South Korean dramas or K-dramas as they are popularly known, have caught the eye of the international audience since the most-recognized Squid Games. But the list of amazing South Korean dramas is quite long. From sweet and bubbly rom-com to grotesque thriller horror, K-Drama has a banquet of amazing shows.
Here is a list of 10 South Korean Dramas that you must watch this December. Squid Game has been intentionally excluded.
1. Descendants of the Sun (2016)
Descendants of the Sun is a 2016 South Korean romance-action-comedy drama. It has 16 episodes plus 3 special episodes.
The main story is about the love story that develops between a surgeon, Mo-Yeon, and a Special Forces officer, Si-Jin. They stumbled upon each other by chance in the hospital and fell in love.
Unfortunately, their relationship was short-lived as they soon broke up after a few dates. Differences in professional life, inability to communicate well and misunderstandings initially barred the two from having a healthy relationship. But with changed circumstances, they slowly started to realize how and what went wrong.
It is a very powerful drama as it shows corruption in medical and armed centers and how difficult it is to maintain a relationship with partners who have different professions.
Watch Descendants of the Sun on Netflix and Viki (for free).
2. Goblin: The Lonely and Great God (2016)
Goblin is a fantasy-romcom that has a total of 16 episodes.
Here, Goblin is not what you are imagining: a grotesque monster. Instead, according to Korean folklore, Goblin or Dokkaebi is a natural deity that has extraordinary powers that they use to interact with humans. The story revolves around Kim Shin, a cured warrior, who has become an immortal Goblin to find his bride to free himself from this curse. He meets Eun-Tak who lives with her aunt and can see ghosts.
The ghosts claim that she’s the Goblin’s bride. One day while celebrating her birthday all alone beside the seashore, she blew out the candles and Kim Shin appeared. Thus begins the comical, romantic yet tragic story of Kim Shin and Eun- Tak.
Goblin is a dramatic K-drama. Undoubtedly, Goblin is still and will continue to be on the list of must-watch Korean dramas.
Watch Goblin: The Lonely and Great God for free on Viki, Voot, and MX Player; and on Netflix subscription.
3. Kingdom (2019)
Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean period horror drama that is based on the Korean comic (webtoon) series The Kingdom of the Gods.
This drama has 2 seasons.
The K-drama is set in Korea’s Joseon Dynasty. Kingdom takes place in a fictional, medieval-inspired Korea and blends political thriller and elements from zombie horror.
It follows the story of Crown Prince Lee Chang as he encounters a strange and frightening plague that’s spreading across the land. The Crown Prince of Joseon attempts to investigate the mysterious illness recently afflicting the King. This sickness is mysteriously resurrecting the dead into flesh-eating monsters.
But he ends up only finding himself caught in the middle of a deadly epidemic ravaging the Kingdom of Joseon. While trying to save the Kingdom from the plague, political corruption arose in the royal court with conspiracies surrounding the current King of Joseon and his unclear death. While battling the plague, he must also stop his political opponents from seizing the throne.
Kingdom is addictive and a cinematic masterpiece.
4. Vincenzo (2021)
Vincenzo is a 22-episode crime drama.
At the age of 8, Park Joo-Hyeong, the main character of Vincenzo, went to Italy after he was adopted. At present, he is an adult and goes by the name of Vincenzo Cassano.
He is a lawyer and works for the Mafia as a consigliere. Because of a war between mafia groups, the Italian Mafia consigliere fled to South Korea. In South Korea, he unexpectedly gets involved with Lawyer Hong Cha-Young. They initially battled each other on opposite ends of the court, but Vincenzo Cassano falls in love with her. His cold, Mafia heart slowly warmed up to the people around him. Slowly he got to know them and realized how helpless they are in the face of powerful leaders and businessmen.
The amazing story writing and acting make it a must-watch
5. All of Us are Dead (2022)
All of Us Are Dead is a 2022 conning of age zombie horror series of 12 episodes.
The story revolves around a district in South Korea that is infected by a deadly virus. It begins at the high school campus, the epicenter of the pandemic, where after a failed experiment, the entire school is overrun with infected zombies. The story follows the struggle of the trapped students to survive without any food, water, or communication.
It is among the most talked about series, and the gory scenes just hit the spot.
6. Twenty-Five, Twenty-One (2022)
Twenty Five, Twenty One (2521) is a coming-of-age 90’s love story that has 16 episodes.
The story is set in two timelines parallel to each other- 1998 and 2022. Both timelines feature the most devastating period in South Korea. In 1998 South Korea had the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Crisis and 2022 is the present-day’s COVID-19 situation.
The story shows the romantic lives of five characters spanning from the year of 1998 to 2021. The drama beautifully portrays various aspects of a person’s life, their first love, their true friendships, struggles, joys, and everything.
It is a series that says not all things are meant to be forever, and one must enjoy them to the fullest until they last. Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a magnificent series. With the wholesome characters and storyline, this series is a must-watch.
7. My Liberation Notes (2022)
This 16-episode-long slice of life is a mature K-drama.
The story of My Liberation Notes revolves around three siblings who are struggling to escape from their issues in life. The eldest sibling, Yeon Ki-Jeong is heading into her forties but is single. She is still hoping to find love.
The second sibling, Yeon Chang-hee, is struggling to make it big on the work front. The youngest Yeon Mi-Jeong is an introverted but strong-willed girl who feels empty inside. The three siblings live with a father who rarely speaks and a mother who ensures that peace is maintained.
My Liberation notes is a mature, empathetic, heart-warming, and brilliantly written K-Drama. The series showcases the worries of regular people— loneliness, feeling empty with life, competition, work politics, the need for a companion, and the underlying mental health that are all silently being tackled.
8. Pachinko (2017)
This 8-episode-long family-based Korean Drama is based on the New York Times bestselling novel “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee.
The story is a saga of love, loss, longing, and resilience. The plot is about the chronicles of a Korean immigrant family across four generations and their quest to survive and thrive. The backdrop of the story is the Japanese colonization of Korea. The devastating effects of colonization continue to influence lives even today.
In Pachinko, the story features characters who tackle racism, discrimination, stereotyping, and various other aspects of the 20th-century Korean experience of Japan. This is a watch-worthy K-drama.
9. Juvenile Justice (2022)
Juvenile Justice is a 2022 courtroom drama and has only 10 episodes.
The story centers on modern Korea. The series is about Korea’s juvenile act. That means any crimes committed by minors will be neglected without severe punishment. The story focuses on Sim Eun-Seok, a cold and distant elite judge who has a strong dislike of juvenile criminals. But is forced to balance her disinclination to juveniles while holding on to her firm beliefs. The crux of the show is how she handles intriguing and hard-hitting cases around several interesting and sensitive issues.
Juvenile Justice has many dirty, grimy aspects of crime and doesn’t hold anything back. This drama is interesting from beginning to end.
10. Tomorrow (2022)
Tomorrow is a fantasy-thriller drama that has 16 episodes.
Choi Jun-Woong, who is half human and half spirit by accident, is looking for a job. One night, he accidentally meets two grim reapers Koo Ryeon and Im Ryoog-Gu. With Koo Ryeon as the leader and Lim Ryung-Gu as a member, the grim reapers belong to a crisis management team. Their prime objective is to save suicidal people. Soon, Choi Jun-Woong becomes a part of the crisis management team.
The series has different stories with different cases. Each story boldly talks about the different social taboos in South Korea relating to mental health.
Tomorrow is amongst the highest-rating K-dramas thus making it an obvious must-watch.
This is a very small list guiding you into the vivid and flabbergasting world of South Korean drama.
Binge-watch these shows and enjoy the year-end!