The 25 Best Korean Dramas
K-Drama List Challenge
Do you like watching Korean dramas? If yes, how many among the Top 25 Korean Dramas have you watched? Find it out!
25. The Greatest Love
This drama is simply funny, sweet, and sometimes... sad. The story focuses on Ku Ae-Jung, the lead vocalist of the ex-popular girl group called "National Treasure Girls". After the group announced their breakup, Ku Ae-Jung experienced many difficulties in life. On the other hand, top actor Dok Ko-Jin, who is in fact arrogant and rude, is being chased by the public. The two are in separate worlds until they met each other in an unexpected time, unexpected place, and unexpected way.
- Kong Hyo-Jin as Ku Ae-Jung
- Cha Seung-Won as Dok Ko-Jin
- Yoon Kye-Sang as Yoon Pil-Joo
- Yoo In-Na as Kang Se-Ri
Being the son of a royal family, Jumong was the founder of Goguryeo in 37 BC. He was raised by King Geum Wa who took him and his mother in when his father, General Hae Mo Su was believed to have been killed in an ambush by the Han Dynasty. Then, there's a beautiful merchant's daughter named So Seo No who helped Jumong in realizing his dream to build a new country, and later became his second wife.
- Song Il Gook as Jumong
- Han Hye Jin as So Seo No
- Kim Seung Soo as Prince Dae So
- Hu Joon Ho as Hae Mo Su
- Oh Yun Soo as Lady Yoo Hwa
23. Endless Love: Winter Sonata
Winter Sonata is the second part of the popular Endless Love series. When it first aired in Korea, it was a modest hit, until it became very popular in Japan, Philippines, and other countries in Southeast Asia. The story starts with Joon-sang as he moves to a new high school in search for his biological father. On a trip together with other high school mates, Oh Chelin, Jin-suk and Yong-kuk, Yu-jin is saved after an accident by Joon-sang. They become close and until they became more than friends. However, circumstances and fate dictate that their love is not something that will last forever. He then moved away. Ten years later, the old High School buddies gather to celebrate Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk's soon-to-be wedding. Yu-jin, who was deeply in love with Joon-sang, still has a fire in her heart for him. But at the party, Oh Chelin's new boyfriend arrives, who appears the same as Joon-sang.
- Bae Yong Jun as Kang Joon-sang/Lee Min-hyung
- Choi Ji Woo as Jung Yu-jin
- Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang-hyuk
- Park Sol Mi as Oh Che-lin
- Lee Hye Eun as Kong Jin-suk (Yu-jin's best friend)
22. Prosecutor Princess
It's cute, funny, and stylish. Ma Hye Ri is a woman blessed with an excellent memory and ability to focus, which allowed her to pass the bar exam with ease. However, she is more interested in being fashionable and dislikes hard work so she is far from being an ideal prosecutor and has doubts about her suitability for her job. Because of her childish actions and overly-fashioned mind, she had frequent conflicts with her senior colleages and struggles with difficult cases. But as time goes by, our prosecutor princess gradually matures into a brilliant prosecutor with a sense of duty and justice.
- Kim So Yun as Ma Hye Ri
- Park Shi Hoo as Seo In Woo
- Han Jung Soo as Yoon Se Joon
- Choi Song Hyun as Jin Jung Sun
- Yoo Gun as Lee Min Suk
- Park Jung Ah as Jeni Ahn
- Choi Sung Ho as Chae Ji Woon
21. Fated to Love You
A troublesome but eventually touching drama, Fated to Love You is about the unexpected relationship of two people when a chaebol heir, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk), and a "post-it" girl, Kim Min Young (Jang Na Ra), are forced to marry after their drunken one night stand resulting to an unexpected pregnancy.
- Jang Hyuk as Lee Gun
- Jang Na Ra as Kim Mi Young / Ellie Kim
- Choi Jin Hyuk as Daniel Pitt
- Wang Ji Won as Kang Se Ra
20. Boys Over Flowers
Boys Over Flowers is another popular K-Drama featuring Geum Jan Di as an ordinary girl whose family who owns a dry cleaning store, and the F4 group in Shin Hwa High School. However, she finds herself being terrorised by the F4 leader, Gu Jun Pyo. Although Jun Pyo persists on bullying her, he begins to find himself attracted to Jan Di. However, Jan Di has a crush on Yoon Ji Hoo, Jun Pyo's best friend. When she realises that Ji Hoo is merely a close friend and that she really loves Jun Pyo the couple are thrown into a dilemma as Jun Pyo's mother sets out to break them up and find a more suitable match for her son.
- Koo Hye Sun as Geum Jan Di
- Lee Min Ho as Goo Joon Pyo
- Kim Hyun Joong as Yoon Ji Hoo
- Kim Bum as So Yi Jung
- Kim Joon as Song Woo Bin
- Kim So Eun as Chu Ga Eul (Jan Di's best friend)
19. Jewel in the Palace
A historical drama based on a true story about a girl named Jang-Geum who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physicial during Chosun Dynasty. Despite her poor condition as a low class girl in the male dominated society, she overcame a series of social discrimination and landed herself as a royal cook, later becoming the royal physician, then ultimately the physician in charge of the king. She was even given by the king the title "The Great Jang-Geum".
- Lee Young-Ae as Seo Jang-Geum
- Ji Jin-Hee as Min Jeong-Ho
- Hong Ri-Na as Choi Keum-Young
- Lim Ho as King Jungjong
- Yang Mi-Kyeong as Lady Han
- Kyeon Mi-Ri as Lady Choi
The story took place in an art university where the youth romance drama "Festival" depicts the sweat and tears of students who run towards their dreams of love and friendship. The heroine, Kyu-Won (Park Shin-Hye) is a bright girl and a highly skilled gayageum player. She is in the Korean traditional music department. Kyu-Won also comes from a family who has one of the three best pansori singers in the world. While Lee Shin (Jung Yong-Hwa) is a cold and refined young man, while being a highly skilled guitarist. He is in the applied music department. They come from different family backgrounds which brings in frequent misunderstandings, but as time passes by, they start to like other.
- Park Shin-Hye as Lee Kyu-Won
- Jung Yong-Hwa as Lee Shin
- Song Chang-Eui as Kim Suk-Hyun
- So E-Hyun as Jung Yun-Soo
This fantasy drama features the story of an 18-year-old Kang Gyung-Joon's (Shin Won-Ho) spirit who suddenly finds itself in the body of 30-year-old Seo Yoon Jae (Gong Yoo). Seo-Yon-Jae is a successful doctor and engaged to high school teacher Gil Da-Ran (Lee Min-Jung). Gil Da-Ran just so happens to be the teacher of 18-year old Kang Gyung-Joon. More problems ensue when 30-year-old Seo Yoon Jae falls in love with another woman (Bae Suzy).
- Gong Yoo as Seo Yoon-Jae's body and Gyung-Joon's spirit
- Lee Min-Jung as Gil Da-Ran
- Bae Suzy as Jang Ma-Ri
- Jang Hee-Jin as Lee Se-Young
- Shin Won-Ho as Kang Gyung-Joon
16. Marry Him If You Dare
Marry Him If You Dare is set in the lives of people who work in a broadcasting station. The female lead, Na Mi-Rae, chased her dream of working inside the broadcast world. However, a woman who works as a writer at the broadcasting station goes back in time and meets herself in the past. The woman gives advice to herself in the past in order not to make the same mistake she did.
- Yoon Eun-Hye as Na Mi-Rae
- Lee Dong-Gun as Kim Shin
- Jung Yong-Hwa as Park Se-Joo
- Han Chae-Ah as Seo Yoo-Kyung
- Choi Myoung-Gil as future Na Mi-Rae
15. Good Doctor
This is a medical drama about Park Shi Ohn, a man with autistic disorder, who has mentality of 10-year-old. Although he has the disorder, he has amazing ability of 3D visualisation of the human anatomy and memory of everything he reads. His ability gives him the exceptional skills as a paediatrician specialist. However, due to discrimination by society, he has to overcome all these to succeed. He was also abused by his father and abandoned by his mother. He also blames himself for the death of his brother. How can he overcome his difficult situation? An emotional drama that will give you the tears, this is definitely a must watch.
- Joo Won as Park Shi Ohn
- Moon Chae Won as Cha Yoon Seo
- Joo Sang Wook as Kim Do Han
- Kim Min Seo as Yoo Chae Kyung
14. City Hunter
An action-packed drama with romance and thrill, City Hunter is one of Lee Min Ho's most popular TV drama where he starred as Lee Yoon-Sung who works at the Blue House for the National Communication Network Team. He graduated from M.I.T. in the U.S. and possesses elite skills as an I.T. engineer. At the Blue House, he meets Kim Na-Na, who works as a bodyguard there. The two people fall for each other even though Yoon-Sung was warned not to fall in love. His ultimate mission is to plot his revenge in the most skeptical way.
- Lee Min-ho as Lee Yoon-sung/Poochai
- Park Min-young as Kim Na-na
- Lee Joon-hyuk as Kim Young-joo
- Kim Sang-joong as Lee Jin-pyo
- Kim Sang-ho as Bae Man-duk/Bae Shik-joong
- Hwang Sun-hee as Jin Sae-hee
13. Playful Kiss
Playful Kiss is a drama based on the Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss written by Tada Kaoru. The Korean series is the third television adaptation of the manga following the Taiwanese It Started With a Kiss in 2005, and its sequel They Kiss Again in 2007. It s a romantic-comedy covering the romance between Baek Seung-Jo, an arrogant young man with a genius IQ, and Oh Ha-Ni, a ditzy young woman who gets poor grades, but whose heart is as powerful as Seung-Jo's mind.
- Kim Hyun-joong as Baek Seung-jo
- Jung So-min as Oh Ha-ni
- Lee Tae-sung as Bong Joon-gu
- Lee Si-young as Yoon Hae-ra
12. Full House
Full House is one of the most popular K-Dramas in the early 2000s. This drama attempts to answer the question of whether two people - a famous actor and an ordinary woman, can learn to love each other in a marriage agreed upon only on paper. It also explores the true meaning of family by looking at the brighter side of life. This drama features essential characteristics, such as being considerate, caring, frank, patient, and sticking to the life’s basic values. But no matter how different the personalities, everyone finds happiness in the end.
- Song Hye-kyo as Han Ji-eun
- Rain as Lee Young-jae
- Han Eun-jung as Kang Hye-won
- Kim Sung-soo as Yoo Min-hyuk
11. Secret Garden
This drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im, a poor and humble stunt woman whose beauty and body are the object of envy among all top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies.
- Hyun Bin as Kim Joo Won
- Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im
- Yoon Sang Hyun as Choi Woo Young / Oska (Joo Won's cousin)
- Kim Sa Rang as Yoon Seul
10. Dream High
Dream High brings you back in your most beloved timeline - high school life. It tells the story of six students at Kirin Art High School who work to achieve their dreams of becoming music stars in the Korean music industry. Go Hye Mi is a student who had majored in classical music but has to give up her dream by entering Kirin Art High School to pay off her father's debt. However, she needs to get two other students to also come to the school in order for her to enroll in the school conditionally. These two students are Song Sam Dong, who lives in the countryside, and Jin Guk, whom she accidentally meets while trying to escape from a loan shark. Yoon Baek Hee, formerly Hyemi's sidekick, becomes her rival in school because Hye Mi betrays her during an audition to enter the school.
- Kim Soo Hyun as Song Sam Dong
- Bae Suzy as Go Hye Mi
- Taecyeon as Jin Gook / Hyun Shi Hyuk
- Ham Eun Jung as Yoon Baek Hee
- Wooyoung as Jason
- IU as Kim Pil Sook
9. Queen Seon Deok
A historical drama about Queen Seon Deaok, the first female ruler of Silla Kingdom. This is about a beautiful and excellent queen who had to face struggles in order to obtain brilliant achievements. Deokman was born a twin but was sent to a place far away by her father, King Jinpyung in order to protect her from the royal court lady, Mishil who tries to snatch away the throne from the royal successor. Deokman was later brought back to the Silla palace, where she joined forces with her twin sister Princess Chunmyung to oppose Mishil. However, Mishil devised sinister plans to have the two Silla princesses exiled from the kingdom, and in a secretive battle, Princess Chunmyung was accidentally killed. But Princess Deokman shrewdly enlisted the help of General Kim Yusin and eliminated her archenemy Mishil.
- Lee Yo Won as Princess Duk Man, later Queen Seon Deok
- Ko Hyun Jung as Lady Mi Shil
- Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yoo Shin
- Park Ye Jin as Princess Chun Myung
- Yoo Seung Ho as Kim Chun Chu
- Kim Nam Gil as Bi Dam
8. Coffee Prince
The delicious taste of story and aromatic blend of characters in this drama is what makes Coffee Prince popular. Featuring the hardships in the life of Go Eun Chan as she works many jobs to pay off debts and even gave up her feminine image. Meanwhile, Choi Han Kyul is the heir of a big food company, but his grandmother wants him to settle down, so she arranged many dates for him. After Eun Chan bumped into Han Kyul and was mistaken for a boy, Han Kyul decided to hire Eun Chan to be his gay lover in order to avoid the arranged dates. Desperately in need of money, Eun Chan had no choice but to accept. Han Kyul's grandmother also made Han Kyul in charge of a filthy coffee shop in danger of being bankrupt. Eun Chan begged to work at the coffee shop, and not long after, feelings start to spark, except, how would Han Kyul accept his "homosexuality"?
- Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan
- Gong Yoo as Choi Han Kyul
- Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Sung
- Chae Jung Ahn as Han Yoo Joo
7. The Princess' Man
We all love Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But you're definitely going to love the Korean version even more. One of the most romantic period K-Drama, The Princess' Man is a tragic love story between the daughter of Prince Suyang and son of Kim Jong Seo. The son of Kim Jongseo, Seungyoo, is a handsome and wise man who carries a noble quality. Princess Seryeong, a daughter of King Sejo, aka prince Sooyang, is a cheerful, lively lady with a strong curiosity and bold personality. They fall in love instantly but later they find out that their parents are sworn enemies. Pretty similar to Montague and Capulet's family rivalries, yes?
- Moon Chae Won as Lee Se Ryung
- Park Shi Hoo as Kim Seung Yoo
- Song Jong Ho as Shin Myun
- Hong Soo Hyun as Princess Kyung Hye
- Lee Soon Jae as Kim Jong Seo
- Kim Young Chul as Prince Suyang (later King Sejo)
- Lee Min Woo as Jung Jong
6. The Moon that Embraces the Sun
The Moon That Embraces the Sun tells the story of a secret love between Lee Hwon, a fictional king of Joseon, and Wol, a female shaman. Wol was born as Heo Yeon Woo, the daughter of a noble family who won the love of the then crown prince, Hwon. Her enemies, jealous of her family's position in court, schemed against her and wrestled away her rightful place as crown princess and nearly takes her life. Years later, an embittered Hwon meets Wol, now a female shaman who has no recollection of her past.
- Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon
- Han Ga In as Heo Yeon Woo / Wol
- Jung Il Woo as Prince Yang Myung
- Kim Min Seo as Yoon Bo Kyung
5. Rooftop Prince
This is a time-travel, historical, romantic-comedy drama featuring the unique story of Crown Prince Lee Gak, who is transported 300 years into the future to present day Seoul along with his three retainers. Their duty to solve the murder case of the Crown Princess in order to return to Joseon. They land in the rooftop apartment of Park Ha, a cheerful woman in her mid-20s, who eventually believes the odd quartet's predicament and becomes their guardian. As Park Ha educates the four on life in the 21st century, Lee Gak comes across Hong Se Na, who seems to be the reincarnation of his wife. Taking on the identity of Yong Tae Yong, Lee Gak slowly begins to unravel the murder of Yong Tae Yong and in turn moves closer to solving the murder case of the Crown Princess. As he finds himself in love with Park Ha, he figures that maybe the mystery of Crown Princess is not as what he had expected.
- Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun) as Lee Gak / Yong Tae Yong
- Choi Won Hong as young Lee Gak
- Han Ji Min as Park Ha / Bu Yong
- Jun Min Seo as young Park Ha / young Bu Yong
- Lee Tae Sung as Yong Tae Moo
- Jung Yoo Mi as Hong Se Na / Hwa Yong
- Kim So Hyun as young Se Na / young Hwa Yong
4. My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (Gumiho)
It is a cute love story of a legendary creature called Gumiho (a nine-tailed fox). One day after Cha Dae Woong runs away from his grandfather, he accidentally frees a gumiho who was trapped in a painting for about 500 years. He didn't realize what he has done until it took the form of a beautiful woman. Dae Woong was so frightened that he ran away from her and became severely injured. The Gumiho saved him by giving him her most precious bead to share with him the mystic fox strength, as she owed him her freedom. The Gumiho then asked him to help her become human and teach her how to act like one. As time goes by, their mutual relationship grew deeper as they start to fall for each other.
- Lee Seung-gi as Cha Dae-woong
- Shin Min-ah as Gu Mi-ho/Park Seon-ju/Gil-dal
- No Min-woo as Park Dong-joo
- Park Soo-jin as Eun Hye-in
3. Descendants of the Sun
Descendants of the Sun is a Korean military romance featuring Shi-Jin as the captain of the special forces. He was injured and meets Dr. Mo-Yeon for the first time. He falls in love with her immediately. Mo-Yeon mistakenly assumes Shi-Jin is part of thief's criminal gang. He proves to her that he is a soldier with the help of army doctor Myeong-Joo. They began dating each other but due to their jobs, their dates don't go well. Will they have a stable relationship despite their huge differences?
- Song Joong-ki as Captain Yoo Shi Jin
- Song Hye-kyo as Doctor Kang Mo Yeon
- Jin Goo as Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young
- Kim Ji Won as First Lieutenant Yoon Myung Ju
2. The Heirs
A romantic story which involved hardships, friendships, and rivalries of young, rich heirs led by Kim Tan and a girl named Cha Eun-Sang.18-year-old Eun-Sang lives with her mother who is mute. Her mother works as a housekeeper and she also works part-time jobs to help out. Meanwhile, Kim Tan is not your typical high school student, but a handsome and wealthy Korean heir to a large conglomeration. The two met each other in Eun-Sang's difficult situation, and later on found themselves to be more attached to each other than they could even imagine.
- Lee Min-ho as Kim Tan
- Park Shin-hye as Cha Eun-sang
- Kim Woo-bin as Choi Young-do
- Kim Ji-won as Rachel Yoo
1. My Love From The Star
The most beloved Korean Alien is brought to life by Kim Soo Hyun as he played Do Min-Joon in the drama, My Love From the Star. Min Joon is an alien who landed on Earth 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty period. He possesses a near perfect appearance and enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed. But even he's nearly perfect, he can't help falling in love to a clumsy actress, Cheon Song-Yi. Their relationship went from being strangers, to someone special that even the impossible things can never be a hindrance between them.
- Jun Ji-hyun as Cheon Song-yi
- Kim Soo-hyun as Do Min-joon
- Park Hae-jin as Lee Hwi-kyung
- Yoo In-na as Yoo Se-mi
Have you seen all of these K-Dramas? If not, which of them are familiar to you? How many have you watched so far? Let us know by commenting your insights below! You can also vote for your favorite drama on the poll.
What is your favorite Korean Drama?
Questions & Answers
What's the best Korean drama that you can recommend?
The best K-drama that I would like to recommend to everyone is "It's Okay, That's Love." Everything is beautiful: the script, the plot twist, the casts, and the OSTs.
Can you recommend some good, new Korean dramas?
Right now I'd really like everyone to watch Chicago Typewriter. It's super amazing and very original. We also have good new dramas, such as Radio Romance, Cross, and Mother. You might also want to check out my latest K-drama list, entitled "The 25 Best Korean Dramas, Part 2".
I have watched many Korean dramas, and now I do not know what to watch. Can you please recommend a good drama?
There are many great Korean dramas that I haven't included in this list. The number one drama I'll recommend is "It's Okay, That's Love". The story is beautiful and the characters are great! Other dramas I personally like are Korean Odyssey (it's ongoing), Fight for My Way, Hwarang, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Kill Me, Heal Me, Warm and Cozy, Remember: War of the Son, Love in the Moonlight, Beautiful Mind, Empress Ki, Healer, and Moon Lovers. That's it for now, I hope you like these dramas, and happy watching!
© 2016 Mare-sensei