This past decade was full of discoveries about my own self. The ‘Reader Me’ found a new friend ‘Traveller Me’ in the early years of this decade. A few years later they befriended ‘Kdrama Lover’ within me. My three aspects (among many) had a gala time this past decade.
This post is all about showcasing my third aspect – Kdrama Lover. It was during my second pregnancy when I started this whirlwind romance with Kdramas. And the love has been growing stronger since then. Initially, I started liking them for two main reasons:
- Firstly, in comparison to many other series found across the globe, they are much shorter in length. Most of them are just 20 episodes long only.
- Secondly, they have fresh and unique concepts compared to the emotional roller-coasters of saas-bahu politics found in the drama-series here.
In no time, they had completely bewitched me.
15 Must Watch Kdramas of this Decade
In the past decade, I have watched many Kdramas. Their popularity is increasing day by day and they are becoming one of the highest watched dramas globally.
The technology, the story, the pace, the cinematography of these Kdramas is at par with any good quality Hollywood movies. Numerable Kdrama-series are released every year, which are enjoyed by people worldwide.
In this post, 15 of my favourite Kdramas which can easily be categorised in Must Watch Kdramas of the Decade, have been listed. They are based completely on my personal opinion and liking.
If you are a Kdrama fan like me, you would surely like a few of them, if not all. Do tell me about your favourite Kdramas in the comment section which made into this list.
So, Here is a list of Must Watch Kdramas of this Decade.
In the year 2010, this traditional drama with a fusion of Gender Bender theme was an international hit. Park Min Young played the female protagonist who disguises herself as her brother to make ends meet for her family.
Through a series of twisted events, she ends up giving entrance exam of the prestigious University of Joseon Dynasty- Sungkyunwan. The crux was that only male students can study in this institute. Thus starts the humourous peril of Kim-Yoon-Hee(Park Min Young) who comes across various odds as she lives a life of scholar student in disguise.
Secret Garden is one of the most well-known Kdrama of all times. It will be a surprise if it is not in any Kdrama fan’s ‘Must Watch Kdramas of this Decade’ list. This fictional romantic series with an element of fantasy still makes the hearts of the viewers flutter.
The series became hit due to its beautiful storyline, great actors and melodious OST. Even the outrageous, sparkly tracksuit worn by Hyun Bin became a huge hit. Various scenes from this series are still remembered by the fans and have given birth to many memes and drama jokes.
The story revolves around the romantic track of a CEO of Departmental Store and a stuntwoman. Their relationship takes a turn when they find their consciousness have switched bodies.
The thriller drama series featuring Lee-Min-Ho and Park-Min-Young as the main leads was a huge success. The story was based on a famous Japanese manga with the same name.
Lee-Min-Ho played the role of Lee-Yoon-Sung who comes back to South Korea as an MIT graduate. He is seeking revenge for his father and his comrades.
His father was the only survivor of a secret army mission which went wrong due to the corrupt officials of their own country. Yoon-Sung takes the role of City Hunter to expose and send those corrupt officials behind bars.
With its taut storyline and action-packed scenes, this series became an instant hit.
I loved this school-oriented drama series as it dealt with many issues faced by the students and teachers of the present generation. Bullying, the pressure of joining private classes, school violence, disrespect towards teachers and the indiscipline among students in the school premises, were some of the prominent issues highlighted in this drama. Also, the bromance between Kim-Woo-Bin and Lee-Jong-Suk is worth watching.
There are two Kdramas which are responsible for imprisoning me in this world of Kdramas (not that I am complaining). One of them is ‘Healer’.
This Romantic thriller series was like a wave which swept the international Kdrama fans with its charismatic cast and their acting. Even the supporting actors were as powerful as the leads. Ji Chang Wook became a Hallyu star through this drama.
Starring Park-Min-Young and Ji-Chang-Wook, this drama was about an incident, in 1992, which caused a group of five friends to fall apart. After many years, three people from different backgrounds come together to unearth the real truth behind the incident. Ji Chang Wook played the role of ‘Night Courier’ who went with the codename ‘Healer’
You Who Came From the Stars(2014)
You Who Came From the Stars is the second drama which determined my captivity in the KdramaLand… and I am definite that I was not the only one. The ‘Must Watch Kdramas of this Decade’ list is incomplete without this drama.
This Romantic Fantasy series involved an alien (Kim-Soo-Hyun) who landed on earth but missed his time to go back while saving a girl. He has to wait for 400 years to go back to his planet and hence starts living among humans biding his time.
With three months remaining for him to go back, he comes across an actress(Jun-Ji-Hyun) as his neighbour. As things start to take their own course, he starts developing emotions which were unknown to him.
This Romantic Fantasy series was a breakthrough in many aspects. It is said that HD cameras were used for the first time for shooting in South Korea. To up the game of showing supernatural effects, enhanced technological equipment was put to use.
As a viewer, I could easily see the vast difference in the quality of the videos before this drama and after. Not only the techniques were new, but the drama was also considered as a trend-setter for various accessories used in the drama. Needless to say, the fashionable clothes worn in this drama revamped fashion in Asian countries.
Kill Me Heal Me(2015)
Ji Sung did an outstanding job when he portrayed the character of Cha-Do-Hyun in this Rom-Com series. It is a story about a businessman who suffers from Dissociative Identity Order due to his traumatic childhood. He wants to get control over his life and thus seeks help from Oh-Ri-Jin who is training to be a psychiatrist.
Ji Sung played seven facets of Cha-Do-Hyun which were so unique in their own way. The alter-egos are so different from each other with unique personality traits and age differences between them. All these identities came into existence due to incidents which affected Cha-Do-Hyun in his early life.
How Oh-Ri-Jin helps his alter-egos to resolve the issues and heal him to become whole is what makes this drama worth watching. As an actor putting yourself in seven different personalities during the same time period is a difficult task but Ji Sung justified each one of them perfectly. Ji Sung etched his name in the history of Kdramas while playing this character.
Descendants of the Sun(2016)
Entered the year 2016 and KdramaLand was never the same again. On the international front, this drama was one of the most-watched dramas of this year. Though the storyline was a simple one, the treatment and the stupendous cast (Song-Joong-Ki, Song-Hye-Kyo, Jin-Goo) involved in this drama made it more popular. It was a complete package of Comedy, Drama, Romance and Action.
W- Two Worlds(2016)
The year of 2016 was indeed phenomenal for bringing so many dramas which were worthy to be in the ‘Must Watch Kdramas of this Decade’ list. The year brought forth dramas with so many fresh concepts. W was one of them. The drama had to be a hit because of the uniqueness of the plot.
The story of the series revolves around Kang Chul(Lee-Jong-Suk) who won an Olympic Medal in the shooting category when he was 17. His family is murdered after a few days of his return. Kang Chul is accused of this crime.
Although declared ‘Not Guilty’ Kang Chul’s life doesn’t remain the same anymore. Determined to find the real murderer he starts his life with a new focus.
Ten years later, he ends up as multi-billionaire who is the owner of a broadcasting station. When he meets Oh-Yeon-Joo(Han-Hyo-Joo), his world starts to crumble. She tells him that his world is actually a webtoon being written by her father. Thus begins a series of events to find the real culprit and save the loved ones.
The year of 2016 ended up in a high note when ‘Guardian- The Lonely and Great God’ started airing. With a stellar cast consisting of Gong-Yoo, Lee-Dong-Wook, Yoon-In-Na and Kim-Go-Eun; the drama series became immensely successful.
Everything about this series was amazing. The OST, the cast, the storyline, the cinematography and the acting- everything was a huge package which could have not gone wrong. In the list of Must Watch Kdramas of the Decade, ‘Goblin’ can easily be in the top three positions.
The drama grasps you from the word Go and you just can’t have enough of it. As if the series was not enough, the clippings of ‘Behind The Scene’ received immense viewership in various Social Media channels.
It is known as Forest of Secrets or Secret Forest in some countries. Netflix purchased its rights at the same time when it was airing in South Korea. The storyline of this series was a simple one where a prosecutor teams up with a detective to unearth a murder and the corrupted people involved. But the way the plot was held by flawless acting from Cho-Seung-Woo and Bae-Doo-Na is something to be witnessed. The direction was amazing giving such a realistic touch to the whole drama.
No Wonder the series was so lovingly cherished by international fans as well. The happy news is that Netflix will air the second season of this series this year and I am so excited about it.
This Sci-Fi mini-series may not have made into many lists of Must Watch Kdramas of the Decade but for me, the whole concept and presentation of the story were most fascinating.
The episodes of this mystery Sci-Fi were presented in two parts- First part showing happenings in the year 2017 and the second one showing the year 2037. The story revolves around the lives of twin brothers who had witnessed the landing of a UFO in their childhood, along with their father.
The humanoid alien which came out of the spaceship had become a part of their family until their father discovered the alien technology brought along with her. His father, a neuroscientist starts working with Byul(Gong-Seung-Yeon) the alien to adapt this technology for humans. After some time both of them go missing and the tragedy befalls on the twins.
Comes present 2017 where both brothers have become distanced from each other. Kim-Woo-Jin is looking for his father. While probing further, he gets entangled into the mystery behind a series of murders happening within his college.
On the other hand, Kim-Bum-Gyun is researching about aliens to find the missing alien Byul. Events happen and in the end, Kim-Woo-Jin goes missing.
The year 2037 shows South Korea divided into two main districts- General District and Smart City. On one side the General District is where crimes happen and there are diseases, poverty along with pollution; the Smart City claims to be the ideal city with no crimes, pollution-free and healthy. A sequence of crimes leads the detective Kim-Joon-Hyuk into the Smart City where he discovers the mysterious truth behind the Smart City being crime-free.
It is a must-watch if you are a lover of Sci-Fi Mystery Thrillers.
The Fantasy-Thriller Kdrama starring Song-Seung-Hoon and Go-Ara makes into my ‘Kdramas of this decade’ list because of the cliffhangers it gave at the end of each episode. From the very first episode, it always ended on cliffhangers with either new twist or revelation.
Although I wasn’t satisfied with the ending of the whole series, nevertheless one cannot deny the level of suspense this series held throughout. So much so that it is said that Netflix purchased the series within a week after it aired on OCN.
This Kdrama series is about a grim reaper who possess a body of the detective in order to find his missing partner. In the course of events, he discovers about a murder which took place 20 years ago which leaves him baffled after the truth is revealed.
Memories of Alhambra (2018)
One of the most impressive dramas of the year 2018 was Memories of Alhambra. This was the first Kdrama which was based on the concept of AR(Augmented reality). The freshness of the plot and the fabulous cast along with the cinematography made it one of the most spectacular Kdramas in history. The creativity within the plot and twist of events will blow away your mind.
I came to know about Granada, the fort of Alhambra, and the classical guitar piece called ‘Memories of Alhambra’ for the first time through this drama. They were so beautifully intricate in the whole storyline that one cannot help but admire the creativity of the people coming with such ideas. Adding to this there was Hyun Bin as the main lead which is reason valid enough to make any Kdrama a hit.
The plot is all about a game of Augmented Reality which is developed around the stories related to Alhambra Palace. Jung-Se-Joo, a game-developer approaches Yoo-Jin-Woo(Hyun Bin) for selling his game.
He asks him to test the game and invites him to Granada. Jin-Woo travels to Granada, Spain and meets Se-Joo’s sister Jung-Hee-Joo(Park-Shin-Hye) instead. Meanwhile, Se-Joo is nowhere to be found. Jin-Woo finds that the mystery behind the disappearance of Se-Joo and the plot of the game is somehow connected.
Thus begins the race to find the missing developer as Jin-Woo starts solving the mysteries of the game.
Hotel Del Luna(2019)
Hotel Del Luna will be remembered for IU (Lee-Ji-Eun). This brilliant actress and singer took the character of Man-Wol to such new heights that one could only be in awe with her performance. The quirks of her personality with ‘I Don’t Care’ attitude hooks you in no time. The Romantic Fantasy also happened to be one of the most-watched Kdrama Series of 2019. It is available on Netflix as well.
Jang-Man-Wol(Lee-Ji-Eun) is an immortal who has lived on this planet for millennia. She is bound to Hotel del Luna because of the sins she committed in her past life.
Her hotel is not an ordinary one. Only the ghosts wandering on this earth can reside in it. Koo-Chan-Sung (Yeo-Jin-Goo) has to work for Man-Wol due to an agreement when she had spared his father’s life on a condition that Chan-Sung will come to work for her after 20 years.
Chan-Sung ends up being the manager of Hotel Del Luna. Slowly with his kind heart and warm personality, he starts bringing a change in Man-Wol’s cold-hearted personality.
Extra-Ordinary You (2019)
‘What would you do if you realise that you are actually living as a character of a comic book?’ This was one of the opening lines of the narrative for the trailer for this series. I don’t think there will be anyone who does not feel curious after knowing that this is the theme of the whole plot.
Based on a webtoon titled ‘July Found by Chance’ this series occurs in a prestigious academy. Eun-Da-Oh is a student, who comes to realise that she isn’t a real person but a character in a comic book.
To her dismay, she is not even the main lead but just an Extra, having a heart-disease which may claim her life any time soon. She refuses to accept this as her fate. Hence begins her journey to change her destiny other than what the writer has stored for.
The beauty of this series was not only this unique concept but also the way it was presented. There were only a few characters who were aware of themselves. This meant that they knew about the comic world.
So when it came to their role-play they had to just speak the lines written by the writer. When their role was over, they could do whatever they wanted in the ‘Shadow’ area. Those who were oblivious never realised such a difference.
The difference between scenes of Role-Play and Shadow area was shown through a spotlight effect. The time passed or skipped on the whim of the writer of the comic.
A particular Sound Effect was used to depict the passing of time. As a viewer, I really appreciate the director for presenting the whole series in such clarity. One needs to definitely watch this drama to enjoy the unique concept it portrays.
This decade I explored the treasure trove of KdramaLand and found so many creatives to my liking. As a Kdrama fan, I look forward to being entertained with more unique concepts in the future as well.
What about you all? Are you also a Kdrama fan? Which Kdramas have made in your ‘Must Watch Kdramas of the Decade’?
Is there any drama that you wish to recommend?
Write all your opinions and thoughts in the comment section below.
“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”