyeong, portrayed by Jeon Hye-jin. While the show primarily focuses on the strong female characters, it also features a sweet romance between a 38-year-old Ta-mi and a 28-year-old Park Morgan, played by Jang Ki-yong. Catch this captivating drama on Netflix.

Chief of Staff

For fans of "House of Cards," "Chief of Staff" presents a gripping drama that follows the lives of politicians and journalists in Washington, D.C. This show offers the same level of political intrigue and manipulation but keeps the drama contained within the storyline. You'll witness scheming, illicit affairs, serious criminal activities, and deceitful tactics used by the very people entrusted with power. The series provides a reflection of the current political climate and offers a thrilling viewing experience. Watch it on Netflix to dive into the world of political power plays.

Law School

If you enjoyed "How to Get Away With Murder," you'll surely love "Law School." This drama takes place at prestigious Hankuk University Law School and focuses on the lives of students and professors. The story kicks off with the death of one law professor and the arrest of another, Professor Yang, portrayed by Kim Myung-min, for the crime. The students must join forces to prove Yang's innocence and unravel the mysteries surrounding the case. Immerse yourself in the thrilling world of law and justice by watching "Law School" on Netflix.


"Hyena" tells the story of Yoon Hee-jae, a confident and handsome attorney known for crushing his opponents in court. He unexpectedly crosses paths with a mysterious woman named Jung Geum-ja, who turns out to be an attorney representing the opposing side. Geum-ja strategically wins Hee-jae's heart and takes advantage of their connection to further her struggling business. Despite the initial deception, Hee-jae finds himself drawn to Geum-ja, resulting in intense courtroom battles between the two. This captivating drama features Ju Ji-hoon in the role of Yoon Hee-jae and can be enjoyed on Netflix.

The Ghost Doctor

"The Ghost Doctor" is a supernatural medical drama set in a large university hospital. It revolves around doctors and ghosts who inhabit the hospital's halls. The story follows the journey of Cha Young-min, a genius yet arrogant surgeon who falls into a coma following a mysterious car accident. He joins forces with Ko Seung-tak, a kind but incompetent surgical resident, to treat patients and uncover corruption within the hospital's administration. Experience the blend of medical expertise and supernatural elements in this gripping drama, available for streaming on Viki.

Woo Young-woo

"Woo Young-woo" introduces us to a young law prodigy named Woo Young-woo, played by Park Eun-bin. Despite her brilliance, she faces challenges due to her autism spectrum disorder, which affects her social interactions. As she begins working at Hanbada Law Firm and navigating the office and courtroom dynamics, Young-woo relies on her compassionate co-workers and her love for whales to find success and possibly even love in her career. Follow her inspiring journey by watching the show on Netflix.

Hospital Playlist

Fans of "Grey's Anatomy" and other medical dramas will thoroughly enjoy "Hospital Playlist." This series delves into the lives of individuals working at a hospital, particularly five doctors who have been friends for 20 years since their time in medical school. Together, they navigate the challenges and triumphs of a career centered around life and death. With two seasons already released and a third on the way, "Hospital Playlist" has become one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history. Join the beloved characters in their emotional journeys by watching the show on Netflix.

Professional Korean Dramas

Professional Korean dramas encompass various fields such as medicine and law. These shows provide an inside look at workplaces or schools within specific professional industries, often featuring cases or projects of the week. Just like popular Western dramas like "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Good Wife," the relationships among the characters are just as important as their jobs.

Romance Korean Dramas

Romantic K-dramas are perfect for fans of intense and sweeping love stories. These dramas can evoke a range of emotions from heart-fluttering moments to heart-wrenching twists within a single episode. Similar to "Bridgerton" but with a uniquely Korean flair, these shows offer a serious slow burn that spans 16 to 20 hours. If you're ready for a captivating and passionate romance, look no further than this genre.

Historical Korean Dramas

Korea's historical dramas, often referred to as sageuk, take place during different periods of the country's history, including the well-known Goryeo and Joseon eras. These dramas can span a wide range of genres, from romantic comedies to political sagas and even zombie thrillers. Each time period's customs and traditions heavily influence the storylines, transporting viewers to a bygone era. Indulge in the nostalgia and witness handsome princes and brave princesses in these captivating historical dramas.

Fantasy Korean Dramas

Featuring both modern and historical settings, fantasy Korean dramas dive into the realm of science fiction and fantasy. These shows incorporate magical elements that can be seamlessly intertwined with daily life or expanded into rich and intricate worlds reminiscent of shows like "Game of Thrones" (albeit with less gore). Fated romances often take center stage in these dramas, promising a touch of mysticism and enchantment.

Melodrama Korean Dramas

While the term "melodrama" may evoke images of glamorous women in gowns engaged in extravagant confrontations, the genre extends beyond that. Melodrama in Korean dramas encompasses a wide range of heightened emotions, not just romantic ones. Prepare for intense jealousy, blood feuds, lifelong revenge plots, deep misery, and life-or-death situations. If a drama keeps you eagerly pressing the "Keep Watching" button, then it has successfully delivered enough melodrama.

Hotel del Luna

"Hotel del Luna" is a visually stunning and enchanting drama that takes place in a hotel managed by the beautiful Jang Man-wol, portrayed by the talented singer IU. When Koo Chan-sung, played by Yeo Jin-Goo, becomes the new manager, he discovers that the hotel is actually a haven for ghosts and souls awaiting their journey to the afterlife. The series offers a perfect blend of supernatural elements, greed, distrust, and blossoming feelings, creating a captivating Korean drama. Immerse yourself in the magical aesthetic of "Hotel del Luna" by watching it on tvN.

Youth of May

Set against the backdrop of the Gwangju uprising, "Youth of May" tells a captivating romance between medical student Hwang Hee-Tae, portrayed by Lee Do-hyun, and nurse Kim Myung-Hee, played by Go Min-si. While the political turmoil of the time shapes their journey, the couple faces personal hardships that test their love and resilience. Witness their heartfelt story unfold amidst the historical events of the Gwangju uprising by watching the drama on Viki.

A Time Called You

"A Time Called You" is a captivating time-travel romance that draws inspiration from the popular Taiwanese drama "Someday or One Day." In this Korean adaptation, Han Jun-hee, portrayed by Jeon Yeo-been, is a woman grieving the loss of her boyfriend. Through a twist of fate, she travels back in time to the year 1998, inhabiting the body of a young girl named Min-ju. There, she encounters a boy who bears a striking resemblance to her deceased love. Watch as a time-travel mystery and a captivating romance unfold in this intriguing drama.

Under the Queen's Umbrella

"Under the Queen's Umbrella" is a period drama that shares similarities with "SKY Castle" but explores a different world. Instead of elite education, this drama focuses on the lives of princes and concubines in Joseon, where they compete for the position of heir based on talent and merit. When the eldest son of the current Crown Prince and Queen Hwa-ryeong falls ill, the queen must guide her four younger sons to secure their lives and positions. Immerse yourself in the world of royal intrigue and family dynamics by watching this engaging drama on Netflix.

Business Proposal

"Business Proposal" is a hilarious romantic comedy that has become a hit in 2022. The show follows the misadventures of Shin Ha-ri, a food researcher at a company who unexpectedly finds herself entangled in a romantic relationship with the newly appointed company president, Kang Tae-moo. What begins as a disastrous blind date arranged by Ha-ri's wealthy friend leads to a series of comedic and heartwarming moments. Explore the delightful courtship between these characters and the secondary romance that unfolds by watching "Business Proposal" on Netflix.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

"Strong Woman Do Bong Soon" offers a unique blend of genres, combining a compelling crime thriller, a heartwarming love story, and a family legacy of superhuman strength. The story follows Do Bong-soon, a small but mighty woman with extraordinary strength inherited from the women in her family. Her dream is to create a video game, but she finds herself working as a bodyguard for gaming CEO Min-Hyuk. Together, they confront a serial killer threatening Bong-soon's neighborhood, leading to unexpected twists and turns. Get ready to be captivated by this show, available on Viki.

What's Wrong With Secretary Kim

"What's Wrong With Secretary Kim" is a beloved romantic comedy that centers around Kim Mi-so, a highly skilled secretary to chaebol businessman Lee Young-joon. After nine years of dedicated service, Mi-so decides to quit and live her own life. However, Young-joon refuses to let her go and starts to realize his true feelings for her. As the story unfolds, Mi-so begins to see her boss in a new light, leading to a sweet and heartwarming love story. Experience the delightful chemistry between the lead characters by watching the show on Hulu.

Touch Your Heart

"Touch Your Heart" follows the story of a washed-up actress named Oh Yoon-seo who takes on the role of a secretary at a high-powered law firm. There, she crosses paths with a cranky attorney named Kwon Jung-rok. The two leads, portrayed by Shin Dong-wook and Yoo In-na respectively, share great chemistry and mesmerize viewers with their performances. This workplace romantic comedy offers a delightful and lighthearted viewing experience. Check it out on Netflix and let the love story unfold.


For those seeking a steamier romance, "Nevertheless" explores the flirtatious dynamics and eventual friends-with-benefits relationship between art students Yoo Na-bi and Park Jae-eon. Played by Han So-hee and Song Kang respectively, the couple's love story may be frustrating at times but is fueled by the actors' undeniable chemistry. Witness their passionate and complicated connection in this drama that delves into the complexities of modern relationships. Stream "Nevertheless" on Netflix to indulge in this captivating romance.

Run On

"Run On" follows the story of Ki Seon-gyeom, a former sprinter turned sports agent, and Oh Mi-joo, a subtitle translator for movies. The two characters share a belief that they are destined to be together. While navigating their budding romance, they encounter various endearing secondary characters. Shin Se-Kyung portrays Mi-joo, while Im Si-Wan takes on the role of Seon-gyeom. If you're familiar with these actors or enjoy heartwarming love stories, give "Run On" a chance by watching it on Netflix.

Our Beloved Summer

"Our Beloved Summer" takes you back in time to the lives of Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-su, who starred in a documentary together during high school. From initially hating each other to dating for five years and experiencing a rough breakup, the two adults find themselves unexpectedly reunited when their documentary goes viral. As fans clamor for an update on their lives, Ung and Yeon-su face the possibility of falling in love once again while filming the sequel. Discover the captivating journey of this enemies-to-lovers drama by watching it on Netflix.

Her Private Life

This drama, starring rom-com queen Park Min-young, tells a heartwarming tale of love and fangirling. Sung Deok-mi, an art gallery curator, leads a secret life as a fan page manager for her idol Shi-an. Balancing her dedication to her job and family, Deok-mi keeps her fangirl activities hidden due to disapproval. When Ryan becomes the art director of Deok-mi's gallery and sets up a celebrity exhibit featuring Shi-an, Deok-mi struggles to keep her private life a secret. Meanwhile, Ryan becomes increasingly interested in her.

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True Beauty

If you're looking for a high-school love triangle, this hilarious coming-of-age drama is perfect for you. Im Ju-yeong, a high schooler with low self-esteem due to years of bullying, discovers the transformative power of makeup through YouTube tutorials. Suddenly considered a "goddess" at school, Ju-yeong finds herself caught in a triangle between the mysterious Lee Su-ho, who recognizes her without her makeup, and his former best friend Han Seo-jun.

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Coffee Prince

This classic k-drama follows Choi Han-gyul, the irresponsible heir to a conglomerate with a popular chain of coffee shops. One day, Han-gyul meets Ko Eun-chan, a tomboy who has been financially supporting her family since a young age and is often mistaken for a man. Han-gyul, unaware that Eun-chan is a girl, hires her to pose as his gay lover in order to avoid blind dates arranged by his grandmother. As Han-gyul takes over a rundown coffee shop and transforms it into Coffee Prince, Eun-chan maintains her charade to land a job at the cafe.

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Descendants of the Sun

If you're a fan of Vincenzo and want more of Song Joong-ki, check out this acclaimed drama that put him in the spotlight. "Descendants of the Sun" follows Captain Yoo Si-jin, a member of the Korean Special Forces, as he falls in love with surgeon Kang Mo-yeon.

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Goblin (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)

Written by Kim Eun-sook, this highly-rated Korean drama combines fantasy and romance. The story revolves around a modern-day goblin who seeks a human bride to end his curse of immortality. His life becomes intertwined with a grim reaper who has lost his memories. As the lives of these strangers intersect, a captivating tale unfolds.

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This modern zombie drama is full of surprises, including its unique acknowledgment of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officer Yoon Sae-bom dreams of having her own apartment and gets the chance to move into a high-rise with her high-school friend, Detective Jung Yi-hyun. However, their lives take a dark turn when an infectious disease spreads, turning people into blood-craving creatures. With the apartment building quarantined, Sae-bom and Yi-hyun must navigate the chaos and maintain peace among the eccentric residents.

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Song of the Bandits

Release date: Sept. 22Episode count: 12Recommended for fans of: Mr. Sunshine, Kingdom, My Country: The New Age

Billed as a Korean Western, "Song of the Bandits" is one of the most anticipated K-dramas of the season. It is set in a region historically known as Jiandao, where Koreans sought refuge from Japanese occupation. The show follows Korean refugees in the 1920s as they unite to protect their settlement from harm. Starring Kim Nam-gil and Seo-hyun, this action-packed period drama promises intrigue and gunfights.


Bae Suzy looks contemplative in Doona!, wearing a sweater falling off her shoulders while sitting out in a green area with trees.

"Release date: Oct. 20th Episode count: 8 Recommended for fans of: Crash Landing on You, Notting Hill, To My Star"

Adapted from a Webtoon comic, "Doona!" tells the story of Lee Doo-na, a former idol who has become a recluse after retiring abruptly. When she meets Lee Won-joon, an ordinary university student living in her apartment building, they fall in love.

Gyeongsang Creature

Park Seo-joon and Han So-hee wear nice clothes and stand next to each other in an ornate room with a big chandelier in Gyeongsang Creature.

"Release date: TBA Episode count: TBA Recommended for fans of: The Terror: Infamy, Kingdom, The Guest"

Starring Park Seo-joon and Han So-hee, "Gyeongsang Creature" is a highly anticipated Netflix K-drama. Set in historic Seoul during Japan's forced annexation of Korea, the show combines real-life history with supernatural elements. It follows Jang Tae-sang, a wealthy pawn shop owner, and Yoon Chae-ok, a bounty hunter, as they battle monsters plaguing the city.

All of Us Are Dead

This heart-racing zombie thriller offers a unique twist on the drama genre. Set in a high school, it follows a group of students as they navigate the zombie apocalypse. Left to fend for themselves after their classmates turn into zombies, the students face survival challenges while the story also delves into the lives of parents and politicians dealing with the virus outside the school. The series cleverly twists classic high school tropes into thrilling and suspenseful plots.

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My Name

In this intense thriller, Ji-woo seeks revenge for her father's death. Her father, who was involved in the criminal underworld, is killed, leading Ji-woo to assume a new identity and join the police force to uncover the truth behind his murder.

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In this gripping detective thriller, detectives from different time periods form a cold case squad. Together, they solve cases based on real-life crimes, as criminal profiler Park Hae-Young and detective Cha Soo-hyn work with detective Lee Jae-han from the past. Prepare for heart-wrenching mysteries and edge-of-your-seat thrills.

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In this action-packed drama, Ji Chang-wook plays the "Healer," a night courier who handles illegal items while avoiding murder. With the help of a genius hacker, Healer fulfills his clients' requests, as long as they don't involve killing. When he crosses paths with tabloid writer Chae Young Shin and successful reporter Kim Moon Ho, the three discover their interconnected pasts and navigate a thrilling plot filled with action and romance.

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Flower of Evil

Detective Cha Ji-won appears to have a perfect family, but her loving husband Baek Hee-sung is hiding dark secrets. He assumed a new identity in his youth to escape a disturbing past. As Ji-won investigates a serial killer, she uncovers links to her husband's past, forcing her to question whether he is truly a murderer.

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Weak Hero Class 1

This brutal drama, based on a webcomic, tackles the issue of school violence through a realistic lens. It takes place at a boy's high school where the most powerful students are also the wealthiest. Yeon Si-eun, a bullied student, sees her tormentors as obstacles to her academic success and her dream of attending Seoul National University. With the help of fellow outcast Oh Beom-seok and the school's best fighter An Soo-ho, Si-eun takes a stand against the injustice. Brace yourself for major twists and a devastating ending in this eight-episode drama.

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Love in the Moonlight

This coming-of-age romance follows Hong Ra-on, a relationship counselor who disguises herself as a man named Sam-nom for safety reasons. When she is forced to live in the royal palace as a eunuch, Ra-on befriends the mischievous Crown Prince Lee Yeong. As their friendship deepens, they find themselves entangled in dangerous political battles and must navigate the challenges of their forbidden love.

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Hotel de Luna

The Hotel Del Luna serves as a refuge for the souls of the dead, helping them transition to the afterlife. The owner, Man-wol, has been cursed to run the hotel for over a thousand years as punishment for her sins. To operate the hotel, she requires a human manager. Koo Chan-sung, a Harvard graduate who can see ghosts, becomes the next fated human manager. As they work together, Chan-sung begins to unravel the secrets of Man-wol's past.

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Reborn Rich

In this revenge drama, Song Joong-ki stars as Yoon Hyun-woo, a devoted secretary to the chaebol family behind the conglomerate Soonyang Group. When Hyun-woo is betrayed and murdered during a succession battle within the family, he wakes up in the body of the youngest family member, Jin Do-jun. With his newfound position, Hyun-woo plots to take over the company and bring justice to the unknown family member who killed him.

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Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce)

This drama explores the tumultuous married lives of three women working on a radio show. Boo Hye-ryung, the show's host, is married to Pan Sa-hyun, a lawyer, and they have chosen to remain childless. Sa Pi-young, the producer, strives to be the perfect mother and wife to her husband, Shin Yoo-shin, who is a hospital director. Writer Lee Si-eun has been married for 30 years and made sacrifices to support her husband Park Hae Ryoon's academic career. Throughout three seasons, these marriages slowly unravel, showcasing the complexities of relationships.

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Hi, Bye Mama

This drama combines supernatural elements with heartwarming storytelling. Cha Yoo-ri is a ghost who died five years ago, leaving behind her husband Jo Kang-hwa and their child. In an attempt to become a living human again, Yoo-ri embarks on a reincarnation project that lasts for 49 days. When she reappears to Kang-hwa, she discovers that her husband has undergone significant changes since her death.

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Move to Heaven

This beautiful and emotional drama explores profound themes of life, death, and love. Geu-ru, a young man with Asperger syndrome, works with his father as a trauma cleaner. Their job involves organizing the belongings left behind by the deceased and delivering them to their families. After Geu-ru's father passes away, his uncle Sang-gu becomes his guardian. Sang-gu, an ex-convict and martial arts fighter, must learn to work with Geu-ru in their shared business, Move to Heaven, for three months before he can receive the inheritance. Through their work, the series offers a unique perspective on grief and the importance of family.

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My Mister

"My Mister" tells the poignant story of two individuals grappling with financial troubles, family drama, and loneliness. Park Dong-hun, a middle-aged engineer, works under a younger boss while supporting his unemployed brothers and their mother. To make matters worse, his wife is having an affair with his boss. On the other hand, Lee Ji-an, in her twenties, is burdened with debt and resorts to desperate measures to escape loan sharks. When Ji-an catches Dong-hun accepting a bribe, she decides to steal his gift certificates in an attempt to pay off her debts. The show beautifully depicts the bond that develops between them as they navigate their troubled lives.

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When substitute teacher Soo-jin (played by Lee Bo-Young of When My Love Blooms) discovers that her student Hye-na (played by the brilliant Heo Yool) is being abused by her mother and her boyfriend, she makes a spontaneous decision to run away with the little girl. Soo-jin, a bird researcher who has received a grant to work at an institution in Iceland, embarks on a journey from South Korea to Iceland. However, unexpected events occur before she can reach her destination. Throughout the show, viewers will understand why Soo-jin feels such a strong connection to Hye-na, and they will witness the unexpected and heartwarming bond that forms between them. Mother raises questions about the meaning of motherhood and who deserves to be called a mother. Be prepared for emotional episodes that may leave you teary-eyed. This series is highly acclaimed in South Korea.

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Korean dramas excel in two genres: historical epics and zombie horror. Kingdom combines these two elements, making it the first Netflix original drama to achieve international success. Set in a country plagued by a mysterious disease, the crown prince embarks on a journey to uncover the source of the outbreak. The show goes beyond one season, with a spin-off film releasing this year and a third season in the works.

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100 Days My Prince

In 100 Days My Prince, Prince Lee Yul (EXO member D.O.) is forced to flee the palace after discovering a secret that puts his life at risk. Unfortunately, an accident causes him to lose his memory. He is then taken care of by a commoner who claims he is betrothed to her daughter, Yeon Hong-shim. The story revolves around their 100 days together, during which Lee Yul lives as a commoner and their love story unfolds.

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Pachinko can be considered the epitome of international prestige K-dramas. Created by Soo Hugh, based on a novel by Korean-American writer Min Jin Lee, this stunning drama tells the story of a Korean family living in Japan throughout four generations. The narrative spans from the 1910s in Japanese-occupied Korea to 1980s Tokyo. Boasting an impressive cast including Oscar winner Yuh-jung Youn, Hallyu star Lee Minho, and newcomer Kim Min-ha, Pachinko explores themes of love, family duty, and perseverance, guaranteeing an emotional rollercoaster.

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The Red Sleeve

The Red Sleeve is a historical romance based on a fictional novel that features real historical figures. The story unfolds as Crown Prince Yi San (2PM's Junho) falls in love with one of his court ladies, Sung Deok-im (Lee Se-young). The prince desires Deok-im to become his concubine, but she is determined to live her life freely and rejects his advances. Eventually, she realizes the depth of his love and together they strive to create a better future for their country.

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Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung tells a story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. The show revolves around the budding romance between an aspiring palace historian and a lonely prince. Together, they challenge societal norms and delve into the mysteries of their pasts, which could have far-reaching consequences. This drama is perfect for those seeking heart-fluttering moments and will make you root for the couple until the very end.

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The Uncanny Counter

The Uncanny Counter reminds me loosely of Ghostbusters, but with a unique group of characters, each possessing special abilities. This five-person group, known as "Counter," works at a noodle restaurant during the day and hunts down evil spirits who escape from the afterlife to harm humans at night. The red tracksuits they wear in the show have become iconic and would make an excellent group Halloween costume idea for 2022. Audiences have warmly received this K-drama, and it will have you binge-watching all the episodes in a single weekend.

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It's Okay to Not Be Okay

The story centers around Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun), a caretaker at a psychiatric ward, who crosses paths with Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji), a children's book writer. Gang-tae has lived a life on the run while taking care of his older brother, Sang Tae (Oh Jung-se), who is autistic and suffers from recurring nightmares about their mother's murder. Moon-young, known to be antisocial with a difficult personality, is a big fan of Gang-tae's. As a series of events unfold, the lives of all three become intertwined, revealing their dramatic backstories. Gang-tae, Sang Tae, and Moon-young discover they have more in common than they initially thought. Alongside the gorgeous cast, the push-and-pull dynamic between Gang-tae and Moon-young promises to captivate viewers.

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The Penthouse: War in Life

If you thought shows like Big Little Lies and Revenge were dramatic, wait until you dive into The Penthouse. This rollercoaster of a series follows the lives of three wealthy families competing for power in the exclusive Hera Palace community—a luxurious 100-floor high-rise that dominates the Seoul skyline. Like its predecessors, The Penthouse revolves around three women who hide behind their secrets and traumas, using wealth and ambition to protect their children. However, their world crumbles when a mysterious girl falls to her death, and the trio goes to extreme lengths to conceal the truth and safeguard the reputation of Hera Palace. Prepare for an addictive and thrilling ride.

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If you've ever fantasized about your favorite book's hero coming to life, W is the perfect contemporary fantasy for you. Oh Yeon-joo (Happiness' Han Hyo-joo), a cardiothoracic resident, is the daughter of Oh Sung-moo (Kim Eui-sung), the famous artist behind the popular 10-year webtoon W. When her father goes missing on the day his final chapter is due, Yeon-joo finds herself transported into the comic's world, where she saves the life of its hero, Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk). Little does she know that her father is determined to kill Kang Chul. As Yeon-joo's actions impact the comic's plot, she must navigate the blurred lines between reality and fiction.

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Tale of the Nine Tailed

Prepare to keep the lights on while watching Tale of the Nine Tailed, as this show can be a little bit scary. Ghosts and a water well reminiscent of The Ring make appearances, but the overall story revolves around Lee Dong-wook's character, Lee-yeon, a mythical fox known as gumiho, and his relationship with documentary filmmaker Nam Ji-a (played by Jo Bo-ah). Lee-yeon and Ji-a were once lovers in the past and reunite in the present. The story takes them on a treacherous journey as they solve the mysterious deaths of Ji-a's parents and rediscover their love for each other.

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The King: Eternal Monarch

The King: Eternal Monarch offers a thrilling blend of parallel universes, time travel, romance, tragedy, and a dash of detective work. Lee Gon (played by the charismatic Lee Min-ho), the Korean emperor, rules The Kingdom of Corea, which is a unified North and South Korea in this world. Discovering a portal in a bamboo forest that leads him to a parallel universe—the world as we know it—he falls in love with detective Jung Tae-eul (played by Goblin's Kim Go-eun). Together, they must work to close the time portal before their worlds collide and freeze. Will their love transcend time, and can they succeed in their mission?

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Mystic Pop-up Bar

Mystic Pop-up Bar delivers a blend of drama, fantasy, and mystery. The story revolves around Ssanggab Cart Bar, a mysterious food cart that only operates at night on the rooftop of a building. Wol-Ju (played by Hwang Jung-eum) runs the cart, and the customers she serves include both the living and the dead. Over food and drinks, patrons open up to Wol-Ju about their struggles and inner conflicts.

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Memories of the Alhambra

A perfect watch for fans of Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye, Memories of the Alhambra combines romance and fantasy. The series is set in both Spain and South Korea. Park Shin-hye's character, Jung Hee-joo, owns a hostel in Spain where Hyun Bin's character, Yoo Jin-woo, arrives. Jin-woo wants Hee-joo to sign over the rights to her brother's augmented reality game, but her missing brother and the dangerous quests within the game complicate matters. As Jin-woo plays the game, he realizes it has fatal consequences for those around him. To save himself and find Hee-joo's brother, he must complete these treacherous quests.

Watch it on Netflix (opens in new tab)

It's Okay, That's Love

It's Okay, That's Love delves into the complex relationship between Jang Jae-yeol (Zo In-sung), a famous mystery novelist with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Ji Hae-soo (Gong Hyo-jin), an ambitious psychiatrist with trust issues in relationships. Initially at odds when they meet on a talk show panel, life brings them together as housemates. As they get to know each other, they begin healing from deep emotional scars, becoming each other's support system.

Watch it on Viki (opens in new tab)

Legend of the Blue Sea

Legend of the Blue Sea combines fantasy and romance as it tells the story of a con artist and a mermaid who fall in love. Shim Cheong (played by Jun Ji-hyun), the mermaid, follows her lover, Heo Joon-jae (Lee Min-ho), to land without revealing her true identity. The show alternates between present-day and their past lives in Joseon-era, highlighting the tragic fate of their previous counterparts. Will history repeat itself or will Shim Cheong and Joon-jae's love triumph over adversity?

Watch it on Hulu (opens in new tab)

My Love from the Star

In this romantic comedy, Do Min-joon (Kim Soo-hyun) is a handsome alien who landed on Earth 400 years ago during Korea's Joseon era. He has been waiting for an opportunity to return home, and with only three months left on Earth, he gets a new neighbor, Hallyu star Cheon Song-yi (Jun Ji-hyun), who bears a striking resemblance to a woman from his past. As they grow closer, viewers will be engaged in an otherworldly romance, hoping for an alien invasion as long as Min-joon is involved.

Watch on Viki (opens in new tab)

Alchemy of Souls

Taking place in the imaginary country of Daeho, Alchemy of Souls is a period fantasy set in a world where mages exist alongside mortal beings as nobles and warriors. Elite warrior Nak-su evades authorities using a forbidden spell called "alchemy of souls." By switching bodies, she finds herself in the frail body of Mu-deok (Jung So-min). To regain her strength and wield her powerful sword, Nak-su takes on the role of a servant for the noble Jang-uk (Lee Jae-wook), who seeks a teacher to help him unleash his magic.

Watch it on Netflix (opens in new tab)

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping takes viewers into the world of Nam Hong-joo (Bae Suzy), a reporter with the ability to dream about future events, typically tragic ones. These visions always come true, giving her the ability to warn those involved. She crosses paths with prosecutor Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk), who also receives prophetic dreams and possesses the power to change their outcomes. Together, with the help of policeman Han Woo-tak (Jung Hae-in), they try to prevent these tragedies from happening. The blossoming romance between Hong-joo and Jae-chan adds an extra layer of excitement.

Watch it on Viki (opens in new tab)

The World of the Married

The World of the Married, now the highest-rated Korean drama, made a splash upon its release in 2020. Kim Hee-ae stars as a doctor and hospital director in southern South Korea. From the outside, her life with her film director husband seems perfect, but everything unravels when she accidentally discovers his infidelity. Driven by anger and a desire for revenge, she embarks on a twisted and dramatic journey that explores themes of betrayal.

Sweet Home season 2

Release date: TBAEpisode count: TBA (probably 10)Recommended for fans of: Sweet Home Season 1, Hellbound, Alice in the Borderland

Aside from new series, this fall brings the return of established fan favorites like Sweet Home. Notably, the influence of Hollywood on the Korean TV industry has resulted in a shift away from one-and-done seasons. Previous Korean dramas typically had a single season, with rare exceptions receiving a few additional "special" episodes. However, production-level investments from U.S.-based streamers like Netflix have led to the creation of multi-season K-dramas. Sweet Home, the first Netflix K-drama to enter the U.S. Top 10 upon its 2020 debut, was always intended as a multi-season show. The horror drama's first season left room for further story development. Renowned as one of the best Webtoon adaptations to date, Sweet Home follows a group of survivors trapped in an apartment complex during a zombie-like outbreak that transforms people into mutated monsters. With an exceptional ensemble cast led by Song Kang, Sweet Home is already confirmed for a third season. If you haven't watched this supernatural thriller yet, now is the perfect time to catch up. The show seamlessly blends gut-wrenching horror with character-driven drama, creating a captivating viewing experience.

The Best Korean Medical Drama

This genre offers a unique level of suspense compared to other K-dramas because you're invested in whether the patient will survive or not. Along the way, you also learn about medical terms that you may not have known before encountering a medical drama. Most scenes in this genre take place in a hospital or medical school.

Hospital Playlist

Korean: 슬기로운 의사생활 | Seulgiroun Uisasaenghal

This series follows the story of five doctors who have been close friends since they entered medical school in 1999. They work alongside other doctors and nurses at Yulje Medical Center.

Hospital PlaylistPhoto credit:

The series aired on Korean TV through tvN and is the second part of the Wise Life series, following Prison Playbook. It has garnered numerous awards and nominations at different award ceremonies from 2020 to 2021. The success of Hospital Playlist's first season led to a second season, which is available for streaming on Netflix.

Other Medical Dramas:

  • Doctors - Park Shin Hye, Kim Rae Won

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

Best Korean Dramas on Netflix

Watching Kdramas has never been easier than it is today. Many Korean dramas are available for streaming on Netflix with just a few clicks! Whether you want to enjoy Kdramas for entertainment or to learn Korean, Netflix is the perfect platform for you.

There are plenty of dramas and movies to choose from, but here's a list to help you decide:

  • Squid Game
  • Crash Landing on You
  • Hometown Cha Cha Cha
  • Memories of the Alhambra
  • All of Us Are Dead
  • Business Proposal
  • It's Okay to Not Be Okay
  • Thirty Nine
  • Twenty Five Twenty One
  • The Sound of Magic

We also have a separate article that provides a list of K-dramas available for streaming on Netflix and other online platforms.

If you enjoyed this list, you may also want to check out our useful Korean drama phrases to aid in your studies. People around the world have a fondness for all things Korean, including K-pop, Korean food, movies, and dramas. This interest often leads them to want to learn the Korean language as well.

You can study Korean through textbooks, audio clips of conversations, or by taking on challenges like our 90 Minute Challenge to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet. And if you're ready to take your language learning to the next level, our structured online course will be of great assistance to you!

The best part is that in just 90 days, you'll be able to have a 3-minute conversation in Korean! You can learn more about our courses here.

We hope you found the best Korean drama for you from this list! Do you have a favorite Korean drama too? Do you prefer romantic-comedy, action, or historical drama series? Let us know in the comments below so we can add it to our list!

Get “Best Korean Dramas” Free PDF Guide

Yumi's Cells

This webcomic adaptation and ultimate comfort drama revolve around Yumi, a woman in her early 30s who works in an office and has experienced heartbreak. Years after her devastating breakup, she goes on a blind date and starts developing feelings for a new guy. Viewers get to witness Yumi's new relationship through the perspectives of her cells – a group of adorable animated characters residing in her brain who control her emotions, including Rational, Emotional, Love, Hunger, Anxiety, Fashion, and Naughty Cells. Come for the cutest premise ever, and stay for the performances of My Name's Ahn Bo-hyun and GOT7's Jinyoung as Yumi's love interests.

Watch it on Viki

4 Dramas Not to Waste Your Time On

1. Cheese in the Trap (2016)

This drama starts off promisingly. The webtoon it is based on is clever and nuanced, and the show initially captures that essence. However, halfway through the series, the main male lead suddenly disappears. There were behind-the-scenes issues that remain undisclosed, but this turn of events diminishes the show's quality in just a few episodes. I didn't even bother watching the finale once I read the recap.

2. 12 Years Promise (2014)

I couldn't bear to watch this drama. It was dragged out and boring, and the characters didn't make sense. Even the way they end up sleeping together feels forced and awkward. I started skipping through episodes just to see what would happen, and when I realized the resolution was unsatisfying, I gave up entirely.

3. I Need Romance

Cho Yeo Jeong (who you might recognize as the wealthy mother from Parasite) is one of my favorite actresses. However, this drama was a mess. Her character was incredibly annoying, especially considering Cho's talent showcased in her other works. The relationship between In Young and Sung Soo is strange and toxic, and I don't believe he ever does anything to deserve forgiveness for cheating on her.

4. I Need Romance 2012

I didn't dislike this one as much as the first drama on this list, but it didn't captivate me either. I remember thinking that Ji Hoon and Yeol Mae's relationship progressed too quickly for the plot, and Yeol Mae came across as rather whiny.

Phewww! If you've made it through 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 to my friends when they ask for recommendations!

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

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In the world of Korean TV shows, there is an abundance of choices that cater to every genre and taste. From heartwarming slice of life dramas like "Hometown Cha-cha-cha" to intense medical dramas like "The Ghost Doctor," Korean TV has something for everyone. Whether you're a fan of historical epics like "Kingdom" or prefer the enchanting world of fantasy in "Goblin," the range of options is truly endless. With captivating storylines and brilliant performances, shows like "Descendants of the Sun" and "Hotel del Luna" have captivated audiences worldwide. So, if you're looking for your next binge-worthy experience, dive into the wonderful realm of Korean TV shows and let the magic unfold before your eyes.

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