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10 Best Korean Dramas of All Time

By Suhas Prasad

Our 10 Best Korean Dramas of All Time is a curated collection of the must-watch Korean dramas that includes all types of genre. Korean Dramas are so meaningful and are really close to our daily events of life. 

After a long and stressful day at work, the best way to de-stress yourself is by binge-watching Korean dramas sitting comfortably on your couch. The top 10 Korean movies listed below will for sure, make you addicted and is one of the best ways to spend quality two to three hours of entertainment time. If you don’t want to spend time on entertainment, you can always spend time on your wellness.

We, At Smart Daily Journal, have ranked the top 10 Korean dramas based on Ratings, No. of Views and By the overall entertainment quotient that we may be influenced with after watching the drama. These 10 best Korean dramas of all time are packed with the best screenplay and sharp storytelling.

10 Best Korean Dramas of All Time List:

  1. Descendants of Sun
  2. Legend of the Blue Sea
  3. Crash Landing On You 
  4. Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
  5. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
  6. W
  7. My Love From The Star
  8. While You Were Sleeping
  9. Oh My Venus
  10. Coffee Prince

1. Descendants of Sun: (Korean: 태양의 후예)

Descendants of Sun is a famous romantic action Korean drama that was released in the year 2016. The drama has bagged several awards such as Grand Prize in television [At, 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards], Was named as the Most Popular Show of the Year [By, Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation] & Etc.

Details of Descendants of Sun Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance / MeloDrama / Action 
  • Cast: Song Joong-ki (Hero), Song Hye-kyo (Heroine), Kim Ji-Won, Jin Goo
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.4 / 10
  • Director: Lee Eung-bok & Baek Sang-hoon
  • Writer: Kim Eun-sook & Kim Won-seok

Descendants of Sun – Korean Drama Brief:

In the Korean drama, Descendants of Sun – Song Joong-ki (Hero) is seen as the captain of a South Korean Special Forces unit. While they are away from the duty, he and his friend Sergeant Major Jin Goo come across a young man robbing a motorcycle and they start chasing him. After a long chase, they capture the thief in an injured state. The Injured thief is then admitted to the hospital. 

In the hospital, Song Joong-ki meets Doctor Song Hye-kyo (Heroine) and immediately falls in love at first sight. However, Song Hye-kyo mistakes Song Joong-ki to be associated with the thief because of his nickname “Big Boss”. Song Hye-kyo proves his real identity with the help of an army doctor. A love story begins.   

Their dates get interrupted halfway as Song Joong-ki would be called for duty and would be deployed on a peacekeeping mission. 

When they meet again after the mission, they break up due to the opposite nature of work – Song Joong-ki being an Army Officer – Kills People, Song Hye-kyo being a Doctor – Saves People. 

After Eight Months, They unite in a mission and understand each other very well. They continue a happy relationship until Song Joong-ki is sent on another mission. In the mission, Song Joong-ki disappears and is assumed dead. Watch the Descendants of Sun – Korean drama here to know more. 

2. Legend of the Blue Sea  (In Korean: 푸른 바다의 전설)

Legend of the Blue Sea is one of the best Korean Dramas of All Time that was released in the year 2016 – 17. The drama is based on an unofficial historical tales about a fisherman. The Actors (Lee Min-ho & Jun Ji-hyun) bagged the Best Couple award in the year 2016 for their outstanding performance.

Details of Legend of the Blue Sea Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Comedy
  • Cast: Lee Min-ho (Hero) & Jun Ji-hyun (Heroine)
  • Viki Rating: 9.6 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.1 / 10
  • Director: Jin Hyuk, Park Seon-Ho
  • Writer: Park Ji-eun

Legend of the Blue Sea – Best Korean Drama With Romance Brief:

The screenplay of the Korean drama – Legend of the Blue Sea rolls between the past – Joseon era and the present – Modern era.  The Joseon era is the base to understand the back story of the characters in the modern era. Legend of the Blue Sea focusses mainly on the Re-Birth and one-sided love.

In the Joseon Era of Korean Drama, 

A mermaid saves the life of a nobleman’s son. After the incident, the nobleman’s son and the mermaid fall in love with each other. The love breaks apart due to a forceful arranged marriage of nobleman’s son. Devasted by the news, the mermaid decides to forget the love story. While the nobleman’s son is unhappy being away from the mermaid decides to deep dive into the ocean to find and reunite with the mermaid.

The dejected mermaid saves the life of the nobleman’s son again and erases the memory of their love from his head. 

After years of separation, they cross paths again. The mermaid would be caught in the cave after a heavy storm. The mermaid would be brought in front of the nobleman’s son – Who would now be the town official. Without knowing who it is, he frees up the mermaid and ensures that the mermaid reaches back into the ocean.

With this act, the nobleman’s son attracts the anger of the town head and its people who had a bad intention to make use of mermaid for their benefit. After a few attacks, the nobleman’s son dies in the hands of the mermaid. With intolerable pain of losing the loved one, the mermaid stabs herself to death. The boat sinks along with the jadeite bracelet that mermaid had earlier gifted to the nobleman’s son.

In the Modern Era of Korean Drama,

Lee Min-ho (Hero) is the son of divorced parents. After the divorce of parents,  Lee Min-ho’s father would have got the right of taking care of him. Being unhappy with the parent’s divorce, Lee Min-ho starts searching for his mother in the city of Seoul.  While in search of his mother, he would become a con-artist for his livelihood. By his looks and skills in hypnotism, he scams his mentor and a computer hacking genius.

Using the money of his scams, he flies to the city of Spain where he meets Jun Ji-hyun  (Heroine) – The mermaid in human form. Lee Min-ho saves Jun Ji-hyun from police being curious about the jadeite bracelet on her arm. While in Spain, he along with Jun Ji-hyun would be chased by a gunman of a businessman who would once be a scapegoat to Lee Min-ho’s scams.

During the chase, both would be cornered on the cliff facing the sea. With no option left,  they jump into the sea. Jun Ji-hyun being a mermaid saves him and kisses him to forget everything that has happened in Spain. She also promises herself to follow him to Seoul. In the meantime, Lee Min-ho reaches Seoul without any memories of the girl with a jadeite bracelet.

After months of traveling,  Jun Ji-hyun reaches Seoul. Watch the Legend of the Blue Sea – Korean Drama here to know more about what happens once they meet in Seoul.

3. Crash Landing On You (In Korean: 사랑의 불시착)

Crash Landing On You is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in the cable television history that was released in the year 2019 – 20. It is a romantic Korean drama directed by Lee Jeong-hyo. It is also known as Crash Landing of Love, Emergency Love Landing & Love’s Crash Landing.

Details of Crash Landing On You Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance
  • Cast: Hyun Bin (Hero), Son Ye-jin (Heroine), Kim Jung-hyun, Seo Ji-hye
  • IMDB Rating: 8.9 / 10
  • Director: Lee Jeong-hyo
  • Writer: Park Ji-eun

Crash Landing – Top Romantic Korean Drama Brief:

In the Korean drama – Crash Landing, Son Ye-jin (Heroine) is a business woman of South Korea – who accidentally lands in the North Korean demilitarized zone while paragliding through the air. Hyun Bin (Hero) – A North Korean army officer finds her. Assuming her to be a spy from South Korea, he arrests her. Son Ye-jin tries to explain that she has been accidentally landed on to the North Korean DMZ and she is not a spy. After repeated pleading, Hyun Bin understands that she is not a spy and he would agree to help her to return back. 

He finds multiple ways in which she can be sent to South Korea. After repeated failures, he finds an amazing way in which she could be returned to South Korea. Being successful in the attempt, Son Ye-jin returns back to South Korea. However, Hyun Bin realizes that his higher authority officer has developed a grudge on Son Ye-jin during her stay in North Korea. 

Watch One of the best Korean Drama of All Time – Crash Landing here to know-how Hyun Bin saves the life of Son Ye-jin and how they fall in love with each other.

4. Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (In Korean: 쓸쓸하고 찬란하신 – 도깨비)

Goblin also known as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God is the best Korean drama movie that was released in the year 2016 – 17. The Goblin Kdrama has bagged several awards such as Best Drama [At, 11th Korean Cable TV Awards], Best Drama [At, 10th Korea Drama Awards], Best OST Award [At, 9th Melon Music Awards, 32nd Golden Disc Awards & 27th Seoul Music Awards] & Etc. 

Guardian the lonely and great god Korean drama is created by Studio Dragon and directed by Lee Eung-bok (Ep. 1-16), Kwon Hyuk-chan (Ep. 5-16) & Yoon Jong-ho (Ep. 3-16).

Details of Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Drama
  • Cast:Gong Yoo (Hero), Kim Go-eun (Heroine), Lee Dong-wook (2nd Hero), Yoo In-na (2nd Heroine)
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 9.0 / 10
  • Writer: Kim Eun-sook

Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Romantic Korean Drama Brief:

900 years ago, the hero Gong Yoo would be a military officer in the Goryeo Dynasty. He was framed as a traitor by the young king who was not in good terms. Hence, the Young King traits to get Gong Yoo killed by piercing his chest in his own sword!

However, his soul remains immortal due to the curse of the almighty. Because of the malicious killing of people in the war in order to protect his country, he would have got the curse – of being immortal and suffering the pain of seeing the loved ones die

While being immortal Goblin, he would be helping others with his powers amidst deep grief.

His soul could be made mortal by removing the stabbed sword from his chest only by the Goblin bride. Hence, he has been living for ages in search of the bride who can see the stabbed sword to remove and make him attain peace.

While in search, there occurs an incident where Lee Dong-wook – Gong Yoo’s nephew leases out the Gong Yoo’s property to Kim Go-eun who would be working in a chicken shop owned by Yoo In-na. 

Watch the Korean drama – Goblin here to know-how Kim Go-eun would help Gong Yoo from his grief and help him become immortal by removing the sword.

5. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? (In Korean: 김비서가 왜 그럴까)

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? is a  popular & one of the highest-rated Korean dramas that were released in the year 2018. The drama is based on the novel of the same name written by Jung Kyung-yoon and published in the year 2013. Park Min-young – The Heroine of the film bagged K-Star Award, Actress[At, 6th APAN Star Awards], Best Actress of the Year [At, 14th Annual Soompi Awards] &, etc for her outstanding performance.

Details of What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Romance
  • Cast: Park Seo-joon (Hero) & Park Min-young  (Heroine)
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.1 / 10
  • Director: Park Joon-hwa
  • Writer: Jung Eun-young

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Mystery RomCom Korean Drama Brief:

In the drama, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim – Park Seo-joon (Hero) is a Vice President for one of the major and reputed corporations. Park Min-young (Heroine) joins as a secretary to Park Seo-joon. 

Park Seo-joon continues working as a secretary to Park Seo-joon for a period of 9 years and then decides to put down her resignation.

Park Seo-joon tries his best to retain Park Min-young. Watch What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Korean Drama here to know what happens and how Park Seo-joon would retain Park Min-young.

6. W (In Korean: 더블유)

W is one of the top Korean dramas that was released in the year 2016. It is based on the concept of a war between the two worlds i.e the real world and the alternate universe – Webtoon world. The drama has bagged multiple awards such as Outstanding Korean Drama [At, Seoul International Drama Awards – 2017], Drama of the Year [At, 36th MBC Drama Awards – 2016], Korean Wave Program Excellence Prize [At, Korea Communications Commission Broadcasting Awards – 2017] and etc. 

Details of W Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Fantasy
  • Cast: Lee Jong-suk (Hero) & Han Hyo-joo (Heroine)
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.1 / 10
  • Director:  Jung Dae-yoon
  • Writer: Song Jae-jung

W Thriller Romantic Korean Drama Brief:

In the drama, W – Lee Jong-suk (Hero) enacts the role of a shooter. He becomes famous after he wins a Gold Medal in the Athens Olympics. However, his fame comes to an end after a mysterious and unsolved murder of his family members for which he becomes an accused. The situation would be taken as an advantage by the Villain and he would do everything to punish him with a death penalty. However, Lee Jong-suk would be proved innocent.

After ten years, he would become a multi-millionaire and start “Project W” in order to catch hold of the culprit responsible for his family members’ death. Watch W here to know how Lee Jong-suk would find the culprit and what happens next.

7. My Love From The Star (In Korean: 별에서 온 그대)

My Love From The Star also known as You Who Came from the Stars is a top romantic Korean drama that was released in the year 2013. My Love From The Star is about an alien man who lands on earth in the Joseon Era and 400 years later, marries a top actress in the modern era. 

Details of My Love From The Star Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance, Fantasy
  • Cast: Jun Ji-hyun (Heroine), Kim Soo-hyun (Hero), Park Hae-jin & Yoo In-na
  • Viki Rating: 9.6 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.3 / 10
  • Director: Jang Tae-yoo
  • Writer: Park Ji-eun

My Love From The Star – Fantasy Romantic Korean Drama Brief:

Before 400 Years,

In the Korean drama My Love From The Star, Kim Soo-hyun (Hero) – is an alien – who lands on the earth in the  Joseon Era. He would miss his trip back to his planet and is stranded on earth for the next 400 years while trying to save a girl from falling off from the mountain cliff. He would have cynical views on humans and his handsome appearance would never fade with age.

In the current era,

Kim Soo-hyun, would be a teacher – who would be eagerly waiting for the completion of 3 months on earth to return back to his planet. During this time period, he meets the famous Hallyu actress – Jun Ji-hyun (Heroine). Over a course of time, he would realize that the actress resembles his lover, with whom he fell in love 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty. 

What happens next? Will Kim Soo-hyun return back to his planet? Watch the best suspense thriller romantic Korean drama today to know more! Sorry, I don’t want to be a spoilt sport by telling you the entire story!

8. While You Were Sleeping (In Korean: 당신이 잠든 사이에)

While You Were Sleeping is one of the must-watch romantic Korean dramas that was released in the year 2017. While You Were Sleeping is about three young adults viz, a prosecutor, a field reporter, and a police officer – who would be powered with the ability to foresee the future. The drama has bagged several awards including Top Excellence Award for Korean Drama [At, 13th Seoul International Drama Awards], Drama Category [At, Korea First Brand Awards] and etc.

Details of While You Were Sleeping Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance, Legal Drama
  • Cast: Lee Jong-suk, Bae Suzy, Jung Hae-in, Lee Sang-yeob and Ko Sung-hee
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 6.7 / 10
  • Director: Oh Choong-hwan
  • Writer: Park Hye-ryun

9. Oh My Venus (In Korean: 오 마이 비너스)

Oh My Venus is one of the best romantic Korean dramas that was released in the year 2015. The Actors (So Ji-sub & Shin Min-a) bagged the Best Couple award at KBS Drama Awards in the year 2015 for their splendid performance in the drama.

Details of Oh My Venus Korean Drama:

  • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Physical Fitness
  • Cast: So Ji-sub (Hero) &  Shin Min-a (Heroine)
  • Viki Rating: 9.7 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 7.9 / 10
  • Director: Kim Hyung-suk
  • Writer: Kim Eun-ji

Oh My Venus – Fitness Based Romantic Korean Drama Brief:

In the drama, Oh My Venus – So Ji-sub (Hero) is a personal fitness trainer for Hollywood stars. So Ji-sub, would be a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle and fitness is the only way in which a person could survive on this earth. 

So Ji-sub gets entangled in a scandal in the US which makes him aboard a flight back to Korea. While in flight, Shin Min-a (Heroine) – A 33-year-old lawyer – An overweight woman passes out. With no other medical practitioner in the flight, So Ji-sub takes care of Shin Min-a. He continues to take care of her even after they arrive in Korea.

Shin Min-a, being recently had a break up decides to get over that by focussing on becoming lean. Hence, she decides to blackmail So Ji-sub so that he would accept to train her and would be looking for his weakness to encash the same in her favor. Finally, she finds one and So Ji-sub would be forced to accept to help Shin Min-a in her physical transformation.

Search for Oh My Venus on Youtube and watch the best Korean drama now to know, how the journey of personal transformation makes them fall in love and what happens next!

10. Coffee Prince (In Korean: 커피프린스 1호점)

Coffee Prince is one of the top Korean single episode dramas that was released in the year 2007. 

Details of Coffee Prince Drama:

  • Genre: Romance, Comedy
  • Cast: Yoon Eun-hye (Heroine), Gong Yoo (Hero), Lee Sun-kyun & Chae Jung-an
  • Viki Rating: 9.4 / 10
  • IMDB Rating: 8.4 / 10
  • Director: Lee Yoon-jung
  • Writer: Lee Jung-ah and Jang Hyun-joo

Coffee Prince – Rom-Com Korean Drama Brief:

In the drama Coffee Prince, Gong Yoo (Hero) acts to be gay to save himself from his grandmother – who would be wanted him to get married. In order to make his Grandmother believe that he is truly a gay, he would be in search of a person who would act to be his partner.

After searching for a long time, he would find Yoon Eun-hye (Heroine) who would be ready to act as his partner. Without knowing that she is a female, Gong Yoo would be happy that he has found his partner and hires her.

After a few days, Gong Yoo who is featured as an irresponsible 16-year-old young man gets an ultimatum from his grandmother to take over the thriving coffee business. With a zeal to prove that he is not irresponsible, he takes over the business and renames it as “Coffee Prince”. 

Gong Yoo being passionate to make his business profitable hires only the most handsome males as his employees to attract female customers to his coffee shop. Yoon Eun-hye being in need of the money, never reveals that she is a female and continues to hide the same.

While working together, they fall in love with each other and Gong Yoo without knowing that Yoon Eun-hye is a female.

One fine day, Gong Yoo gets to know that Yoon Eun-hye is a female!

What happens next? Watch the movie – Coffee Prince to know more.