K-dramas is a huge trend that isn’t stopping anytime soon and for good reason. K-dramas have taken over streaming platforms and fans are hooked binging series after series. Some shows take romance and comedy to a new level that isn’t seen on American television. On the flip side, there are unique thrillers that have viewers’ hearts racing with each passing episode.
There are many shows that have caught the attention of audiences, with the likes of Love Alarm and W coming to mind but believe it or not, these big hits are not the best K-dramas of the past two years. So what shows got to the highest marks from users on IMDb? Without further delay, here’s a look at which K-dramas outranked others in 2019 and 2020, ranked by their IMDb scores.
Updated on September 29th, 2020 by Gabriela Silva: 2019 and 2020 were good years for K-dramas, as they rose to immense popularity on streaming platforms. Crash Landing On You rose through the ranks as one of the most popular romance shows that audiences couldn’t get enough of.
As the year 2020 progressed, more shows premiered that blew fans away with their drama, romance, and thrilling storylines. It’s hard to find a show that received low rankings and here are the best of the best that are all definitely “must watch.”
15 Itaewon Class (2020): 8.2
Itaewon Class gained mass success when it became available on Netflix in 2020. The show had a well-known cast with the lead played by famous actor, Park Seo-joon. The show follows Park’s character, Park Sae-ro-yi as he tries to create a new life after imprisonment.
Park follows in his father’s footsteps and opens up a bar-restaurant in Itaewon. The struggles of his past are still prevalent as he tries to reach success in an industry run by food conglomerates. The show has drama, emotion, and even some love.
14 Nobody Knows (2020): 8.2
For any crime-drama fans, Nobody Knows is the perfect drama to binge-watch. Cha Young-Jin (Kim Seo-Hyung) is a detective that is haunted by the murder of her friend when they were just teenagers. Still guilt-ridden, she vows to find the serial killer who took her friend’s life.
Years later, she hasn’t given up on her investigation. A new murder comes to light and this time Cha Young-Jin won’t let the killer get away and will avenger her friend. The show will take you on an intense ride of a tormented detective looking to end an unsolvable case.
13 My Country: The New Age (2019): 8.3
This 2019 historical drama received a high ranking of 8.3 for its intense and emotional storyline set at the end of the Goryeo period. The show was a limited series that only ran for one season and later became available on Netflix.
The show follows two best friends who grow apart as they have different opinions on the direction the country should go in. Intermixed are tales of battle, romance, and trying to find a way to protect the people they care about. Things are imminent as the country starts the transition into a new dynasty.
12 Vagabond (2019): 8.3
Vagabond is for fans who love a thriller of a storyline that leaves anyone gasping with every episode. The 2019 k-drama got a high rating of 8.3 when it debuted in 2019. This storyline has danger, crime and a bit of a love story to make things more interesting. A plane crash kills over 2112 civilians including the nephew of the main character.
Determined to uncover the truth, Cha Dal-gun’s (Lee Seung-gi) embarks on a dangerous investigation. One that will lead him down a dark road of corruption. A covert agent, Go Hae-ri (Bae Suzy) soon becomes part of his investigation.
11 The World Of The Married (2020): 8.3
Betrayal gets ugly in the K-drama, The World of the Married. The show is considered one of the highest-rated k-dramas to air on cable television in Korea and received a pretty high rating of an 8.3 from IMDb. The storyline for the show will have anyone hooked and wanting more.
A married couple’s betrayal of one another leads them down a dark and dangerous path of revenge, grief and acceptance. Ji Sun-woo (Kim Hee-ae) has a seemingly perfect life until she suspects her husband of having an affair. Coming to know the truth, her life crumbles as her husband breaks his vow.
10 Arthdal Chronicles (2019): 8.3
For those K-drama fans who like a bit of fantasy in an imaginary world, then Arthdal Chronicles is the best choice. Don’t believe it? The show received high rankings from IMDb of an 8.3. Taking place in a mythical land called Arth, a power struggle ensues in the magical city of Arthdal.
The main characters each have their fate that soon intertwine as the surrounding regions look to obtain power. The show holds fans’ intrigue as each character has their own hardships to overcome as the bigger picture comes to light.
9 Hotel Del Luna (2019): 8.3
Hotel Del Luna mixes drama, love and the other side in a well-received show. The Guest House of the Moon isn’t a run-of-the-mill hotel. Instead its a hotel for ghosts. The hotel caters to the dead who have unfinished business in the mortal world.
The hotel’s owner, Jang Man-wol (Lee Ji-eun) committed a sin and was forced to run the hotel. Jang makes a deal with a father for his son’s life in return for a fortune. The young man will come to run the hotel.
8 Kingdom (2019): 8.4
Kingdom is currently in the running for being the top K-drama on Netflix. The show was Netflix’s first original Korean series, and it received high regard with an 8.4 IMDb rating and a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In this political period drama, audiences follow the Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon). While investigating a mysterious plague, he uncovers a political conspiracy. A conspiracy that could lead to his father’s illness and a possible uprising from within the dynasty. Kingdom also interweaves a bit of the supernatural as the plague brings the dead back to life as blood-thirsty monsters.
7 Dinner Mate (2020): 8.5
Dinner Mate is for any hopeless romantic looking for a hopelessly romantic show. Love can show up in the most unexpected places. The show follows a young woman who is dealing with the aftermath of a bad breakup to a man she still loves. On the other end, a man has a painful first love.
They meet under coincidental circumstances in a cab. Going separate ways, fate has other ideas. The pair start to meet in unexpected situations and start to spark a romance.
6 The King: Eternal Monarch (2020): 8.5
The King: Eternal Monarch premiered in early 2020. While the series didn’t bode so well in Korea, it did well amongst American audiences and other Asian countries. In a distant world, Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) tries to breach the barrier from his world and modern-day South Korea.
His uncle assassinated his father and Lee Gon must go after him. He encounters a detective and become allies, maybe even more. All the while his uncle is amassing an army between parallel worlds.
5 Alice (2020): 8.8
Alice is for fans of science fiction, tied in with some drama and romance. The K-drama did incredibly well when it debuted, seeing as it took a unique spin on time travel. A police detective stumbles upon the existence of time travel while investigating a case.
He discovers that those from the future travel to the present time through a space called Alice. Knowing this secret, the detective struggles to keep order but soon meets a woman who died in the past. She holds the key to understanding time travel. Hidden in her story is a secret. Despite the show not being available on Netflix, it’s worth a watch.
4 Crash Landing On You (2019): 8.8
Since its debut, Crash Landing On You has received critical success in South Korea as the third highest-rated K-drama on cable television. It has also received high reviews after becoming available on Netflix. The storyline is unique and had fans watching every episode with glee.
A chaebol heiress goes paragliding and goes off course. She ends up in the forest in North Korea. She is found by Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bi), a reserved captain in the Korean People’s Army stationed in North Korea. If found together it can lead to turmoil. Along the way of getting her home, they soon start to fall in love.
3 Hospital Playlist (2020): 8.8
Hospital Playlist takes the highest ranking for K-dramas in 2020. The show has also been tagged as one of the highest-rated Korean shows to air on television, gaining mass success after its first season. The show can be referred to as the drama of Grey’s Anatomy but with the friendship of Friends.
The show follows the story of five doctors and nurses at a Korean hospital. Audiences follow their daily lives and experiences within the wards and halls of Yulje Medical Center. The five doctors and nurses have been friends since medical school starting back from 1999.
2 The Flower Of Evil (2020): 8.9
The Flower of Evil will have audiences on the edge of their seats in this crime drama thriller. The show’s title is appropriate seeing as it deals with public image hiding a dark reality. A seemingly perfect family to the public eye might not be so after all.
The husband has a bad secret that he keeps hidden from his wife, who’s a detective. When his wife is put on investigating a series of murders, she is forced to come to the possibility that her husband might not be as perfect as he seems.
1 It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (2020): 9.0
The Netflix show, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, became a hit sensation that received one of the highest rankings seen in a K-drama on IMDb. With a near-perfect score, the romantic television show is much more than what it seems.
A famous children’s book author lacks the ability to show or feel empathy. She soon meets a caretaker at a Psychiatric hospital who has no time to delve into love due to personal responsibilities. A woman who has never felt love and a man who has no time for it fall into an unusual romance. Underneath it all is a chilling tale of a monster from her childhood coming back to haunt her.
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