The 30 Best Korean Dramas on Netflix Right Now (2024)

The 30 Best Korean Dramas on Netflix Right Now (1)

South Korean entertainment and culture has become an international force over the past two decades, with films (Parasite and Minari) and shows (Pachinko) garnering critical acclaim and awards buzz in the United States. Countless fans have already dipped their toe into the K-drama fandom—60 percent of Netflix subscribers have watched at least one Korean show—and the streaming giant has committed $2.5 billion to producing new South Korean shows and movies. Luckily for viewers who want to try out K-dramas, Netflix has already built an impressive catalog of shows, with many of its best original and distributed dramas having landed on the streamer long before the massive success of breakout hit Squid Game. From thrilling crime procedurals and heartwarming romances to paranormal action and slice-of-life drama, here are the best K-dramas to start your dive into Korean television.


Crash Landing on You

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This ultimate tale of star-crossed lovers begins with a unique premise: South Korean chaebol heiress meets North Korean soldier after a paragliding accident takes her over the demilitarized zone. Action, political intrigue, buddy comedy, and rom-com sweetness all meet in this drama, with the real-life marriage of actors Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin making this the ultimate must-watch.



Hospital Playlist

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Following five doctors who have been friends since school and even play in a band together, this medical drama immerses itself in the characters’ lives and friendships, showing how they lift each other up in hard times and grow together. If you’ve often skipped over Grey’s Anatomy or House to avoid gruesome surgery scenes (guilty), Hospital Playlist’s focus on the interactions among doctors, staff, and even patients might be just what you’re looking for.



Itaewon Class

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This jam-packed drama follows the rivalry between a headstrong young bar owner, played by The Marvels’ Park Seo-joon, and the father-son heads of a successful food company. As the main class-warfare plot plays out, with the young man building his pub into a franchise, his ragtag team of employees—including a previously incarcerated man, a trans woman, and a Black Korean—get their own subplots, with these stories not commonly seen on Korean TV receiving empathetic portrayals.


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The first Netflix original K-drama to make an international splash, Kingdom combines two genres that are hallmarks of Korean entertainment: historical epics and zombie horrors. When political intrigue in the Joseon era mixes with a strange virus, giving citizens a craving for flesh, the crown prince and his allies must save what’s left of the country.



Mr. Sunshine

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This stunning historical drama inspired by true events tells a fascinating story set in the late 1800s. A Korean-born U.S. Marine returns to his home country during an expedition and falls for an aristocrat and sharpshooter fighting to save Korea from colonization by Japan. This epic drama features gorgeous cinematography, excellent writing, and legendary performances from Lee Byung-hun and Kim Tae-ri.




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Crime thrillers are also an integral K-drama genre, and Signal is a prime example of the form. Based on a series of real-life cases from South Korea, the show follows a detective from 1989 and a criminal profiler from 2015 who work together to investigate the same serial killer, thanks to a walkie-talkie that lets them communicate despite living in different times. Joined by another 2015 detective, the sleuths solve cold cases together, stopping criminals in the past and changing the future.


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SKY Castle

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This dramatic ensemble show will make you question whether all your high school efforts to get into the perfect school were really worth it. As four super-rich families from an exclusive community do everything in their power to get their kids into a top university, their ruthless machinations lead to betrayal, abuse, and even death. Besides being an incredible show in itself, the drama also shines a spotlight on South Korea’s intense education system and how it’s exploited by wealthier families.



Squid Game

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In case you skipped Squid Game mania last year, the brutal sensation is worth the watch for the actors’ excellent performances and director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s incisive satire of wealth disparity and sensationalized violence. Netflix has also made it clear the dystopian show will be making a comeback, so might as well follow the Squid Game universe as it develops.




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Led by famed actor Song Joong-ki as a Korean Italian mafia consigliere, this engrossing drama has both epic action sequences and hilarious ensemble comedy. Some of the best Korean action dramas deftly weave together light comedy and romance and engrossing action, with Vincenzo adding in plot twists that keep viewers clicking “next episode.”


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When the Camellia Blooms

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This is another drama that mixes several genres with a hilarious and heartwarming romance, adding in dramatic challenges and a thriller subplot. A local police officer falls in love at first sight with a single mother and owner of a bar named the Camellia. As he wins her over and their relationship progresses, they have to deal with societal pressures, all while a serial killer is threatening their town.



Reply 1988

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The three shows in the Reply franchise are the ultimate nostalgia dramas, following three communities of students and their parents living in their respective years (1997, 1994, and 1988) and dealing with real-life events from the Olympics to the IMF financial crisis. Though the series were made in reverse chronological order (and there are Easter-egg surprises for viewers who watch in that order), the third installment, Reply 1988, is an especially sweet show about the love between a tight-knit group of friends and their families.



Law School

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Legal drama fans who love to follow the stories behind the scenes of engrossing cases (anyone? Just me?) should check out this well-written tale of law students who get thrown into real-world cases after one professor is arrested for the murder of another. The twists and turns of the main trial, plus a well-done subplot addressing dating violence, keep the show compelling from beginning to end.


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Her Private Life

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For a top-tier romance drama, take two actors with outstanding chemistry—in this case, rom-com queen Park Min-young and veteran actor Kim Jae-wook—give them lovable, well-written characters, and throw them into a secret workplace romance or a fake dating plot (or both)! This show about a museum curator and secret fangirl who falls for the new director of the museum is a perfect, adorable watch.



It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

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This acclaimed drama brings together a noble psychiatric caretaker, his autistic older brother, and an emotionally challenged children’s book author, who become drawn to each other and gradually help each other heal from their traumatic pasts. In addition to addressing subjects like trauma and abuse in a refreshingly progressive manner, the dark fairy-tale vibe and outstanding performances from the trio of actors have won this drama critical acclaim.



Business Proposal

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Fans of the classic romantic comedy—ridiculous circ*mstances, steamy scenes, races to the airport, and all—will love this new drama, which fits every romance trope in the book into 12 episodes. The two main couples have great chemistry and distinct personalities to root for, as the show either embraces rom-com storylines that give us the feels, or subverts the plots that usually make us roll our eyes.


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Extraordinary Attorney Woo

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Woo Young-woo (played by the stellar Park Eun-bin) is an autistic young woman who graduated from the top of her class at the best law school in Korea. She’s a prodigy whose admiration for the law is rivaled only by her love of whales, but when she starts her new job at a prestigious firm, she faces challenges from clients and fellow attorneys who are skeptical of her skills. Luckily, she also finds some kind allies (and even a love interest) in this feel-good drama.



Under the Queen’s Umbrella

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In this historical drama, the king of Joseon (which is now Korea) has numerous princes to choose from as he names an heir, and several concubines who want their sons to inherit the throne. The heir is selected based on talent and merit, and the eldest son of Queen Im Hwa-ryeong (Juvenile Justice’s Kim Hye-su), the Crown Prince, is beyond reproach. When he suddenly becomes gravely ill, the queen lands in the middle of a fierce succession battle, which threatens the lives of her four remaining sons.



Move to Heaven

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This deeply moving drama follows Geu Ru (Tang Jun-sang), a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who works as a trauma cleaner, clearing out the possessions of dead people and returning their effects to the loved ones the deceased left behind. When his father suddenly dies and his estranged uncle (Lee Jehoon) takes over the business, the two men teach each other new lessons as they continue to honor the deceased and treat each of their families with respect and care.


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My Name

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Korean cinema fans are familiar with brutal revenge plots (see: I Saw the Devil and Park Chan-wook’s iconic Vengeance trilogy), and this female-led, revenge-fueled drama is just as thrilling. Han So-hee plays a young woman whose father is killed over his involvement with a criminal organization. When the gang’s kingpin (Park Hee-soon) takes her under his wing and trains her as a skilled fighter, she goes undercover in Seoul’s police force as his Trojan horse, while also investigating her father’s death.



Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

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This ultimate small-town romance takes place in Gongin, a seaside village filled with humorous residents and romantic views. After she’s charmed by the village on an eventful trip, Seoul dentist Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Min-a) opens her own practice there and befriends “Chief Hong” (Kim Seon-ho), a handsome fisherman who helps the town’s seniors. This is the rom-com to check out for viewers looking for a love story away from the big city.


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Quinci LeGardye

Quinci LeGardye is an LA-based freelance writer who covers culture, politics, and mental health through a Black feminist lens. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.

The 30 Best Korean Dramas on Netflix Right Now (2024)
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