Kdramas have shed their previous reputation and are not only for ‘aunties’ who love dramatic sob stories. Today’s Kdramas are sophisticated productions with intricate storylines. Not to forget the picture-perfect oppas and noonas. If you’re new to Kdrama, you may be searching for the best upcoming KDrama in 2022, or the latest Netflix Kdrama, but we’re here to recommend some all-time favourites that never grow old.
Yes, Kdramas are easily available on Netflix. You can even binge-watch them on your commute to work with the fastest 5G speeds when you activate M1 True 5G, which offers 4x faster speeds than 5G non-standalone networks and 10x faster speed than existing 4G networks. No lag on the train as you indulge these addicting Kdrama!
Here’s a look at some of the best KDrama of all time. Keep this KDrama list, check it twice, and binge on!
1. Goblin (2016)
The KDrama titled Goblin is also known as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, as well as Sseulsseulhago Challanhasin – Dokkaebi in Korean.
Goblin is kinda like a fantasy show about a military general from the Goryeo Dynasty who is cursed to stay immortal till he finds his “bride” who can pull out the sword that killed him and binds him to this earth. Sounds super fantastical, but it’s actually a light-hearted rom-com based in South Korea.
However, the real winning elements of Dokkaebi are probably how the actors like Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun and Lee Dong-wook portray their characters, as well as the b/romance that may develop between them. TBH, it doesn’t hurt that the lead characters are simply so good-looking!
2. Hospital Playlist (2020/2021)
Hospital Playlist is hardly sterile. It is rife with the happenings of 5 friends (4 guys 1 female) who all happen to be working in the same line — as doctors. How exciting can a hospital drama be, and what adventures could these 5 friends possibly have in such a setting?
Well, as any KDrama aficionado will tell you, it’s not really about the synopsis or setting of the drama, but how the interpersonal relationships between the characters are played out. Check out how this group of close-knit buddies dwell on topics around music, relationships and medicine.
Episode 1 can be kinda confusing though, but we promise it gets better if you stick around. Enjoy the human side of this profession and see the real struggles and joys of the clinical veterans through the stories in this well-scripted KDrama.
3. Reply 1988 (2015/2016)
Many may have started watching Reply 1988 for heartthrob Park Bo-gum. But it’s easy to get engrossed in the storyline after just a few episodes. There are other Reply series, namely Reply 1997 and 1994, but we daresay Reply 1988 is the best. It takes you back to the 80s era and is based in Northern Soul. We love watching the interpersonal relationships of five high school friends who live in the neighbourhood of Ssangmun-dong, in the Dobong District, play out as they grow up together.
Romance fans probably won’t be seeing much action (other than Duk-seon) as Reply 1988 highlights family bonds and filial piety rather than full-blown BGR. But hey, wholesome isn’t bad. Reply 1988 has tons of fans, with its last episode garnering 18.8% audience share throughout South Korea and landing it as one of the top 5 rated KDramas of all time on cable TV.
4. Crash Landing on You (2020)
Also known as “Love’s Emergency Landing”, Crash Landing on You in our opinion, is one of the more interesting KDramas out there as viewers get a glimpse into North Korean life and culture. Fun fact: the two main leads Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin got married IRL after the show!
As most KDramas begin, the premise is quite “catchy”…literally. Son Ye-jin plays a successful and rich businesswoman from South Korea who unfortunately gets caught in a storm while paragliding, thus “crash landing” in North Korea. She kinda crash lands into the grasp of an army captain in that part of Korea, and the rest is, well, typical KDrama romance with tons of tension and twists.
Even if we’re not fans of the star couple, we’d watch it again in a heartbeat, especially the first half of the drama, which depicts North Korea.
5. Signal (2016)
Signal is one of those TV serials that has seen a few remakes. It was originally based on a 2000 film titled Frequency, with inspiration drawn from real-life crime cases in Korea. Later, a Japanese remake of the KDrama was produced as well. Indeed, art imitates life, as this KDrama was very well-received and garnered a peak audience viewership of over 12%.
Aiyah, but what’s so exciting about yet another police series, you may ask? It’s the supernatural aspect added to this genre, revolving around a walkie-talkie. Anyway, this walkie-talkie was picked up randomly by the lead character, who discovers that he is able to communicate with a mysterious voice on the other end who helps him reopen and successfully solve cold police cases. Also, the acting is top-notch!
6. Mine (2021)
Who knew that the wealthy had problems finding their true selves? Well, in Mine, we get a glimpse into South Korea’s aristocratic world, where ambitious women do all they can to find themselves.
These chaebols hail from influential families, with the drama focused on a former leading actress who is now a daughter-in-law of a top organisation, alongside her fellow sister-in-law.
Why is it so famous? Well, it is gratifying to see that even the wealthy have problems. There is also an element of ‘Game of Thrones’ as you watch on to see who will benefit from the riches of the chaebols in the end. As a bonus, we love that it is also a Kdrama centred around strong female characters.
7. The World of The Married (2020)
The World of the Married aka Couple’s World is exactly what you hope it’s about — the whole cycle of betrayal, which leads to revenge, then grief, guilt and finally healing. This top-rated KDrama, which garnered a rating of 28.37% throughout Korea for its final episode, was based on the Doctor Foster drama series aired on BBC One.
Hmm, you might want to limit your binging sessions of The World of the Married to after your kids’ bedtime as it’s rife with sex and violence. But aside from that, the acting, cast, screenplay and directing are stellar.
As you can guess, the KDrama starts with a married couple who has a son. They seem perfect until — predictably — the wife finds out her husband’s affair. Things take a turn for the worst and the viewer goes on a whirlwind journey with the couple.
8. Sky Castle (2018)
Sky Castle, a drama about the stress faced by the upper-class families, was overtaken in ratings by The World of the Married. Nevertheless, this is a gem of a drama, which pokes fun through satire at just how materialistic some Korean families can be — indeed it struck a chord with many Singaporeans on the topic of securing top schools for their little ones and our other “kiasu” ways.
Sky Castle is also more than parental pressure. The lead characters are ambitious and will stop at nothing to get the best for their families, even if it means befriending someone with an ulterior motive or concealing one’s “shameful” past. As always, there are 2 sides to the same coin and you will find a character who upsets these kiasu Korean parents by messing with the status quo.
9. Kingdom (2019/2020)
Somehow, KDramas are fantastic at turning genres on their head, such as this mash-up of period drama and zombie horror. This popular KDrama and Netflix Original, which spanned 2 seasons, is based on a webtoon titled The Kingdom of the Gods.
The series begins in a riveting manner, showcasing how the King is ravaged by some strange illness that causes him to turn violent. The viewer then realises, through the eyes of the KDrama’s protagonist Lee Chang (Crown Prince), that not just the King but the entire Kingdom (hence the name) is slowly succumbing to this strange epidemic that seems to reanimate the dead. In the midst of this, there’s also an epic fight for the throne.
Kingdom was so popular that there was a second season as well as the feature-length special “Ashin of the North”. There are rumours of a third season, as Kingdom has yet to be renewed or cancelled by Netflix.
10. Itaewon Class (2020)
Here’s another KDrama that’s based on a popular webtoon, which focuses on the lead character Park Sae-ro-yi who is played by popular Korean star Park Seo-joon. If you like a drama where the underdogs finally triumph against all odds to overthrow the upper class bullies, you’ll love Itaewon Class.
In this KDrama, our protagonist has just been released from jail due to an attempted murder. He is filled with So. Much. Rage. The first thing he does is to open a bar-restaurant in Itaewon, called Danbam. Many of the KDrama’s events then revolve around this place, which takes in other underdogs. The main characters eventually become a close-knit group that helps the F&B outlet thrive despite the doings of some powerful enemies.
The main story thread is Park Sae-ro-yi’s hatred towards Jangga Group, a big F&B group headed by a family that had a hand in his dad’s untimely death. This organisation is also what led to our protagonist serving jail time, losing the love of his life and we see how his revenge pans out.
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