Published on June 14th, 2022
Looking to binge some of the best Kdramas on Netflix and wondering what to watch? Perhaps you are looking for your next drama or maybe, you have just stumbled into this ‘world’ – to that, I say a big ‘welcome!’, and also, you are at the right place!
Long before Squid Game became the season’s series, I found myself tangled in the Kdrama web on Netflix. The first exciting series I watched, “Crash Landing on You”, was so spectacular that I began devouring rom-com, series after series, with no end in sight!
As you may or may not know, I am a hopeless romantic and there’s just something delightful about watching the slow romance buildup in shows that Kdramas have perfected so effortlessly. And not even the regular clichés, animated sound effects and occasional overacting have been able to put me off them at the moment.
You may be asking yourself, why is this travel blogger writing about the best Kdramas on Netflix? Well, this travel blogger could say that writing about shows is a reoccurring theme of her blog, but the truth is that these shows have also instilled some wanderlust for South Korea in her.
And here, she will stop speaking about herself in the third person…
I had planned to visit South Korea earlier this year but due to a restriction at the embassy (it is now open for applications), I’ve had to push the trip forward. I’m hoping I will be able to apply soon and finally get to explore this country a little. Until then, I’ll enjoy doing so via all the delightful Kdramas I can lay my hands on!
PS: This list will reflect my preferences and I may work on others if I venture into additional genres outside romantic comedies. So, without further ado, here are some of the best Kdramas on Netflix in the order of my preferences:
PS: Rom-coms usually do not have spoilers (I think) but be aware that this post may give away some plot points of the series listed.
Best Kdramas on Netflix (Romantic Comedies)
1. Crash Landing on You
Plot: A paragliding mishap drops a South Korean heiress in North Korea into the life of an army officer, who decides he will help her hide.
This drama had lots of hilarious moments, both big and small. It was funny, emotional and a tad suspenseful. I have to admit though, I did skip scenes quite a bit while watching this – mostly parts with the villains in the series but overall, I’d say this might be my favourite Kdrama series of all time.
2. Goblin (or Guardian: The Great and Lonely God)
Plot: In his quest for a bride to break his immortal curse, a 939-year-old guardian of souls meets a grim reaper and a sprightly student with a tragic past.
Like Crash Landing on You, this drama also had lots of hilarious moments. I enjoyed watching the bromance between the Grim Reaper and the Goblin and loved the scene of them walking in slow motion to save Ji Eun-Tak.. literal chills!
3. Touch your Heart
Plot: Hoping to make a comeback after a bad scandal, an actress agrees to research a new role by taking a job as a secretary for a prickly attorney.
I fell in love with the Grim Reaper and Sunny from Goblin (the drama above), so you can imagine my excitement when I found this drama where they both play the lead roles?! Oooh! Touch your Heart is a lighthearted feel-good drama with no heavy plots and that’s another reason why I enjoyed watching it so much.
4. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
Plot: A vainglorious executive who seemingly has everything faces devastating news when his adept personal assistant announces that she’s decided to quit.
This is another romantic drama that has no heavy plots and is quite funny. Spoiler Alert: there is nothing wrong with Secretary Kim but everything “wrong” with Vice Chairman Lee Young-joon.
5. Business Proposal
Plot: In disguise as her friend, Ha-ri shows up to a blind date to scare him away. But plans go awry when he turns out to be her CEO — and makes a proposal.
If you loved “What’s wrong with Secretary Kim”, I think you will enjoy this drama as well. It’s funny, over the top and fun to watch both the lead and second lead couples’ relationships develop.
6. Her Private Life
Plot: An art curator’s life unravels, as she tries to keep her pastime as a die-hard K-pop fan secret from her gallery’s new director.
Park Min-young (from What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim) features in this Kdrama and you know I already love her! By the way, I find the K-pop fandom culture to be very fascinating and this drama gave me a little more insight into that world.
7. Strong Girl Bong-Song
Plot: Born with supernatural strength, Bong-soon fights evil and procures justice while getting tangled in a love triangle with her CEO boss and cop crush.
Many of the best Kdramas on Netflix were adapted from Korean webtoon comics and this one plays heavily on that. There are a lot of animated sound effects and comic-themed camera movements and scenes. This drama has several subplots that tend to be a little all over the place but ultimately, as a comedy, I think it delivered with the two leads being the main anchor of the show.
8. Reply 1988
Plot: Take a nostalgic trip back to the late 1980s through the lives of five families and their five teenage kids living in a small neighbourhood in Seoul.
I laughed, I cried and the last episode of this sitcom had me in my feelings for a long time, reflecting on the passing phases of life. And of course, my darling Bogummy was so beautiful in this!
PS: there is a lot of yelling (especially from Sung Duk-seon’s parents) but I got over this quickly and thoroughly enjoyed this drama till the end.
9. Fight for my Way
Plot: A former taekwondo champion and an information desk worker aspire to chase their dreams in a world that isn’t kind to those with mediocre credentials.
The journey to reach their goals seemed quite long for the two leads but all is well that ends well! I love a good drama with an happy ending and this one had a very satisfying ending.
10. Tale of the Nine-Tailed
Plot: A TV producer discovers a secret supernatural world as she becomes entangled with a former deity who’s spent centuries searching for his lost lover.
This is the only fantasy drama featured on this list. As you might have guessed from the ones listed above, I love feel-good romantic comedies and will take them over other genres any day. But this drama had me at Lee Dong Wok (the Grim Reaper from Goblin) and Kim Bum’s smile. It is not all smiles and roses but it had some funny moments and I loved watching it.
11. She was Pretty
Plot: After a complete reversal of fortune and looks, childhood sweethearts reunite for the first time in 15 years as employees at a fashion magazine.
This drama was a bit of a struggle but Park Seo Joon is one of my favourite actors in South Korea, so I plunged on. I can say that I enjoyed watching it in the end but basically, I didn’t enjoy the fact that a bullied kid who was shown kindness as a child grew up to become a jerk. It seemed like a weird plot to me and hurt my heart a little bit. Again, all is well that ends well, right?
12. Descendants of the Sun
Plot: After a chance meeting in a hospital, an ardent soldier falls for a gifted surgeon. Opposing philosophies tear them apart, but fate has other plans.
Some heavy plots on this one! My heart couldn’t take all that drama so I skipped a lot of scenes but a big “YES” to the epic bromance featured here. I feel like I enjoyed watching that more than the romantic relationship between the two leads – not to say that wasn’t great.
By the way, I also, enjoyed watching Song Joong-ki in Vincenzo. It’s not a rom-com, although it has several funny scenes, so I have left it off this list.
13. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
Plot: A big-city dentist opens up a practice in a close-knit seaside village, home to a charming jack-of-all-trades who is her polar opposite in every way.
I know I said earlier that Crash Landing on You was my first Kdrama series – the quantifying word there was “Exciting”. Technically, Hometown Cha-cha-Cha was officially my first Kdrama on Netflix. I didn’t love it at first, so I dropped it but found myself coming back to it and eventually, it grew on me and I completed the entire series. It is also very lighthearted with a few tear-jerking episodes toward the end.
14. Hospital Playlist
Plot: Every day is extraordinary for five doctors and their patients inside a hospital, where birth, death and everything in between coexists.
This is the only drama on this list that I haven’t completed yet. Normally, the Kdramas I watch usually have the tear-jerking scenes packed into the last 3-4 episodes. Not this one. I was crying and laughing from episode 1. I guess the reason why I haven’t completed it is that I don’t particularly enjoy medical dramas (I feel so much anxiety watching them).
Another reason is that I found out that this drama has a second season – sign me out! I love Kdramas because they end with one season (usually). Please Netflix (or whoever is producing them), don’t drag them out longer!
15. Romance is a Bonus Book
Plot: A gifted writer who’s the youngest editor-in-chief ever at his publishing company gets enmeshed in the life of a former copywriter desperate for a job.
Honestly, this one, I struggled through the first few episodes and it took me a while to buy into the romantic relationship between the lead characters. Separately, I appreciated that the male lead was kind and sweet from the get-go (unlike most dramas) and I empathised with the female lead from the beginning. Ultimately, I enjoyed watching it.
Are you also a Kdrama fan? Leave me your best Kdramas on Netflix recommendations in the comment section below. I’ll include them on my list to watch. I am so excited to read your suggestions and reviews!