Two years on and the pandemic remains developing sturdy, however luckily, the Korean enjoyment industry has determined a way round restrictions of various tiers to convey escapism right to our TV monitors – or rather, in the age of streaming, smartphones and laptops. And what a year for K-dramas it turned into!
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From global blockbusters that stored us on our toes, to down-to-earth romances that warmed our hearts, to some of the most twisted suggests that have graced streaming systems, 2021 changed into a primary milestone for K-dramas. Without further ado, here are our 10 favorite Korean TV collection from the beyond three hundred and sixty five days.
Puah Ziwei, Commissioning Editor (K-pop)
Words by way of: Carmen Chin, Gladys Yeo, Lucy Ford, Mariel Abanes, Rhian Daly, Ruby C., Sofiana Ramli and Tanu I. Raj.
When a woman (Park Bo-younger) discovers she’s been diagnosed with mind tumour and best has a hundred days left to stay, she makes one spur of the moment desire: destruction upon existence in the world. On the floor, the basis of Seo In-guk’s long-awaited comeback drama appears witty and amusing, but it’s plenty extra fascinating and heartfelt than you’ll’ve imagined. Because what occurs while destruction itself takes on human shape (sorta) and suggests up at your step to supply that promise?
The triumphing combination of Seo’s stoic Myul-mang (Korean for ‘doom’) and Park’s chirpy Tak Dong-kyung makes for true bickering amusing, however it’s the side characters – and their intertwining relationships with each other – who emerge as the heart of the display. There’s plenty of memorable habitual cameos, too, however our favourite must be Minari’s Han Ye-ri because the constantly befuddled hospital patient. SR
Biggest fan: Goblin die-hards who ultimately have a brand new delusion drama to rave approximately.
Twenty years after a grotesque abduction and homicide in rural Man-yang, the unexpected disappearance of a younger girl plunges the near-knit metropolis into suspicion and chaos in the search for her earlier than it’s miles too late. Dark secrets are unearthed at every flip in this binge-worth crime thriller, leaving visitors thinking the pleasant faces inside the neighbourhood with each episode.
An eccentric neighborhood police officer is begrudgingly paired up with the newly-transferred uptight golden son of a prominent leader, and the 2 first-rate, yet opposing minds radiate an exciting chemistry as they search out the monster hiding in their midst. Beyond Evil is a top example of the way to do so a great deal with a simple premise, with each string of yarn leading to a dozen greater, but all without bogging down the collection. GY
Biggest fan: For individuals who need to pay attention Yeo Jin-goo drop the F-bomb (but in Korean even though, so it’s the S-bomb?), or similar to seeing sincerely messed up shit take place.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha has been a weekly dose of properly vibes for K-drama fans, who devotedly anticipated its weekly releases which stars Kim Seon-ho and Shin Min-a. It follows the tale of a dentist who finds herself commencing up a health facility in an idyllic coastal city, a long way from the metropolis lifestyles she’s known all her life. There, she meets a man who modifications her view on life.
The display received visitors over with its in advance and simple approach in managing different dilemmas, without being overly preachy and shabby. Every episode is sort of a warm embrace from those as soon as-strangers-turned-own family, providing consolation and respite whether you’re experiencing the highs or lows of every day. MA
Biggest fan: The K-drama watcher who has been looking forward to some other woozy romantic drama in view that 2019’s Crash Landing On You, however without all of the politics and shenanigans.
After only stepping up into lead roles final yr, Han So-hee proved she became more than capable of carrying entire suggests two times in 2021. My Name, her 2nd series of the 12 months, confirmed her versatility and range too, as she nailed her portrayal of the revenge-pushed – and exceedingly badass – Yoon Ji-woo gambling the long game as she tried to get even together with her father’s killer. Stylishly shot, gripping narrative and action, and with stellar performances from Ahn Bo-hyun as decided detective Jeon Pil-do and Park Hee-quickly as drug lord Choi Mu-jin, My Name had all the ingredients of an addictive thriller that kept you on the threshold of your seat. RD
Biggest fan: That one friend who can keep a grudge for a incredible duration of time and, even though they appear candy generally, you sincerely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of.
For a second, it regarded as if The King’s Affection could be disadvantaged in a yr full of ancient K-dramas. After all, haven’t the general public had sufficient of the gender-change, hidden-identification tropes? Clearly now not, considering that we lapped up this sweeping, gorgeous, pastel-hued tale of romance with a soup ladle.
Despite the melodramatic plot – a younger lady reveals herself posing because the late Crown Prince after realising she’s sincerely his long-lost dual sister, sent away by her mom years in the past to have a shot at existence – The King’s Affection is buoyed by using mild-hearted comedy and heart-wrenching moments of romance and vulnerability, specifically because the protagonist, Dam-i (Park Eun-bin), deals with an identification crisis and her budding feelings for the royal educate, Jung Ji-woon (SF9’s Rowoon). Sit with this one, it simplest gets higher. TR
Biggest fan: Your K-drama friend who said they had been over the gender-switch and secret identification trope but someway knows all of the dialogues and OST tracks from this one.
Based on a famous South Korean webtoon of the identical name, Yumi’s Cells follows the lifestyles of unlucky-in-love Kim Yumi (played via Kim Go-Eun) through the eyes of the cells in her head. The stay-movement collection is interspersed with painfully cute animated characters representing emotions like love, anxiety, hunger and lust who interpret the action we’re seeing on display (think Disney’s Inside Out if the protagonist was navigating millennial struggles like office romances and spreadsheets).
Fans of romantic K-dramas will realise conventional tropes like extended appears of longing, hand-conserving that lasts maybe beat too long and declarations of affection that pass unsaid, however Yumi’s Cells shows us the emotions at play for the duration of the ones moments, adding a further layer of caprice. With an all-celebrity cast that still includes Ahn Bo-hyun, SHINee’s Minho and GOT7’s Park Jin-younger, it’s impossible no longer to get swept up in the colorful attraction of this quirky little drama. LF
Biggest fan: Someone who might instead throw away the whole thing than reduce to rubble the classy perfection in their bullet magazine.
Vincenzo, vincero. This darkish comedy centred on an ethnically Korean, Italian mafia consigliere turned into a K-drama that 2021 didn’t comprehend it needed – and we’re all of the higher for it. Amidst person love-hate relationships, attractive twists, excellent easter eggs and fun cameos, what also absolutely made Vincenzo a heartening watch become bearing witness to the trust and camaraderie that regularly grew between the Geumga Plaza tenants and their beloved ‘corn salad’. By the quit of the 20-episode series, you will’t help however be proud of how a ways the Cassano Family had come. Special mention is going to the drama’s scene stealer: Inzaghi the pigeon. RC
Biggest fan: The linguaphile who gets susceptible within the knees whilst a Korean actor or actress speaks in a foreign language – yes, Song Joong-ki flexes his Italian-speaking chops right here.
Move To Heaven, based on an essay by using a former trauma purifier, became extremely good for its fresh study the drama round dying. Instead of that specialize in the instant of extinction itself, this large-hearted series from director Kim Sung-ho (2018’s Notebook From My Mother checked out the messy aftermaths thru the eyes of father and son (and trauma cleansing duo) Jeong-woo (Ji Jin-hee) and Geu-ru (Tang Joon-sang). Endlessly affecting, the series gave a nuanced exploration of the human circumstance that made you rethink your personal outlook, at the same time as it handled the Asperger’s syndrome of Geu-ru – one in all 2021’s maximum lovely and remarkable characters – with respect and care. RD
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Biggest fan: The sentimental softie who’s constantly accessible that will help you with your problems or provide you with a shoulder to cry on.