It’s a truth universally acknowledged that 2020 sucks, but on the positive side (for me, at least), this year I manage to read more books and watch more k-dramas than ever! Beside books, k-dramas are my source of happiness since I spent like, 70% of the year at home. Because of that, this year I finished 21 k-dramas (and still watching 2 ongoing k-dramas), and some of them become my favorites. So today, I’m going to share top 5 k-dramas I watched in 2020 (and you can watch all of this through Netflix!).
5. Moon Embracing the Sun (2012)
Starring : Kim Soo-hyun, Han Ga-in, Jung Il-woo
This drama was produced in 2012, so cinematography-wise, it’s still awful if you compare it to dramas produced in 2020. But plot-wise, Moon Embracing the Sun has everything that made historical (sageuk) my favorite k-drama genre : court intrigue, scheming and backstabbing, and romance. It follows Crown Prince Lee Hwon who fell in love and got bethroted to Heo Yeon-woo, a noblewoman. But due to the Queen Dowager’s interference, Yeon-woo got sick, lost her memory and presumed dead. Years later, they met each other again, now as king and a shaman in the palace.
4. Kingdom (2019 – present)
Starring : Ju Ji-hoon, Bae Doona, Kim Sung-kyu
Another historical k-drama with the usual court intrigue, but add zombie on top of that. So naturally, I love it. This one follows Crown Prince Lee Chang who originally wants to investigate the King’s illness, but end up discovering political conspiracy using mysterious plague. If you love Train to Busan (or other zombie-related movies, really), you’ll end up loving Kingdom too. Massive trigger warning for blood, gore, and general-zombie-nastiness.
3. Dr. Romantic Season 1 and 2 (2016 and 2020)
Starring : Han Suk-kyu (S1-S2), Yoo Yeon-seok (S1), Seo Hyun-jin (S1), Anh Hyo-seop (S2), Lee Sung-kyung (S2)
If you’re a fan of medical series, then you have to watch Dr. Romantic! I haven’t watch that many medical drama so I don’t have a lot to compare, but Dr. Romantic is so good that I (briefly) regret why I didn’t choose to be a doctor. Anyway, there are 2 seasons of this k-drama, and I recommend watching it from the first season eventhough each season features different main leads. Also, trigger warning for blood and other operation-related things.
2. Chocolate (2019)
Starring : Yoon Kye-sang, Ha Ji-won, Jang Seung-jo
I’m not usually a fan of mellow k-drama, so when I end up loving Chocolate, I knew I had to put it on my top 5 list. Chocolate follows 2 childhood acquaintances who, years later, met each other while working at a hospice–one as a chef and one as a doctor. One of the reason why I love this drama is because of the interactions between the patients and the main characters, which is so pure and sad since you know they don’t have long to live. The other reason is because this drama is basically a love letter to foods. There are so many cooking scenes in this. So yes, Chocolate will make you cry and hungry at the same time. Plus, the romance in this drama is one of the softest I’ve ever watched!
p.s. all the OST in this drama is also really good!!
1. Mr. Sunshine (2018)
Starring : Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung, Byun Yo-han
I have exactly one regret after watching this k-drama, and that regret is why didn’t I watch it sooner?! Mr. Sunshine was, by far, the best k-drama I’ve ever watched, and not just in 2020. It’s set in Korea during the reign of the last king of Joseon, and feature 5 different characters from different backgrounds with the same purpose : to maintain Korea’s independency from Japanese and Western’s growing influence. With captivating plot and mesmerizing cinematography, you really should watch this drama at least once.
p.s. one of the character is a noblewoman who’s also a sniper, which I found really cool!
Because it’s impossible to choose 5, here are other k-dramas that I recommend :
Mystic Pop-up Bar (2020)
If you’ve watched Hotel del Luna and loved it, then you have to watch this one! It has similar theme, with a woman punished to solve 10,000 customers’s problem before she can move on. And along the way, she also discovered the truth of her past.
I never really watch action k-drama so I don’t have a lot to compare, but personally, I think Vagabond is really good! It follows a stuntman, Cha Dal-geon (played by Lee Seung-gi), who got caught in a web of business conspiracy when his nephew died in a ‘plane accident’.
Welcome to Waikiki Season 1 and 2 (2018-2019)
This is by far, the funniest k-drama I’ve ever watched. It’s so ridiculous that I can’t stop laughing every episode (and I’m not exaggerating, it’s truly that funny, especially the first season). If you’re looking for something that’ll make you laugh, go watch this one!