My Top 15 K-dramas 2024

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Hey fellow K-drama-loving mamas! Remember those days of struggling to find Korean dramas? Scouring shady websites, relying on illegal downloads, and facing frustrating geo-restrictions? Thankfully, those days are gone!

The global K-drama wave has swept across the world, and now, platforms like Netflix, Viu, and Disney+ offer a vast and diverse library of Korean shows readily available for international audiences. This means we can finally enjoy the magic of K-dramas legally and conveniently, with professional subtitles and high-quality streaming.

With just a few clicks, we can dive into a world of captivating stories, from heart-wrenching romances and fantastical sagas to quirky comedies, thrilling mysteries, and heartwarming family dramas. This accessibility has opened up the vibrant Korean entertainment industry to a global audience, fostering a passionate and ever-growing community of K-drama fans.

Gone are the days of shady websites and illegal downloads. We can now comfortably discover, discuss, and obsess over new and classic shows from the comfort of our homes. The future of Korean storytelling on the global stage is bright, and as K-drama enthusiasts, we can’t wait to see what exciting stories and characters await us next!

Now, let’s dive into my top 15 K-dramas, categorized by year and theme to help you find your next binge-worthy watch!

Classic Romantic Gems

Secret Garden (2010-2011)

This fantasy romance about a stuntwoman and CEO who magically swap bodies is pure escapist fun. With Hyun Bin and Ha Ji-won’s electric chemistry, it’s considered one of the greatest K-drama romances. Praised for the electric chemistry between the leads and the fresh, whimsical body-swap premise that provides plenty of laughs and swoon-worthy moments.

  • Leads: Hyun Bin, Ha Ji-won
  • IMDB: 8.2/10

Tree With Deep Roots (2011)

A historical political drama depicting the founding of the Korean alphabet “Hangul” by King Sejong. Lauded for its intelligent storytelling, strong ensemble cast, and insights into Korean history and culture.

  • Leads: Han Suk-kyu, Shin Se-kyung, Jang Hyuk
  • IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Bridal Mask (2012)

A gripping historical action drama set in 1930s Korean under Japanese occupation, following a wealthy aristocrat (Joo Won) who becomes a masked freedom fighter. Acclaimed for its intense action sequences, bromance, and exploration of justice and sacrifice against oppression.

  • Leads: Joo Won, Park Ki-woong, Han Chae-ah
  • IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

That Winter The Wind Blows (2013)

A tragic melodrama where a gambler (Jo In-sung) pretends to be the long-lost brother of a blind heiress (Song Hye-kyo) he falls for. Acclaimed for its poignant, heart-wrenching love story, stellar acting, and gorgeous cinematography that captures the melancholic vibe.

  • Leads: Jo In-sung, Song Hye-kyo
  • IMDB: 8.3/10

Good Doctor (2013)

A heartwarming medical drama about an autistic savant pediatric resident (Joo Won) who faces prejudices but uses his exceptional memory and analytical skills to save young patients’ lives. Praised for its sensitive portrayal of autism, strong acting, and emotional storytelling.

  • Leads: Joo Won, Moon Chae-won, Joo Sang-wook
  • IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

My Love from the Star (2013-2014)

The beloved fantasy rom-com stars Jun Ji-hyun as a top actress who falls for an alien (Kim Soo-hyun) stranded on Earth for 400 years. Their charming opposites-attract romance blends humor and heart. Praised for the charming opposites-attract romance that blends humor and heart perfectly.

  • Leads: Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun
  • IMDB:8.6/10

Trendsetting Hits (2015-2018)

Reply 1988 (2015-2016)

For nostalgic family vibes, this critically-acclaimed drama beautifully depicts a close-knit neighborhood in 1980s Seoul. It will make you appreciate childhood bonds. Praised for its nostalgic slice-of-life that celebrates family bonds and childhood friendships with humor and heart.

  • An ensemble cast
  • IMDB: 9.2/10

Descendants of the Sun (2016)

This military romance about a special forces captain (Song Joong-ki) and a surgeon (Song Hye-kyo) captured global audiences with the iconic “Song-Song” couple’s chemistry. Praised for balancing intense action with a swoon-worthy love story set against the backdrop of a fictional war-torn country.

  • Leads: Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo
  • IMDB: 8.3/10

Goblin (2016-2017)

Gong Yoo stars as an immortal who may end his curse after meeting an amnesiac bride (Kim Go-eun). Their fated, centuries-spanning fantasy romance is imaginative and heartwarming. Acclaimed for its creative world-building, stunning visuals, and the leads’ heartwarming, fated love story spanning centuries.

  • Leads: Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun
  • IMDB: 8.6/10

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (2016-2017)

A fun, body positive rom-com about a spunky female weightlifter (Lee Sung-kyung) falling for her teammate. An underrated, delightful gem! Praised for its delightful, underrated premise that promotes body positivity and the charming lead performances.

  • Leads: Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk
  • IMDB: 8.3/10

Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon (2017)

Park Bo-young is utterly charming as a petite woman with superhuman strength who falls for her gaming CEO boss. A feminist twist on the action rom-com. A unique feminist twist on the action romantic comedy genre with great chemistry between the leads.

  • Leads: Park Bo-young, Park Hyung-sik
  • IMDB: 8.3/10

Mr Sunshine (2018)

An epic romantic melodrama set in the early 1900s about a Korean boy who returns from the U.S. as a U.S. marine captain and falls for an aristocrat’s daughter. Lauded for its lush period production values, intense love triangle, and exploring themes of national identity.

  • Leads: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Pandemic Hits (2019-2021)

When the Camellia Blooms (2019)

Gong Hyo-jin shines in this unique rom-com murder mystery as a single mom entangled with a playful stranger. Quirky humor meets poignant social commentary. Balances humor with poignant social commentary on overcoming prejudices against single parents.

  • Leads: Gong Hyo-jin, Kang Ha-neul
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Hotel Del Luna (2019)

For a supernatural fantasy with stunning visuals, IU stars as an ill-tempered CEO of a hotel for ghosts. An imaginative, binge-worthy watch. Lauded for its stunning visuals, creative world-building and the leads’ entertaining bickering chemistry.

  • Leads: Lee Ji-eun (IU), Yeo Jin-goo
  • IMDB: 8.2/10

Dr. Romantic (2016-2020)

Han Suk-kyu stars as a brilliant but prickly doctor who opens his own neighborhood hospital in this compelling medical drama duology.Acclaimed for its strong ensemble cast, engaging patient stories that tug at the heartstrings, and the mentor-mentee dynamics between the doctors.

  • Leads: Han Suk-kyu, Ahn Hyo-seop (Season 1), Lee Sung-kyung (Season 2)
  • 8.5/10

Crash Landing on You (2019-2020)

This mega-hit romantic drama about a South Korean heiress (Son Ye-jin) who accidentally paraglides into North Korea and falls for a military officer (Hyun Bin) became a global phenomenon. Praised for the fresh cross-border premise, charming leads, and balancing humor with insights into North Korean life.

  • Leads: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Hospital Playlist (2020-2021)

This heartfelt medical drama focuses on five doctor friends, blending humor with emotional storylines about life, family and friendship. A comforting gem.A comforting, underrated gem praised for its strong ensemble cast and realistic yet warm portrayal of the medical profession.

  • Ensemble cast
  • IMDB: 8.9/10

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)

A dark romantic fairy tale centering on two emotionally scarred individuals – a caretaker (Kim Soo-hyun) and a writer (Seo Ye-ji) – who heal each other’s wounds.Praised for the poignant, quirky love story between two emotionally scarred yet endearing individuals.

  • Leads: Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Ye-ji
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Itaewon Class (2020)

Park Seo-joon stars in this inspiring underdog story about an ex-con who opens a street food restaurant and overcomes prejudices through sheer ambition. A gripping, heartwarming drama about chasing your dreams against all odds.

  • Lead: Park Seo-joon
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Recent Standouts (2021-2022)

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

This healing romantic-comedy follows a big-city dentist (Shin Min-ah) who falls for an odd-job handyman (Kim Seon-ho) in a seaside village. Warm, quirky and lovable. Praised for its quirky, lovable cast of characters and the leads’ charming chemistry in a heartwarming, slice-of-life setting.

  • Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)
  • Leads: Shin Min-a, Kim Seon-ho
  • IMDB: 8.6/10

Twenty-Five Twenty-One (2022)

An effervescent coming-of-age tale following the lives and youthful romance of two teens (Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk) in the late 90s. Nostalgic and swoon-worthy.Praised for its effervescent vibe, strong coming-of-age themes, and the leads’ charming chemistry.

  • Leads: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk
  • IMDB: 8.7/10

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)

A unique legal drama starring Park Eun-bin as an autistic lawyer with savant syndrome who faces workplace discrimination. Acclaimed for its refreshing premise, Park’s stellar performance, and heartwarming storytelling that celebrates neurodiversity.

  • Leads: Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, Kang Ki-young
  • IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

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