It’s a bizarre and wonderful world in the Korean drama industry. As Kpop, Korean films like Parasite and Minari, and Korean television series take the world by storm, the South Korean entertainment sector is progressively rising to global supremacy.
It doesn’t matter what kind of South Korean television show you’re talking about; the phrase “Kdrama” refers to it all. Everything from a romantic comedy to a sci-fi thriller is fair game. Webcomics, a form of narrative akin to comics that has its origins in South Korea, is the basis for the majority of these television programs.
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If you’re looking for a love story, you’ll find it in almost every film genre (except horror). While most Korean dramas have ridiculous plotlines, they’re actually what makes them so enjoyable. It’s just a matter of learning to roll with the punches and enjoy the journey.
1. The Silent Sea
The Silent Sea is a horror-themed science fiction television series that takes place in outer space. The series follows a team as they investigate an abandoned research station where a tragedy has a place. When the team arrives at Balhae station, they do so to retrieve precious samples that might lead to the manufacture of more water, a resource that will be very necessary for the future and expensive now.
2. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
You need not look any further than Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha if you are searching for a timepiece that will make you feel fantastic. The series follows Yoon Hye-jin, a clever dentist who lives in a large city.
The story is based on the South Korean film Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong, which was released in 2004. Nonetheless, she relocates to a sleepy coastal village after suffering an unanticipated loss of employment, and it is there that she meets Hong Du-sik, a compassionate man who frequently takes on odd jobs. The two have a chemistry that is hard to resist, which makes them an attractive couple that is hard to be against supporting.
3. The Heirs
Even while it might not be the most innovative take on K-Drama, the star-studded ensemble that was assembled for this production made it into one of the most popular Korean dramas in the world. In what is essentially a Cinderella narrative (or possibly a Gossip Girl story), Park Shin-Hye plays Cha Eun-sang, a typical girl who finds herself entangled in the affairs of a group of heirs of wealthy families.
The Kim family is the most prominent of them all. Since she is the daughter of the live-in housekeeper, she attends the family’s high school and resides at the same address as the family. There, she meets Kim Tan, the scion of the family, played by Lee Min-ho, and despite the odds, the two fall in love with one another.
At the time when The Heirs was released, both Lee and Park had recently completed significant projects, and the show rose to the top of the ratings almost immediately. A flawless example of the aspirations that Korean dramas had back in the 2010s, presented in the form of a time capsule.
4. All of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead is a zombie horror series that is based on the webtoon Now at Our School, which was created by Joo Dong-Geun. The series follows a group of high school students who find themselves in the thick of an outbreak of a virus. After an accident at a South Korean high school leads to the release of a zombie virus, the pupils are left to fend for themselves and are walled off from the outside world by the authorities.
Because they do not have any supplies and there is no way for them to get aid, the kids have no choice but to rely on one another and whatever other resources they can discover to survive this potentially fatal circumstance. The show is essentially a horror narrative, but it touches on a variety of serious topics, including social problems.
Since it debuted on Netflix in January 2022, All of Us Are Dead has quickly become one of the streaming service’s most popular shows. It is graphic, emotionally taxing, and expertly made.
What kind of responses do you think people would have if enormous demons started killing people in the streets by beating them to death and publicly “condemning people to hell” in front of everyone to see? Badly! Really, horribly! Have you ever taken the time to learn about the past of the human race? Hellbound is a grim and highly cruel investigation of faith and contagious societal frenzy.
It would match like excellent sacramental wine with Midnight Mass, which is another ponderous and terrifying 2021 tale of religion gone awry that can be seen on Netflix. Hellbound is a slower, more solemn affair than Yeon Sang-breakout ho’s Korean zombie movie, Train to Busan, but it shares his knack for using genre storytelling to ask unanswerable (and unthinkable) questions about the nature of humanity without flinching. The film was directed by Yeon Sang-ho, who also directed Train to Busan.
6. Squid Game
Perhaps the concert that brought you here is the one that you’ve heard so much about! Squid Game, Netflix’s 2021 original, climbed to the top of Netflix’s most-watched charts in an unprecedented and unprecedented manner. For good reason: it’s a smart reinterpretation of well-worn genre tropes starring an outstanding ensemble cast that’s impossible not to watch in one sitting.
More than 456 debt-ridden hopefuls compete in a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a life-changing windfall. If you’re looking for a series that explores the faults of capitalism and its effect on the people left behind, Squid Game may not be the best choice. And, like all great genre allegories, it never forgets to weave those themes into its constantly entertaining thrills. san.
7. Crash Landing on You
The love narrative “Crash Landing on You,” which follows the relationship between a North Korean soldier and a South Korean heiress, has become one of the most popular Korean dramas to be seen on Netflix to this day. Yoon Se-ri, played by Son Ye-jin, is a young woman who is stunningly attractive and incredibly wealthy.
One weekend, she makes the decision to go paragliding. She is swept up in a cyclone that transports her over North Korea, which is ultimately where she makes her landing. To save Se-ri from being apprehended by North Korea, Captain Ri Jeong-hook provides her with protection and concealment (Hyun Bin).
Both Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri are unable to resist the growing feelings they have for one another, even as Jeong-hyeok makes efforts to assist Se-ri and bring her back to South Korea.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri had wonderful chemistry as the ideal Romeo and Juliet because the actors began dating after filming the drama, and they played the roles of Romeo and Juliet in the drama. Since Crash Landing on You is the series that most exemplifies what a Korean romantic comedy should be, watching it is an excellent way to get acquainted with the subgenre.
In the film Vincenzo, Song Joong-ki portrays the role of a Korean guy who was brought up in Italy as a member of a mafia family after being adopted as a child by an Italian family. Following the passing of his adoptive father, the man’s biological son makes an attempt on Vincenzo’s life.
As a result, Vincenzo is forced to go back to Seoul, South Korea, where he has a cache of gold buried beneath an old apartment building. Unfortunately for Vincenzo, the only way for him to get easy access to the gold would be for him to take down the structure, which is occupied by a community of people.
At the same time, a shady firm known as Babel Group illegally gains control of the building. This prompts Vincenzo to join forces with Hong Cha-young, a gifted and strong-willed lawyer who is portrayed by Jeon Yeo-bin and who wants to bring the organization down for personal reasons. A show that’s not to be missed in any way, shape, or form, Vincenzo combines elements of romance, drama, and action.
9. Record of Youth
Coming-of-age dramas, or stories about a group of young adults trying to find their place in the world, are one sort of series that South Korean television excels at. Record of Youth is an excellent pick for new K-Drama lovers, especially since Park So-dam leads the cast, which many will recognize from her role as Kim Ki-Jung in Parasite, the daughter of a fraudster family who poses as an art teacher.
Record of Youth follows three young people working in Korea’s modern fashion industry: two models and a make-up artist. The show follows the typical plot of most Korean romantic dramas, but the actors in the cast help elevate the series and create characters that you want to root for.
10. Itaewon Class
Itaewon Class, the first webcomic-based drama on this list (but fear not, there will be more), takes place in Seoul’s hippest and most popular neighborhood, Itaewon (think Soho or the East Village in Manhattan). An up-and-coming restaurant entrepreneur called DanBam, Park SaeRoYi (Park Seo-Joon), is played by Park Seo-Joon in this Korean drama series.
His father runs a large corporation called Jangga Group, and Sae-Ro-Yi was expelled for punching him when he was in high school for punching Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo-Hyun). Sae-Ro-father Yi is killed as a result of this, and a seven-year plan for revenge is devised.
Popular in Korea and around the world, Itaewon Class captures the different realities of today’s young adults admirably. Lee Joo-young, who plays a transgender character, is the first in a popular Korean drama series to do so, marking a significant shift in the country’s longstanding conservatism.
Due to the rising popularity of Korean dramas, we’ll be updating this list of the best anime series regularly going forward.