WE MADE IT! It took me a half of a year BUT I now have released lists of my all-time favorite dramas from every country. So, you want to look back on my others lists, you can read the Jdramas (here), Cdramas (here), Thai Dramas (here), Tdramas (here) and BL genre (here). I saved Korean dramas for the last list because I knew it would be the hardest list to make. I have been watching kdramas the longest and there is just so many good ones to choose from. I am still debating as I write this if I like how my list is now. 😂
I have been watching Kdramas for over 15 years now and a lot has changed in those years. I tried to give a mix of genres on this list. I didn't want a list of just crime dramas even though I could have easily done that. I definitely also had to have an honorable mentions section for this list because as I said, there was just so many good kdramas to choose from.
As per usual, a few ground rules, these lists will be in no particular order or genre. It is just my favorite dramas from this particular Asian country. I have to had completed the drama for it to be on this list. If your favorites are not on my list, doesn't mean I didn't like them, I honestly just had to be ruthless with this list. If you want me to watch some of your favorite Kdramas - let me know what I should watch.
I honestly don't think there will be a crime Kdrama that beats this crime drama for me. There are many that are close to it but nothing has surpassed it. I am very specific when I talk about the Voice franchise. Season 1, by far, is the best season in my opinion. Season 2 is good as well but going from there it just goes downhill. I have not had access to Season 3 until recently so, I have not watched Season 3 and I don't think I even finished Season 4. Season 1 is the gold standard for me when it comes to the Voice Franchise and crime dramas in general. Kim Jae Wook as the villain is still, to this day, my favorite villain I have ever watched in a crime drama. I mention this below but ever since I finished Voice Season 1, I have been wanting Kim Jae Wook in another villain role and we finally got that in Death's Game this year. I need him more as villain but we know how much this villain role affected him so, we will have to wait and see. There is a lot of nostalgia for this drama for me and it remains one of my favorite crime dramas ever.
I don't think people will be surprised that Stranger is one of my favorite Korean dramas of all-time. People who have seen, at least Season 1, I think will say it makes sense that this is an all time favorite Korean drama because a lot of people love this crime drama. We love the dynamic of Bae Doo Na and Cho Seung Woo as a duo. We love to see them working together and fighting against corruption. I loved seeing Cho Seung Woo's character get out of his comfort zone and expand his viewpoints and experiences through his relationship with Bae Doo Na's character. This is one of the few times with dramas where I wanted a duo who had no romantic storyline to become a couple because their chemistry was so good. I could talk for hours about them as a duo. People who love this drama will also agree that there is some appeal to Lee Joon Hyuk's character which is why we are getting a spinoff of his character now in 2024. I will say that I loved Season 1 more than Season 2 but I still like Season 2 a lot.
I remember when I first watched this drama, it BLEW ME AWAY with its twists and turns. I never could predict some of twists of this drama. I loved our cop duo. I loved the progression of their relationship. I also liked how intertwined the lives of the characters became after everything was revealed because you just could not predict that. I rooted the entire time for Choi Jin Hyuk's character to get back to his wife and everything to work out. I also was a huge fan of any OCN drama (I still am) so, I might be a little bias because OCN was one of my favorite networks when it existed. I am so sad that OCN has pretty much stopped making kdramas now.
Now, this drama probably isn't the best drama out there nowadays but this is like the second Kdrama I ever watched. It has a lot of nostalgia for me. It is one of the few dramas I have rewatched and I have rewatched this MULTIPLE times. I just remember being blown away with this drama. I loved how epic the romances seemed. I loved the fantasy parts of the story. I loved how horrible the villain was. I was INVESTED in this drama. This was the Korean drama that made me love the palace shenanigans in dramas. This will forever be one of my favorite Korean dramas of all time.
Correct me if I am wrong but Kingdom was one of the first Netflix produced Kdramas. In my opinion, it started the Netflix influence in Kdramas and there was really nothing like it when Season 1 aired. I just remember watching this drama in awe when Season 1 got released. It was like nothing I had watched in Kdramaland before and I loved every second of it. I have found that I have root for duos in dramas who aren't a couple. We don't know when Season 3 will be released but there is still hope that Ju Ji Hoon and Bae Doo Na will become a couple at some point BECAUSE THEIR CHEMISTRY IS SO GOOD! I just can't say enough good things about this drama because it was just something so unique about it when it aired. There is a reason why peo0ple are still talking about this drama and pleading for Season 3 of this drama.
Now, we have a couple of more recent Kdramas that have made my favorites of all time. I know a lot of people did not watch Oasis. You know that is okay because Oasis might not be everyone's cup of tea. I think Oasis shot up my list of favorites kdramas to make this list for two reasons. One reason is that I might be a little bias and that is Jang Dong Yoon is in this drama. I adore him as an actor. Not just him but the entire cast did an amazing acting job in this drama. Some of the best acting I watched in 2023. Another reason why I think I adore this drama is because what I predicted would happen with the story actually happened. I wanted it to become a revenge Count of Monte Cristo situation AND IT DID! I was so happy it did.
I won't talk about this drama too much. I released a podcast review for this Korean Drama so, you can go listen to that episodes and hear all the reasons why I loved this drama. This is another drama that blew me away because the story was something I had never seen before in Kdramaland. I did not read the webtoon so, I really did not know what I was getting myself into. I loved the huge cast. I thought the acting was excellent. I loved the messages that the drama conveyed through their story. It just had a big impact on me.
We know my love for Jang Dong Yoon. I mean 2 of his drama are in this list. This drama is the drama that made me fall in love with him and his acting. I had seen him in other stuff prior to this airing but there was just something special about this drama. I think these roles are some of favorites not only from Jang Dong Yoon but also Kim So Hyun and Kang Tae Oh as well. It had a little bit of everything when it came to genre from romance to comedy to historical intrigue. I rooted for the good guys to stay together and to win at the end and wanted the bad guys to perish. I was shocked by the twists in the story because I never saw them coming. I just was so invested in this main couple and needed them to be happy at the end. I think I liked this drama a lot because it took a few of those tropes and turned them on their head, for example having the cross-dressing trope but the male is the one cross dressing as a woman. THAT WORKED IN THIS DRAMA! It was just so well acted and the story did not lag. I just have a lot of love for this drama.
I only have Season 1 of this list because I have not seen season 2. Now, normally I probably would not have this on my list because I have not seen Season 2 (like with another Kdrama that is in the honorable mentions) BUT Missing the Other Side Season 1 just had a huge impact on me that it needed to be here. The cast in this drama acted their butts off in this drama. This drama introduced me to Ha Joon. I became VERY ATTACHED to the characters. I loved learning about the characters and their back stories. I loved the messages that were told through this drama. I experienced all of the emotions with this drama. I cried buckets. I was so sad when Season 1 ended. I really do need to go and watch Season 2.
If you have not seen this Korean drama and appreciate good acting - RUN, don't walk AND GO WATCH THIS DRAMA! Yeo Jin Goo is on another level with this drama. His acting in this drama WAS AMAZING! You could not tell that 2 completely different characters were being acted by the same actor. This was a roller coaster of a story where I really did not think everything was going to be okay by the end of the drama. You feel all of the emotions. You cheer and then cry and then get filled with rage with some of these characters. It still is one of my favorite historical dramas OF ALL TIME and there are many reasons why it is on this list now.
This was one of my favorite dramas I watched in 2022. I have not read the book so; I didn't know a lot going into the drama. I went into it knowing the acting would be good because I loved the cast. It just was on another level. The story was epic. The cinematography was beautiful. The acting was on another level and introduced to me to some new actors/actresses who I love now. I can't wait for Season2 to come out. I think this is on my honorable mentions only because cuts had to be made but I wanted to include it nonetheless.
I WAS OBSESSED WITH THIS DRAMA WHEN IT AIRED! I remember surprising a lot of people with how much I loved this drama. 😂 Same as Pachinko, the only reason this is in the honorable mentions is because cuts needed to be made. This is one of my favorite Korean rom-coms. My love started for this drama even before it aired because it has an ICONIC lead couple photoshoot. It was the perfect balance of comedy and romance. I loved the fantasy parts of this drama. I thought our lead couple had AMAZING chemistry and rooted for them the entire time. I was VERY invested in the leads with this drama.
I feel like this drama needs more love. This drama is in the honorable mentions because again, cuts needed to be made. I LOVED the lead couple with this drama. I think it was a drama that was more of the quiet side which made people skip over it a bit. It also aired in a time when a lot of romance had murder in the plot so, a lot of people skipped it because this also has murder as part of the story. We know how much I love that so, that did not bother me with this drama. I loved all of the snow/winter scenes with this drama. It had a good mix of genres and never got boring for me. I love when leads can support each other and they are better together because of that.
Two reasons why this drama is in my honorable mentions. One, cuts needed to be made. Two, I have not watched Season2 and I think this is a kdrama where I need to watch Season 2 to determine if the drama as a whole should be my all-time favorite or was it just the magic of Season 1 that I loved. I think Queen of Mystery is a crime drama that not a lot of people have seen. I am a huge fan of this drama because it reminds me of Murder, She Wrote. I LOVE MURDER SHE WROTE! I am a sucker for crime dramas where normal people solve crimes. This is another duo that had great chemistry but no romance between them.
The only reason why this movie franchise is not in my list is because they are movies and not dramas. I NEED PART 3 & 4 OF THIS MOVIE FRANCHISE! I remember when I first watched these movies and how epic and large scale they were. I was so impressed by these movies. The story just grips you right away. The acting is AMAZING! The CGI was something I had never seen before. This movie franchise was just so different and unique to anything I had seen before. I just needed to mention this franchise because if you have not seen these movies - GO WATCH THEM!
Making this list has made me want to go and rewatch some of my favorite scenes from these kdramas. I love that there are so many Kdramas I have not checked out and I have been watching Kdramas for this long. I have so many on that list I still need to get too. I am sure that is a regular problem for everyone who watches Asian Dramas, of course.
ANYWAY - THAT IS THE LIST! THAT IS MY LIST OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE KOREAN DRAMAS THAT I HAVE SEEN! I needed an honorable mentions section for the Kdrama because it was just too hard to stick to a certain number.
Did some of your favorite Korean dramas make the list? What are some of your favorites that are not on the list that I should check out? What on the list have you seen? What on the list have you not seen but are now going to check out? What Kdramas are some of your all-time favorite kdramas?
NOSLEEP4DRAMAS now has a podcast as well. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts right now.
WE NOW ALSO HAVE A DISCORD SO TALK TO US ON THERE AS WELL
I JUST OPENED A KO-FI PAGEFOR THE BLOG!
Donating is optional. Anything is appreciated.
All donations will go back into the blog ONE OF THE PERKS IS YOU CAN DONATE WITH A REQUEST FOR A DRAMA THAT I WILL WATCH AND THEN WRITE A FINAL REVIEW ON FOR THE BLOG!