10 Best Korean Drama of All Time You Need To Watch [2021]

Oh no, where have the past 10 hours gone to? Right—the best Korean drama of all time!

Singapore Business Owners



Hobbies

Our team at SBO.sg is committed to being a one-stop avenue to connect local businesses and consumers. We hope that our research efforts can help you save time and money by finding you the best deals without having to search around the vast world-wide-web.

Want to go on a rollercoaster ride without leaving the house? Just go watch a K-drama.

There’s just something about Korean dramas—they boast a profound ability to make you laugh, cry and rage all within a span of an hour; and not to mention, make time whizz by during the weekends.

Whether you are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms from your last k-drama and need something to fill the gaping hole in your soul or simply want to relive the classics, check out our list of the 10 best Korean drama of all time!

1. Hospital Playlist

best korean drama of all time_hospital playlist
Source: Google
Type of Information Details
GenreComedy, Drama
Why You Should Watch– The most viewed series in South Korea on Netflix in 2020 
– Light-hearted drama and swoon-worthy friendship
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews3,843 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
2,020 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.7 / 10.0 stars)

Set back in 1999, Hospital Playlist tells a tale of five doctors who enter medical school together and become besties. Each character has their own story to tell, and while you won’t find any crazy plot twists here—its simple plot and narrative are what makes it stand out.

This drama will show you the beauty and humour in everyday life without overwhelming you with medical jargon. Instead, it’s far from your typical doctor drama and brings a refreshing take on how doctors are really just human beings with real struggles and emotions too.

Reviews talk about the brilliant and amazing chemistry between the cast and storyline that will keep you hooked from the first episode. The characters were also relatable and the beautiful OST just makes it even better.

Fun fact: The cast actually learned to play the instrumentals in this drama!

2. Sky Castle

best korean drama of all time_sky castle
Source: Asian Wiki
Type of Information Details
GenreDrama, Mystery
Why You Should Watch– Second-highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.
– Unique storyline and interesting characters
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews1,108 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
1,723 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.7 / 5.0 stars)

A satirical drama that covers the lives of 5 families living in the exclusive Sky Castle community and a group of housewives who are willing to do (or not) whatever it takes to get their children into the prestigious Seoul National University.

This show gives you a glimpse into what the college entrance, private education and medical field are like in Seoul and what unrealistic expectations and pressures put on a child to succeed can do to a family.

Keeping you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, you’ll find yourself hating some of the characters while deeply empathising with them at the same time.

Reviews love the stellar portrayal of emotions from the actors and suspense factor that won’t leave you feeling bored mid-way. A great plot that is well-executed with tons of details to dig into!

Fun fact: The title of this drama is an acronym of the top universities in Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University. 

3. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

best korean drama of all time_guardian the lonely and great god
Source: IMDb
Type of Information Details
GenreFantasy, Romance, Drama
Why You Should Watch– Award-winning drama and script
– Beautiful cinematography and tear-jerking romance
TrailerYouTube
Online Reviews5,913 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
12,151 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.6 / 10.0 stars)

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God is a highly-raved show about a 900-year old Goblin that is based on the Korean legend of dokkaebi.

Having killed countless soldiers during his past life as a military general, he is punished by the Almighty with immortality—and the only way to kill this curse is with the help of the Goblin’s bride.

While it might seem like your usual cliche fantasy drama, it also comes with a good dose of suspense and plot twists in-between.

Reviews talk about the breathtaking visuals, mesmerizing OST and amazing chemistry between the main leads! The show also features other well-loved characters such as a Grim Reaper and chicken store owner (you’ll have to watch it to know what we mean)

4. While You Were Sleeping

best korean drama of all time_while you were sleeping
Source: MyDramaList
Type of Information Details
GenreRomance, Mystery, Fantasy
Why You Should Watch– Plot doesn’t die down midway and keeps you guessing until the last episode
– Superb acting and chemistry between the main characters
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews1,490 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
4,358 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.4 / 10.0 stars)

This drama is about a young woman who is able to see visions through her dreams—unfortunately, most of them are of terrible things that will happen to real people in the near future.

Revolving around the lives of a field reporter, a prosecutor and a police office, the three eventually come together to prevent the premonitions from happening while also discovering the deeper connection between them.

Reviews talk about the well-balanced drama and viewers particularly enjoyed the magical plotline. Despite having to deal with the past, present and future, the directors and editors have done at piecing it together so that it doesn’t get too messy or confusing.

5. Healer

best korean drama of all time_healer
Source: HelloKPop
Type of Information Details
GenreAction, Comedy, Romance
Why You Should Watch– Well-paced drama with mostly action and sprinkles of romance
TrailerYouTube
Online Reviews1,195 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
6,121 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.5 / 10.0 stars)

The plot involves a decades-old incident and an illegal “night courier” with the codename “Healer” who gets his clients whatever they want for the right price (as long as it doesn’t involve murder)

He soon gets introduced to a tabloid journalist who is trying to uncover and expose the truth behind the cold case and finds herself a target for assassination.

Reviews talk about the top-notch storyline, twists and turns and deeper undertones—not to mention, the male lead is known for his action roles and does a wonderful job in this one.

6. Reply 1998

best korean drama of all time_reply 1988
Source: Soompi
Type of Information Details
GenreFamily, Friendship, Comedy, Romance
Why You Should Watch– Interesting lineup of characters that are relatable and easy to connect with
– Refreshing and nostalgic slice-of-life drama covering multiple themes and lessons
TrailerYouTube
Online Reviews3,451 Google reviews (Average rating: 5.0 / 5.0 stars)
3,710 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 9.1 / 10.0 stars)

Take a nostalgic walk into the year 1988 where iPhones didn’t exist and peek into the lives of 5 families living along the same street in Ssangmundong, Seoul.

This is a raw and unpretentious slice-of-life drama that takes on a variety of themes such as class differences, big dreams and coming-of-age struggles all packed into a memorable masterpiece.

Reviews talk about the emotional and heartwarming episodes and lovable characters that will have you laughing one moment and crying the next. It isn’t meant to be fast-paced and each episode runs for about 1.5 hours, but viewers agree the payoff is worth it.

Fun fact: Reply 1988 is part of a series that includes Reply 1994 and Reply 1997, but many have said that 1988 is by far the best!

7. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

best korean drama of all time_weightlifting fairy kim bok joo
Source: Asian Wiki
Type of Information Details
GenreComedy, Romance
Why You Should Watch– Light-hearted, feel-good drama that is easy to binge-watch
– Playful and likeable leads and great supporting characters
TrailerYouTube
Online Reviews1,997 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.9 / 5.0 stars)
5,138 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.4 / 10.0 stars)

A coming-of-age story about a group of college athletes who are fighting for their dreams and experiences love in the process, this drama bashes gender stereotypes and emphasizes the importance of being surrounded by good people who genuinely want you to succeed.

While it is a light-hearted drama, it does cover important topics such as self-consciousness, eating disorders and mental health.

Reviews talk about how it is a breath of fresh air and the electric chemistry between the two leads. It was also nice seeing a strong female lead (literally) that loves to eat fried chicken and wear sweatpants all day for a change.

Fun fact: this drama was lightly inspired by the life of Olympic gold-medalist and weightlifter, Jang Mi-ran.

8. Signal

best korean drama of all time_signal
Source: IMDb
Type of Information Details
GenreCrime, Thriller, Fantasy
Why You Should Watch– Gripping and emotional storyline that is well-executed
– Non-crime lovers will love it too
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews335 Google reviews (Average rating: 4.8 / 5.0 stars)
4,382 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.6 / 10.0 stars)

One of the best crime k-dramas you’ll ever come across is Signal—where an old-case profiler in 2015 and a detective in 1989 work together to solve a series of related murders spanning three decades.

The catch? They are only able to communicate through a special walkie talkie.

Using the power of both foresight and hindsight, both of them start to solve crimes by preventing them from ever taking place and soon begin to change reality (for better or worse, we’ll leave it up to you to decide).

Reviews talk about the well-executed plot that was fast-paced and intense throughout. Many also loved the deep emotional connection between the main characters and how they each shine in their own right.

Fun fact: this drama featured real criminal incidents that happened in Korea where women were being mysteriously murdered.

9. Prison Playbook

best korean drama of all time_prison playbook
Source: Soompi
Type of Information Details
GenreDark comedy, Melodrama
Why You Should Watch– Simple plot with brilliant writing, direction, and acting
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews918 Google reviews (Average rating: 5.0 / 5.0 stars)
1,794 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.4 / 10.0 stars)

A superstar baseball turns into a convict overnight just days before his major league baseball debut and must learn to navigate life in prison if he wants to survive.

At first glance, Prison Playbook seems like your typical prison drama, but the characters are tied together seamlessly and the details in this drama are what makes it so special and endearing.

A drama that dealer with darker themes such as physical abuse, a corrupted justice system, unequal opportunities and so much more.

Reviews talk about the riveting storyline that gets you invested in each character and connect over their personal struggles and issues. Many were reluctant to start the drama but decided to give it a try anyways—and are glad they did!

Fun fact: the same writer and directors as Hospital Playlist and Reply 1988!

10. Flower of Evil

best korean drama of all time_flower of evil
Source: Google
Type of Information Details
GenreMelodrama, Crime, Mystery, Romance
Why You Should Watch– Unpredictable and intriguing storyline
– Beautiful chemistry between the main leads
Trailer YouTube
Online Reviews58 Google reviews (Average rating: 5.0 / 5.0 stars)
2,792 Facebook reviews (Average rating: 8.7 / 10.0 stars)

A man hides his identity and cruel past from his wife—a dedicated police officer who begins investigating a series of unexplained murders and eventually tracks down his past.

A refreshing storyline that is fast-paced and full of suspense, each episode will definitely have you on the edge of your seat! The drama also covers the differences between a sociopath and a psychopath, and whether it is possible for them to lead normal lives and build a loving family.

Reviews talk about the intensity of the drama and superb acting skills by the two leads. It’s no wonder why people say this is the best k-drama in 2020!

Conclusion

Do you have any reviews and comments to share regarding our choices for the best Korean drama of all time?

At the end of the day, there are tons of good k-dramas out there waiting to be discovered and explored, and we are glad that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

If we have missed out on any of your favourites, feel free to reach out to SBO with your feedback!

In this article

    Shares

    Think another brand deserves to be here? Let us know!

    Yes, I recommend!

    Subject to the discretion of the SBO Editorial Team.

    Like what you read? Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to get the latest updates.

    Subscribe for latest business insights and inspirations

    We will not share your contact information
    By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy
    I am an aspiring writer who enjoys dabbling into brand-new territories and dreaming up random ideas. Yeap, I’m probably that person at a party who stands at the corner, tryna do my own thang.
    >