The 70 Best Korean Dramas In 2022 That Will Have You Hooked

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If you don’t watch Korean dramas, also known as K-dramas, you’re missing out in a variety of ways. First, there’s the cultural impact to consider: K-dramas and K-movies have become a worldwide phenomenon, and if you’re going to be a pop culture connoisseur/productive denizen of the entertainment-loving internet—and you’re here, so you obviously are both—you need to be well-versed in all things K-drama.

Then there’s the more important reason to watch Korean dramas: They’re addicting and amazing, and you’ll be glad you added them to your pop culture diet.

Korean dramas, known for their interesting storylines and intense (if sometimes predictable) plot twists, can go from super sappy to incredibly heartbreaking to “WTF, what was that?” in an instant. That variety is exactly what keeps viewers coming back for more.

Here are the best-ever K-dramas to watch, organized by the most popular genres—and if you’re already familiar with the more established K-dramas, check out our list of the best new Korean shows on Netflix in 2022. (And if you’re looking for the best K-dramas on Netflix? We’ve got you covered there, too.)

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Best Action Korean Dramas

If you’re unfamiliar with Korean entertainment beyond Squid Game and Train to Busan, here’s where to begin. These thrilling K-dramas are packed with action and intrigue, with some selections addressing societal issues in the same way that Parasite did. (There are also so many zombies!)

Here’s one more recommendation if you haven’t already seen Squid Game, which is on pace to become Netflix’s most-watched program ever: It’s absolutely worth watching this Korean thriller on Netflix(opens in new tab). In the viral success, a cast of characters who are deeply in debt agree to participate in a series of kid-friendly games for the chance to win 45.6 billion won (about $38 million). The problem? The players die if they lose at Red Light, Green Light, or Tug of War.

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‘Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area’ – Action Korean Dramas

The gripping plot of the original La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) is used in this reimagining, which skillfully incorporates Korean culture. The television show is set in a hypothetical future in which North and South Korea have created a Joint Economic Area, replete with a mint and a common currency, and are on the verge of unification.

However, the wealthy continue to amass wealth while the underprivileged experience inequity and injustice. Enter the charming band of crooks who seize control of the Unified Mint with the intention of stealing four trillion won (about $3 billion USD).

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‘Vincenzo’ – Action Korean Dramas

Vincenzo is the program for you if you’re seeking anything in the middle of “K-Drama” and “Mafia Drama.” In it, Song Joong-ki plays Vincenzo, a Korean guy who was reared in the mob in Italy after being adopted by an Italian mafia family. After his adoptive father passes away, Vincenzo must flee back to Seoul since his adopted brother has made it his mission to kill him.

‘Sweet Home’ – Action Korean Dramas

If you liked Korean films like The Call and #Alive, which both open in new tabs, you’ll be able to tolerate and enjoy Sweet Home. The program centers on a man who, following the passing of his family, relocates to a new apartment building. He begins to witness terrifying things in the building from some of his strange neighbors because he is depressed and a loner.

I would suggest watching this during the day if, like me, you prefer to peek over the cover when watching horror movies. (I’ll never again make the mistake of starting this show at night.)

‘Happiness’ – Action Korean Dramas

This contemporary zombie thriller has a lot to surprise you with at every turn, starting with the fact that it’s one of the few to mention the COVID-19 outbreak. When given the opportunity to move into a high-rise with her high school friend, Detective Jung Yi-Hyun, Officer Yoon Sae-bom (Han Hyo-Joo) is ecstatic (Park Hyung-Sik).

Soon after they arrive, a contagious illness spreads throughout the nation, giving those who contract it a need for human blood. In the end, the apartment complex is quarantined, with Sae-bom and Yi-Hyun attempting to maintain order among the peculiar residents.

‘All of Us Are Dead’ – Action Korean Dramas

A group of high school students is the focus of this suspenseful zombie thriller, which follows them as the zombie outbreak spreads to their campus. As soon as their classmates return, the youngsters are left alone, and as we follow their survival strategies, we also learn how parents and government officials are dealing with the illness outside the school.

The most intriguing aspect is how well-known high school clichés—like fights, bullying, etc.—are twisted into exciting stories.

‘My Name’ – Action Korean Dramas

Ji-woo (Han So-hee), a young woman who was entangled in the criminal underworld, embarks on a mission to get revenge in this gripping thriller. She assumes a new identity and joins the police, working alongside Choi Mu-jin, the former partner of her father (Park Hee-soon).

”Signal’ – Action Korean Dramas

In this time-traveling detective thriller, a team of detectives from several eras joins forces to crack cases based on actual crimes. In order to solve heartbreaking riddles and experience thrilling thrills, Lee Jae-Han (Choi Jin-Woong), a detective from the year 2000, collaborates with criminal profiler Park Hae-Young (Lee Je-hoon) and investigator Cha Soo-Hyun (Kim Hye-soo).

‘Healer’ – Action Korean Dramas

Ji Chang-Wook plays the “Healer” in this action film, a nocturnal courier who, with the aid of a brilliant hacker, delivers illegal goods and does any task requested by the client—so long as it isn’t murder.

He runs into successful reporter Kim Moon Ho (Yoo Ji-Tae) and tabloid writer Chae Young Shin (Park Min-young), and the three discover that they have a number of connections. Come for the complex plot; stay for the passionate romance.

‘Flower of Evil’ – Action Korean Dramas

Detective Cha Ji-won (Moon Chae-won) appears to have the perfect family—a loving husband and a precious daughter. However, her devoted husband Baek Hee-sung (Lee Joon-gi) is concealing some sinister information since as a young child, he took on a new identity to flee a horrific upbringing. As Ji-most won’s recent research into a serial killer intersects with Hee-history, sung’s picture-perfect existence comes crashing down and she begins to wonder if her spouse is indeed a murderer.

‘D.P’ – Action Korean Dramas

Jung Hae-in plays An Jun-ho in this brutally realistic drama, which follows the young man as he enlists in the South Korean army as part of his required military service. Following his basic training, in which he suffers from the “survival of the fittest” atmosphere of bullying and ritualistic hazing, he is assigned to the Deserter Pursuit unit, where his mission is to find troops who have strayed from their posts. The stories of the deserters are gripping, and the drama sheds light on abuse within the military.

Best Romance Korean Dramas

These heartwarming K-dramas are intended for those who enjoy deep, sweeping romances that can range from heartwarming to heartbreaking in a single episode. (Consider Bridgerton, but considerably more alluring.) Look here if you want to devote 16–20 hours to a significant slow burn.

‘Crash Landing on You’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean heiress, is paragliding when she gets caught in a storm and is blown into North Korea. Then, Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok of the North Korean Special Forces and a member of the aristocratic family in North Korea cross paths with Se-ri. With the aid of his team, Captain Ri eventually devises a strategy to return Se-ri to South Korea, but not before they have all overcome the challenges that stand in their way—and then some.

The story of two star-crossed lovers is ultimately told in this romantic comedy-drama. It presently has the second-highest Korean drama rating in cable television history and the highest rating for a tv N drama. (Stars Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin are also expecting a child; they were previously engaged.)

‘Business Proposal’ – Romance Korean Dramas

The amusing relationships in this 2022 rom-com drama have helped it so far become the year’s biggest smash (and a super-popular kissing clip). Food researcher Shin Ha-ri (I.O.I. and The Uncanny Counter’s Kim Se-Jeong) works for a corporation that recently hired Kang Tae-moo as its new president (Ahn Hyo-seop).

The date ends up being Tae-moo after her affluent BFF (Seol In-ah) begs her to go on a blind date for her and sabotage it. Ha-ri gets a call the morning after the disastrous date: Tae-moo wants to marry her!? Your heart will be won over by their amusing courtship as well as the romance involving the second lead.

‘Descendants of the Sun – Romance Korean Dramas

If you’ve finished Vincenzo and want to see more of Song Joong-ki, watch the lauded drama that helped him become a Hallyu Wave icon. This well-regarded drama follows Korean Special Forces Captain Yoo Si-jin (Song) as he develops feelings for physician Kang Mo-Yeon (Song Hye-ko).

‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-ah), a dentist in Seoul, loses her shoe while visiting the seaside village of Gonjin, which leads to the beginning of this country boy meets city girl story. Hong Doo-Shik (Kim Seon-ho), a jack-of-all-trades who performs odd jobs across the town, discovers it. Hye-jin eventually relocates to Gonjin, where Doo-Shik assists her in adjusting to her new surroundings, and the two gradually (and sweetly) develop feelings for one another.

‘Coffee Prince’ – Romance Korean Dramas

This classic k-drama follows Choi Han-gyul (Goblin’s Gong Yoo), the irresponsible heir to a conglomerate with a popular coffee shop chain. One day, he meets Ko Eun-chan (Yoon Eun-Hye), a tomboy who is frequently mistaken for a man and has been the breadwinner for her family since she was 16. Han-gyul, unaware that Eun-chan is a girl, hires her to be his gay lover in order to avoid the blind dates set up by his grandmother.

Han-gyul also takes over a run-down coffee shop, renamed Coffee Prince, to show his grandmother and ex-girlfriend that he is capable. Because he only hires good-looking male employees, Eun-chan decides to keep up her gender charade in order to get a job at his cafe.

‘Boys Over Flowers’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Boys Over Flowers is a classic teen drama about a group of popular/privileged/not-so-nice boys at Shinhwa High School. The F4 group bullies others to get their way—until a working-class girl named Geum Jan-di arrives on scholarship at the school and stands up to the boys.

‘True Beauty’ – Romance Korean Dramas

This hilarious coming-of-age drama is for you if you want to follow a high-school love triangle. I’m Ju-Yeong (Moon Ga-young), a high school student, who has an inferiority complex as a result of years of bullying by classmates and family members for her appearance. She is referred to as a “goddess” and becomes more popular at school after learning makeup artistry from YouTube.

Soon after, she becomes embroiled in a love triangle with the mysterious Lee Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo), who recognizes her through her makeup, and his former best friend Han Seo-jun (Hwang In-youp).

‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo – Romance Korean Dramas

This drama features one of the most endearing protagonists and the sweetest friends-to-lovers story. Kim Bok-Joo (Lee Sung-Kyung), a collegiate weightlifter training for the Olympics, meets Jung Joon-Hyung (Nam Joo-hyuk), a swimmer recovering from a psychological problem at the same school. The two athletes begin as hesitant friends, but watching them fall in love provides some hilarious and heartwarming moments.

‘Her Private Life’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Park Min-rom-com young’s drama is a sweet story of love and fangirling. Sung Deok-mi (Park), an art gallery curator, has a secret life as a Shi-an fan page administrator. She devotes her life to her job and family while keeping her fangirl activities hidden for fear of being judged. Ryan (Kim Jae-Wook) becomes the art director of Deok-gallery mi one day, and he quickly organizes a celebrity exhibit featuring Shi-an. Ryan becomes interested in Deok-mi as she struggles to keep her private life hidden.

‘Our Beloved Summer’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Choi Ung (Parasite’s Choi Woo-Sik) and Kook Yeon-su (Kim Da-mi) appeared in a documentary together ten years ago. Despite initially hating each other, the couple eventually began dating and stayed together for five years. Five years after their difficult breakup, the two adults re-enter each other’s lives just as the documentary goes viral, with fans clamoring for an update.

Will Ung and Da-mi rekindle their romance while filming the sequel? Check out this drama about enemies-turned-lovers to find out.

‘Run On’ – Romance Korean Dramas

The plot: Ki Seon-gyeom, a popular sprinter turned sports agent, meets Oh Mi-Joo, who writes movie subtitle translations, and Mi-Joo believes they were meant to be together. The plot revolves around their budding romance, as well as some strong secondary characters.

Mi-Joo is played by actress Shin Se-Kyung (from Rookie Historian) while Seon-gyeom is played by I’m Si-Wan (from Strangers From Hell), so if you’re familiar with both famous faces then give this show a chance.

‘Start-Up’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Fans of Bae Suzy and Nam Joo-hyuk will enjoy this drama, which combines comedy and romance. The plot revolves around a group of young people who are all eager to launch their own businesses. When Seo Dal-mi and Nam Do-san, Bae and Nam’s characters, are chosen to join Sandbox (a tech accelerator for entrepreneurs), along with Seo’s sister Won In-Jae, the three are pitted against one another in a competition to be the best.

Little does Dal-mi know, however, someone important from her past (Han Ji-pyeong, played by Kim Sun-ho) has her back throughout this start-up journey. Viewers will hope Dal-Mi ends up with Do-San or Ji-pyeong. Personally, we support Ji-pyeong.

‘Love Alarm’ – Romance Korean Dramas

In a world where an app can tell you whether or not someone within a 10-meter radius is in love with you, feelings are visible even when you don’t want them to be. The plot revolves around Kim Jo-jo, a hardworking and studious student who catches the attention of two guys (who happen to be best friends and basically are like brothers) at her school: Hwang Sun-oh and Lee Hye-Yeong. Sun-oh is a model from a wealthy family who is diametrically opposed to Jo-jo, but they fall in love.

The two grow apart over time, and Hye-Yeong sees this as an opportunity to finally confess his feelings for Jo-jo. We’re left with a cliffhanger at the end of season one: who will Jo-jo choose to be with?

‘Nevertheless’ – Romance Korean Dramas

K-dramas are renowned for being more subdued than Western romances, with relationships developing over the course of several episodes before they are acknowledged or even exchange kisses.

If you want something more sensual, watch Nevertheless, which centers on the flirtation and ultimate friendship-with-benefits relationship between art students Yoo Na-bi (My Name’s Han So-hee) and Park Jae-eon (Love Alarm’s Song Kang). Even if their love journey is difficult to witness, the performers’ chemistry makes this drama entertaining.

‘Touch Your Heart’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Being a rabid Lee Dong-Wook fan, I may be slightly partial, but Touch Your Heart is a blast to see. The action takes place in a prestigious law practice where a former actress serves as the grouchy lawyer’s secretary. The two stars are quite attractive and had tremendous chemistry together.

In Goblin, they played star-crossed lovers. Additionally, it’s another romance at work! Are the cosmos trying to tell me something?

‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’ – Romance Korean Dramas

Park Min-young plays Kim Mi-so, the competent secretary to chaebol businessman Lee Young-Joon, in this well-known romantic comedy (Park Seo-Joon). After nine years of her employment, Mi-so has finally made the decision to leave and start living her life for herself because the work is tough and Young-Joon is egotistical and self-absorbed. But Young-Joon won’t let her go, and in the end, he understands that his feelings for Mi-so go beyond simple respect for her work. On Mi-side, so’s she starts to see her employer in a new light as he gradually softens, which results in a very endearing love tale (and some top-tier kissing scenes).

‘Strong Woman Do Bong Soon’ – Romance Korean Dramas

This drama has a little bit of everything, cramming a compelling crime thriller, a charming love story, and a super-strong family legacy into 16 episodes. Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young), a tiny and mighty woman, has inherited a gift of monumental strength that runs through the women in her family.

Her ambition is to make a video game, but she spends her days looking for permanent work and using her power for good.

Min-Hyuk (Park Hyung-Sik from Happiness) notices Bong-power soon and hires her as a bodyguard after receiving threatening letters.

Add in a serial killer threatening Bong-neighborhood soon and a longtime crush/cop (Ji-soo) to round out the love triangle, and you’ve got yourself a show.

Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

These science fiction/fantasy shows range from modern to historical, and the magical elements can be hidden among everyday life or blown out to encompass tonnes of lore Game of Thrones style (though minus the gore, most of the time). Expect some mystical love connections, as K-dramas love a good-fated romance.

‘Goblin (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

Kim Eun-series sooks are the fourth highest-rated Korean drama of all time. The fantasy romance follows Gong Yoo, a modern-day goblin who needs a human bride (Kim Go Eun) to end his cursed immortal life. His life is then intertwined with that of a grim reaper, Lee Dong-Wook, who is unable to recall his past. The plot develops as the lives of these strangers become intertwined.

‘Hotel de Luna’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

The Hotel Del Luna is a haven for the dead, a safe haven where souls can pass into the afterlife. Except for Man-wol (IU), the owner, who has been cursed to run the hotel for over a millennium as penance for her sins, all souls pass on after dealing with their unfinished business in life.

hotel also requires a human manager to keep things running; the next fated human is Koo Chan-sung (Yeo Jin-goo), a Harvard graduate who discovers he can see ghosts. Chan-sung begins to uncover Man-past wol’s secrets as they collaborate.

‘The Uncanny Counter’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

This show reminds me of Ghostbusters, but with a diverse cast of characters, each with unique abilities. The five-person “Counter” team works at a noodle restaurant during the day and hunts down evil spirits who have escaped from the afterlife to prey on humans at night.

(Their red tracksuits in the show are iconic and would make a great group Halloween costume in 2022—just throwing that out there.)

This K-drama has been well received by the audience, and you will want to watch all of the episodes in one weekend.

‘Tale of the Nine Tailed’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

Keep the lights on for Lee Dong-new wook’s show because it’s a little scary (think The Ring-style scenes with ghosts and a water well). Aside from a few gruesome scenes, the story revolves primarily around his character Lee-Yeon, a mythical fox known as gumiho, and documentary filmmaker Nam Ji-a (played by Jo Bo-ah), who were once lovers.

(The foxes take on human appearances but have special abilities.) Circumstances in the present send the two on a perilous journey that involves solving the mystery of Ji-a’s parents’ deaths and rediscovering their love for each other.

‘The King: Eternal Monarch’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

Parallel universes, time travel, a handsome king, a strong female detective, tragedy, and romance are all part of this Korean drama. The story follows Lee Gon (played by one of South Korea’s most popular actors, Lee Min-ho), a Korean emperor who rules The Kingdom of Corea (the North and South are still united in this world) and discovers a portal opening in the bamboo forest that leads him to a parallel universe—the world we know today. In this world, he meets and falls in love with detective Jung Tae-eul (played by Goblin’s Kim Go-Eun), and they must work together to close this time portal before their two worlds collide and become frozen in time forever.

‘Mystic Pop-up Bar’- Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

This show ticks all of the drama, fantasy, and mystery boxes. The plot revolves around Ssanggab Cart Bar, which is only open at night on a building’s rooftop. Wol-Ju (Hwang Jung-eum) runs the mysterious food cart, and her customers include both the living and the dead. They talk to Wol-Ju about themselves and their internal struggles while drinking and eating.

”Memories of the Alhambra” – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

This fantasy drama is ideal for fans of Hyun Bin and Park Shin-Hye (you may remember her from the popular show The Heirs). Memories of the Alhambra are set in Spain and South Korea, and the two actors play each other’s romantic interests. Park Shin-Hye learned Spanish for the show, so her voice isn’t dubbed!) They meet in Spain when Hyun Bin’s character, Yoo Jin-woo, arrives at the hostel run by Park Shin-character, he’s Jung Hee-Joo, to sign over the rights to her brother’s augmented reality game. (In the meantime, the brother has vanished into thin air.) Jin-woo begins playing the game and soon realizes that it is killing those around him.

‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

This fantasy romance series follows the romance of a con artist and a mermaid who meet and fall in love. Shim Cheong, the mermaid (played by the talented and beautiful Jun Ji-Hyun), follows her lover Heo Joon-Jae (Lee Min-ho) to land, unaware that she is a merperson. In addition to the present day, the plot focuses on the two’s Joseon-era incarnations, town head Kim Dam-ryeong and mermaid Se-Hwa. What does the fate of that pair mean for their current counterparts? Will Shim Cheong and Joon-Jae suffer the same fate as Shim Cheong?

‘W’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

If you’ve ever wished that your favorite book’s hero could leap from the page and into your arms, this contemporary fantasy is for you. Oh, Yeon-Joo (Happiness’ Han Hyo-Joo) is a cardiothoracic resident and the daughter of Oh Sung-moo (Kim Eui-sung), the artist behind the popular 10-year webtoon W, who goes missing on the day his final chapter is due. While looking in his office, Yeon-Joo is drawn into the comic and saves the life of its hero, Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk), whom her father is determined to kill. She then reappears in his office, with the webtoon chapter completed and her actions serving as the new plot.

‘My Love from the Star’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

Do Min-Joon (Kim Soo-Hyun) is a handsome alien who landed on Earth 400 years ago during Korea’s Joseon era in this rom-com. For centuries, he has waited for the opportunity to return to his home planet. He meets a new neighbor, Hallyu star Cheon Song-Yi (Jun Ji-Hyun), who resembles a young woman from his past when he has three months left on Earth. Their romance will have you looking to the skies for an alien invasion (as long as they look like Min-Joon).

‘Alchemy of Souls’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

This period fantasy is set in the fictional country of Daeho and takes place in the world of mages, who live as nobles and warriors alongside mortals. Nak-su, an elite warrior, has eluded authorities by using a forbidden spell known as “alchemy of souls,” which allows her to switch bodies. When she jumps into Mu-deck’s (Jung So-min’s) frail body, she must regain the strength to wield her powerful sword. So she becomes a servant for Jang-UK (Lee Jang-wook), a nobleman in need of a teacher to help him unbind his magic.

‘While You Were Sleeping’ – Best Fantasy Korean Dramas

Reporter Nam Hong-Joo (Bae Suzy) has the ability to see into the future, and her visions are usually tragic events. Even when she warns the people involved, the dreams always come true. One day, she meets prosecutor Jung Jae-chan (Lee Jong-suk), who also receives dreams and has the power to alter their outcomes. This drama is full of twists and turns, with police officer Han Woo-Tak (Jung Hae-in) assisting the pair in preventing tragedies. And if you’re looking for romance, Hong-Joo and Jae-chan’s fated love provides plenty.

Best Korean Dramas FAQs

1. What is the top 1 Korean drama in 2022?

The Best Korean Dramas Right Now
1. Vincenzo (2021-present)
2. Itaewon Class (2020)
3. Law School (2021-present)
4. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)
5. The Uncanny Counter (2020-2021)
6. Memories of the Alhambra (2018-2019) Image via Netflix.
7. Sweet Home (2020-present) Image via Netflix.
8. Run On (2020-2021) Image via Netflix.

2. What is the highest-rated K-drama in 2022?

1. Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Netflix’s.
2. Our Blues. tvn_ourblues.
3. Twenty-Five, Twenty-One. 2521_tvn.
4. Love
5. Military Prosecutor Doberman.
6. Alchemy of Souls.
7. Thirty-Nine.
8. Ghost Doctor.

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