Korean Dramas: Top 10 Korean Dramas


Top 10 Korean Dramas, Detective, Horror, and Romance

After the success of “Squid Game” and “We’re All Dead,” a person unfamiliar with the world of Korean dramas (dramas) may have the wrong idea about their meager genre diversity. In fact, dramas are about anything – dramatic and romantic stories, first love, school life, and much more. Especially for Forbes Life, Korean culture expert Kira Golubeva made the top 10 best dramas

After the ‘Squid Game’ frenzy, interest in Korean dramas has definitely grown. However, the dramas are still mostly niche content for the audience that watched them even before the release of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s project. There is a difference in mentality that prevents someone from immersing themselves in the world of dramas, someone is unaccustomed to the leisurely style of narration, and someone mistakenly believes that the actors are overacting here. Although the secret lies solely in the phonetic features of the language. Forbes Life has made a selection of the best dramas. It will not only be an excellent entry point for the perception of South Korean television content but also show its wide genre spectrum because the main stereotype that prevents them from gaining huge popularity is the opinion that all dramas are tearful melodramas.

“In the name of revenge”, 2021

"Korean Dramas"
In the name of revenge: Korean Dramas

Genre:  Crime Thriller 

Director:  Kim Jin-min

Cast:  Park Hee-soon, Han Seo-hee, Ahn Bo-hyun, Kim Sang-ho, Lee Hak-choo

High school student Yoon Ji-woo grows up without a mother. Moreover, on her birthday, instead of a gift, she finds her father’s dead body under the door. However, before that, she sees through the peephole how an unknown man in a hood kills him. In the best traditions of Park Chan-wook’s filmography, the girl vows to find the criminal in order to take revenge. To do this, she joins a fight club, where men are trained to work for the city’s main criminal gang. Here, Ji-woo will not only do physical training all day long. However, he also fight back against rapists, proving that she has already become an excellent fighter, and later infiltrates the police department as a “mole”.


The series has all the necessary tricks to keep the viewer’s attention. It has a fascinating detective line, a hypnotic soundtrack, merciless showdowns in neon dens, and a fearless heroine.

“My Mister”, 2018

"Korean Dramas"
My Mister: Korean Dramas

Genre:  Drama, Crime 

Director:  Kim Won-seok, Kim Sang-   woo

Cast: Lee Sung-kyun, Park Ho-sang, Lee Ji-eun, Lee Ji-ah.

Ji-Ann (played by the popular singer IU, by the way) is a young girl with large debts and a sick grandmother in her arms. She takes a temporary job at a construction company run by an ambitious CEO. Moreover, she  finds herself in a department with boss Park Dong-hoon (Parasite’s Lee Sung-Kyun), a man with a great conscience. Soon, Ji-Ann finds herself at the center of a scam that aims to remove the head of her department for the sake of the personal goals of the main boss.


“My Mister” definitely cannot be called a classic representative of dramas, because there is sadder thaaaaaaaan entertaining here. The series is dedicated to people who are trying to survive in Korean society with its high competition and large class gap. It is also emerging trust between the main characters will even remind someone of the recent tandem from Ryusuke Hamaguchii’s Oscar-winning film “Get behind the wheel of my car.”


Director Kim Won-Seok, who has worked on the hit Korean dramas Signal, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and Misaeng: Failed Life, has an amazing ability to bring humanity to a world that is prone to dehumanization by accurately and lovingly portraying the daily lives of little people.

“Penthouse”, 2020-2021

"Korean Dramas"
Manilla Bulletin: Korean Dramas

Genre: Drama

Director: Joo Dong-min

Cast: Eugene, Kim So-young, Lee Ji-ah, Um Gi-joon, Park Eun-seok


The plot revolves around the luxurious 100-story penthouse “Hera” and its residents. In the center are three families. Shim Soo-ren was born into a very wealthy family, and now she is an elegant upper-class woman with a businessman husband. The other heroine, the arrogant Cheon Seo-jin, is also rich, and her ambitious husband is a surgeon general. Oh Yoon-hee, on the other hand, is unlucky: she has to work hard to provide for herself and her family because she really wants her children to belong to the upper class. Their lives will change when a girl named Min Sol-ah dies under mysterious circumstances at a party.

A captivating and Machiavellian drama about rich people with inflated egos. There is a struggle for power, betrayals, tension, and plot twists, so the viewer, accustomed to the leisurely storytelling in Korean series, will be pleasantly surprised. Usually, dramas consist of 16-20 episodes and they are rarely extended, only in case of high ratings and active discussion among the audience. “Penthouse” received the green light not only for the second but also for the third seasons.

Deserter Hunter, 2021

Genre: Drama, Detective

Director: Han Joon-hee

Cast: Jung Hae-in, Koo Kye-hwan, Song Seok-ku, Kim Sung-kyun, Lee Joon-young


Jun-ho is a rookie and is not very happy about being drafted into the army. However,  he nevertheless proves himself to be a smart soldier and a person with attention to detail. His boss, Sergeant Park, notices this – he takes him to serve in the police department, which hunts down deserters and returns them to the base. Jun-ho soon discovers the dark side of military service.

Serving in the Korean army, which every man is required to complete for a minimum of 18 months, has never been a topic that drama creators would consider negatively, so Netflix’s Deserter Hunter is definitely a bold attempt that sheds light on hazing and the pressure that is exerted on young recruits, but at the same time shows that the problems of the South Korean army are much deeper than these bullying.

“Unusual Lawyer”, 2022

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Director: Yoo In-Shik

Cast: Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, Kang Ki-young, Jung Bae-soo, Baek Chi-won


Yeon-woo is 27 years old and graduated with honors from college. It has, however, a high IQ, but due to her autism. Moreover, it is difficult for her to find a job. Her professionalism and phenomenal ability to solve complicated cases not only secured her a place in a prestigious law firm but also arouse the admiration of colleagues. They were initially skeptical of the heroine. Each episode of the series focuses on a specific hearing in which Woo Yeon-woo and his team will try to stand up for the innocent.

“Uncommon Lawyer” can definitely be called one of the best and most talked about dramas of this year. The series has a positive effect on the representation of people with autism spectrum disorder in society. They are most often presented in films as socially unadapted people in need of protection. The creators are quite candid in other topics that are touched upon here. These are North Korean defectors, the difficulties of raising a child with special needs by a single father, rape, and the problem of suicide in South Korea. Suicidal cases were high in 2021 in the country. It was especially high among the elderly over 80 years of age. Suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 39).

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