15 Best Korean Dramas You Should Watch

Updated on September 14, 2018
Kiane profile image

Diana is a huge fan of Korean culture. Korean dramas are some of her favorite series to watch.

Are you addicted to Korean dramas? This list will help you increase your addiction! This top 15 list includes some of the best Korean dramas according to viewership ratings and their overall popularity. You can also watch trailers for some of the series here and vote in the poll for your favorite!

15 Best Korean Dramas You Should Watch
15 Best Korean Dramas You Should Watch

The Top 15 Korean Dramas

  • Emergency Couple (21 episodes)
  • Doctor Stranger (20 episodes)
  • Liar Game (12 episodes)
  • City Hunter (20 episodes)
  • Healer (20 episodes)
  • Kill Me, Heal Me (20 episodes)
  • Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (18 episodes)
  • Prison Playbook (16 episodes)
  • The Lonely and Great God – Goblin (16 episodes)
  • Pinocchio (20 episodes)
  • Woman of Dignity (20 episodes)
  • Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (16 episodes)
  • The Heirs (20 episodes)
  • My Love From The Star (21 episodes)
  • Descendants of the Sun (16 episodes)

15. Emergency Couple

Emergency Couple
Emergency Couple

If you are looking for an immediately gripping and fast-paced medical drama, this one should be your choice. Emergency Couple tells the story of med school students Oh Chang-Min and Oh Jin-Hee. They fall in love with each other while studying in school. Unfortunately, the couple ends up separating because of family and financial pressure. However, neither of them know that there's no escape from love. They meet again six years later while interning in the same hospital.

I loved the whole cast in this series, especially Song Ji Hyo from Running Man. The show has everything I want; a wonderful story, cute and funny scenes as well as some fighting scenes, a great cast, and many moral lessons. Also, this is one of those few dramas where I was happy with the ending. I was satisfied with all the bloopers and flashbacks playing at the end!

14. Doctor Stranger

Doctor Stranger
Doctor Stranger

Do you love some action, romance, and medical thrown into a drama? Then you will probably be obsessed with Doctor Stranger throughout all 20 episodes! This series isn't as typical as some Korean dramas are. You will understand that once you know the plot.

I think Doctor Stranger has a unique storyline to it. Its plot is understandable, intriguing, and sufficient. I recommend this series to anyone who is interested in medical dramas. But I certainly don't recommend it to people who don't like blood. Don´t expect the series to feature many heart-fluttering scenes! With that said, it made me cry and kept me wanting to binge watch the whole series.

Park Hoon, a young lad from South Korea, gets kidnapped by North Korea. He is not alone as he is with his world-famous surgeon father Park Cheol, who was brought to North Korea to operate on the "Dear Leader" dictator. Even though the patient is doing better, father and son can´t return home easily. Park Hoon grows up in North Korea, training to become a doctor by his father. He soon falls deeply in love with a beautiful girl, but North Korea puts a target on his back. You need to watch this drama and discover how Park Hoon will escape the country, and whether he will succeed in the search for his first love!

13. Liar Game

Liar Game
Liar Game

If you like tricky math games and dark manga, this drama is worth checking out. Liar Game will most likely make you curious enough about all the questions and non-answers in the show, so you will stick to it just to know the ending.

I haven't read the manga or seen the Japanese version, so I can't make any comparisons. The story was interesting; the drama thrilled me and kept me guessing throughout all its tightly plotted 12 episodes!

Liar Game is based on the Japanese manga of the same name. The drama revolves around contestants that take part in a reality game show called Liar Game, where regular people get the opportunity to earn millions of dollars. The winner becomes the one who manages to cheat the others. One of the contestants is a naive girl, who wants to pay off her father's debt. She gets help from a genius swindler and former psychology professor to win the show. The show itself perfectly illustrates how it ruins the morals of a person and shows how far people can go to get money. It's a pretty easy series to binge watch at 12 episodes. If you are looking for more brief series, check out this list of K-dramas you can watch in one weekend.

12. City Hunter

City Hunter
City Hunter

If you are looking for a drama with action, martial arts fights, a well-thought revenge plot, and romance, then give this one a shot. City Hunter is the secret identity of Lee Yoon Sung, a man whose only purpose in life is to get revenge on those who killed his father many years before. Yoon-Sung has been training for vengeance since he was a child. The young man distances himself from anyone who distracts him from his task. Despite his best efforts, he faces a tough challenge as he develops feelings for a woman he works with.

I loved how the director balanced both romance and the intrigue of revenge. I think you should give it a shot if you are a fan of action or romantic comedy series! There were moments when the tension was just killing me. I wouldn't watch this too often since you might have a heart attack.

11. Healer

Healer
Healer

Here's one more action drama for you to choose from. Actually, it has a little bit of everything; drama, action, romance, and mystery. Healer is the drama you should include on your watchlist simply because of its decent performances and storyline. The series tells about a star reporter who seeks the help of a spy named Healer to help him to unveil dark truth behind the people who have been ruling for too long.

I loved the acting by the entire cast of Healer! This gripping and intense drama will have you on the edge of your seat and make you experience a wide range of emotions! I loved that both male and female characters were strong. It's a solid love story without any of the expected funny love triangles. This series is definitely for you if you enjoy good action, romance, and political drama!

10. Kill Me, Heal Me

Kill Me, Heal Me
Kill Me, Heal Me

Heart-wrenching. Heartwarming. Unforgettable. These words will probably come to mind after you finish watching this show. Kill Me, Heal Me is a comedy drama about a man who suffers from memory lapses and multiple personality disorder. The problems were caused by a traumatic experience in his childhood. A third-generation billionaire's personality scatters into seven different identities. Secretly, he asks for the help of a first-year psychiatry student in treating his disorder. Eventually, the girl falls in love with one of his personalities.

What sets this series apart is its constant twists and turns. It was difficult for me to get bored while watching this drama since something happened in every episode! I advise you to watch Kill Me, Heal Me if you are tired of the usual dramas with predictable plots.

9. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds/Love in the Moonlight

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds
Moonlight Drawn by Clouds

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, or Love in the Moonlight as it's also often called, is a historical romance with light melodrama. It features a charismatic and lovely cast along with fantastic sets, costumes, and writing. Also, with a touch of modern humor in it, the drama is fun and playful.

This series is a wonderful youth historical drama. It tells the story of a prince that falls deeply in love with a girl disguised as a eunuch. The story tells us about the many challenges they face in order to protect their secret relationship and overcome threats to the throne. The first half focuses mainly on the romance. There´s a lot of fun with the great dynamic between the couple. The second half centers primarily on the politics.

This Korean drama completely took me in for a ride! I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that Love in the Moonlight is an exceptional coming-of-age drama. If you like this one, consider checking out these other historical K-dramas.

8. Prison Playbook

Prison Playbook
Prison Playbook

Each story this show tells will touch you somehow and you will love each of the main characters. This drama has many things to offer. It has the most wonderful portrayal of heartwarming friendships, and not just between prison mates.

Prison Playbook is set in a prison and tells the story about a baseball player who is sentenced to jail. You will understand why he and some other characters ended up that way as you will see flashbacks from the past. The personal stories of many characters are absolutely beautiful! But remember that it's more like a comedy than a crime/law drama.

I enjoyed the series, though the beginning was very vague. In the first few episodes, I learned very little about the story and characters. Each episode tells about one particular struggle that the lead character has to go through. I saw beauty in the series as the story unfolded and I learned more about characters.

7. Goblin

Goblin
Goblin

If you like fantasy romances with stories that span centuries, you should give this one a try. Goblin (also known by other names including Goblin: The Lonely and Great God/Guardian: The Lonely and Great God) is an interesting ride with a fresh and unique story told beautifully throughout every episode. The drama is also visually stunning.

Goblin is a fantasy drama about a modern-day goblin, protector of souls. He needs a human bride to end his cursed immortal life. However, when the goblin finds his bride, he realizes that he doesn´t want his life to end.

Goblin made me laugh and cry. I was blown away by its epic love story, spectacular bromance and romance, as well as mystery and suspense! The unique premise blended together with the mystery of the characters and unexpectedness of the drama.

6. Pinocchio

Pinocchio
Pinocchio

Are you looking for a drama with a complex story? Watch this one and you will be stunned over how much is packed into 20 episodes! Pinocchio tells the story of a man who was terribly wronged by a cold-hearted reporter. All the man can think about is revenge. But he suddenly develops feelings for the daughter of his enemy. The girl has Pinocchio Syndrome, which means that every time she lies, she hiccups. So she always has to tell the truth. Watch the drama and learn more about the revenge for past injustices.

I found this K-drama so gripping and intelligently written that I simply didn't want it to end! First, I decided to watch this show simply because of the main theme, which is relevant today in the era of fake news and misleading headlines. I loved the brutal development of the characters, their thought-provoking decisions, and unexpected actions.

5. Woman of Dignity

Woman of Dignity
Woman of Dignity

If you are looking for an intense and fast-paced mature drama with excellent acting, dialog, and comedic flourishes, you should give this melodrama a go. Woman of Dignity centers on the life of a rich family. The comfortable life of the elegant woman Woo Ah-Jin, who lives a luxurious life due to her wealthy father-in-law, slowly comes apart with the arrival of the new caretaker for the rich man. Park Bok-Ja, the new caretaker, is a poor woman. She has deliberately entered the household of the family with a goal. Her motive is to become part of the family and lift herself out of the low class she has been in all her life.

I was hooked after I learned there were two female leads in the drama! But there are also many supporting characters that each have their own interesting story. I was glad that the series did not focus mainly on the male and female leads (which is popular and hence becomes boring), so it was a fun and enjoyable watch.

4. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

If you are still looking for a fun drama that mixes romantic comedy with darker crime elements and features adorable leads with unreal levels of cuteness, then Strong Woman Do Bong Soon should be your next watch. The show has a strong heroine and an appreciative, dreamy hero.

On the outside, Do Bong Soon seems to be small and fragile, but she is actually a woman with super strength handed down to her from female members of her family. She wants to keep it secret as she has fears of being considered a weirdo. One day, Ahn Min Hyuk, the CEO of a game company, witnesses her powers. The man becomes attracted and intrigued by her. Soon he faces a threat to his life, so he decides to hire the girl as his bodyguard.

3. The Heirs

The Heirs
The Heirs

The Heirs is a satisfying drama and tells the story of star-crossed lovers. You will enjoy the romance between the lead characters. Kim Tan is the rich heir to the Empire Group. He comes to the US to attend school. While living in the States, he meets Go Eun Sang, who comes to the country with her sister with the hope of a better life. Tan meets the girl at the lowest moment of her life. His heart breaks for her and he decides to take her to his home in Korea. But surprisingly, Eun Sang's mother is a housekeeper in Tan's home. And there are even more surprises ahead…

The storyline is nothing groundbreaking, but it's a fascinating new take on something everyone has watched a million times. I like that it's modern, youthful, quirky, funny, at times romantic, and sometimes sad. It's the show for those days when you want to feel warm and comfortable.

2. My Love From The Star

My Love From the Star
My Love From the Star

If you are a fan of fantasy melodramas, you should definitely check this one out. This drama took the world by storm at the time it was airing! So why was its popularity in Korea and around the world so huge?

My Love From Another Star (also called You Who Came from the Stars) tells the story of a centuries-old alien with superpowers. He is trapped on Earth and is working as a university professor. All he can think of is how to get back home, but he changes his mind when he meets a popular actress.

This K-drama has everything I could possibly want. It has believable and charismatic leads, an evil villain, romance, comedy, melodrama, and time travel blended together. I definitely recommend My Love from the Star to big fans of sci-fi! Teleportation, time stopping—everything is presented here in a breathtaking way. In addition, there is great chemistry between the two leads and a good sense of humor.

1. Descendants of the Sun

Descendants of the Sun
Descendants of the Sun

Descendants of the Sun was a mega hit when it was on TV. It had ratings of over 40% and it won several KBS drama awards. Since the drama was produced before its airing, the storyline couldn't change depending on viewer ratings. Apparently, that's the reason why it's only 16 episodes long, despite its huge popularity.

This love story revolves around a woman who is leading a medical team that saves lives and the captain of a special forces unit that carries out secret missions. The action is set in Uruk, a fictitious country in a state of war. They are both dealing with life and death situations every day. So will they take the risk of heart break or not?

An awesome cast, nice music, a wonderful storyline, and great chemistry between the leads are not the only reason why you should give this drama a shot! I enjoyed the romance of this K-drama. It also made me think of the sacrifices that our real-life service men and women face protecting our countries. We also have to pay more attention to the many doctors that volunteer and appreciate their work. In my opinion, Descendants of the Sun is worthy of all the buzz and high ratings it received.

Recommended Korean Romantic Comedy Dramas

Romantic comedy is easily the most popular genre in K-dramas. There are many common tropes that are frequently seen in these types of series, such as the handsome male lead searching for his true love, or star-crossed lovers overcoming obstacles together. Here are some recommendations of the best romantic comedy K-dramas out there.

  • Successful Story of a Bright Girl
  • Full House
  • My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox
  • Sassy Girl Chun-hyang
  • Boys Over Flowers

What korean drama do you like the most?

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Comments

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    • profile image

      Kim suk 

      6 days ago

      Add You Comment...

    • profile image

      dramaalert 

      2 weeks ago

      love rain needs to be on this list

    • profile image

      Vancouver fan 

      2 weeks ago

      The best is something in the rain!!!

    • profile image

      farzana 

      3 weeks ago

      How come this list missed WEIGHTLIFTING FAIRY KIM BOK JO????????

    • profile image

      adeoye aderonke 

      3 weeks ago

      emergency couple

    • profile image

      candymaswel@gmail.com 

      4 weeks ago

      mine is dae joyoung

    • profile image

      Karin 

      6 weeks ago

      "W - Two worlds" should be added to the list.

      Fantasy fiction + romance + unpredictable storyline.

      Where comic book character becomes real.

      Also, "While You Were Sleeping"

      That's fantasy fiction as well.

    • profile image

      Ss 

      3 months ago

      After having watched many, many Korean dramas, I must say my favorite is not on this list... "it's ok, that's love". Psychological+romance, mostly. Dark vibes sometimes, but also funny and has a gentle feeling about it. Superb OST —I liked it even more than DOS's, I'm still hooked to it everyday

      Give it a try —you won't regret it

    • profile image

      Nigelds1 

      7 months ago

      I would like to know the name of a film where the leading actresss leaves her cheating partner not because of her finding out about that (although she suspects) but because she keeps finding him smoking cigs when he keeps denying doing so. There are a couple of scenes where he cheats with a woman in the pool and in his office, where she almost catches him. It is set in America and I think was shown in the 90’s but not sure.

    • profile image

      Hayyat 

      7 months ago from Lahore

      I haven't seen any of Korean drama, after reading this article m going to start watching "woman of dignity"

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