BEST K- DRAMAS

Hello there, Can you believe that in all 288+ Korean Dramas & Films that I have watched I still refuse to watch the ever so popular Boys Over Flowers (2009)? I mean I have watched parts of it here and there but despite it being the ultimate classic k-drama for newbies – its just not for me. Bad Hair Day drew me further away.

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Flawless Hair in Every Scene?

Anyway, today I’m going to be sharing my top 20 k-dramas that I have ever watched. My order always changes but this drama seem to just been flipping their positions around.

1. Good Doctor (2013)

Grade : A+

Genre : Medical Drama, Romance, Drama

A man named Park Shi On is a doctor with autistic savant disorder who has the mentality of a 10-year-old. He overcomes bias and discrimination by society and workmates and becomes a paediatrician by utilising his exceptional abilities that the illness brings.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

The amazing performance by actor Joo Won, as an autistic savant physician in training    ( really smart in medicine), specialising in pediatrics at Seoul Hospital. This drama will left you memorised with its realistic portrayal of the trials of its protagonist – young man who has to overcome so much prejudice yo reach his goal. As you continue watching, you will get very attached to the characters and their own individual journeys. The OSTS from the drama are amazing and emotional.

Here’s a song sang by our very own Joo Won:

Good Doctor is an inspiring, educational and entertaining drama with a good mixture of melodrama plus a healthy dose of comedy. 

2.Mirror of the Witch (2016)

Grade :  A

Genre : Fantasy, Historical, Medical, Romance, Supernatural

When queen Shim is unable to conceive, the shaman Hong Joo’s powerful black magic helps her give birth to a twin boy and girl, Soon Hwae and Seo Ri. But the dark sorcery comes with a price when Seo Ri is cursed, causing her to be abandoned and left for dead by the Queen. Seo Ri is rescued by the father of Poong Yeon, who becomes her only friend as she grows up in hiding. With Poong Yeon and her helper, Choi Hyun Seo, by her side, Seo Ri grows up as a witch, all the while trying to figure out how to lift the evil curse on her life. When she meets the royal physician Heo Jun, will he help her change her fate and reclaim her rightful place?

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

I would be lying if I said I knew where the story was going; each episode takes us down a different road and leaves us questioning why this new path was taken. Leaving you engaged in the storyline. Despite the 14 Year Age Gap between the two main leads, they both nailed great chemistry with each other and Kim Sae Ron is an amazing actress at the age of 16. This is a very dark K-drama unlike the others I have seen and has very interesting fantasy elements. The OST of the drama is pretty mythical unlike other dramas where you could actually be listening to the songs in many other scenarios but they really give you a feel for the drama though.

The beginning of the OST sounds like Thousand Years By Christina Perri.

Mirror of the Witch leads you to into an interesting dark version of Joseon and a depth of acting that leaves you with chills. 

3. Autumn in My Heart (2000)

Grade : A

Genre : Drama, Family, Melodrama, Romance

Yoon Joon-suh and Yoon Eun-suh grew up as siblings but Eun-suh was in fact from a different family as there was a mix up at the hospital where she was born. The switch came to light when Eun-suh was involved in a car accident and it was discovered that her blood type was different from her parents. Eun-suh’s life took a complete turn when the 2 girls were returned to their respective families. Soon after, the Yoon family left for the States and Eun-suh was left living in sordid condition with her real family in Korea. Years after, Joon-suh returned to Korea and by chance the two former siblings were reunited.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Yes, the typical incest relationship switched at birth type but one of the first of it’s kind. This drama was one of the dramas that kick started the Korean Wave and peak 46% viewership ratings in Korea and other Asian Countries. The First installment of the Legendary ‘Endless Love’ season themed drama Series  Autumn in My heart was my first kdrama that I watched and loved despite how depressing it was and how many buckets of tears I cried.  This kdrama launched the careers of many famous actors today like Song Hye Kyo ( Descendants of the Sun/ That Winter the Wind Blows), Song Seung Heon ( East of Eden / My Princess) and young Won Bin!! ( The Man from Nowhere / Tae Guk Gi ). Let’s not forget the wonderful child actors especially Moon Geun Young ( The Painter of the Wind). The OSTS are 2000’s Asian Style :

Autumn in my Heart is a beautiful start to the endless love series that is filled with beautiful scenery and warm romance.  

4. The Moon that Embraces The Sun (2012)

Grade : A

Genre : Fantasy, Historical, Political, Romance

Thirteen-year-old Heo Yeon Woo, the daughter of a high-ranking official, accompanies her mother to the royal palace to attend her brother, Heo Yeom’s civil service examination congratulatory ceremony. By chance, she comes across Crown Prince Lee Hwon. They fall in love and Yeon Woo is chosen as the Crown Princess of Joseon.

Before they can marry, however, the Dowager Queen secretly orders her death, in order to install Yoon Bo Gyeong, the daughter of a family clan, as Crown Princess, thus securing more power for herself. She orders head shaman to cast a spell on Yeon Woo to stricken her with an unknown sickness. After dying, Yeon Woo is resurrected from her grave, but loses her memories. All believe her to be dead, including the Crown Prince Lee Hwon, who refuses to love another. Eight years later, Yeon Woo returns as a shaman named Wol (meaning moon). Meanwhile the young king begins to investigate the death of his love after seeing the grown up Wol. But he is fighting against time, because the queen’s powerful political clan wants him removed from power.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

The METS is a beautiful intriguing historical drama that everyone can enjoy. It is a romance with a fantasy element. The Cast is excellent and I would have loved for the child version of the main leads to continue into the adult version. Yeo Jin Goo and Kim Yoo Jung were wonderfully excellent, so much I wished the child part was a drama in itself. Phenomenal. They set the bar up so high that for some time I thought that their adult counterparts were quite lacking. That aside, the adult cast was great too. The Cinematography is beautiful from the get go and Kim Soo Hyun was wonderful as the King. The OSTS were amazing. There are two MV with the child and adult counterparts.

The Moon Embracing The Sun is one of those dramas that you will be able to speed through and is very enjoyable with a splash of tears remembering their childhood. 

5. The Bridal Mask (2012)

Grade :  A+

Genre : Action, Crime, Drama, Historical, Investigation, Manga, Martial Arts, Military, Political, Romance, Tragedy, War

Lee Kang To is an ambitious and callous Korean officer employed by the Japanese colonists. Despite his mother’s disapproval of his work and his own brother’s antagonistic history with the Japanese, Kang To continues to play by the colonist’s rules in hopes of becoming successful and bringing his family out of poverty. However, a mysterious figure wearing a traditional Bridal Mask always seems to get in Kang To’s way. The Bridal Mask appears as a Zorro-like figure who protects the people from the Japanese colonists’ oppression and abuse of power. An unexpected turn events brings Kang To to cross paths with the mysterious Bridal Mask, changing his future and the nation’s history forever.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Another Joo Won Epic!! Gaksital is amazing and go watch it right now. It’s intense, gripping and amazing despite being in a political context. Everything about this drama is phenomenal that I don’t even know what to say but you should watch it right now. The Cinematography, Storyline, characterisation- everything is flawless and realistic. Hard to find in dramaland. Realistic. The OSTs ties the drama beautifully together.

Gaksital is what happens when you put together an amazing storyline with complex characters, excellent actors, epic cliffhangers, and breathtaking music.

6. The Defendant ( 2017)

Grade : A

Genre : Drama, Law, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Park Jeong Woo is a prosecutor at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. One day, he wakes up and finds himself a convict on death row. Suffering from temporary amnesia, Jeong Woo has no idea what transpired to land him in prison. He struggles to recover his memory and clear his name before his time is up.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

The Defendant is  mesmerizing and simply captivating. This drama is one of its kind, unique and different, engaging, more dramatic, more lively filled with tension, angst and twists. However, its not the drama where you’ll make OTP’s and “love is in the air”.  But the song ” I love you baby” will have a whole different meaning in your mind after watching this show. Ji Sung did a great job and SNSD’s Yuri did a pretty good job at being newbie prosecutor.

 This drama is an endless and engaging game of cat and mouse.  

7. Page Turner ( 2016)

Grade : A

Genre : Comedy, Drama, Music, School

Yoo Seul is a student of an art high school. She is a talented pianist and who won various contests, but she is driven by her mother. Yoo Seul’s mother wanted to become a pianist when she was younger. One day, Yoo Seul has an accident. Yoo Seul may never play the piano again because of the accident. With the help of her friend Cha Shik and Yoo Seul’s rival Jin Mok, Yoo Seul begins to live a new life.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

This is a drama special that is only 3 episodes long however I would have screamed if it was a full – length drama because it was very enjoyable.  With many OTP shipping moments.{Kim So Hyun and Ji Soo} Saying that don’t expect a romance with kisses and stuff because it’s not coming. This drama is simple and straight forward  yet compelling, deep and beautiful. Like most drama specials, it teaches us a lesson – How important it is for us to follow our dreams no matter how stupid or unrealistic they may seem.  how significant it is for us to believe in ourselves even when everyone else is against us, how essential is for us to fight for them even when they seem completely unattainable. A story about life decisions and choices, about growing up, about fighting our inner demons, overcoming obstacles, chasing dreams or giving them up, finding reasons to live and dream and ultimately how to understand and love ourselves. 

A perfect coming of age story that everyone should watch. 

8. High school Love On ( 2014)

Grade : A

Genre : Fantasy, Romance, School, Youth

Lee Seul Bi is an angel who is sent to Earth to look after Shin Woo Hyun, who lives with his grandmother and carries emotional scars from being abandoned by his parents. Despite his cold demeanor, Woo Hyun is popular in school because of his good looks and singing ability. When his best friend, Hwang Sung Yeol, finds out a secret that ties them together and also develops feelings for Seul Bi, who is posing as a fellow student at their school, the best friends turn into rivals.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Still, it still one of the dramas that made me cry. One of those dramas you’ll either like it or not I Guess. But the plot is really really good. Kim Sae Ron was only 13 turning 14 in this drama. So Cute and she is the strongest actor in this drama. The other two leading guys were Infinite’s Woohyun and SungYeol ( names in the drama too), they became my biases in the group from this drama.

If you feel like watching a cute, fluffy, funny and easy romance drama – then you’re dead on with High School Love On!

9. Who are You? School 2015 ( 2015)

Grade : A-

Genre : Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, School, Youth

Sekang High School is the most prestigious private high school in Seoul’s Gangnam District, and Go Eun Byul is the most popular girl there. Meanwhile, her identical twin Lee Eun Bi is living in an orphanage and is being bullied at school. Then one day, Eun Byul mysteriously disappears. Soon after, Eun Bi loses her memories and is mistaken as being Eun Byul. Eun Bi then starts living her life as Eun Byul.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

It’s your normal teenage drama but I really enjoyed because I’m a teenager. I thought the plot and other mysteries were really interesting and how things tied together the only thing that was bad was the ending. Second Lead Syndrome. The OSTs were also really good. ( noticing a similar trend of really good OSTS = Really good drama ) I mean the song needs to be good if your going to hear it for the entire drama, it sets the mood you know. The rap “Reset” was amazing.

Good Luck With the Second Lead Syndrome 

10. The K2 (2016)

Grade :  A-

Genre : Action, Drama, Political, Psychological, Romance, Thriller

Kim Je Ha is a former soldier for hire. He is also called K2. He is hired as a bodyguard by Choi Yoo Jin. Yoo Jin is the wife of a presidential candidate and the daughter of a chaebol family. Meanwhile, Ko An Na is the secret daughter of the presidential hopeful. She is also a recluse.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

This drama is a combo of action/politics and romance that works.  If you like some spy flick I guess you should give it ago. I watched it mainly because Yoona was the main female lead in the love line. Her acting has really improved and the story is not a cute one but it has it’s moments. Ji Chang Wook was steaming and his acting was convincing. The main theme song was killer and Yoona’s rendition of Amazing Grace. That Scene = tears.

11. Descendants of the Sun ( 2016)

Grade : A

Genre : Action, Comedy, Medical, Melodrama, Military, Romance

Yoo Shi Jin; the captain of the Korean army special force, meets Dr. Kang Mo Yeon when he and his comrade, Dae Yeong, injured a thief. Shi Jin and Mo Yeon begin to date, but due to their jobs, their dates don’t go well and they break up. Shi Jin then takes an order to lead his soldiers on a peacekeeping mission to the fictional war zone country of Urk. Eight months later, Mo Yeon rebuffs the sexual advances of hospital chairman Suk Won and as retribution is assigned to lead a medical team in Urk. There, Shi Jin and Mo Yeon meet again.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

The next Hallyu Wave to hit until Goblin came. Soldier and Doctor relationship. Towards the end it’s quite cliché but the premise and first half is really good and the OST is really good like every song.  It’s really cheesy and it tried to mix part rom-com, part military drama, and part hospital sitcom. PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Still it was enjoyable while it lasted.  Here’s the playlist :

12. The Heirs ( 2013)

Grade :  A

Genre : Comedy, Friendship, Romance, School

Kim Tan is heir to the Empire Group sent to study abroad in the U.S. In reality it’s a form of exile, as his elder half-brother back home schemes to take over the family business. While in the States, Kim Tan bumps into Cha Eun Sang, who arrived from Korea in search of her older sister. He feels himself falling for her, never realizing that she’s the daughter of his family’s housekeeper. When his fiancée Rachel Yoo arrives to bring him back to Korea, his heart is torn between love and duty.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

It’s up to you I guess – I enjoyed it despite it being terribly cheesy and everything but I’m a huge fan of PARK SHIN HYE and a lot of my favourites were in the drama so yet. The fashion is really cool and the world that they are in seems fun. The OSTs are thumbs up.

13. That Winter, The Wind Blows (2013)

Grade :  A+

Genre : Melodrama, Romance

“The Winter, The Wind Blows” is a story about a man who is known to be the best gambler in Cheongdam neighborhood. He lives a meaningless life after being abandoned by his parents and failing at his first love relationship. In order to pay his debt, he starts living with a rich girl who is the heir to a large corporation. However, he falls in love with the girl, who is also as lonely as him. She has also lived a difficult life. She has lost her eyesight and her father has passed away. She will have to protect herself from those around her.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

That Winter, The Wind blows is a seriously riveting romantic melodrama that will hook you and keep you addicted, from its first moments up until the dreamy, exquisite conclusion. The ensemble acting of the whole cast and the beautiful, powerfully emotional screenplay are flawless, and there are some great plot twists and surprises for those who don’t care for predictable stories. The cinematography is stunning, especially one key scene where the lead male carries the lead female piggy-back style up a wintery hill and tells her to listen to the light tinkling of the icy tree branches! The music soundtrack – OST – is utterly gorgeous.

 

That Winter, The Wind Blows is a tremendously poignant, exquisite, and romantic melodrama that you will never forget.

14. Moon Lovers : Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)

Grade :  B+

Genre : Drama, Historical, Political, Romance, Tragedy

Remake of the Original Chinese Version Scarlet Heart.

When a total eclipse of the sun takes place, a 21st century woman, Go Ha Jin, is transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea. She wakes up in the body of 16-year-old Hae Soo, an aristocrat living with Lady Hae, her cousin who happens to be married to one of the sons of King Taejo. She soon befriends several of the princes, who find her carefree and exuberant attitude refreshing. Although she knows she should not get involved in palace intrigues over the succession to the throne, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in the struggle, as several of the Princes fall in love with her. ~~ Based on Chinese novel “Bu Bu Jing Xin” by Tong Hua.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Its a remake and I prefer the original Chinese version but all in for IU and targeted for the much younger audience eye- candy princes. That about it and it’s got a sad ending that a little less dramatic than the Chinese one. This OST is great . Lee Hi – My Love was my favourite.

15. Goblin, the lonely and great god (2016 )

Grade :  A+

Genre : Comedy, Friendship, Melodrama, Romance, Supernatural

Kim Shin is a Goblin who is cursed with immortality and uses his powers to help others. He lives together with a Grim Reaper who has amnesia and can’t remember his past. To end his immortality, Shin must search for a human bride who can pull out the sword in his chest and return him to ashes. He meets Ji Eun Tak, a high school student who, despite her painful reality, remains optimistic and ends up falling in love with the Goblin. She works with Sunny, the owner of a small chicken restaurant, who is a bright and attractive girl, loved by all men. However, when she meets the Grim Reaper, she finds her while beginner to change.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

It’s amazing!!!!. I was never once bored with this delightfully pretty, romantically intense, and often funny drama. The cinematography, first rate CGI, and stunning location shots. Created by the Same Team who created smash hit Descendants of the Sun. Again, the OST’s are amazing.

16. Moonlight Drawn By Clouds ( 2016)

Grade :  A

Genre : Comedy, Historical, Melodrama, Political, Romance

Hong Ra On disguises herself as a man and counsels men on dating. Due to a love letter she wrote for a client, she meets Crown Prince Hyo Myeong. Ra On is unaware that he is the Crown Prince and Hyo Myeong is unaware that Ra On is a woman. The Crown Prince becomes interested in Ra On. His eunuchs become aware of this and attempt to get Ra On to become one of them.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

I enjoyed this gentle sageuk and the wonderful, warm acting of the main leads together. I would say this historical drama is absolutely a must see for fans of these two actors because they make the experience such a total delight. The show is very addictive. Also try it if you are a sageuk fan but want to watch something without a lot of violence, a story which is more fantasy based and romantic. The music is lovely, the production values are excellent, it’s almost like a fairy tale come to life, although based on a real royal who lived a long time ago.

17. King 2 Hearts ( 2012)

Grade :  A

Genre : Comedy, Melodrama, Military, Political, Romance

Kim Hang Ah, is the legendary top female instructor working in North Korea’s elite special forces unit. With stamina, training tactics and strength in all areas, she is the perfect female soldier; however, she has never fallen in love before. Pure and candid, Kim Hang Ah’s goal is to fall in love and get married to a man. Lee Jae Ha, is the prince of South Korea’s monarchy. His personality reflects his royal position, with refined humor and a handsome face; however, he has little interest in pursuing politics. Though he seems perfect on the exterior, Lee Jae Ha is actually very materialistic and blunt about his own desires.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

It has something to please everyone and it’s addictive. Another wonderful OST by Queen Taeyeon. One of Lee Seung Gi’s best performances.

18. Sandglass (1995)

Grade : A

Genre : Action, Crime, Drama, Makjang, Romance

The Sandglass is a story of two men whose friendship is put to the test through the 1970s and 1980s, one of Korea’s politically tumultuous periods. Park Tae-soo, tough and loyal, grows up to become a gangster and Kang Woo-suk, smart with firm moral values, grows up to become a prosecutor. Yoon Hye-rin, a beautiful and spirited daughter of a very wealthy casino owner, is a classmate of Woo-suk in college. Hye-rin is introduced to Tae-soo via Woo-suk and they subsequently fall in love.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Something like the Korean Version of the American Film “Godfather”. It’s a pretty old drama so if you have any interest in Korean Modern History then give this drama a go. It’s a very deep and realistic drama that has a wonderful theme song, a Russian folk song “Cranes” that portrays how the Koreans fought for Liberty. One of the highest rated Korean dramas in history 64.5%. You’ll cry for the main girl’s bodyguard – Baek Jae Hee played by Lee Jung Jae.

19. Stairway to Heaven ( 2003)

Grade : C+

Genre : Melodrama, Romance, Tragedy

The relationship of childhood sweethearts Cha Song Joo and Hang Jung Suh becomes complicated when Jung Suh’s father remarries. Along with a new stepmother, Jung Suh also has a new introverted stepbrother, Han Tae Hwa and a scheming stepsister, Han Yuri. Gradually, Tae Hwa falls in love with kind-hearted Jung Suh and Yuri decides to pursue Song Joo. Nothing can shake the bond between Jung Suh and Song Joo, however, not even Song Joo’s departure to study abroad in America.


On the night of his return, however, Jung Suh is mysteriously hit by a car and believed dead. Having lost her memory in the crash, she is taken in by Tae Hwa, who relocates and gives her another name. Five years later, on the eve of his engagement to Yuri, Song Joo sees someone who looks exactly like his lost love Jung Suh.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

Throw all the sterotypical plot twists in, amnesia/evil step mother and sister/ car crash/ donations/ blindness/ cancer / incest relationships/ ending piggy back ride / wonderful second male lead that the female lead will only ever see as a friend. This drama has it all and it reached ratings of 40%.  A lot of people say that it’s the saddest drama they have ever seen but for me it was just trying tooooo hard that it was almost comedic. This drama was the first performance of  popular actress Park Shin Hye. Despite all of this , it is the wonderful soundtrack and sincere acting that makes this drama memorable. One of the most memorable scenes which I like to call the running scene.

Running Scene :

The Iconic Bogoshipda:

20. Cain and Abel ( 2009)

Grade : B +

Genre : Medical Melodrama, Romance

Based on the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s first two sons, Cain and Abel is about Cain’s jealousy towards his brother Abel. Lee Cho In is a very gifted doctor who has everything that he wants whereas his older brother, Seon Woo, is jealous of all the attention that Cho In receives. Seon Woo blames his brother for taking everything good in his life away from him. Seon Woo blames Cho In for getting their father’s love, getting more recognition as a doctor, and for stealing the woman he loves.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH? 

This show is definitely an old fashioned good vs. evil story, but I still stand by my statement that Cain And Abel would have been much more intense and interesting overall if there had been no love interests, but that what makes it a drama. It’s intense and addictive. So Ji Sub definitely makes a melodrama actor.

Have a good day!! 

-seadra9on

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