Top 10 Korean Dramas You Should Watch Before You Die


korean dramas

Hey guys!. In this post, I’ll be discussing a list of Top 10 Korean Dramas You Should Watch Before You Die. Thank TV gods for video streaming apps, we are blessed with so many viewing options coming from all over the world! Our top pick is so well-loved in the far east that it’s just a matter of time before it takes over the world. So let’s get started.

10. Kingdom. 

Rampaging zombies taking over an ancient palace? Shut up and hold my popcorn! Hailed by The New York Times as one of “the Best International Shows of 2020,” Kingdom—which is Netflix’s first original Korean series—is set during the Joseon era when a mysterious plague starts spreading, and it’s up to the Crown Prince Lee Chang to save his people from the undead! The show successfully marries the plot’s main premise of the kingdom’s power struggle, together with disturbing imagery of blood, gore, and yep, super-agitated zombies that can scare the bejeezus out of horror fans!

9. Boys Over Flowers. 

This 2009 K-drama hit was based on the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango, which has been adapted for TV in Japan, China and Taiwan. But the Korean version starring Korean heartthrob Lee Min Ho has become one of the more popular adaptations. Woman: So many stars. Man: They’re satellites, stupid. It has all the elements of a perfect young adult Korean drama–– a plot that centers on the war of the classes, angsty young love, and a hip soundtrack. The show also started the trend of metrosexual or “pretty boy” image in South Korea, and made Lee Min Ho a household name. 

8. Full House. 

In the early 2000s, Korean romcoms took not just the country, but the entire Asia by storm. And if you wanna know what all the fuss is about, then Full House is a worthy intro to the Korean romcom invasion. The story revolves around an aspiring scriptwriter and a popular actor who were forced to live together due to some outlandish circumstances. At first, they got on each other’s nerves but eventually, they learned more than just to live with each other harmoniously. Oh, and did I mention it stars one of Korea’s biggest K-Pop superstars, Rain? It’s hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time, that I dare you to watch it and not get butterflies. 

7. Coffee Prince. 

Long before Korean actor Gong Yoo became famous for smacking zombies in the 2016 blockbuster hit “Train to Busan,” he was popular among K-drama fans as a young food empire mogul Han Kyul in the 2007 TV series Coffee Prince. In this gender-bending drama, Han Kyul makes the tomboyish waiter Eun Chan his fake gay lover to avoid arranged dates set up by his family. But complications ensue when Han Kyul starts to develop feelings for Eun Chan despite not knowing that she’s actually a girl and not a man as he thought she was all along! In a country where homosexuality is still highly regarded as taboo, Coffee Prince’s success in Korea was certainly a step in the right direction. 

6. It’s Okay, That’s Love. 

What’s exciting about k-dramas is how they tackle sensitive issues and make them more accessible to mainstream audiences, just as how this 2014 show bravely addressed the delicate topic of mental health. Man: Kang woo, please help Kang Woo… In a nutshell, “It’s Okay, That’s Love,” is about a man who came from a family that faced a murder case, trying to grapple with his guilt with the help of a female psychiatrist battling with her own psychological problems. Featuring award-winning actress Gong Hyo-Jin (HEEO-JIN), this drama will surely pull at the heartstrings of the most jaded of viewers. 

5. Itaewon Class. 

Considered as one of South Korea’s most bankable actors, since 2011, Park Seo Joon or PSJ has starred in a string of top-rated romantic comedy K-dramas. But in an attempt to veer away from the swoon-worthy leading man image he’s come to be known for, PSJ showcased his extensive acting chops in this 2020 show about an ex-con out to exact revenge by building his own empire with the help of a ragtag crew of unlikely allies. Man: Don’t be such a bluffer. Go ahead and punch me. Woman: Boss, don’t. Along with the plot that centers around a decades-long blood feud, the show also tackled social issues such as racism, capitalism and homophobia. Top-notch acting plus unconventional themes? No wonder Time Magazine hailed Itaewon Class as “The Best Korean Drama on Netflix,” and Forbes listed it as one of the best Korean dramas of 2020. 

4. Stairway to Heaven. 

Imagine being separated from your childhood sweetheart, only to see her years later after coming back from abroad. But the catch is, when you see each other, she doesn’t remember you because she got into a previous accident that caused her memory loss. Worse, said accident was caused by the woman who’s secretly in love with you! It sounds absurd on paper, but trust me when I say that “Stairway to Heaven” turns on the waterworks so bad, you’ll be hoarding Kleenex. This 2003 melodrama piles on tragedy after tragedy that it will make Shakespeare roll over in his grave! Headlined by Korean A-listers Choi Ji Woo and Kwon Sang Woo, Stairway to Heaven undeniably helped kickstart the spread of the so-called Korean Wave overseas with its classic tale of true love defying all odds… even amnesia! 

3. Crash Landing on You.

When this show aired in early 2020, it shattered viewership records left and right, and understandably so. For one, it was a well-balanced mix of romcom, action and suspense, with the story revolving around an heiress named Yun Se-ri (YOON) who was literally swept away into North Korean territory—yup, fierce winds took the paragliding heiress into the northern part of the Korean DMZ. There, he was spotted by North Korean soldier named Captain Ri, who took pity on the heiress and decided to hide her until they find a way to get her back to the other side of the border. Woman: Don’t tell me you’re suspecting me of being a spy. Man: I’m just talking about the possibilities. *Woman laughs Aside from the laugh-out-loud dialogues and the blossoming romance between the North and South Korean characters, what made the show stand out was how it portrayed the daily North Korean lifestyle not often seen on TV. The production team even consulted defectors to ensure the scenes are as realistic as possible. Woman: What is this place? Man: Don’t you know what a kimchi cellar is? Woman: What? Of course not! Man: This is called a kimchi cellar. And in case you need more proof of the undeniable chemistry between its leads Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin (HYOON), in 2021, the couple admitted that they have started dating in real life shortly after filming the k-drama! Now how’s that for authenticity.

2. Secret Garden. 

This modern-day Cinderella story put an unusual twist to the average push and pull between the male and female leads by adding an element of fantasy to its romantic storyline –– switching bodies ala Freaky Friday! Man: Do you want to die? Man 2: Why? Man: You’re doing that on purpose to make fun of me! Man 2: What did I do? We all know the lead couple will eventually fall in love, but imagine overcoming the odds of their warring classes, plus cracking the mystery of how they can get back to their own bodies! Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the incredible portrayal of Hyun Bin and his co-star Ha Ji Won is equal parts endearing and engaging. 

1. Reply 1988. 

If you think love stories are all there is to the Korean TV producers’ arsenal, then you’ve got another thing coming. Aside from sci-fi epics and historical sagas, they make the most heartwarming family dramas too! For your consideration is this little TV show that’s hailed as one of the best k-dramas of all time—Reply 1988. Man: Hello Ms. Ra! You should answer, “Hello Mr. Kim.” Woman: Do you want me to leave you? The series set in 1988 revolves around the lives of five friends and their families who all live in the same neighborhood. Despite having so many characters to follow, the show successfully makes the viewers relate to each and every one of them, as they all face their own demons while navigating life and keeping the harmony in their own families. Man: Come here now. Have you lost your mind? Are you trying to screw up your life? Reply 1988 garnered both critical and commercial success, posting a finale rating of 18.8%, placing it among the top five highest-rated drama in Korean cable TV history.

That is it from today’s post on Top 10 Korean Dramas You Should Watch Before You Die. If you do not agree with the points in the post and have some of your own opinions, share them with us in the comments section down below. 

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Chandan is the writer of “Top 10 Korean Dramas You Should Watch Before You Die”. Also, Connect with me on Facebook.


Hey there! I'm Chandan and I'm from India. I'm a writer and youtuber. You can contact me at: pinterest

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