21 K-Drama Superlatives From 2020

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Many issues have been up within the air this 12 months. (And no that’s not an airborne virus joke). Travels, research, work, leisure, relationships, and so forth. have all been impacted a method or one other. But there’s one factor that continues to be fixed and that’s K-dramas. And with that, right here is our annual superlative roundup.

Despite the notably tough 12 months, we will nonetheless discover the silver lining and be grateful that we’ve not less than had a powerful exhibiting in K-dramas to assist us get by our stuck-at-home days. We’ve seen loads of fantasy, sci-fi, and even makjang dramas, although there does appear to be much less sageuks this 12 months. Cable channels particularly have gifted us with well-written, well-produced, and well-cast dramas.

To honor the dramas which have accompanied and supplied us with therapeutic or have simply been a type of escapism, I provide you with, in no specific order, 2020’s superlatives.

Now earlier than you rise up in arms about not seeing your favourite drama, please word that this isn’t an inventory of one of the best dramas of 2020, however slightly a enjoyable, foolish method to take a stroll down reminiscence lane. So be happy to go all the way down to the feedback part and nominate superlatives for all the opposite deserving dramas!

Disclaimer: This article solely consists of dramas that premiered between December 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020. Also, minor spoilers forward!

Most victorious return from the navy (2020)

Kim Soo Hyun in “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: June 20 – August 9, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji, Oh Jung Se, Park Gyu Young, Kim Mi Kyung

Kang Ha Neul obtained this title final 12 months for his victorious return with “When the Camellia Blooms.” This 12 months there have been truly fairly a couple of male actors making their post-enlistment comeback, however Kim Soo Hyun was arguably concerned with probably the most critically-acclaimed drama of the bunch. He had a cameos in “Hotel Del Luna” and “Crash Landing On You” earlier than having his official comeback with one of the talked about dramas of the 12 months, “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” Kim Soo Hyun performs Moon Kang Tae, a caregiver who works at a psychiatric hospital and has an autistic older brother (performed by the ever-so-talented Oh Jung Se). The complete drama, with dashes of fairytale surprise, is distinctive, aesthetically pleasing, and fronted by a powerful solid.

Most more likely to make you’re taking a double take

Cho Seo Woo in “Hi Bye, Mama”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: February 22 – April 19, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Tae Hee, Lee Kyu Hyung, Go Bo Gyeol, Seo Woo Jin

“Hi Bye, Mama” is a drama a few (deceased) mom named Cha Yu Ri (Kim Tae Hee), who’s been given an opportunity to return again into the world of the dwelling. With all of the tearjerking moments between mom and daughter (and household normally), you’ll doubtless get dehydrated from all that crying. But that’s not the superlative that’s bestowed to this heartfelt drama. No, it wins “almost definitely to make you’re taking a double take” as a result of that’s what’s going to occur to you whenever you understand that the tremendous lovable Seo Woo, ie. Cha Yu Ri’s daughter, is definitely performed by a little boy(!) actor named Seo Woo Jin. It’s stunning, however nonetheless so, so lovable.

Drama that gave you probably the most extreme SLS

Han Ji Pyeong in “Start-Up” 

Aired on: tvN
Air date: October 17 – Dec 6, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Seon Ho, Kang Han Na

“Start-Up” options two buzzy actors Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk as the principle leads however it’s the second male lead Kim Seon Ho who has fully stolen the hearts of viewers all over the place. Every as soon as in awhile, we get an SLS (Second Lead Syndrome) so extreme that we in all probability flip to fanfiction to assuage our aching hearts, and this time we expertise it in Han Ji Pyeong, the “good boy” with a prickly exterior however a delicate coronary heart. It’s not possible to not love this man with the irresistible smile and with how he unwaveringly watches over Seo Dal Mi (Suzy). It’s no surprise the actor himself, Kim Seon Ho, has change into a scorching commodity. It’s about time too!

Most more likely to get you to danger all of it and go paragliding

“Crash Landing On You”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: December 14, 2019 – February 16, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Hyun Bin, Son Ye Jin, Kim Jung Hyun, Seo Ji Hye

There’s doubtless not an enormous proportion of us who would dare to attempt excessive sports activities, together with the tamer ones like paragliding (particularly in unhealthy climate). And but when Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) does so and crash lands in North Korea, she manages to fulfill the tremendous hunky soldier Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin). While making an attempt to sneak her again into South Korea, the 2 develop emotions for one another, however naturally their bi-national relationship isn’t clean crusing. But (and sure it’s an enormous “however”), if we have been in a position to have our personal whirlwind romance with somebody as hunky, charming, and candy as Ri Jeong Hyeok, then heck, signal us up for the subsequent paragliding session! Fun reality: “Crash Landing On You” is at the moment the highest-rated tvN drama.

The drama hairstylists almost definitely (secretly) disliked

“Itaewon Class”

Aired on: JTBC
Air date: January 31 – March 21, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Kim Da Mi, Yoo Jae Myung, Kwon Nara, Ahn Bo HyunLee Joo Young

Based on a webtoon, “Itaewon Class” is about an eclectic bunch of misfits working at restaurant-slash-pub referred to as Dan Bam, beneath the possession of Park Sae Roy (Park Seo Joon), who additionally simply occurs to be a convicted felon. Other than the fascinating characters and refreshingly untraditional storylines, the characters’ hairstyles have been scorching matters too. From Ma Hyeon Yi’s (Lee Joo Young) change from silver to black hair, to Jo Yi Seo’s (Kim Da Mi) two-tone hair, to Park Sae Roy’s… nicely, Park-Sae-Roy hair, the present began a development of individuals sporting related hairstyles. And after the 100th request, it wouldn’t be stunning if hairstylists obtained uninterested in telling their shoppers, “I’m sorry, however solely Park Seo Joon can pull off the Park-Sae-Roy-haircut.”

Drama with probably the most star-powered cameos

“Record of Youth”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: September 7 – October 27, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byun Woo Seok, Kwon Soo Hyun

“Record of Youth” is concerning the story of three youths who’re striving to attain their desires regardless of the cruel realities of their respective industries, together with Sa Hye Joon (Park Bo Gum) who’s working in the direction of being a model-turned-actor, and Ahn Jung Ha (Park So Dam), a girl who quits her workplace job to change into a make-up artist. The drama gained fairly a little bit of consideration not only for being Park Bo Gum’s final drama earlier than his navy enlistment, but in addition for the caliber of visitor stars they managed to get for fast cameos. The star-powered cameos embody Kim Hye Yoon, Seo Hyun Jin, Park Seo Joon, Kang Han Na, Lee Sung Kyung, Girl’s Day’s Hyeri, and plenty of extra!

Most scandalous responsible pleasure

“The World of the Married”

Aired on: JTBC
Air date: March 27 – May 16, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hee Ae, Park Hae Joon, Han So Hee, Park Sun Young, Kim Young Min, Chae Gook Hee, Lee Geung Young, Kim Sun Kyung, Jeon Jin Seo, Shim Eun Woo

Earlier this 12 months, one of many buzziest dramas (from each viewers and critics) was none apart from “The World of the Married.” Even now it holds the title of highest-rated drama throughout all cable channels. Ji Sun Woo (performed by the particularly very good Kim Hee Ae) seemingly has the proper life, with a contented household and a profitable profession. However, this all comes crashing down when she finds out she’s been betrayed by her husband and thus begins her journey to hunt revenge, giving us a wealthy and compelling storyline that’ll ship you on a rollercoaster journey!

Most doubtless to attract you right into a controversial debate

“Tale of the Nine-Tailed”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: October 7 – December 3, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Lee Dong Wook, Jo Bo Ah, Kim Bum, Hwang Hee, Kim Yong Ji, Lee Tae Ri

The debate right here isn’t concerning the motivations of the antagonist, The Imoogi/Terry (Lee Tae Ri), or about how the epic, folktale-centered storyline could or could not have (barely) unraveled in closing episodes, and even about whether or not you’re extra within the Yeon-Ji Ah romance or the Yeon-Rang bromance. No, the actually controversial debate right here is to do with nine-tailed fox brothers’ preferences in the direction of mint chocolate ice cream. And as a lot as I like Rang (Kim Bum) — and let’s face it: Rang’s character arc is arguably the extra superior — I’m firmly on group Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) and group mint chocolate right here. (Where are all my #MintChocLovers at?).

Start watching “Tale of the Nine-Tailed” right here: 

Watch Now

Theme of the 12 months: Multiple dimensions

 “The King: Eternal Monarch,” “Train,” “Alice

2020 was the 12 months that closely featured reveals with alternate/a number of dimensions, although it in all probability felt extra so as a result of these three reveals aired one after the opposite, and immediately, our K-drama viewings have been full of sci-fi reveals about time-traveling and alternate worlds. (Maybe screenwriters themselves have been hoping for a non-COVID-19 alternate dimension?)

“The King: Eternal Monarch”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: April 17 – June 12, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Lee Min Ho, Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan, Kim Kyung Nam, Jung Eun Chae, Lee Jung Jin

In the epic fantasy “The King: Eternal Monarch,” there’s a parallel world, a number of doppelgängers, time-travel, a whole lot of math and physics, and much more product placements that barely trouble to be discreet. (Seriously, this drama almost received a distinct superlative — almost definitely to get you to binge on milk tea and fried hen). When Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho), who’s additionally the King of the Kingdom of Corea, unknowingly makes use of a magical alternate-dimension-opening flute, he finds himself in a parallel world. There, he comes throughout the particular person he’s been trying to find all this time, Lieutenant Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun), believing that she was the one who saved him from an assassination try some 20 years in the past.

“Train”

Aired on: OCN
Air date: July 11 – August 17, 2020 (12 episodes)
Starring: Yoon Shi Yoon, Kyung Soo JinShin So Yul

“Train” begins off as a normal (however intense) crime thriller, with detective Seo Do Won (Yoon Shi Yoon) investigating mysterious murders all one way or the other linked to 1 one other. Then proper on the finish of the second episode, we immediately see that there’s in reality a parallel world in play. The two alternate dimensions are linked by a practice that may journey between them. The characters from world A are vastly totally different from world B, all due to a call made by Seo Do Won one fateful evening a few years in the past. With conflicts and drama taking place in each worlds, there’s double the exhilaration to maintain us absorbed in this thriller of a drama.

Start watching “Train” right here: 

Watch Now

“Alice”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: August 28 – October 24 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hee Sun, Joo Won, Kwak Si Yang, Lee Da In, Kim Sang Ho

“Alice” is probably the most sci-fi of those three reveals, with the entire premise revolving round time-travel. As an agent of a time-travel company, Yoon Tae Yi (Kim Hee Sun) travels again in time to accumulate an object, however finally ends up staying in that point after she learns she’s pregnant. Years later, sure forces search her out and homicide her, to the horror of her son Park Jin Gyeom (Joo Won). Then begins a time-hopping cat-and-mouse chase, as Jin Gyeom tries to uncover the reality behind his mom’s homicide in addition to the story behind the genius physicist who bears the identical face and identify as his deceased mom.

Start watching “Alice” right here: 

Watch Now

Most sophisticated love triangle (or five-angle)

When I say sophisticated, I imply sophisticated. (Refer to the above infographic for those who get misplaced). Basically, as soon as upon a time, there have been two behavioral analysts working within the National Criminal Investigation unit named Lee Joon Gi and Moon Chae Won (“Criminal Minds”). One day, Moon Chae Won decides she’s had sufficient of crime-fighting and turns into a fairy. She falls in love with a woodcutter, and after he dies, she waits 600+ years for him to reincarnate. That’s when she comes throughout two potential candidates, Yoon Hyun Min and Seo Ji Hoon (“Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter”).

Unfortunately, Moon Chae Won simply can’t work out which ones is her husband, so she simply ditches them each and goes again to her past love — crime-fighting and Lee Joon Gi — who seems to be her actual husband in spite of everything (“Flower of Evil”). And what occurs to Yoon Hyun Min and Seo Ji Hoon, the 2 spurned males? They determine {that a} fairy who can’t acknowledge them isn’t actually price their time, so that they transfer on and switch their consideration to Hwang Jung Eum as a substitute (“To All The Guys Who Loved Me”). They additionally could or could not have continued their bromance.

Basically, this AU fanfiction is only a method of claiming, how on earth did we get so many coincidental pairings and reunions this 12 months?! And simply to be very clear, not one of the above truly occurred (not within the literal sense not less than), so actors… please don’t sue me.

Start watching “Flower of Evil”: 

Watch Now

Start watching “To All The Guys Who Loved Me”: 

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Man with the longest life span

Joo Ji Hoon in “Kingdom 2” and “Hyena”

A Crown Prince from the Joseon period battles a horrifying plague within the 1300s. 600+ years later, the identical man is seen working as a lawyer. Coincidence? I feel not. Ladies and gents, Joo Ji Hoon — the person who lived for 600+ years!

“Kingdom 2”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: March 13, 2020 (6 episodes)
Starring: Joo Ji HoonRyu Seung RyongBae DoonaKim Sung KyuKim Sang HoJeon Suk HoKim Hye Joon

The second season of “Kingdom” is simply as acclaimed as the primary, because it continues Lee Chang’s (Joo Ji Hoon) wrestle to save lots of his individuals from the zombie-plague — in case you haven’t heard, it is a historical-zombie style mashup, which is definitely significantly better than it sounds — whereas additionally making an attempt to forestall rival factions (and a sure cray-cray queen) from stealing his rightful seat to the throne.

“Hyena”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: February 21 – April 11, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hye Soo, Joo Ji Hoon

Switching gears, “Hyena” is a enjoyable, considerably campy drama led by Kim Hye Soon and Joo Ji Hoon, and whose chemistry collectively principally stole the present. While the characters themselves have numerous shades of grey to them, you’ll end up falling in love anyway due to the actors’ robust performances. And as with different authorized dramas, there’s a whole lot of twists and turns however there’s additionally loads of humorous points too, and also you’ll get pleasure from seeing Joo Ji Hoon tapping into his comedic facet.

Most deliciously darkish and twisted drama

“Extracurricular”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: April 29, 2020 (10 episodes)
Starring: Kim Dong HeeJung Da Bin, Park Ju Hyun, Nam Yoon Soo, Choi Min Soo, Park Hyuk Kwon, Kim Yeo Jin

As the superlative signifies, that is fairly a darkish drama, principally as a result of the individuals concerned are youngsters, which makes every thing further troubling. Model pupil Oh Ji Soo (Kim Dong Hee) is such a goody-two-shoes that his trainer even encourages him to “trigger just a little bother.” If solely the trainer knew what Ji Soo was as much as after faculty. Let’s simply say it’s extremely unlawful. But the boy has desires and people desires are costly. This non-typical faculty drama with its advanced and intriguing (and topical) storyline will depart you wanting for extra.

Most dysfunctional household

My Unfamiliar Family

Aired on: tvN
Air date: June 1 – July 21, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Han Ye RiChu Ja HyunShin Jae HaKim Ji Suk, Jung Jin Young, Won Mi Kyung

“My Unfamiliar Family” revolves round a household the place the varied members of the family discover out that they don’t actually know one another and a few have even chosen to chop ties with the others. While a few of the occasions within the drama could veer in the direction of soap-drama territory, every thing nonetheless feels grounded and sensible, which solely makes you are feeling much more for the difficulties and struggles the household goes by. The drama examines what “household” is from totally different views, and it does so in a poignant, brutally trustworthy, and thought-provoking method.

Start watching “My Unfamiliar Family” right here: 

Watch Now

Most more likely to make us very grasping

Dr. Romantic 2

Aired on: SBS
Air date: January 6 – February 25, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Han Suk Kyu, Ahn Hyo Seop, Lee Sung Kyung, Kim Joo Heon

For years, followers have been begging for a second season to the highly-acclaimed “Dr. Romantic,” and this 12 months we lastly obtained it. This sophomore season is simply as very good as its predecessor, with medical circumstances that can tug-at-your-heartstrings whereas additionally giving us character-driven writing. Other than the spine of the drama, Han Suk Kyu, who performs Doctor Kim, the present additionally provides Ahn Hyo Seop and Lee Sung Kyung to the solid as second-year fellows which are taken beneath Doctor Kim’s wings. And now that we’ve seen how nicely they’ve overcome the sophomore stoop, we will’t assist however be grasping and ask for a season three!

Start watching “Dr. Romantic 2” right here: 

Watch Now

Actors who have been EVERYWHERE

Um Hyo Sup and Kim Soo Jin

Disclaimer: I’m not truly taking attendance for each actor within the business. That being stated, for those who have been live-watching a number of dramas throughout October or November, you might need discovered your self questioning for those who have been watching the appropriate drama, as a result of actor Um Hyo Sup was in at least three of the then-airing dramas, together with “Tale of the Nine-Tailed,” “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol,” and “Start-Up.” These three dramas all debuted in October, so at one level he actually was all over the place!

And for those who thought Um Hyo Sup was busy, then there’s additionally Kim Soo Jin, who was in as many as eight(!) dramas this 12 months, in each supporting and recurring capacities. She was in “My Holo Love,” “Hospital Playlist,” “A Piece of Your Mind,” “Sweet Munchies,” “My Unfamiliar Family,” “Tale of the Nine-Tailed,” “Stove League,” and in addition within the currently-airing “Cheat On Me, If You Can.”

Battiest drama

“Stove League”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: December 13, 2019 – February 14, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Namgoong Min, Park Eun Bin, Oh Jung Se, Jo Byeong Gyu

If you didn’t catch the pun, “Stove League” is a drama about baseball. And you don’t have to love or perceive baseball to get pleasure from this present for what it’s — a extremely good underdog story that’ll provide you with all of the feels. When Dreams, knowledgeable baseball group, lands in final place for 4 straight seasons, they rent a brand new common supervisor who has managed a number of championship-winning sports activities groups. And although Baek Seung Soo (Namgoong Min) has no expertise in baseball, he’s decided to show Dreams into one of the best within the league.

Start watching “Stove League”: 

Watch Now

Battiest drama (actually)

“The School Nurse Files”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: September 25, 2020 (6 episodes)
Starring: Jung Yu Mi, Nam Joo Hyuk

“The School Nurse Files” is unusual, to remain the least. Jung Yu Mi’s and Nam Joo Hyuk’s characters — a nurse and a trainer, respectively — work at a college that’s infested with “jellies,” which is a way-too-cute identify for the bodily types of detrimental wishes and emotions. There’s additionally a rainbow-glowy toy sword and BB gun concerned, that are the “weapons” in opposition to these “jellies.” That ought to provide you with an thought of how quirky this drama is. Bottom line, that is positively not your common K-drama and it’s binge-able in a single sitting, so for those who’re into whimsy and battiness (with actually good CGI results), then you should definitely test it out!

Drama with probably the most murderers

Memorist

Aired on: tvN
Air date: March 11 – April 30 (16 episodes)
Starring: Yoo Seung HoLee Se YoungJo Sung Ha

On the floor, “Memorist” is rather like your commonplace mystery-thriller, the place detectives chase after unhealthy guys. But as soon as we actually dive in, it’s a lot greater than that. There is a fantasy component to it, the place the principle protagonist Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho), has supernatural skills to scan an individual’s recollections with a contact. And because the story progressively unfolds, we discover that there are unhealthy guys killing off different unhealthy guys, forming a form of bloody killer-chain. It’s an intense drama with sufficient thrills, crimson herrings, twists, motion, and murderers to maintain you on the sting of your seat.

Start watching “Memorist” right here: 

Watch Now

Most more likely to make your blood boil

The Penthouse” 

Airing on: SBS
Air date: October 26, 2020 – January 5, 2021 (21 episodes; tentative)
Starring: Lee Ji Ah, Kim So Yeon, Eugene, Uhm Ki JoonPark Eun Suk, Yoon Jong Hoon

The currently-airing “Penthouse” offers us one of the “oh-my-gosh-they-didn’t!” melodramas of the 12 months. There’s loads of makjang components and morally questionable characters, which provides to the scrumptious addictiveness of the drama. And when you’ll be totally entertained, we additionally counsel discovering methods of calming your self down, in any other case you might simply blow a blood vessel from watching all of the atrocious issues these power-hungry mother and father and their youngsters rise up to.

Start watching “The Penthouse”: 

Watch Now

Most more likely to begin a crimson tracksuit development

“The Uncanny Counter”

Airing on: OCN
Air date: November 28, 2020 – January 24, 2021 (16 episodes, tentative)
Starring: Jo Byeong GyuYoo Joon Sanggugudan‘s Kim SejeongYeom Hye Ran

The currently-airing “The Uncanny Counter” is the proper look ahead to anybody who likes the comedian e-book/superhero style. Based on a webtoon, this fun-filled drama is a few group of red-tracksuits-wearing superheroes referred to as “counters,” who work in a noodle store by day and search out demons by evening. Each “counter” has a distinct superpower, the demons have ranges to them, and there’s loads of action-packed scenes that can hold you totally entertained. Fun reality: “The Uncanny Counter” at the moment holds the title of highest-ratings on OCN.

Playlist of the 12 months

“Hospital Playlist”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: March 12 – May 28, 2020 (12 episodes)
Starring: Jo Jung SukYoo Yeon SeokJung Kyung HoKim Dae Myung, Jeon Mi Do

Anyone who’s watched “Hospital Playlist” will very doubtless let you know it’s considered one of their prime dramas of the 12 months. There’s one thing positively heartwarming about watching the robust bond between 5 mates, who’ve all the time obtained every others’ backs ever since assembly in medical faculty some 20 years in the past. They get pleasure from every others’ firm a lot they even fashioned a band and spend extra time collectively simply jamming. The casting right here is pitch excellent and the 5 share such nice chemistry, it actually does appear to be the actors have recognized one another without end. And as a result of the drama is extra slice-of-life than intense medical drama, every thing simply feels chill and breezy and is the perfect look ahead to whenever you simply must unwind. And the music on the present? Pitch excellent!

Which of those dramas have you ever watched or will probably be including to your watch record? What different superlatives did you bestow in your favourite dramas? Share your nominations and feedback with us beneath!

Belinda_C has written 55+ articles and quizzes in 2020 and needs to thank all of the readers and allow them to know she appreciates every considered one of them. Talk K-dramas and SEVENTEEN along with her on Twitter!

All-time favourite: “Kill Me Heal Me,” “Defendant,” “Hotel Del Luna
Looking ahead to: A extra spectacular 12 months of K-dramas in 2021!





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