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Top 20 Highest Rating Korean Dramas of All Time

Written by Sera Serinda A

South Korean dramas are known for their engaging and emotional storylines, covering a wide range of themes from romance and power struggles to suspenseful terror. These series stand out for their deep plots and memorable characters, consistently enchanting viewers worldwide.

On this exploration, we'll take a closer look at some of the best Korean dramas ever, as selected by Bacaterus. Wondering which dramas made the list? Keep reading for an insightful review of each one!

Kim Bong Seok (Lee Jung Ha) embarks on his final year at Jeongwon High School, marking an exciting yet ordinary start. During a bus ride, he stumbles upon a new student, Jang Hui Soo (Go Youn Jung), who coincidentally is a new student in his class.

Initially, Bong Seok and Hui Soo are just a friend. However, their bond deepens when Hui Soo uncovers Joon Hwan's extraordinary secret. In an unexpected moment on the school's staircase, she witnesses Bong Seok levitating towards the ceiling. He reveals his unique ability to defy gravity whenever he feels embarrassed. Intriguingly, Hui Soo is not without her own mystical traits.

Hui Soo possesses remarkable physical strength and the ability to heal fast. Their class features another individual with extraordinary abilities. The class president, Lee Gang Hoo (Kim Do Hoon), exhibits both incredible speed and strength. The trio learns that these powers are inherited from their parents.

Jeongwon High School, while appearing to be a typical educational institution, is actually a covert training ground and research facility for students with supernatural abilities. In this hidden haven, Bong Seok, Hui Soo, Gang Hoo, and their families confront a series of formidable foes.

In the summer of 2004, Moon Dong Eun, a high school student, reports her friends who bullied her to the police station. They are Park Yeon Jin, Jeon Jae Jun, Choi Hye Jeong, Son Myeong O and Lee Sa Ra. However, her report is not taken seriously, and she is subjected to even more severe torture when she returns to school.

Yeon Jin, the mastermind behind the bullying, shows no guilt at all. In addition to physical torture, Dong Eun is also sexually harassed by Son Myeong O. The bullies continue their crimes even outside of school, making it impossible for Dong Eun to escape the torment.

Unable to endure it any longer, Dong Eun decides to quit school. But even after changing schools, her grudge against her bullies never fades away. She meticulously designs her revenge plan, and slowly begins to enter their environment to carry out her action.

The Glory is a Korean drama based on true events. It tells the story of a young girl's struggle against bullying and her quest for revenge. The drama has won several prestigious awards, including the Asian Academy Creative Awards and Baeksang Arts Awards in 2023 for Best Drama Series and Best Drama categories.

3. Move to Heaven

Year 2021
Genre
Director
Cast Lee Je Hoon Tang Jun Sang
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Han Geu Ru is a young boy living with Asperger's syndrome. He faces a significant change when his father, with whom he shares a unique business, passes away. This brings Cho Sang Gu, his uncle, into his life as a guardian. Sang Gu has just been released from prison and grudgingly accepted this role only for money.

Together, Han Geu Ru and his father founded 'Move to Heaven', a business dedicated to the sensitive task of collecting and tidying up the belongings of the deceased. These possessions often hold untold stories and unsent messages, which 'Move to Heaven' seeks to uncover and address.

Despite the loss of his father, Han Geu Ru persists in running the business, and Cho Sang Gu, despite his initial reluctance and complaints, joins him. Their relationship, initially strained, gradually evolves into a deep bond, marked by mutual care and understanding.

This moving Netflix original series, guaranteed to evoke tears, is inspired by real-life experiences, drawing from the non-fiction essay "Things Left Behind" by Kim Sae Byul. The story delicately explores themes of loss, connection, and the poignant messages left in the wake of those who have passed.

Unfolding in the 1980s in Korea, this drama tells the story of the intertwined lives of five childhood friends. They are a young woman, Sung Deok Sun (Lee Hyeri), and her four buddies: Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum), Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol), Sung Sun Woo (Go Kyung Pyo), and Ryu Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi).

These five live with their individual families in Ssangmun-dong, a district in the northern part of Seoul. Their families grapple with life's adversities when South Korea is struck by a financial crisis. Regardless of their diverse economic statuses and personalities, the bond among these five friends remains unbroken.

Reply 1988 doesn't just showcase the family dynamics and friendship among the main characters. It's got a sweet love twist, too. Deok Sun finds herself in a love tangle with her best friends. Jung Hwan has been secretly crushing on her, but Deok Sun's got eyes for Sun Woo. Where will their stories go? Will friendship turn into love? You'll have to watch to find out!

Set in the halls of Yulje Medical Center, this drama tells the story of five doctors, whose friendship has flourished since their college days. The group includes Lee Ik Jun (Jo Jung Suk), Ahn Jeong Won (Yoo Yeon Seok), Kim Jun Wan (Jung Kyung Ho), Yang Seok Hyung (Kim Dae Myung), and Chae Song Hwa (Jeon Mi Do), each excelling in different medical specialties - gastroenterology, pediatrics, cardiothoracic surgery, gynecology, and neurology.

Interestingly, their paths cross professionally as they all work at the same hospital. These friends share a passion for music, creating moments of joy amidst their hectic hospital routines by playing together in a band. They also cherish their time spent sharing meals, finding these simple gatherings a way to strengthen their friendship.

Each episode of the drama unfolds a slice of their daily life, showcasing how they take the challenges of patient care. The stories are heartwarming and joyful, often filled with touching moments. The drama is not just about the interactions between doctors and patients; it also gracefully weaves in sweet romantic subplots, adding another layer of depth to this engaging tale of friendship, music, and life in the medical world.

6. Crash Landing on You

Year 2019
Genre , ,
Director
Cast Hyun Bin Son Ye Jin Seo Ji Hye Kim Jung Hyun
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Yoon Se-Ri is a daughter from a wealthy conglomerate family in South Korea. She embarks on a leisurely paragliding trip one day. An unexpected gust of wind carries her far off course, landing her atop a large tree within the borders of North Korea.

In this foreign land, she is discovered by Ri Jeong Hyuk, a captain in the North Korean army. Initially, he mistakes her for a South Korean spy. However, as the truth unfolds, Ri Jeong Hyuk decides to help Se-Ri return to her home country. He enlists the help of his trusted associates in this risky endeavor to safely send back Se-Ri.

The journey to get Se-Ri back home is fraught with challenges and obstacles. Throughout this dangerous mission, a bond forms between Ri Jeong Hyuk and Yoon Se-Ri, evolving into deep, special feelings. Will Se-Ri manage to return to her previous life, or is she destined to remain in North Korea?

Starred by top South Korean actors Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin, this 16-episode drama captivates its audience with their compelling chemistry and earns high ratings. Its unique and intriguing storyline makes it an excellent drama recommendation for an entertaining weekend.

7. It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Year 2020
Genre ,
Director
Cast Kim Soo Hyun Seo Yea Ji Oh Jung Se
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Ko Moon Young (Seo Yea Ji) is a children's book author known for her anti-social personality disorder. She often comes across as rude, selfish, and arrogant. Her life changes when she meets Moon Gang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) a worker in the psychiatric ward of a community health center.

Moon Gang Tae is smart, good-looking, and really good at understanding how other people feel. This helps him a lot at his job where he meets patients with different mental health issues. Despite being so different, Moon Young and Gang Tae start to fall in love.

Gang Tae's patient and understanding nature often comes to Moon Young's aid when she faces difficulties. The plot thickens with the arrival of Gang Tae's older brother, Moon Sang Tae( Oh Jung Se). Despite his autism, Sang Tae is independent and strives to be a supportive brother to Gang Tae, even managing to work and earn his own income.

Beyond exploring the mental health challenges of its characters, the drama picks up themes of escaping past traumas. The characters deal with deep-seated issues, which they gradually learn to overcome with the support and patience of those closest to them. This journey of healing and understanding forms the heart of the story.

8. Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Year 2022
Genre
Director
Cast Park Eun Bin Kang Tae Oh
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Woo Young-woo is a young, talented lawyer who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. This condition makes her experience the world a bit differently than most people. She often finds herself feeling uncomfortable and distracted in busy or noisy environments. People sometimes underestimate her because of her unique challenges.

Despite these obstacles, Young-woo possesses an extraordinary intelligence and memory. These abilities enable her to brilliantly solve various legal cases she takes on.

This drama, with its fresh and original approach, has achieved high ratings not only in South Korea but also internationally. The show doesn't just focus on Young-woo's career as a lawyer; it also digd into her romantic life, keeping the audience intrigued. This drama comes highly recommended for its engaging and thoughtful portrayal of Young-woo's journey.

Park Joo Hyung (Song Joong Ki) is adopted by Don Fabio, an Italian mobster, and renamed Vincenzo Cassano. After a falling out with Fabio's biological son Paolo, Vincenzo decides to leave Italy and return to his birth country, Korea.

In Korea, Vincenzo's goal is not just to hide, but also to claim 1.5 tons of gold left by a Chinese tycoon who died under mysterious circumstances. This gold is hidden underneath a building known as Plaza Geumga. However, Vincenzo's plan hits a snag when the Babel Group, a real estate company, sets its sights on acquiring the same building.

Vincenzo finds himself in a strategic battle with the Babel Group, each side trying to outwit the other to take control of Geumga Plaza. It's during this conflict that he crosses paths with Hong Cha Young, a beautiful lawyer portrayed by Jeon Yeo Bin. Together, they form an alliance to take on the Babel Group.

This crime drama, laced with comedic elements, is full of unexpected plot twists. Can Vincenzo and Hong Cha Young successfully defend Geumga Plaza and secure the hidden gold?

Seong Ki Hoon, an unemployed widower with a penchant for gambling, finds himself in dire straits. One day, when he's feeling particularly low, he meets a mysterious man who offers him the chance to participate in a game with a huge cash prize.

Driven by his desperate circumstances, Ki Hoon decides to join the game, along with 455 other players. All of them are in the dark about their location, having been rendered unconscious before arriving at the game venue. Interestingly, they all share one common trait: they are heavily in debt and in dire need of money.

To Ki Hoon's surprise, among the participants is his childhood friend, Sang Woo, that is known for his success and education from a prestigious Korean university. However, Sang Woo seems out of place in this desperate setting. In the game, however, each player is an adversary, competing fiercely for the prize.

The game commences with what appears to be simple childhood games like marbles, tug of war, and others. But the reality is far more sinister – the cost of losing is one's life. Only one player will emerge victorious, surviving to claim the prize in this deadly game.

"Kingdom" is an exciting story about a mysterious potion made from a plant called the resurrection plant, which has the power to bring the dead back to life. The story takes place in Joseon, where the King has passed away from an illness.

Counselor Cho Hak Ju (Ryu Seng-ryong), the head of the State Council, doesn't want Prince Lee Chang (Ju Jih Oon) to take over the throne. To prevent this, he calls upon a trusted doctor, Lee Seung Hi (Kwom Bum-taek), to use a special treatment on the King.

The doctor uses a unique potion that can revive the dead. But this potion turns the King into a bloodthirsty monster. In a tragic twist, the King's blood infects a servant, whose body is then mistakenly served as food to a hungry village. This leads to a horrifying turn of events where the villagers who eat the meat become zombies.

Seo Bi (Bae Doo-na), a nurse at the royal clinic, discovers that her superior's experiment has caused a catastrophic zombie outbreak across Korea. She embarks on a desperate quest to find a cure for this terrifying epidemic.

12. The Penthouse: War in Life Season 1

Year 2020
Genre ,
Director ,
Cast Lee Ji Ah Kim So Yeon Eugene
More info →

This movie tells the story of people living in a luxurious 100-story apartment building, where rich and poor residents face their own challenges. The story mainly explores issues related to education in Korea and real estate.

The main characters are Shim Soo Ryeon (Lee Ji Ah), Cheon Seo Jin (Kim So Yeon), and Oh Yoon Hee (Eugene). Shim Soo Ryeon, known as the queen of the penthouse, comes from a wealthy family. Her husband, Joon Dan Tae (Uhm Ki Joon), is a successful real estate businessman.

On the other hand, Oh Yoon Hee comes from a less fortunate background. Despite her struggles, she is determined to give her daughter, Bae Ro Na, a good education and a chance to stand equal with the other residents of the apartment.

However, life is not easy for Bae Ro Na, as she faces unfair treatment due to her background. Her talents and intelligence often seem insignificant compared to the children of the rich, who have the advantage of money and connections. The drama also digs deeper into the cutthroat competition in education, along with other issues like infidelity and criminal activities.

13. Dr. Romantic

Year 2016
Genre , ,
Director
Cast Han Suk Kyu Yoo Yeon Seok Seo Hyun Jin
More info →

Kim Sa Bu (Han Suk Kyu) is a highly skilled surgeon at a major hospital in Seoul. However, he shocks everyone by abruptly quitting at the height of his career. He moves to a small, modestly equipped hospital in a quiet town, Doldam Hospital.

At Doldam Hospital, he is affectionately known as Teacher Kim and quickly settles into his new life. There, he works with enthusiastic young interns, including Kang Dong Joo (Yoo Yeon Sook) and Yoon Seo Jung (Seo Hyun Jin).

Initially, Teacher Kim's strict and unusual ways are a mystery to the interns. However, they soon begin to learn invaluable lessons from him. Life at Doldam Hospital is never dull, filled with challenges ranging from internal staff issues to complex patient cases. Teacher Kim, with his unique and sometimes unconventional approach, manages to resolve these challenges effectively.

"Dr. Romantic" is more than just a medical drama; it's a story that imparts important life lessons and offers motivation, making it a perfect watch for those seeking inspiration.

14. Strong Woman Do Bong-soon

Year 2017
Genre , ,
Director
Cast Park Bo Young Park Hyung Sik Ji Soo
More info →

Do Bong Soon is a young woman with superhero-like powers, a special gift that runs in her family and is passed down only to the women. She has kept her powers a secret, even from In Guk Doo, her close friend and crush.

After a long period of unemployment, Bong Soon lands a job as a bodyguard for Ahn Min Hyuk, the CEO of a gaming company. Min Hyuk, who is being pursued by mysterious individuals, feels threatened and hires her after seeing her extraordinary abilities. He chose Bong Soon to be his personal protector.

As they spend time together, Min Hyuk begins to develop feelings for Bong Soon. However, Bong Soon has feelings for Guk Doo, a police officer. This creates a complicated love triangle between them.

Meanwhile, a series of murders is terrorizing Bong Soon's neighborhood. Guk Doo, leading the investigation, is concerned for Bong Soon's safety as she becomes a crucial witness in the case. How will Bong Soon's love story resolve? And can they catch the frightening serial killer? Be sure to catch the thrilling events of the movie soon!

15. The World of the Married

Year 2020
Genre
Director ,
Cast Kim Hee Ae Park Hae Joon Han So Hee
More info →

Ji Sun Woo is a successful doctor and the associate director at Family Love Hospital. She seems to have it all: an impressive career, a loving husband, Lee Tae Oh, and a charming son, Lee Joon Young. Sun Woo's life appears to be the picture of perfection.

However, beneath the surface, Sun Woo's perfect world is far from it. Without her knowing, her husband is involved in an affair with another woman named Yeo Da Kyung. What's worse, this affair isn't a secret to those close to them, and Da Kyung is familiar to Sun Woo.

The situation reaches a breaking point when Da Kyung becomes pregnant. Sun Woo confronts the reality by informing Da Kyung's parents about the affair between her husband and Da Kyung. The story then unfolds around the complicated relationships of Sun Woo, Tae Oh, and Da Kyung, leaving us to wonder who the real victim is.

This drama, centered on the theme of infidelity, has risen to become one of the most talked-about worldwide. Featuring the esteemed actor Kim Hee Ae, it has also marked a significant milestone in the careers of Park Hae Joon and Han So Hee, catapulting them to new heights of fame.

16. Descendants of the Sun

Year 2016
Genre ,
Director ,
Cast Song Hye Kyo Song Jong Ki Jin Goo Kim Ji Won
More info →

Kang Mo Yeon is a talented and stunning doctor at Hae Sung Hospital, and Yoo Si Jin, is a dedicated captain in the Korean army. They find their paths crossing due to a mix-up until this unexpected meeting leads to a budding romance. However, their demanding jobs as a doctor and a soldier make dating a challenge, and their relationship hits a rough patch.

Things take a turn when Kang Mo Yeon is assigned to work as a volunteer doctor in a place called Urk, a decision made by her hospital director as a form of retaliation after she spurns his romantic advances. As luck would have it, she finds herself in Urk with Yoo Si Jin, who is stationed there to ensure security.

Their reunion is soon overshadowed by a catastrophic earthquake that strikes the area, leaving many in need. In the face of this disaster, the teams of doctors and soldiers, including Mo Yeon and Si Jin, come together to aid the victims. Amidst the chaos, Mo Yeon and Si Jin find their relationship rekindling.

This drama, starring the popular Korean actors Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki, has quickly become a fan favorite, drawing in viewers with its high ratings. Each episode delivers a perfect mix of emotional depth, humor, and romantic moments, attracting audiences and keeping them eagerly awaiting the next twist in the story.

17. Itaewon Class

Year 2020
Genre ,
Director
Cast Park Seo Joon Kim Da Mi Yoo Jae Myung Kwon Na Ra
More info →

In this drama, we meet Park Sae Royi (Park Seo Joon), a determined young man on a mission to build a successful business from the ground up. His journey starts with lessons from his father, a hardworking employee in a large food company. Sae Royi's dad not only shares his business wisdom but also instills values of persistence and honesty in him.

Tragedy strikes when Sae Royi confronts his classmate, Jang Geun Wo (Ahn Bo Hyun), the son of Jang Dae Hee (Yoo Jae Myung), the CEO of his father's company. After Sae Royi punches Geun Wo, his father loses his job and later dies in a mysterious accident, which turns out to be caused by Geun Wo.

Feeling the weight of injustice, Sae Royi wants to take revenge. He aims to bring down Geun Wo and his father's company. After serving time in prison for the fight, Sae Royi opens a restaurant in Itaewon. With a clever business plan and a dedicated team, his restaurant quickly becomes a hit on social media.

However, running a business is full of challenges. Sae Royi faces a major crisis and must think on his feet. He discovers that his biggest competitor is none other than the company that wronged his family. Fueled by a desire for justice and armed with the support of his loyal friends, Sae Royi fights to make his business a success, standing up against the giant that once crushed his dreams.

"Healer" revolves around a night courier, Seo Jung Hoo (Ji Chang Wook), known by his alias, Healer. He's no ordinary courier, as he often undertakes risky and challenging tasks for his clients.

Healer is skilled in combat and disguise, allowing him to complete his assignments flawlessly without leaving any evidence behind. His life takes a dramatic turn with a particular mission that requires him to investigate a reporter, Chae Young Shin (Park Min Young).

This task leads Healer to a discovery about an incident from the past involving his biological parents. The nature of this incident and Healer's response form the crux of the story, which can be uncovered by watching the entire series.

Despite its action and mystery, Healer also weaves a romantic subplot into its narrative. The performances of the actors, particularly Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young, are amazing. Their chemistry was so remarkable that they won the Best Couple award at the 4th Annual Drama Fever Awards for their roles in this drama.

19. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Year 2016
Genre , ,
Director
Cast Lee Joon Gi Lee Ji Eun Kang Ha Neul
More info →

While trying to save a child from drowning in a lake, Go Ha Jin (IU) finds herself swept away. When she wakes up, she's in the Goryeo dynasty, in the body of a 16-year-old girl named Hae Soo. It seems she has time-traveled to the past.

In this ancient kingdom, she meets several handsome young princes, some of whom develop feelings for Hae Soo. Among them is the kind 8th prince, Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul). However, there is also the cold and mysterious 4th prince, Wang So (Lee Joon Ki).

Despite initial awkwardness, Hae Soo's warmth gradually endears her to prince Wang So, who becomes smitten and wishes to marry her. Which prince will Hae Soo choose to marry? And can Hae Soo, who is actually Go Ha Jin from another time, find her way back to her own era?

This drama, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, isn't just about a princess and her princes. It's also filled with exciting battles for the throne, including thrilling fights and clever political moves in the kingdom.

20. Business Proposal

Year 2022
Genre , ,
Director
Cast Ahn Hyo Seop Kim Se Jeong Kim Min Gue Seol In Ah
More info →

One day, Shin Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) agrees to help her best friend, Jin Young Seo (Seol In Ah), who wants to avoid a blind date arranged by her family. For a substantial sum of money, Ha Ri decides to impersonate Young Seo and intentionally acts like an arrogant, outspoken woman on the date.

She meets a handsome man, Kang Tae Mu (Ahn Hyo Seop), on the blind date. Surprisingly, Tae Mu finds himself drawn to Ha Ri, admiring her frank and honest behaviour. Realizing the situation is not going as planned, Ha Ri decides to leave the date abruptly.

The next day, Ha Ri is shocked to encounter Kang Tae Mu again, this time at her office. To her greater surprise, she learns that Tae Mu is her new boss, recently returned to Korea to head the company. Eventually, Tae Mu discovers that Ha Ri is actually his employee, not Young Seo as he initially thought.

Contrary to expectations, Tae Mu is not upset by this revelation. In fact, he grows to like Ha Ri, recognizing her intelligence and talent at work. From this unusual beginning, a romantic connection starts to develop between them. Will their love story flourish smoothly?

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