The world of Korean drama is a strange and beautiful place. The South Korean entertainment industry is slowly growing towards world dominance as Kpop, Korean movies likeParasiteyTo pain, and Korean TV series are taking the world by storm.
The term Korean drama or kdrama refers to almost all fictional South Korean television series, regardless of theme or genre. This includes comedy, romance, sci-fi, horror, you name it. Most of these television series are based on webcomics, a comic-book-like form of storytelling that originated in South Korea. In general, you should expect a love story, regardless of genre (except maybe horror), and the same actors are in almost everything. Fair warning: almost every Korean drama has a pretty wacky premise, but honestly, that's what makes them so good. You just have to learn to accept the strange and unexpected and move on.
Lately,netflixhas become the go-to place for finding the best Kdrama deals for American audiences, with many shows labeled as Netflix Originals. This partnership, as well as the general shift to streaming, also changed the business and structure of Kdramas, as previously almost all Kdramas were around 16 episodes and only one season. Although Korea and its media in general remain conservative, international audiences are definitely changing their perspective to make all kinds of people more inclusive and representative.
To help you jump headlong into this new and growing area of television, here are the best Korean dramas to watch on Netflix, both original and non-original.
Can't find what you're looking for here? Consult our list ofThe best Netflix series.and thethe saddestomost underratedkorean dramas.
Editor's Note: This list was updated in December 2022 to include Our Blues.
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The Silent Sea (since 2021)
Director:Choi Hang Yong
Occupation:Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, Lee Joon, Kim Sun-young, Kim Si-a, Lee Moo-Saeng
A sci-fi horror series set in outer space,the still seafollows a team investigating an abandoned research facility where a tragedy has occurred. On a mission to recover valuable samples that could lead to the creation of more water, a vital and expensive resource now in the future, the crew embarks on an unknown terror when they enter Balhae Station. withwillygong-yoIf you're directing this cast, you already know it's going to be good. Full of mysteries and twists,the still seait's thoroughly comic, with its revelations and betrayals sprinkled liberally throughout a dystopian story. —teresa lacson
Our Blues (since 2022)
Directed by: Kim Kyu Tae
occupation: Lee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, Cha Seung-won, Lee Jung-eun, Uhm Jung-hwa
A drama series with a clever premise reminiscent of a documentary series or reality show,our blueexamines the individual lives of the people who live and work on Jeju Island. After the ups and downs of these people,our blueuses an innovative omnibus format that allows the often sweet and bitter moments in the lives of residents to be highlighted and shown through multiple different lenses. withLee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, yCha Seung-won,our bluecreatively portrays beginnings and endings, moments that can be considered the culmination of one's journey, and reveals universally relatable stories about life.– Yael Tygiel
Under the Queen's Umbrella (2022)
Directed by: Kim Hyung Sik
occupation: Kim Hye-soo, Kim Hae-sook, Choi Won-young
fans ofGame of Thrones,The great, it is includedthe crownsthey are sure to loveUnder the Queen's umbrella- a juicy historical drama about a group of people fighting for the throne. The main character of our story is Hwa Ryeong (kim hye-soo), a brash queen who tries to turn her sons into young men who may one day wear the crown. She constantly plays a game of chess with her family and her court people, and she clings to power with all her might. He is beautifully photographed and soapy, making him a feast for the eyes and the perfect binge watch. –taylor doors
Narcos Santos (since 2022)
Director: Yoon Jong bin
occupation: Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin
Also know asSurinam,holy narcosfits right in with the ultra-popular American-ColombiannarcosyNarcos: Mexicoand also has vibrations similar toOzarkyBreaking Bad. The series revolves around Kang In-gu (Hey Jung Woo), a businessman who must work with National Intelligence to stop a Korean drug lord who has taken control of the country. It's a serious drama, but it's also a lot of fun to delve into the bizarre nature of the shockingly real events it's based on. –taylor doors
Business Proposal (2022)
Director: Park Seon Ho
occupation: Ahn Hyo-seop, Kim Se-jeong, Kim Min-kyu, Seol In-ah
Meet Kang Tae-mu (Ahn Hyo Seop), a detail-oriented workaholic and the new president of GO Food. He meets Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se Jeong), a new researcher at the company, who beats up her college friend Lee Min-woo (Song Won Seok). Although she has her interests elsewhere, Shin Ha-ri's best friend is Jin Young-seo (Seol In-ah) convinces her to go on a blind date with Kang Tae-mu instead. However, when Shin Ha-ri finds out that she has a date with his boss, things get complicated and she does everything she can to talk him out of it. However, when Kang Tae-mu isn't intimidated by everything he does while still thinking he's Jin Young-seo's friend, things even out.plusComplicated.business proposalis a cute and silly K-Drama that will satisfy your rom-com cravings. –taylor doors
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (since 2021)
Developed by: Kim Je-hyeon (tvN), Studio Dragon
occupation: Shin Min-A, Kim Sun-Ho, Lee Sang-Yi
If you're looking for a feel-good watch, look no further.Heimatstadt Cha-Cha-Cha. Based on the 2004 South Korean film.Sr. Handy, Sr. Hong, the series follows Yoon Hye-jin, a smart dentist living in the big city. However, when she unexpectedly loses her job, she moves to a small seaside town, where she meets Hong Du-sik, a kind man who often does odd jobs. The two have irresistible chemistry that makes them an impossible couple to follow. -taylor doors
The Inheritors (2013)
Directors:Kang Shin-hyo, Buh Sung-chul
Occupation:Lee Min-ho, Park Shin-hye, Kim Woo-bin, Kim Ji-won, Kang Min-hyuk, Kang Ha-neul
While it may not be the freshest version of K-Drama, this star-studded cast has created one of the most watched Korean dramas in the world. Essentially a Cinderella story (or even aLabertascheHistory),Park Shin HyeShe plays Cha Eun-sang, an ordinary girl who gets involved in the affairs of various heirs of rich and wealthy families. Foremost among them are the Kims. As the daughter of the housekeeper who lives there, she lives in her house and is enrolled in her high school. She there she meets Kim Tan (read minho), the scion of the family, and the two fall in love against all odds. Both Lee and Park came from big projects at the time.the heirscame out and this quickly became an extremely popular show. A perfect time capsule of what Korean dramas were trying to achieve in the 2010s. —teresa lacson
We are all dead (as of 2022)
Directors:Lee JQ and Kim Nam-su
Occupation:Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee Yoo-mi, Kim Byung-chul, Lee Kyu-hyung y Jeon Bae-soo
Based on the web toonnow in our schoolVonJoo Dong-geun,we are all deadis a zombie horror series about high school students who find themselves in the midst of a virus outbreak. After an accident causes a zombie virus to be released at a South Korean high school, the government isolates the students from the outside world. With no supplies and no way to get help, the students must rely on each other and whatever resources they can find to survive this deadly situation. While it's primarily a horror story, so is the show.deals with many social problems. Bloody, intense and well donewe are all deadIt has already become one of the most popular shows on Netflix since its release in January 2022. -Remus Noronha
Hellbound (as of 2021)
Occupation:Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min, Won Jin-ah, Yang Ik-june
How would people react if giant demons started beating people to death in the streets and publicly "damning people to hell" for all to see? Wrong! Very bad! Haveseenthe history of humanity. That is the central message ofinfernal,a grim and very brutal version of faith and contagious social hysteria that would go together like a good communion winemidnight fair; the other from netflixheavy and petrifying history of religion gone wrong in 2021. Directed byTrain to BusanhelmsmanYeon Sangho, infernalit's a slower, more celebratory affair than his groundbreaking Korean zombie flick, but it shares his knack for using genre storytelling to ask unanswered (and unthinkable) questions about human nature without flinching. -Haleigh Foutch
Squid game (since 2021)
Creator:Hwang Dong Hyuk
Occupation:Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon
You've definitely heard of it, in fact, it's most likely the show that got you here. The 2021 Netflix Originalsquid gameenjoyed an unprecedented and instant rise to the top of Netflix's most viewed charts, becoming a social media sensation and talking point. And for good reason, it's a clever spin on familiar genre archetypes with an exceptional cast that makes for an irresistible binge-watcher. Spread over nine episodes, the series follows 456 debt-ridden contenders through a series of deadly children's games with the promise of a life-changing jackpot for whoever survives. Action-packed, with bites of terror, and laced with rich character drama,squidIt can be a bit bleak, but in a series that explores the pitfalls of excess capitalism and the people it leaves behind, that's the point. And like all great genre allegories, it never fails to weave these themes into its endlessly riveting emotions. -Haleigh Foutch
Crash landing on you (2019-2020)
Director:Lee Jung Hyo
Occupation:Hyun Bin, Sohn Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye, Kim Jung-hyun
Arguably the most popular Korean drama on Netflix to date is called a love story between a North Korean soldier and a South Korean heiress.crash landing on youYoon Se-ri (Sohn Ye Jin) is a young, beautiful and extremely wealthy woman who decides to go paragliding for a weekend. She is caught in a tornado that carries her over North Korea, where she lands. Trying to escape being caught by North Korea, Se-ri is captured by Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (bin hyun).
As Jeong-hyeok tries to help Se-ri and smuggle her to South Korea, the two can't deny their growing feelings for each other. Like the latest Romeo and Juliet, Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri's chemistry is incredible, and considering that the actors officially dated after filming the drama, it's no surprise.crash landing on youis the quintessential Korean romantic comedy series, so it's definitely a great series to introduce you to the genre.
Vincent (since 2021)
Occupation:Song Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-bin, TaecYeon
InVincenzo,Joong-ki liedhe plays a Korean man who was adopted by an Italian family as a child and grew up as part of a mafia family in Italy. After his adoptive father dies, the man's biological son attempts to kill Vincenzo, prompting him to flee back to Seoul, South Korea, where he has been hiding a cache of gold under an old building. apartments. Unfortunately Vincenzo doesn't have easy access to gold unless he demolishes the building and there is a community of people living there.
At the same time, a corrupt company called the Babel Group is illegally taking over the building, leading Vincenzo to team up with the talented and tenacious lawyer Hong Cha-young, played byJeon Yeo Bin, who wants to bring down the company for personal reasons.Vincenzoit's part action, part drama and part romance and overall a show not to be missed.
Director:Ahn Gil Ho
Occupation:Park So-presa, Park Bo-gum, Byeon Woo-seok, Kwon Soo-hyun
One type of series that South Korean television excels at is coming-of-age drama, or any story that revolves around a group of young adults finding their place in the world.junior recordis a great choice for new K-Drama fans, especially since the cast is led by none other thanParque So-Damm, whom many will recognize for his role as Kim Ki-jung inParasite, the daughter of the imposter family posing as an art teacher.
junior recordIt is about three young people, two models and a makeup artist, who are involved in the modern fashion industry in Korea. The show follows the general plot you'll find in most Korean romantic dramas, but the actors in the cast help enhance the series and create characters you'll want to stick with.
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Director:Kim Sung Yoon
Occupation:Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Na-ra, Ahn Bo-hyun
The first drama based on a webcomic on this list (but don't worry, there will be more),Itaewon-Klasseis a drama set in the super popular hipster area of Seoul called Itaewon (think Soho or Manhattan's East Village).Park Seo JoonPark plays Sae-Ro-Yi, the owner of an up-and-coming restaurant in Itaewon called DanBam. When he was in high school, Sae-Ro-Yi was expelled from school for raising a privileged boy named Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo Hyun), whose father owns a powerful company called the Jangga Group. This sets in motion a series of events that lead to the death of Sae-Ro-Yi's father, followed by a seven-year revenge plan.
Itaewon-Klasseis a hugely popular drama both in South Korea and internationally that accurately portrays the diverse experiences of young adults at the time. It is also the first mainstream K-drama to feature a transgender character, played byLee Joo Young, marking a major shift in attitudes in the historically conservative country.
Faculty of Law (since 2021)
Director:Kim Suk Yoon
Occupation:Kim Myung-min, Kim Beom, Ryu Hye-young, Lee Jung-eun
A recent Netflix series,law Schoolfocuses on a group of students and professors from the Hankuk University Faculty of Law. When a law professor is found dead and former prosecutor and professor Yang Jong-Hoon (Kim Myung Min) is arrested for the crime, the other characters work together to uncover the truth about what really happened and prove Professor Yang's innocence.
You can certainly see similarities between them.law SchoolyHow to get away with it, as the Korean drama centers on law students who put their education to the test to help their professor. At the same time, there are also many smaller stories going on, such as a mysterious connection between a top student named Han Joon-hwi (kim boom) and the professor being killed. If you want serious drama with a central mystery,law Schoolit is a great option
It's okay not to be okay (2020)
Director:Park Shin Woo, Jung Dong Yoon
Occupation:Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji, Oh Jung-se
It is good not to be goodis a modern romantic drama that stands out from the crowd by portraying an adult on the autism spectrum. the stars of the seriesKim Soo Hyunas Moon Gang-tae, a young orphan who works as a nurse at a mental hospital. He spends most of his life taking care of his older brother Moon Sang-tae (oh boy-i know) who has autism. The two brothers have lived a lonely life, constantly on the move ever since Sang-tae witnessed his mother's murder years ago.
One day, Gang-tae meets a woman named Ko Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji), a children's book author who suffers from antisocial personality disorder. After realizing that the two have crossed paths before, Moon-young develops a bit of an obsession with Gang-tae and follows him around. As Moon-young, Gang-tae, and Sang-tae spend more time together, they begin to open up and heal from their trauma. The series offers an overall love story, but it shines in its portrayal of Sang-tae and her relationship with her brother. Sang-tae exhibits typical "spectral" traits, as they are called, and the show presents a relatively accurate and compassionate portrayal of a person with autism.
The mysterious accountant (2020-2021)
Occupation:Jo Byeong-gyu, Yoo Jun-sang, Kim Se-jeong, Yeom Hye-ran
If you want a superhero-style story, look no further.the creepy accountantis the story of So Mun (Jo Byeong-gyu), a kind and intelligent boy who is left disabled as a result of a tragic car accident he had as a child in which his parents were killed. One day, So Mun is possessed by a spirit that grants him the power to expel escaping demons from the afterlife. He joins a team called The Counters, which also includes Mo-tak (Yoo Jun-sang), Is it so (Kim Se Jeong) the Yes-ok (Yeom Hye-ran) fighting together against a growing threat of evil in the region. Things get even more complicated for So Mun when she discovers that her parents' death was not an accident after all and that an evil spirit was involved.
Another series based on a webcomic,the creepy accountantIt's a sleek, action-packed roller coaster that doesn't compromise. With a dark and menacing villain keeping the team on their toes, the show maintains a fast pace while the fantastic performance by the cast adds a deeply emotional side to the story. Although it is billed as a fantasy action show, be prepared to shed some tears while watching it.
Occupation:Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, Kang Han-na
starttakes place in a fictional Korean version of Silicon Valley, wherebae suzySeo Dal-mi's character dreams of being the Korean Steve Jobs. Following her passion, Dal-mi embarks on a new venture and quickly finds herself embroiled in a complicated love triangle. A young man named Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon Ho) is her first love, now a successful venture capitalist, while Nam Do-san (Nam Joo Hyuk) is a down-on-his-luck young man who Dal-mi thinks is her first love. This gives Do-san the motivation to try starting him up again as he tries to make Dal-mi's mistakes come true. I likeItaewon-Klasse,startpresents a new lifestyle for young people. The show takes on the modern startup industry while giving everyone the classic romance they know they want.
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Memories of the Alhambra (2018-2019)
Director:Ahn Gil Ho
Occupation:Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Hoon, Chanyeol
A true mix of genres,Memories of the Alhambratakes place primarily in Granada, Spain, with a Korean cast. A type of sci-fi drama, the series follows investment company CEO Yoo Jin-woo (bin hyun), who travels to Spain in search of the creator of an AR game in development that feels too real. When the game and reality start to blur and someone dies, Jin-woo helps with the help of the developer's sister, Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin Hye), you need to find and fix the bug in the game before more people die.
Memories of the Alhambrais a breath of fresh air for Kdramas for its setting and innovative premise. While the story lacks meaning at times, the concept and execution are spot on, and frankly, you can't help but fall in love with Hyun Bin.
Sweet Home (since 2020)
Director:Lee Eung-bok, Jang Young-woo, Park So-hyun
Occupation:Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young, Lee Do-hyun
Based on the webtoon of the same name,sweet Homeis an energetic and exciting apocalyptic horror story about monsters trying to kill everyone and take over the world. It's not a big deal, is it?kang liedhe rarely appears in a horror show, as the actor usually sticks to romantic dramas (which you'll see later in this list). Kang plays a character named Cha Hyun-soo, a traumatized high school student who moves into an apartment alone after his parents are killed in a car accident. Unbeknownst to Hyun-soo and the other residents, his home is ground zero for a species of monsters hoping to take over the world.
sweet Homeit's a great example of the wacky stories that come out of webcomics that somehow work so well when transposed to the screen. Dark, bloody, and unpredictable, the series is definitely a win for Netflix.
Which Korean drama has the highest rating on Netflix? ›
1. Twenty Five Twenty One. In an era when teen dreams seem too far out of reach, a young fencer follows her heart and meets a man who is determined to rebuild his life.What is the number 1 Korean Netflix? ›
1. The World of the Married (2020)Which Korean drama has the highest rating? ›
- Ratings- 9/ 10. May I Help You. ...
- Ratings- 8.8/10. Extraordinary Attorney Woo. ...
- Ratings- 8.7/ 10. Alchemy of Souls. ...
- Ratings- 8.7/ 10. Twenty Five Twenty One. ...
- Ratings- 8.6/10. Little Women. ...
- Ratings- 8.5/ 10. My Liberation Diary. ...
- Ratings- 8.3/ 10. ...
- Ratings- 8/ 10.
Question: Who are the most popular K-drama actors? Answer: Among the most popular K-drama actors are Song Hye-kyo, Song Joong-ki and Lee Min-ho. Each of them are better known for their television appearances than big screen performances.What are the best love K dramas on Netflix? ›
- Business Proposal.
- Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.
- Crash Landing on You.
- It's Okay to Not Be Okay.
- Crash Course in Romance.
- Forecasting Love and Weather.
- Our Beloved Summer.
- Alchemy of Souls.
- Stranger Things. ...
- The Crown. ...
- BoJack Horseman. ...
- Squid Game. ...
- Orange is the New Black. ...
- Master of None. ...
- Lupin. ...
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
- Purple Hearts, a romantic drama about a musician marrying a Marine -- 228.7 million hours.
- The Unforgivable, a drama about a woman rebuilding her life after prison -- 214.7 million hours.
- The Irishman, a period Mafia epic directed by Martin Scorsese -- 214.6 million hours.
- Stranger Things, 52 billion minutes.
- Ozark, 31.3 billion.
- Wednesday, 18.6 billion.
- Cobra Kai, 16.7 billion.
- Bridgerton (Netflix), 14 billion.
- Virgin River (Netflix), 13.6 billion.
- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Netflix), 13.4 billion.
- Love Is Blind (Netflix), 13.1 billion.
1 The Baby-Sitters Club (2020-2021) — 100% Based on 69 Reviews.