best korean dramas ranked

Top 15 Best Korean Dramas Of All Time

In the vast realm of Korean dramas, there exists a treasure trove of captivating narratives and stellar performances that have delighted viewers worldwide. This curated list unveils the top 15 best Korean dramas of all time, each a masterpiece in its own right.

From romantic comedies that tug at the heartstrings to thrilling mysteries that leave you on the edge of your seat, these dramas have left an indelible mark on the industry. Whether you're a seasoned fan or a newcomer, prepare to embark on a journey of unparalleled storytelling and cinematic brilliance.

Key Takeaways

  • Memories of the Alhambra, Military Prosecutor Doberman, Encounter, and Show Window: The Queens House all had Nielsen ratings above 10%, indicating their popularity among viewers.
  • The dramas in the list were aired on various networks, including tvN, Channel A, and JTBC, showcasing the diversity of Korean dramas across different platforms.
  • Several dramas featured well-known actors and actresses like Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Song Hye-ko, Park Bo-gum, and Jun Ji-hyun, adding star power to the shows.
  • The World of the Married had the highest Nielsen rating of 28.371%, highlighting its immense popularity and success.

Memories of the Alhambra (2018)

'Memories of the Alhambra (2018)' is a captivating Korean drama that combines the thrilling elements of augmented reality gaming with a picturesque backdrop of the historic Alhambra fortress in Spain.

The story revolves around an investment firm executive who embarks on a quest to find the creator of an innovative augmented-reality game. As he delves deeper into the game, he becomes entangled in a web of mystery and danger, blurring the lines between the virtual and real world.

This drama offers a unique and immersive experience for viewers, as it explores the potential consequences and risks of advanced technology. With its gripping storyline, stunning visuals, and exceptional performances by the cast, 'Memories of the Alhambra' is sure to captivate an audience that desires control and craves a thrilling and thought-provoking viewing experience.

Military Prosecutor Doberman (2022)

Military Prosecutor Doberman (2022) takes viewers on a gripping journey through the complex world of military law and justice. As a determined newbie disrupts the plans for power and wealth of an army prosecutor, this highly acclaimed Korean drama delves into the inner workings of the military justice system. It offers a thrilling and thought-provoking narrative that appeals to audiences seeking control.

With its intense and suspenseful plot, Military Prosecutor Doberman captivates viewers from start to finish. It explores themes of corruption, loyalty, and the pursuit of justice. The stellar performances by Ahn Bo-hyun, Jo Bo-ah, Oh Yeon-soo, Kim Young-min, and Kim Woo-seok add depth and authenticity to the characters, further enhancing the drama's appeal.

With its engaging storyline and compelling performances, Military Prosecutor Doberman stands as a must-watch drama that leaves a lasting impact on its audience.

Encounter (2018)

Undoubtedly, Encounter (2018) stands out as a captivating and emotionally charged Korean drama that explores the complexities of love and fate. Set against the backdrop of picturesque Cuba, this TVN drama follows the unexpected encounter between Cha Soo-hyun, a wealthy hotel CEO, and Kim Jin-hyuk, a free-spirited young man.

Here are five reasons why Encounter has captured the hearts of viewers:

  • Compelling Chemistry: The on-screen chemistry between Song Hye-ko and Park Bo-gum is palpable, creating a believable and heartwarming connection between their characters.
  • Beautiful Cinematography: The stunning visuals of Cuba serve as a breathtaking backdrop, enhancing the romantic atmosphere of the drama.
  • Thoughtful Storytelling: Encounter delves into the complexities of societal expectations, personal growth, and the power of love, offering a thought-provoking narrative.
  • Strong Character Development: The characters undergo significant growth throughout the series, allowing viewers to witness their transformation and evolution.
  • Memorable Soundtrack: The drama is accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack that heightens the emotions and adds depth to the storytelling.

Encounter is a must-watch for those who appreciate a well-crafted and emotionally engaging Korean drama.

Show Window: The Queens House (2021)

The Show Window: The Queens House (2021) is a compelling Korean drama that captivates viewers with its intriguing storyline and talented cast.

The drama revolves around a woman who unknowingly supports the adultery of another woman, who is having an affair with her husband. As the story unfolds, viewers are drawn into the complex web of relationships and secrets, as well as the emotional journey of the characters.

The talented cast, including Song Yoon-ah, Lee Sung-jae, Jeon So-min, and Hwang Chan-sung, deliver powerful performances that bring the characters to life.

With its gripping plot and skilled actors, Show Window: The Queens House (2021) offers a captivating viewing experience for audiences who desire control over their entertainment choices.

Love (Ft. Marriage and Divorce) Season 3 (2022)

Portraying the intricate dynamics of love, marriage, and divorce, Season 3 of Love (Ft. Marriage and Divorce) (2022) delves into the lives of couples navigating through unforeseen challenges and heart-wrenching twists. This highly acclaimed Korean drama series captivates viewers with its realistic portrayal of relationships and the complexities that come with them.

Here are five reasons why Love (Ft. Marriage and Divorce) Season 3 is a must-watch for those who desire control:

  • Compelling storytelling that explores the highs and lows of love and marriage.
  • Strong character development that allows viewers to connect with the protagonists on a deeper level.
  • Thought-provoking themes that delve into societal expectations and the impact they have on relationships.
  • Stellar performances from the talented cast, including Park Joo-mi, Kang Shin-hyo, and Lee Ga-ryeong.
  • Engaging plot twists and cliffhangers that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Love (Ft. Marriage and Divorce) Season 3 is a gripping drama that offers a captivating exploration of the complexities of love, marriage, and divorce, making it a must-watch for those who desire control over their viewing experience.

Mine (2021)

Featuring a compelling storyline and a talented cast, Mine (2021) takes viewers on a captivating journey into the secretive lives of two women in a conglomerate family. This drama, which aired on tvN, garnered a Nielsen rating of 10.512% and concluded on June 27, 2021.

The premise revolves around the quest for true joy by these two women, who are surrounded by a life filled with secrets and lies. Starring Lee Bo-young, Kim Seo-hyung, and Ok Ja-yeon, Mine delves into the complexities of power, wealth, and the search for personal identity.

With its intriguing plot twists and strong character development, this drama appeals to an audience that desires control and enjoys delving into the hidden depths of human nature.

Jirisan (2021)

Airing on tvN and concluding on December 12, 2021, Jirisan (2021) takes viewers on a thrilling journey as rangers and employees of Jirisan National Park explore the mysterious regions of the mountain. This highly acclaimed Korean drama captivates audiences with its intriguing storyline and stellar performances.

Here are five reasons why Jirisan (2021) deserves a spot on the list of the best Korean dramas of all time:

  • Gripping Plot: The drama keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its suspenseful narrative and unexpected twists.
  • Stunning Cinematography: The breathtaking visuals of Jirisan National Park create a mesmerizing backdrop for the story, immersing viewers in the beauty and grandeur of the mountain.
  • Stellar Cast: The talented ensemble cast, led by Jun Ji-hyun and Joo Ji-hoon, delivers powerful performances that bring the characters to life.
  • Intense Action: From daring rescue missions to dangerous encounters with the unknown, Jirisan (2021) offers adrenaline-pumping action sequences that keep viewers hooked.
  • Emotional Depth: Alongside the thrilling adventure, the drama also explores the personal struggles and relationships of the characters, adding emotional depth to the story.

Jirisan (2021) is a must-watch for anyone seeking a gripping and immersive Korean drama experience.

My Kids Give Me a Headache (2012)

In the heartwarming Korean drama 'My Kids Give Me a Headache (2012),' viewers are immersed in the daily struggles and joys of a large family in the countryside. The story revolves around a mother, played by Uhm Ji-won, who finds herself constantly dealing with the challenges of raising her four children. From sibling rivalries to teenage rebellion, the drama portrays the ups and downs of family life in a relatable and humorous way.

As the mother navigates through the chaos, she also discovers the beauty of unconditional love and the importance of family bonds. With its heartwarming storyline and stellar performances by the cast, 'My Kids Give Me a Headache' captures the essence of family dynamics and resonates with audiences who desire control over their own lives.

The Crowned Clown (2019)

With a Nielsen rating of 10.851%, 'The Crowned Clown (2019)' is an exceptional Korean drama that captivates audiences with its gripping storyline and exceptional performances. This historical drama takes viewers on a thrilling journey as a look-alike clown stands in for an unstable king and becomes devoted to protecting the throne and the people.

Here are five reasons why 'The Crowned Clown' is a must-watch:

  • Brilliant Acting: Yeo Jin-goo delivers a remarkable performance in dual roles, portraying both the clown and the king with depth and nuance.
  • Intriguing Plot: The story is filled with political intrigue, power struggles, and unexpected twists that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
  • Stunning Visuals: The drama showcases beautiful sets, costumes, and cinematography, transporting viewers to the Joseon era.
  • Emotional Depth: 'The Crowned Clown' explores themes of identity, loyalty, and sacrifice, evoking a range of emotions in its viewers.
  • Strong Supporting Cast: Lee Se-young and Kim Sang-kyung deliver stellar performances, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

'The Crowned Clown (2019)' is a must-watch for those seeking a gripping historical drama filled with suspense, emotion, and exceptional performances.

The Uncanny Counter (2020)

Impressively, 'The Uncanny Counter (2020)' garnered a Nielsen rating of 10.999%, solidifying its position as one of the best Korean dramas of all time.

This thrilling drama, which aired on OCN, captivated audiences with its unique premise and compelling storytelling. The series revolves around a group of noodle shop employees who possess supernatural abilities and use them to hunt down malevolent spirits.

Led by talented actors Jo Byung-kyu, Yoo Joon-sang, Kim Se-jeong, Yeom Hye-ran, and Ahn Suk-hwan, the cast delivers exceptional performances that further enhance the show's appeal.

With its perfect blend of action, suspense, and supernatural elements, 'The Uncanny Counter' has gained a loyal following and continues to be praised for its gripping plot and well-developed characters.

Little Women (2022)

Astoundingly, 'Little Women (2022)' captivated viewers with its heartfelt storytelling and exceptional performances, solidifying its place as one of the best Korean dramas of all time. This drama, which aired on tvN, garnered an impressive Nielsen rating of 11.105%.

Here are five reasons why 'Little Women (2022)' struck a chord with audiences:

  • Stellar Cast: The drama boasts a talented ensemble cast, including Kim Go-eun, Nam Ji-hyun, Park Ji-hu, Uhm Ji-won, Uhm Ki-joon, and Wi Ha. Each actor delivered nuanced performances that brought their characters to life.
  • Engaging Plot: 'Little Women (2022)' weaves a captivating narrative that follows the lives of three sisters caught in a web of conspiracy with the rich and powerful. The plot is filled with twists and turns that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
  • Emotional Depth: The drama explores themes of family, love, and sacrifice, delving into the complex emotions and relationships between the characters. It tugs at the heartstrings and resonates with viewers on a deep level.
  • Beautiful Cinematography: 'Little Women (2022)' is visually stunning, with breathtaking cinematography that captures the beauty of its settings and enhances the storytelling.
  • Empowering Female Characters: The drama portrays strong, independent women who face challenges and overcome adversity. It celebrates the resilience and determination of its female characters, inspiring viewers with their journeys.

'Little Women (2022)' is a masterful drama that combines compelling storytelling, outstanding performances, and powerful themes, making it a must-watch for any drama enthusiast seeking control over their viewing experience.

Sky Castle (2018)

Sky Castle (2018) gained immense popularity and critical acclaim for its gripping portrayal of the exclusive residential community for Korea's elite, and its exploration of the dark side of ambition and the pressures of society.

The drama delves into the lives of four wealthy families residing in the luxurious Sky Castle, where their sole focus is on ensuring their children's success in the fiercely competitive education system.

As the families navigate the cutthroat world of academic achievement, the drama exposes the lengths to which they are willing to go, including manipulation, deceit, and even breaking the law, to secure their children's future.

Sky Castle sheds light on the intense societal pressures faced by both parents and children, highlighting the detrimental effects of a system that prioritizes status and success above all else.

Reborn Rich (2022)

Reborn Rich (2022) captivates viewers with its thrilling storyline and dynamic characters, delivering a compelling narrative of a loyal employee framed for embezzlement seeking revenge. As a drama that appeals to an audience that desires control, Reborn Rich offers the following elements:

  • Intricate Plot: The drama weaves a complex web of deceit, betrayal, and redemption, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with its unpredictable twists and turns.
  • Strong Performances: The talented cast, led by Song Joong-ki, Lee Sung-min, Shin Hyun-bin, and Kim Nam-hee, deliver powerful performances that breathe life into their characters and draw viewers into their emotional journeys.
  • Intense Conflict: The clash between the protagonist and his adversaries creates high-stakes situations that heighten the tension and suspense.
  • Stylish Cinematography: The visually stunning scenes and meticulous attention to detail enhance the overall viewing experience, adding an extra layer of sophistication.
  • Thought-Provoking Themes: Reborn Rich explores themes of justice, morality, and the corrupt nature of power, sparking reflection and discussion among its audience.

Reborn Rich (2022) is a must-watch drama that offers a thrilling ride filled with intrigue, revenge, and redemption.

The World of the Married (2020)

The World of the Married (2020) introduces audiences to a tumultuous world of infidelity and deception within a marriage. This gripping drama revolves around the life of Ji Sun-woo, a successful doctor who seems to have it all – a loving husband, a successful career, and a beautiful son.

However, her seemingly perfect life takes a dark turn when she discovers her husband's affair with a younger woman. As the story unfolds, Ji Sun-woo embarks on a journey of revenge and self-discovery, navigating through a web of lies and betrayal.

The World of the Married captivates viewers with its intense storyline, powerful performances, and realistic portrayal of the complexities of marriage. This drama offers a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of trust, loyalty, and the consequences of infidelity.

To Be Determined

However, there are still several highly-anticipated Korean dramas that are yet to be determined, waiting to captivate audiences with their captivating storylines and talented cast members. Here are five upcoming Korean dramas that are generating buzz among fans:

  • *Snowdrop*: Set in 1987, this drama follows the story of a male student who seeks refuge in a women's dormitory after getting injured during a protest. He then falls in love with a female student who hides him from the authorities.
  • *Yumi's Cells*: Based on a popular webtoon, this drama delves into the inner thoughts and emotions of a woman named Yumi, as her cells navigate her love life, friendships, and career.
  • *Blue Birthday*: This supernatural romance drama revolves around a woman who goes back in time to change a tragic event that occurred on her 18th birthday, leading to a journey of self-discovery and healing.
  • *Dal Ri and Gamjatang*: This heartwarming drama tells the story of a young woman named Dal Ri, who dreams of becoming a chef, and her journey to open her own restaurant specializing in gamjatang (pork bone soup).
  • *Youth*: Set in the world of competitive swimming, this drama explores the dreams, friendships, and challenges faced by a group of young athletes as they strive to achieve their goals.

With these exciting dramas yet to be determined, fans can look forward to an array of captivating stories and talented performances in the near future.


In conclusion, the world of Korean dramas has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on audiences worldwide. From the gripping narratives to the exceptional performances, these dramas continue to captivate viewers with their diverse themes and genres.

The top 15 best Korean dramas of all time showcased in this article have solidified their place in the industry, garnering high ratings and critical acclaim. Whether you're a seasoned fan or a newcomer, these dramas offer a comprehensive overview of the best that the genre has to offer.

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