Top 25 K-Dramas of All Time

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Given the rise of Halyu and Korean explosion, K-Dramas have become very popular in recent times. No matter who you are, from where you belong, or which language you speak, K-Dramas have shown their influence everywhere. Plots of dramas were never so interesting and likable. You can see people binge-watching several episodes of dramas very often now without feeling even an ounce of boredom or reluctance. The names of some of the all-time favorite dramas are mentioned in the list below. All the dramas on this list are very interesting and can keep you hooked to it for the entirety of the show.

25. Reply 1988 (2015-2016):

Reply 1988

Cast –Hyeri, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Park Bo-gum, Go Kyung-Pyo, Lee Dong-Hwi

Overview – This show is considered by many critics as a very charming, slice of life retro drama. The drama revolves around the struggles of five friends who grew up together in Ssangmun-dong, a very small neighborhood in Seoul. The plot starts in the year 1988 through 1989 and then skips directly to the years 1994 and 1995. Though the ending was a bit weak overall the drama felt very balanced and whole, and the cast was very endearing and devoted.

24. Secret Garden (2010-11):

Secret Garden

Cast – Hyun Bin, Ha Ji-Won, Yoon Sang-Hyun, Lee Jong-Suk, Son Ye-Jin

Overview – Secret Garden is considered to be one of the most beautifully made Korean dramas of all time. Every angle of this drama, starting from the plot to the acting to the OSTs was picture perfect and would make you see it again and again. In this drama, you see how the complicated lives of four individuals get entangled together. You will be able to relate the story to that of Cinderella but in a more realistic and rationalized light.

23. Pinocchio (2014):

Pinocchio

Cast – Lee Jong-suk, Park Shin-Hye, Kim Young-Kwang, Lee Yu-Bi, Yoon Kyun-Sang

Overview – The script had an equal mix of heart, humor and idealism. The story portrays the lives of reporters, who are practical, hard-working and righteous. Ideals and moral values are the focal points in this drama. The family bonding shown in the drama will melt you into a puddle. This drama is considered to be a very warm drama that had a good plot resulting in it garnering good ratings.

22. Mr. Sunshine (2018):

Mr. Sunshine

Cast – Kim Tae-ri, Lee Byun-hun, Yoo Yeon-seok, Byun Yo-hun, Kim Ji-won

Overview –This drama has the record of being the 4th highest rated cable TV series. Its cinematography and storytelling got critically acclaimed. The plot revolves around a boy who is born into slavery but later joins the Marine Corpse. Then we see how he gets involved in trying to keep his nation from getting invaded by foreign forces. Due to a subtle change of the plot from the mainstream the drama is appreciated more by the viewers.

21. Hwarang: The Poet Warrior (2016):

Hwarang The Poet Warrior

Cast – Park Hyung-sik, Park Seo-joon, Go Ara, V, Choi Min-ho

Overview – Here you can see an ensemble of few of the leading actors of Korea. The story gives us the insight of a king’s life and how much he has to go through in order to maintain his throne and name. It also puts in front of us the unfair way the less fortunate people have always been treated by the powerful people no matter what decade or century we are in.

20. Healer (2014):

Healer

Cast – Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young, Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Mi-kyung, Do Ji-won

Overview – Though this drama could not get a huge success in its home country but it acquired a huge fan base internationally. The drama revolves around three main characters, an illegal night courier, a reporter and a journalist, who come together in order to fight against evil and to deal with the conflict between truth and fate.

19. Kill Me, Heal Me (2015):

Kill Me, Heal Me

Cast – Ji Sung, Hwang Jung-eum, Park Seojoon, Kim Yoo-ri, Oh Min-seok

Overview – Elements like child abuse, and dissociative identity disorder is a major part of the plot of the drama. Here you will witness that each and every human body is very strong and is ready to go through anything in order to survive. In this drama, you will see how the lead male character will go through so many difficulties just to survive and escape from his multiple personality disorder. Another aspect of the drama that will completely blow your mind is the way a single person will portray seven different personalities and that too with so much perfection. The drama is really heart-warming to watch, and should be on your watch list.

18. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (2016):

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

Cast – Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Lee Jong-suk, Kyung Soo-jin, Lee Jae-yoon

Overview – A very slice of life drama, that follows the story of a group of student athletes, who are all fighting to fulfil their dreams. Through this journey, these students grow up and experience new things in life. Though it could have a long-lasting effect among its viewers in Korea, but it got international recognition.

17. Suspicious partner (2017):

Suspicious partner

Cast – Ji Chang-wook, Nam Ji-hyun, Choi Tae-joon, Kwon Nara, Kim Hyeong-gyoo

Overview – Prosecutors are supposed to take care of the law and justice of the society. In this drama, you will get to see a variety of prosecutors and lawyers, some of them are ready to give up their careers and dreams to serve justice, whereas, some of them are ready to make up lies in order to fulfil their selfish intents. Among all the turmoil, and problems you will get a life lesson which states that no matter what you have to do or give up you should always stand with justice. The plot though simple, had a beautiful flow to it which attracted attention.

16. W – Two Worlds (2016):

W - Two Worlds

Cast – Lee Jong-suk, Han Hyo-Joo, Lee Tae-hwan, JeongYoo-jin, Kim Ui-Seong

Overview – Connecting two worlds, i.e., one is the real world from where our lead female character belongs and the other is a world within a webtoon created by an artist (the female lead’s father) from where the lead male character belongs. When these two different people from two different worlds meets, they fall in love even though a huge chaos continues surrounding them and their worlds.

15. Arthdal Chronicles (2019):

Arthdal Chronicles

Cast – Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won, Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ok-bin, Hae-jun Park

Overview – A mythical land, enchanting and beautiful, immediately has your interest peaked and you are hooked. Within this beautiful land of Arth you will get to see the hunger of power that resides inside every human being. Some people find love along their journey, whereas others are not fortunate enough to get the same.

14. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016):

Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Cast – Lee Joon-gi, IU, Byun Baekhyun (EXO), Kang Ha-Neul, Nam Joo-hyuk

Overview – After watching this drama you are bound to fall in love with the sheer variety of characters that you will find here. Each and every character had their own story to tell, making the drama more than what it promised to be. While watching it you will get sucked into the plot in such a way that you will think yourself to be a part of the drama. The ending is a very strong point, with the tragic scenes leading culminating in the death of the 10th prince played by EXO Baekhyun will definitely have your heart. It will make you crave for a second season so that you can see your beloved leads get the happy ending that they deserve.

13. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim (2018):

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

Cast – Park Min-young, Park Seo-joon, Lee Tae-hwan, Hwang Bo Ra, Hwang Chan-sung

Overview – Women are really the pillar of any institution. The drama portrays the theme where the rich and ambitious Vice Chancellor of a major company loses his night sleep after getting a resignation letter from his secretary. You will see a bunch of misunderstandings created just because the secretary after working continuously for nine long years wants some time for herself, which is the reason behind the resignation. The misunderstandings though troublesome, leads to a blooming romance.

12. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017):

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Cast – Park Hyung-sik, Park Bo-young, Ji Soo, Won-hae Kim, Shim Hye-jin

Overview – A woman with superhuman strength. In our society where men are considered to be the stronger sex, portrayal of such a character was quite uncommon and new. It is one of the highest rated series which got worldwide attention. The beautiful way in which the lead characters falls in love in spite of facing problems will make you want to re-watch the series so that you can watch them fall in love all over again. The murder mystery theme also keeps the attention of the viewers on the show till the very last moment.

11. Fight For My Way (2017):

Fight For My Way

Cast – Kim Ji-won, Park Seo-joon, Song Ha-yoon, Ahn Jae-hong, Choi Woo-shik

Overview –You can relate your own life and its struggles that you face in your everyday life with the struggles that the characters in the drama face too. The Story mainly tells the dreams and ambitions of four friends who wants to do something big in their lives though they are not qualified enough to reach that kind of success. You also get a taste of romance between two childhood best friends, and their relationship from the very beginning till end will make feel warm and fluffy inside.

10. Boys Over Flowers (2009):

Boys Over Flowers

Cast – Lee Min-ho, Ku Hye-sun, Kim Hyun-joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon

Overview – This drama typically follows the story of two people from different status falling in love despite their differences and how their family is against such connections. In the beginning, the feud between the two lead characters will make laugh hard, but as the story progresses you will see the way problems creeps in their lives and tries to ruin the entire environment of the drama. This drama is considered to be one of the most popular Korean dramas of all-time, attracting attention of viewers of different ages.

9. Memories of the Alhambra Palace (2018-2019):

Memories of the Alhambra Palace

Cast – Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Chanyeol (EXO), Kim Ui-seong, Lee Jae-wook

Overview – One of the highest rated dramas in the cable television’s history, which got praised because of its unexpected twists in every turn and its jaw dropping and creative plot. Here we see the lines between the real world and the AR gaming world getting blurred, and this transition between these two worlds make the plot even more entertaining and interesting. Another instance of heart-melting performance by EXO rapper Chanyeol. His boyish looks, curly mane as the 14-year-old Jung Seju will make go aww at his innocence. The computer graphics that was used in the series attracted attention to a large scale making it a very popular drama.

8. Sky Castle (2018):

Sky Castle

Cast – Kim Seo-hyung, Yoon Se-ah, Yum Jung-ah, Oh Na-ra, Kim Hye-yoon

Overview – Money! This word plays a very important role in this drama. Here we see how people from rich families are ready to go to any distance in order to secure every success in their lives no matter whose life they have to destroy in the process. The story is about rich housewives who try their hardest to make their husbands more successful in their careers, and they also try to raise their children like princes and princesses. They are ready to spend millions of won to see their children become successful in their lives.

7. 100 Days My Prince (2018):

100 Days My Prince

Cast –Do Kyungsoo (EXO D.O.), Nam Ji-hyun, Han So Hee, Kim Seon-ho, Kim Jae-young

Overview – It is the 6th highest rated Korean drama in cable television’s history. This drama is a historical drama portraying the Joseon era. Like in case of any historical drama plot you will see a lot of conspiracies and betrayals in order to get power and position. The way EXO D.O. portrays the lead character of a prince, with his intense looks and acting will keep you rooted to your place throughout the series. You will face a great deal of anticipation because of the mysteries that continues throughout the story.

6. My Love from the Star (2013-14):

My Love from the Star

Cast – Kim Soo-hyun, Jun Ji-hyun, Yoo In-na, Ahn Jae-hyun, Bae Suzy

Overview – We have seen a wide array of beings who do not belong to this earth, but the concept of aliens had our attention from the beginning. The development of the plot was very funny and interesting because of the smooth blend of humor, romance and mystery. The acting has the power of snatching your attention and the actors have the power of snatching your hearts. In addition, the other worldly romance between a human and an alien was quite out of the box.

5. Hotel del Luna (2019):

Hotel del Luna

Cast – Yeo Jin-goo, IU, Sulli, Kang Mi-na, P.O.

Overview – Another fantasy drama, which has some components of the past as well as present. The drama also has very interesting topics like death and afterlife. A very unique theme of humans going into a hotel after their deaths as ghosts, in order to prepare themselves for their long journey to their next life by walking over the bridge of afterlife. The acting of the lead as well as the supporting characters had the power to keep the viewers enthralled and stuck to their seats.

4. The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016):

The Legend of the Blue Sea

Cast – Lee Min-ho, Jun Ji-hyun, Shin WonHo, Shin Hye-sun, Lee Hee-joon

Overview – Mermaids! A very interesting theme indeed. The drama showed an interesting mix of historical drama and modern-day drama. It is taken from a classic legend from the Joseon era. Here we see the blossoming love between a con artist and a mermaid, which gets a happy ending after two separate lives.

3. Descendants of the Sun (2016):

Descendants of the Sun

Cast – Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Kim Ji-won, Jin Goo, Onew

Overview – The theme of war and soldiers fighting for their own nation can always find a soft spot in your heart. The romance between the two lead characters is heart-melting and would make you want to fall in love. The struggles of corruption and how our hero and heroine dealt with it makes intense at the same time very interesting.

2. The Heirs (2013):

The Heirs

Cast – Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye, Kim Woo-bin, Choi Jin-hyuk, Kim Ji-won

Overview –The Heirs is a staple in the best K-drama lists. The drama mainly shows the lives of high school students who are from privileged families. Throughout the drama you will get the essence of the privileged lifestyle that some of us are fortunate enough to experience in reality. But as you dig deeper into the drama you get to see that it is not all roses and candies in the uber rich world but there are many difficulties that even rich kids have to face in their lives in order to succeed.

1. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin) (2016-17):

Guardian The Lonely and Great God (Goblin)

Cast – Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun, Lee Dong-wook, Yoo In-na, YookSungjae

Overview – Goblin was so out of the mainstream plot that maximum K-Dramas use that you would fall in love with the storyline in itself. The sprinkle of supernaturalism made the otherwise simple storyline very unique and interesting. The acting and the portrayal of the characters were to the point. Humor and hurt went hand in hand throughout the whole drama making it livelier and engrossing. Another thing worth mentioning about this drama are the beautiful OSTs that grace every episode and important scenes. The best of them all is definitely “Stay With Me” by EXO Chanyeol and Punch. It is also the most watched OST from any drama on YouTube.

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