My Favorite Korean Dramas

This page will update over time with additions.  Hopefully.

My Favorite Dramas-No ranking, it’s simply in alphabetical order.  There will not be a lot of melodramas, procedural shows, dailies, or sageuks on this list, because I do not usually watch those types of shows.  Outside Seoul inspired this list with her post challenging one to think about their favorites, versus what one thinks are best dramas versus what dramas one would recommend.   This post deals with Favorites and what I think are Best dramas.  See the Recommendations page for further thoughts on dramas.

Age of Youth (2016) and Age of Youth 2 (2017)-Lovely, just lovely, WOMEN CENTRIC slice of life deliciousness.

Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy (2005)-It starts out pretty weird and silly but turns into a coming of age story  at different points of life for many of the characters.

Boys Over Flowers (2009)-This is the whole enchilada, a big pile of delicious ingredients that are a hot mess to try to hold onto and really bad for you.  It’s got all kinds of production issues from direction to bad soundtrack editing to continuity, and every trope in the book.  It’s also got something that just bloody worked.  It’s got passion to spare.  It made me roll with laughter, it made me cry, it made me scream at the TV, it made me throw my hands up in disgust.  It was eye and heart and mind crack.

Chicago Typewriter (2017)

Coffee Prince (2007)-This show just has IT.  Some of the best acting and best chemistry across the cast as a whole group that I have ever seen. It really speaks for falling in love with a person, not a gender, falling in love with a best friend.  And I have never seen another drama where the lead actress totally OWNED her character.  The show was given an extension and it hurt the over all arc of the show.  It dragged at the end.  Despite this, still a top shelf watch it again drama. In fact, it may be THE most re-watchable drama.

Descendants of the Sun (2016)- The military aspect resonates for me, and I think it did a good job presenting a perhaps romanticized but somehow with a grain of reality concept of the different way that special teams military personnel view life.  I liked a lot about the drama despite some of the silly and the wtf.  Not perfect, but a lot of heart.

Flower Boy Raymun Shop (2011)-A lot of people think this is fluff.  It’s not.  Totally layered.  I want to write papers on this show.  It’s a little crazy.  Enjoy the ride that is Cha Chi-soo.  I’ll venture that of favorites to re-watch, this is in the top three, maybe even number one.

Flower Boy Next Door (2013)-The male lead would drive me crazy.  And is so adorable.  The female lead character has PTSD and Anxiety and phobias . That totally rocks.  The secondary characters keep it lively and quirky.  I wished it for it to be a little more earthy and adult, but it is still a good watch.

Habaek (2017)-Yes, I utterly love Habaek.

Hogu’s Love-Darling Hogu.  Wonderful underrated drama

I Hear Your Voice (2013)-It, like Coffee Prince, breaks some of the K Drama “rules.”   Wonderfully compelling drama with lovable leads.  It has it’s flaws as most dramas do, mostly in the legal stuff, but the good far outweighs the flaws.

It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)- It’s all about loving yourself and acceptance of yourself and of others.  The female characters are not always likable or sympathetic, which made the dynamics of the show even  more interesting.  A beautiful drama.

Let’s Eat (2014)-This is just a little gem of a show.  I loved everything about it.

Me Too Flower (2011)-Totally mismatched couple that frigging works.  The show has faults, but the female lead is a grumpy depressed cop that talks to her imaginary pop idol crush that comes out of the poster on her wall to comfort her.  I had to love it.  And then there is Yoon Si Yoon who is just awesome and quite under-rated.  The show is under-rated.

Misaeng (2014)-Just watch it.  It’s awesome.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon (2005)-This show and Coffee Prince pretty much set the standard. Kim Sun ah and Hyun Bin.  It’s a bit akin to a Bridget Jones trials and tribulations of looking for love but more.

Padam Padam (2011)-A Tour de Force by Jung Woo-sung.  And Kim Bum is awesome as well.  Just a wonderful show.  The supernatural element is not fleshed out well, but the show is so good you can roll with it.

Pasta (2010)-This has really little skinship and a whole lot of quirky.  It’s sweet and fun.  I would have liked to see a less subservient female lead character.  I would however categorize her as passive aggressive versus weak.

Personal Taste  (2010)-A romance that has a lot to say about relationships among people and that everyone deserves to live and love.  It’s a little wacky at first and bogs down with a contrived conflict at the end for filler because it’s too long.  But stick with it.

Prison Playbook

Protect The Boss (2011)-Another drama that comes off like it’s going to be total fluff.  Excellent lead characters.

Reply Dramas-deftly crafted, near perfect coming of age dramas.  It’s more real life, more earthy, than most of the glossy dramas, but just as lovely to watch.  Some people think they lost focus in the second half and got wrapped up in their own press, but I personally thought they worked.  Others thought the inside jokes about pop culture and current events left them out in the cold not getting it, but you know, you can go with it or, hey, google.  Dramabeans recaps are helpful with the inside jokes:

Reply 1997

Reply 1994

Reply 1988

Scarlet Heart Ryeo-This drama shredded me.

Scent of A Woman (2011)-Stellar.  A journey of a woman trying to live life to the fullest and a man stuck in a life he doesn’t feel he fits in.

The Best Hit (2017)

The Woman That Still Wants To Marry (2010)-This is a solid ensemble cast that looks at romance and partnership for modern career women.  Just fun and lovely and solid.

Worlds Within (2008)-It’s not pretty.  The characters are flawed and some aren’t particularly nice.  I think it’s one of the better dramas out there because it colors outside the lines a bit and says work and family and love and life is not easy or pretty, but you will find your way.

Objective Bests-I tried to look at dramas objectively and which were the best over all in my opinion.  My qualifiers were great cast,  an even flow, overall production and script quality, the plot, and a satisfying conclusion.

Age of Youth

Coffee Prince

I Hear Your Voice

My Name is Kim Sam Soon

Padam Padam

Reply 1997

Reply 1994

Reply 1988

The Woman That Still Wants to Marry

It’s Okay, That’s Love


City Hall-This is on the list with a caveat.  The first  6 episodes, you kind of have to deal with some idiocy in character behavior from the female lead.  This however sets up the character growth and overall arc of the drama, they just took too long to get there.  However it makes the list because despite character issue, it meets the other criteria.

Girls Generation 1979

Because It’s My First Life

Prison Playbook

Chicago Typewriter



12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whitfim200106
    Apr 14, 2016 @ 08:53:58

    What about Go! Mrs. Go, or Saving Bong Seuil?


  2. whitfim200106
    Apr 15, 2016 @ 11:39:32

    Worth watching. It’s one show. Go! Mrs. Go! is the English title. The Korean title is Saving Go Bong Suil.


  3. Kaitlyn Miller
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 15:59:49

    How can your “objective” list not have Boys Over Flowers on it. That is one of the most watched Korean Dramas Ever. It’s your average KD watchers first drama and it just gets you pulled in wanting more. I really think Boys Over Flowers should be on this list.


    • randomsoju
      Sep 23, 2016 @ 22:40:32

      Hi, thanks for visiting and commenting!

      I used the word “objective” to convey my attempt to avoid being sentimental while determining what were actually the better quality dramas out of my favorites. As I stated in the blog post, I was using the lens of favorite versus best, versus what to recommend, which I learned from this exercise, is not always the same.

      BOF is not on my “best drama” list because it did not meet the criteria, as listed in the blog post:

      My qualifiers were great cast, an even flow, overall production and script quality, the plot, and a satisfying conclusion.

      BOF bogged down about episode 19 and ran too long. It had many continuity and production issues. I cannot comment completely on the writing because I never read the original script so I give writing benefit of the doubt that script could be altered during production. I didn’t love the ending.

      The criteria you listed: most watched,first drama for many, were not my criteria in selecting “best” out of my favorites. If those things are what make a drama “best” for you that is your prerogative of course.

      BOF is iconic in a way, one of my favorites, but in my opinion, is not one of the best dramas out of my list of my favorite dramas.

      I appreciate that you feel passionately about BOF as one of the best Korean dramas. I encourage you to make your own list with your own set of criteria, and discuss it on your own blog. Fighting!


  4. whitfim200106
    Sep 24, 2016 @ 00:48:29

    I haven’t seen Boys Over Flowers yet. I’m in the middle of watching My Husband’s Lover. BOF sounds like it was made for a younger audience.


  5. linusiaczek
    Nov 27, 2016 @ 15:40:49

    A little surprised your list doesn’t have Kill Me, Heal Me, The Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, Go Ho’s Starry Night and Scarlet Heart. I am also very surprised that My Lovely Sam Soon made it on your list since it was not too popular, the script seemed to be lacking at times and the production overall seemed to also be so so.


    • randomsoju
      Nov 27, 2016 @ 18:14:40

      Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. I am on a bit of hiatus, I’m completing my masters. My lists are not up to date. That said, this page is titled “My Favorite Dramas,” thus only my favorite dramas are on this list. Kill Me Heal Me is on my Recommendations page, the link is in the first paragraph. Moonlight Drawn My Clouds is not likely to be on on my Favorites List but will go in Recommendations, as will Go Ho. I’ve not finished Scarlet Heart (NO SPOILERS PLEASE) but i will go on my favorites list. Kim Sam Soon is one of my favorite dramas, so why would it not be on my list? 🙂 Your opinion on the quality of Kim Sam Soon is your own of course and I do find it a bit dated today. But popularity has nothing to do why it would be on either my favorites or recommendations lists. However, I do urge you to fact check before making declarative statements of fact: Kim Sam Soon was a HUGE ratings hit in Korea! Now my opinion as a long time kdrama viewer and participant in the fandom: Kim Sam Soon was very popular in that it features a female character that many women can relate to, and that has agency. The OST was rather trendsetting I believe. The drama is a k drama standard. Again, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I hope to be able to update my website in the coming months. I plan to do an end of year review in January-I only address the dramas that I have watched however.


  6. Taylor Coles
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 14:18:38

    Have you watched Blood? If not I totally recommend it, it is one of the best Korean dramas ive watched


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