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The 17 Best K-Dramas To Stream On Netflix Right Now

Don’t let subtitles get in the way.

Crash Landing On You is one of the best K-dramas on Netflix right now. Other titles to watch are Vin...
Netflix

If you’re looking to expand your Netflix queue, consider a foray into K-dramas. After all, Korean content has been dominating the entertainment industry recently — not to mention the beauty space — from K-pop septet BTS topping the charts to films like Minari and Parasite bagging Academy Awards. Whether you’re already a fan or new to the genre, Netflix offers a wide range of K-drama titles to suit whatever you’re in the mood for — be it action, horror, comedy, or romance, the cornerstone of K-drama.

Enter: this list of 17 of the best K-dramas to stream on Netflix right now. From an anti-hero mafia lawyer doing good by being bad (Vincenzo) to a Netflix Original zombie period drama set in the 1600s (Kingdom), there’s a lot to choose from. This list also includes titles featuring some of the most-followed actors and idols in South Korea today, including Lee Min-ho in the classic Boys Over Flowers, Park Seo-joon in Itaewon Class, and Bae Suzy from K-pop’s Miss A in Start-Up. Of course, the list is sprinkled with romance options, including high-school set stories for a mega-dose of escapism and first-love butterflies.

There’s much to love about K-dramas: the innovative meet-cutes, the subtlety and slow build of romance, and the endless fashion and K-beauty inspiration. Plus, with titles set against the backdrop of Seoul’s vibrant sights, viewers can do some vicarious traveling. Here are 17 Korean dramas streaming on Netflix. To paraphrase Parasite director Bong Joon-ho at the 2020 Golden Globes, don’t let subtitles get in the way.

Vincenzo

Watching Vincenzo Cassano, played by heartthrob Song Joong-Ki, commit arson as the impeccably dressed titular lawyer and Italian mafia consigliere is oddly satisfying. Even more so when his bad-boy ways ultimately end up helping the oppressed. That’s not his intention, of course, but the antihero, who teams up with quirky but headstrong Hong Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-been), finds a worthy opponent in Babel Group, a conglomerate with a long list of criminal wrongdoings. The action-packed dark comedy, released in 2021, is perfect for fans who don’t mind a bit of gore. It also stars Ok Taecyeon, the main rapper of K-pop group 2PM.

Law School

When a law professor is found dead in school, the daunting task of exonerating the main suspect — a disliked professor — and solving the murder case falls on first-year law students. Released early this year, Law School is a high-intensity drama that tackles concepts of justice, class, and equality and stars Kim Myung-min, Kim Bum, Ryu Hye-young, and Parasite alum Lee Jung-eun.

Oh My Ghost

For a comedic take on the paranormal, enter Oh My Ghost (2015). When ghost Shin Soon-ae (Kim Seul-gi) can’t move on to the afterlife, she makes up for her virginal past by possessing women to seduce men, all in the name of finding eternal repose. The lustful ghost finds the perfect host in timid Na Bong-sun (Park Bo-young), who secretly harbors a crush on her boss. When Bong-sun’s libido skyrockets after the possession and she grows closer to him, they discover that Soon-ae’s death isn’t what it seems.

Itaewon Class

When Park Sae-ro-yi (played by Korean phenom Park Seo-joon) is released from prison after beating up Jang Geun Won, whom he blames for his father’s death, he opens a bar in Seoul’s Itaewon district, a dining and nightlife hub, to serve as the headquarters for plotting his revenge against the Jang family. He attracts a crew of lovable misfits in a lighthearted dramedy with a focus on friendships more than romance. Not your typical revenge series, Itaewon Class (2020) will make you want to add Itaewon to your travel plans, stat. Also, Park Seo-joon is set to appear in the upcoming Captain Marvel film, The Marvels, in 2022, so don’t sleep on him.

Start-Up

For the classic rom-com formula, look no further than Start-Up (2020), which features a Silicon Valley-inspired love triangle with K-pop idol Bae Suzy right smack in the middle. Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) wants to become the Korean Steve Jobs, despite her humble and unrelated beginnings, and lands a spot at a competitive startup incubator. Equally exciting is her blossoming pen-pal romance and a case of mistaken first-love identity. A female dominating the tech space? Love to see it. Bae Suzy being wooed by actors Nam Joo-hyuk and Kim Seon-ho? Just a bonus.

Reply 1988

Relive the ’80s in Reply 1988 (2015), the third installment in the Reply series. It’s a coming-of-age story starring Park Bo-gum, Go Kyung-pyo, Ryu Jun-yeol, Lee Dong-hwi, and Lee Hye-ri in her first lead-role performance after making a career with K-pop’s Girl’s Day. Hye-ri navigating familial problems, first loves, and small-town life in frosty blue eyeshadow and mom jeans is peak ’80s nostalgia.

Record of Youth

In another Park Bo-gum hit, he joins Parasite’s Park So-dam for Record of Youth (2020); they play a model and makeup artist who try to find success in the cutthroat fashion industry. When the two meet at a fashion show, they become fast friends. Not quite the romance series, it’s a look at what happens when millennials pursue creative passions starkly different from those of their parents.

Crash Landing On You

Actors Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin reunite after The Negotiation (2018) to play star-crossed lovers in Crash Landing on You (2019), in which a freak paragliding accident plops a South Korean heiress (Son) straight into a North Korean army base. Is this the worst thing that could happen? Possibly. A meet-cute for falling in love? Apparently. Unfortunately, the more the North Korean army captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun) and Yoon Se-ri (Son) develop feelings for each other, the more their lives are in danger. The series was lauded for accurately depicting North Korean life thanks to one writer’s real-life experience as a North Korean defector.

Hi Bye, Mama!

In Hi Bye, Mama! (2020), another ghost series, Cha Yu-ri (Kim Tae-hee) plays a ghost who, since her accident four years prior, has been living among mortals as a specter. When she’s given a chance to reincarnate on the condition that she gets her husband and daughter back in 49 days, she finds out that the task is much more daunting than she realized.

Run On

Starring actor Shin Se-kyung and K-pop idols Choi Soo-young (Girls’ Generation), Im Si-wan (ZE:A), and Kang Tae-oh (5urprise), Run On (2020) is a classic romance drama with the meet-cute and rom-com tropes K-dramas are known for. It follows former track and field star Ki Seon-gyeom (Im), who literally bumps into subtitle translator Oh Mi-joo (Shin). A series of chance encounters propels them together and (surprise!) romance ensues.

Hospital Playlist

Grey’s Anatomy fans will enjoy this medical drama that follows five doctors who are co-workers, best friends, and even bandmates. Hospital Playlist (2020), also written by Reply series creator ​​Lee Woo-jung, stars Jo Jung-suk, Yoo Yeon-seok, Jung Kyung-ho, Kim Dae-myung, and Jeon Mi-do. It’s a heartwarming series that’s less about romance and more about friendships and the lives of frontliners.

Kingdom

The first Netflix Original K-drama that propelled the streaming platform to create more Korean content, Kingdom (2019) is a period horror thriller set during Korea’s Joseon dynasty (the last dynasty before Japan occupied the country). After the king dies of a plague, the queen devises a plot to steal the throne from the king’s (illegitimate) son Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon). To keep the king alive (sort of) until she gives birth to a new heir, she gives him a plant that turns him into a zombie. When Lee Chang attempts to find out what happened to his father, he realizes that what the queen unleashed was a much bigger threat to humanity. The series received a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that Koreans do zombie content best (remember Train to Busan?).

The Inheritors

Also known as The Heirs, The Inheritors (2013), set in both Los Angeles and South Korea, follows a group of privileged high school students who also happen to be heirs to the biggest Korean conglomerates. There’s glitz, there’s glamor, and there’s K-drama lead veteran Lee Min-ho. When he moves to L.A., the already engaged Kim Tan (Lee) meets Cha Eun-sang (Park Shin-hye), his housekeeper’s tenacious daughter. Despite having his future all planned out, he has to choose whether to keep his South Korean fortune or allow himself to fall in love with someone unexpected. The series, written by Kim Eun-sook, and its actors bagged several awards.

Because This Is My First Life

What can two people who are in tight financial situations do to get by? Get married, it seems. When IT nerd Nam Se-hee (Lee Min-ki) meets homeless writer Yoon Ji-ho (Jung So-min), they agree to a landlord-tenant relationship but later realize that saying “I do” comes with more financial benefits, that is, if they can keep up the ruse to their parents. Definitely a romance drama, Because This Is My First Life (2017) will leave you giddy and rooting for the two stars to fall in love.

Romance Is a Bonus Book

Fans of Younger and Second Act will enjoy this series that stars Lee Jong-suk as the youngest editor-in-chief of a publishing house. When his childhood friend (Lee Na-young) resurfaces in his life, he gives her a job to help with her flailing financial and marital situation. She thrives. And falls in love. While Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019) dwells more on a woman reclaiming her life, the subtle romance gives all the feels.

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

A tear-jerking take on mental illness, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) follows brothers Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) and Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who suffers from autism. Gang-tae works as a caretaker in a psychiatric ward, where he meets acclaimed children’s author Ko Moon-young (Seo Ye-ji), who also suffers from a mental illness: antisocial personality disorder. When they realize they share a past, Moon-young becomes obsessed with Gang-tae, but what ensues from neuroses is much more beautiful than they realize. Oh, and the fashion is spectacular.

Boys Over Flowers

The series that cemented Lee Min-ho’s status as a K-drama lead, the 2009 classic Boys Over Flowers is a high-school set romance following F4, a group of privileged boys at an elite school who, yes, named their pack. But bullying from their leader (Lee) has no effect on newcomer Geum Jan-di (Ku Hye-sun), and when she stands up to him, he (surprise, surprise) falls in love. Will he change his mean ways? Will she return his affection? Who named them F4? So many questions. A remake of the Taiwanese megahit Meteor Garden (2001), the series became an instant hit in South Korea.