The year was rich in Korean dramatic events. Whether it’s a paragliding accident, a global adventure with look-alikes or good old rum, the Korean dramatic events have some exceptional gems that illuminate the year 2020 and sparkle brighter than most.

As for rapid alert, several dramas have been posted online this year and we haven’t been able to see them (so they’re not on this list!), including Train, Search, More than Friends, and another 18.

TheReviewGeek team presents our selection of the best Korean playwrights for 2020.

15 – Do you like Brahms?

Do You Like Brahms, which is based at a music university and follows a group of inexperienced (and experienced) musicians, is ironically not entirely dedicated to music. It is true that this Korean drama has incredible piano and violin performances, but the melodramatic rhythm remains blocked for most of the performance.

The music is simply used as a basis for drama and romance, the two together make this series exciting and entertaining, but perhaps not as much as many would like.

The story itself revolves around two different characters with different backgrounds. The first is the A-song, which is hoped to become the violin major in the fierce competition. Rejected from her first performances because she was the least talented, Song-A does her best to be heard and seen. But the talented pianist Jun-Young is one of the people they see.

Jun-Young takes part in piano competitions throughout Korea. He’s about to become famous now and he’s our second leader here. He loves these young toys and tries to help him get better. There is a lot of romance, drama and sadness on the road in between, because when the couple goes into the whirlwind, they don’t end up in romance.

Although it does not necessarily exceed the norm in melodrama, it succeeds in touching most of the right notes, resulting in a composition worthy of attention.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

14 – Chocolate

Chocolate may not have the enduring power of some of the other dramas on the list, and it’s not particularly romantic or funny. Instead, chocolate is based on a heavy melodrama and a dark and hard reality of love, and this will certainly not apply to everyone. There is not only sunshine and rainbows, and as we can see in our two leading roles in this drama, the world around us is full of death and broken hearts.

The main film is based on two main characters, Chae-young and Lee Kang. After we met her as a child, we could see Kang working as a neurosurgeon after she hung up her chef’s hat, while the dish Kang had prepared for her as a child inspired her to become a productive cook.

Fate has it that the two characters meet in the hospice room after the death of Min Seong, Kang’s best friend and lover, Chae-young. As the episodes unfold, layers of bitterness and regret appear, clinging to their troubled relationships, and instead their shared love for food is felt. All this is composed of several dramatic episodes to conclude the story in beauty in the credits.

Of course there are different subgroups attached to it, all using the same food hook to keep things consistent. The cook at Song-e Hospice is interested in Alzheimer’s disease and is trying to understand what it means to her. Her brother Kang Li Jun goes through painful times when his family life is hectic, while several hospice patients find comfort and solace for weeks in their cooked (or uncooked) food. This eventually connects each episode and gives it real depth, as Kang’s icy exterior slowly breaks down throughout the series.

The peculiarity of chocolate is that it represents this symbiotic link between man and food, perfectly illustrated by the different residents of the hospice. These are very visible moments in the show, and even if it takes a while to get it right, chocolate will be the perfect recipe for success.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

13 – Hospital reading list

The hospital playlist brings simplicity back to the medical drama genre and presents a pleasant story that strikes a great balance between a feeling based on realism but dramatic enough to withstand incredible melodramas.

The series is dedicated to the sincere dedication of the five surgeons and their different methods in dealing with their patients, while following their lives and relationships throughout the twelve episodes.

Kim Jung Won is a heart surgeon who is sometimes cold-blooded towards his patients, while Ahn Jung Won is a very caring pediatric surgeon who has other plans to become a priest. The quintet ends with the sweet Yang Seok Hyun, a divorced midwife who takes good care of her mother.

The series follows these five people as they start working in the same hospital, share their days with each other and interact with other doctors and students. In each episode they deal with many different medical matters, blow off steam after work, rehearse for their cheerful band. It is a well written series, and it looks like at some point it will also have its second season.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

12 – Bye, bye, Mom!

Hi Bye Mama may not have the most original point of departure, but what she lacks in originality, she makes up for in raw emotion. Of course, the end may be a bit inconclusive and the letter may not always reach the height that other dramas on this list have reached, but it is undeniable that the show has a sharp and tender core, which makes it still such an irresistible clock.

The story revolves around Cha Yu-Ri, who died suddenly 5 years ago, leaving behind a loving husband and a newborn daughter. We see how she has been languishing away from her family all these years, how she grieves and how her daughter So-woo grows up and marries her husband Min Jung. Amazingly, they gave her another chance and she came back to life for 49 days. This show is followed by her return and how her loved ones experience it as she tries to find her place in the world again.

What Hi Bye Mama is really good at is the ability and insight to deal with important life lessons. It shows us how different people deal with grief and also sends strong messages to the public, especially about the ephemerality of life and how we can make the most of our time on earth. The series also includes several emotional scenes, which were beautifully filmed by a talented cast. Especially the painful scenes between Yu-Ri and Gang-Hwi give goose bumps.

After all, it’s the characters that make this series so entertaining, and they’re consistent throughout the series, while the whole cast is doing great. It’s Kim Tae-hee, who really stands out as Cha Yu Ri, and with the charming Cho So-woo, who plays Seo U, those two really help to take this drama to the next level.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

11 – extracurricular activities

Ten episodes of Netflix’s crime drama begin with a fairly simple school play before everything is turned upside down and falls down the rabbit hole. Thanks to the large number of imperfect characters in all episodes, Extracurular offers a slightly different spice to the genre, increasing the tempo and excitement in all episodes.

The story itself revolves around Ji Soo, who is an exemplary student in the eyes of teachers and other students. He keeps a low profile, has no friends and spends most of his days acclimatising and going unnoticed. Beneath this facade, however, lies the hidden side of Ji Soo’s personality, which unfolds in the first episode and turns into a snowball when his closely related operation goes terribly wrong.

To pay for his studies, Ji Soo pretends to be his uncle and offers security for the girls who go out with him by paying them compensation. One of these girls is a disciple of Min-hee, and the incident she was involved in at a young age turned out to be a catalyst for what followed.

Unlike other Korean dramas, this one contains so many curses and violence that its tone does not match that of the other dramas on this list. The end leaves things rather uncertain for a possible second season, but along the way there is a lot of action, drama and inevitably romance to make a very nice clock.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

10 – Mystical Context Bar

Based on the popular webcam Ssanggabpocha, the Mystic Pop-up Bar celebrates the first Wednesday/Thursday show broadcast by JTBC. With its original plot and excellent alchemy, this latest K-Drama reaches the right note in terms of humour, excitement and world construction. It also deals with many important issues relating to life and death and the consequences of our actions, and gives the series a pleasant depth.

The story mainly revolves around Vol-ju, who runs a mystical pop-up bar at night. She had received a fine of 100,000 euros for her previous actions, otherwise she would go to hell. She is also supported by the director of Guibanjang, who is always with her.

After a while, Weol Ju becomes desperate and asks for help from Han Kang Bae, who manages to make people reveal their secrets just by touching them. The story follows the trio as they help each other reach their goal, revealing deep secrets and revelations along the way.

In just 12 episodes, the Mystic Pop-up Bar does an excellent job of telling the story by maintaining a constant rhythm and sufficient development for each character throughout the episode. The main trio works very well together and without spoiling too much there is a twist at the end that explains why this is so.

It’s a pity that this comedy was cut down, because it had great potential to become one of the best supernatural comedies of the year. But for what we have seen in the episodes, the Mystic Pop-Up Bar is a real explosion and deserves to be seen.

9 – Cairos

Kairos can easily be considered one of the most underestimated dramas of the year. The flight is completely under the radar of McJung’s penthouse and the promising recovery, MBC’s Twist-Turney, time-lapse – it’s on fire. It is a show that, despite a very similar starting point, has time to reinvent itself in the middle and stand out from the signal.

The story follows two characters, spread over months. Seo-jin is a month ahead of Ae-Ri, who manages to reach him at 10:34. When Seo-jin’s daughter disappears and his wife commits suicide, Seo-jin, angry and upset, finds answers and clues, maybe a month too late, while Ae-Ri struggles to find out where his daughter SDa-Bin really is.

Unfortunately, the plot thickens. In exchange for his help, Seo-jin goes looking for E-Ri’s missing mother. He discovers a complex network of conspiracies that connect the past and the present with a key figure who stands out as the one pulling the strings (there are no spoilers!).

A minimalist score, jumps in time and the characters themselves – all well written, and enough unique points in this drama to distinguish it from many others that have existed so far.

You can read the summary of our episode by clicking here!

8 – Hot Plate League

Baseball in Korea is huge. Just like soccer. Formula 1 and American football, baseball is a sport where much more is happening under the hood. Like the American film Money Ball, the League of Plates is a show that pays tribute to what makes doing business in the sport so exciting and at the same time creates a truly intelligent and dramatic character.

Central to this story is a confused team – dreams. From power struggles and board bickering to a fragmented hierarchy and a megalomaniac star player, the Dreams end the competition at the end of the season with a decent performance for their fans. Seung Su, the man responsible for changing the fate of this team, watched from a distance.

With Se-young’s right hand at his side, the drama combines a serial approach to his sprawling plot with episodic chapters interspersed so that each player can be introduced to the other. These episodes are adapted to a specific character(s), from a scout leader to a novice pitcher or a former security guard who has been in the club for many years.

They allow us to immerse ourselves in this drama as they (and we) begin to think and treat the Son of Su in an unconventional way. He may have a few slow episodes, but when he gets to work, the Baking League throws him out of the park and seems to be doing the impossible; leaving the door open for future seasons when he misses things that have an absolutely satisfying ending in his own.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

7 – Royal season 2

As we’ve seen in movies like Train to Busan, zombies can be absolutely scary if treated well. In combination with the Korean feudal decorations, the Kingdom brought a surprisingly intense cocktail of tension and drama when it fell in 2019 and landed on a large cliff. Kingdom Season 2 not only develops their original ideas, but gives meaning to all the characters and takes a new wave of inanimate action into a short 6-episode series that will almost certainly lead to an exciting third season.

The story follows Lee Chang and the other soldiers and picks up exactly where we left off, as the undead attack them in the open air while they are shocked to see the undead in the sun, given the rules set up earlier in this series. The first episode features a 50-minute action in which the group tries to avoid the endless spell of the undead before moving to a more familiar and politically charged area for the rest of the season.

While Hak Ju and the Queen conspire and prepare to strike at any moment, this conspiracy will confront the history of the undead in the final episodes where the truths of the fatherland are revealed and a definitive vision of the fate of mankind in the future is presented. Given that the series has already been extended for the third season, suffice to say that with a large cliffhanger that ended with unraveling all the important parcels that went through the last 12 episodes, is all about for the future.

It is always difficult to follow a successful first season, and even if a few medium episodes illuminate the plot, the overwhelming feelings of fear and despair are enough to make this series and a sequel very worthy of the already great first season.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

6 – The world of marriage

The world of couples is the highest quality drama in the history of Korean cable television, and not for nothing. The series is an excellent Korean adaptation of the British series Dr. Foster and manages to find a balance between well-written characters and the plot that develops over time. If there is a steaming affair, the world of marriage develops in just a few weeks.

The story here is mainly that of a couple whose betrayal of each other leads to a whirlwind of revenge, grief, forgiveness and healing.

It is also worth mentioning that the lead actress, Kim Hee Ae, was voted best actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards and the show also won the award for best director. This is definitely one of the best Korean dramas of the year you can see.

5 – It is normal not to be normal.

It is normal not to be normal, of course it does not hesitate to present significant mental health problems, and it does so in a very natural way. From emotional and physical violence to learning difficulties, she handles the drama perfectly, with a single message in mind. Like the name itself, it is normal that it is not right to ask for help, either for professional reasons or with the support of friends and family.

The story revolves around the brothers Moon Kang Tae and Moon San Tae. They’ve lived alone since they were kids. After his mother’s death, Kangtae did his best to protect and care for his older brother.

The series presents an original and moving space with an excellent development of characters and interesting themes. It’s not easy to depict mental problems, but this drama comes across perfectly with this painting in its raw form, which contributes to the impressive performance of the entire cast.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

4 – Itaewon class

While it can be said that some of the intermediate chapters end before the end, this traditional sixteen-year Korean drama brought together important issues of acceptance, faith and racism when it was broadcast earlier this year.

The story revolves around Se Ro-Yi, a rebellious high school student, who became involved in a vendetta with a tyrant named Heung Won after the shocking death of his father. Sae-Ro-I went into a rage, was put in jail and ended up in a state of enmity with President Young. This is followed by the story of a vengeful redemption, in which Sae-Ro Yi-Seo together with the eccentric Yi-Seo opened a café in the bustling tourist district of Itaewon Street and tried to overthrow the president and the Jangga Co. to become the best catering company in Korea.

Of course, the story is much more complex and involves several characters, including the brother of Geung Won, who works for Sae-Roi in Dun Bam Pub, and the tube of the children of Sae-Roi, who works for the president. All these stories of character-controlled subgroups are perfectly interwoven in the main plot, interwoven with an angle of revenge until the end.

What makes this program so good is the way the Itaewon class makes different comparisons between rich and poor, as well as comments about pride and jealousy. The main plot is fascinating, well written, not to mention the soundtrack, which sounds good everywhere.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

3 – King: Eternal Monarch

Shows related to time travel are always difficult to perform well. From holes of intrigue and confusing legends to stories full of tricks and confusion – the king: The eternal monarch starts with some confusion before correcting himself and becomes something absolutely fascinating and very pleasant. Between parallel worlds and a love story that connects them all, this extremely popular Korean drama is supported by the return of Lee Min-ho, who plays the leading role in this imaginative series and gives it a lot of charisma.

The story itself revolves around two parallel worlds: The Republic of Korea as we know it, and the Kingdom of Korea. In Korea, the king is killed by his uncle Lee Lim, while his son Lee Gun faces certain death by his hand. Fortunately, a mysterious figure in a cape approaches him and saves him from his fate by fighting through the guards and forcing the man to escape. All that’s left is the identity card of a woman named Tae ul-ul.

This is the essence of the next drama, and the plot only becomes more complex and layered over time. The king: The Eternal Monarch is a beautiful Korean drama that perfectly illuminates his love story and adds enough twists and turns along the way to make the clock very pleasant.

However, the Eternal Monarch believes that it can be quite difficult to plough in one go – especially given the 75 minutes time for each episode. But because this is a show that needs to be digested and not rushed, it is worth watching and broadcasting one of the best Korean science fiction offers this year.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

2 – Evil flower

The Flower of Evil is one of those shows that completely surprises you. This slow-motion thriller is a very skilfully written show, which not only destroys expectations, but also jumps effortlessly through different genres without ever losing sight of the most important plot. There are certainly Baeksang-awards for that, but a few moves along the way don’t stop him from getting the perfect 10 points he can claim for us.

The story itself is played as a combination of a procedural crime and a thriller with a cat and a mouse. Baek Hee Seong is a man with a very dark past. Hee Seong seems to be happily married to agent Ji Won, Eun has a loving daughter and offers her a kind of normal life.

Only a series of unsolved murders suggest that Hee Seong is behind it. If you adopt a false personality and don’t feel emotions, it soon becomes clear that Hee Sen is not what he seems to be. Could he be responsible for these murders? Or is there something else at work?

Much more would be to do history a disservice, but suffice it to say that this is a spinning tournament that you want to see through to the end. There are wonderful moments that surprise you and change the kind week to week.

1 – The shock hits you

With a paraphrase on our screens at the end of last year and until 2020, Crash Landing On You has become not only a global phenomenon, but also an amazing story full of charm, humour and romance. The heart scenes are just as effective as the big sets, and all this makes for one of the best Korean dramas of the year 2020. Almost every element of the series is perfectly balanced, and in the 16 episodes of Crash Landing we will be riding an emotional roller coaster ride again and again in the coming years.

The story revolves around heiress and successful CEO Yoon Se Ri, who one day lands in North Korea after a storm blew her up while paragliding in the country. There she meets Captain Ri Jung Hyuk and falls in love with him, hides and gets used to his habits. What follows is a race against the clock as she tries to flee to her country with the help of her new friends and encounters many obstacles and difficulties. In this way she makes unforgettable friendships that will change her life in a way she never thought possible.

It was also very nice to see how Se-Ri led a difficult life in North Korea and she offered powerful and intense scenes as she tried to hide and return to her homeland. On the contrary, in the second half of the season we see the difference between the two countries, because the drama is concentrated in the south. Don’t exaggerate, there are some nice but also touching moments with our four favorite soldiers (the ducks). It was really interesting to see the polarity between North and South, but at the same time it was sad to see that some people wanted to bring the two countries together.

A drama that tells a simple and moving story about love and friendship is a good way to balance tension and romance. All the characters the actors can play are cute and will surely be missed by anyone who has seen this wonderful drama.

You can read our overview of the whole season and our general thoughts by clicking here!

Here we go, our top 15 Korean dramas for 2020! Along the way there were several victims, including a list of Korean dramas that started promising and ended in boredom. The story of nine landfills, elegant friends, the beginning, privacy and Do Sol La Sol – all these more productive names have disappeared this year.

Are your favorites on the list? You disagree with our assessment? What’s your favorite drama of the year in Korea? Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments below, and of course don’t forget to watch our Top 50 TV shows for 2020, which are fast approaching, and don’t forget to include many of these titles!

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