The number of quality Korean dramas on Netflix grew exponentially in the past few years. Most genres are represented, from romantic comedy to apocalyptic horror.
Here are some of the most popular and highest-rated Korean dramas in Netflix rotation for 2021. I also look forward to the second half of 2021 at some exciting upcoming dramas, though the details are still a bit sparse.
I hope that you can find a drama you will enjoy!
Crash Landing on You
Heiress Yoon Si Ri (Son Ye Jin) accidentally crosses the demilitarized zone into North Korea while paragliding. North Korean army officer Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin of Secret Garden) finds her and protects her from North Korean intelligence. Meanwhile, in South Korea, Se Ri’s half-brother Se Hyang (Park Hyung Soo) attempts to take over the company Se Ri was set to inherit. Ri Junk Hyuk tries to help Se Ri escape back to South Korea, but they fall in love in the process.
Crash Landing on You takes the highest ratings on Netflix and tops popularity charts. It’s the third highest-rated South Korean cable television show after The World of the Married and Sky Castle.
Considered one of the best Korean dramas on Netflix in 2019, Kingdom is a fantasy historical horror drama series about a zombie invasion during a tense battle for the Joseon kingdom. Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji Hoon) investigates the king’s unnatural illness and reports of a plague that turns people into zombies. The prince finds help in physician’s assistant Seo Bi, who witnessed the effects of the plague. Court officials work against the prince and Seo Bi for political reasons, not knowing their efforts would result in a horrible outcome.
Netflix produced Kingdom as its first original Korean series. There are currently two seasons, each with six episodes. A spin-off series called Kingdom: Ashin of the North starring top Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun has been announced.
Watch Kingdom on Netflix.
Hospital Playlist is funny, endearing, and a pleasant way to spend a lazy weekend on a Netflix binge. It’s also one of the few Korean dramas to earn a second season that will be released in the second half of 2021.
A group of doctors who went through medical school together experience the joys and hardships of saving patients in a large hospital in Seoul. Their 20-year friendship endures through love, heartache, unending shifts, and lots of coffee.
The series was directed by Shin Won Ho, who directed all of the Reply dramas and Prison Playbook, featured below.
Watch Hospital Playlist on Netflix.
One of the newer Korean dramas in Netflix rotation, Law School feels reminiscent of the American law drama How to Get Away with Murder. Former prosecutor Yang Jong-Hoon (Kim Myung Min of Six Flying Dragons) teaches law at prestigious Hankuk University. Many law students fear his argumentative style and fierce criticism.
First-year law student Kang Sol (Ryu Hye-young) struggles with her studies, without the affluent background and educational opportunities of many of the other students. Her classmate Han Joon Hwi (Kim Bum) excels but hides a big secret.
When another law professor at the university is murdered, suspicion falls on one of their own. Kang Sol and Han Joon Hwi believe someone else is the murderer and work together to discover the truth.
Watch Law School on Netflix.
A bittersweet melodrama about chasing your dreams at any age, Navillera captures an elderly man’s wish to learn ballet.
70-year-old Shim Doek Chul (Park In Hwan) has always wanted to do ballet, but his father forbid him as a child. Professional ballerino Lee Chae Rok (Song Kang) practices endlessly but his heart is not in ballet anymore. Chae Rok’s teacher tricks him into teaching Doek Chul ballet, and together they learn how to love dance and life.
Watch Navillera on Netflix.
Famous baseball player Kim Je Hyuk (Park Hae Soo) is arrested trying to stop a man sexually assaulting his sister. He’s sentenced to a year in jail. While in jail, Je Hyuk meets his old friend Lee Joon Hoo (Jung Kyung Ho). Joon Hoo became a prison guard after a car accident sidelined him from baseball. Je Hyuk meets a number of interesting characters in prison and learns to see the best in people even in the worst of circumstances.
Prison Playbook won multiple awards for Best Drama, as well as Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor. Shin Won Ho went on to continue in a similar style when directing Hospital Playlist. Jung Bo Hoon and Lee Woo Jung collaborated on the screenplay.
Watch Prison Playbook on Netflix.
Inspired by a series of real-life crimes in South Korea, 2016’s Signal is a fantasy drama that spans generations through a walkie-talkie that can communicate with those in the past. Winning Best Drama at the Baeksang Arts Awards, Signal became the eleventh highest-rated cable television show in South Korean television. A Japanese remake was released in 2018.
Criminal profiler Park Hae Young (Lee Je Hoon) solves a kidnapping case with the help of someone on a walkie-talkie. Je Hoon realizes the person lives in the past. He helps detective Cha Soo-Hyun (Kim Hye-soo) find her missing mentor while they and the person on the radio solve a series of other cold cases.
Watch Signal on Netflix.
Strong Girl Do Bong Soon
Strong Girl Do Bong Soon is about a woman with superpowered strength who will lose her powers if she uses them for selfish purposes. Since Netflix started streaming Strong Girl Do Bong Soon, it has consistently been one of the most popular Korean dramas on Netflix.
Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young of Oh My Ghostess) secretly saves lives as a pink hoodie-wearing superhero, but she would rather be just an ordinary woman. Bong Soon loves her childhood friend, police officer In Guk Do (Ji Soo). CEO Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik) witnesses Bong Soon’s secret. He hires her to be his bodyguard to protect him from a stalker. She accepts and he helps her learn how to control her abilities. When her neighborhood is threatened by a series of kidnappings, she uses her strength to bring the kidnapper to justice.
Netflix ventured into the apocalyptic horror genre with their sponsored Korean drama Sweet Home. This drama was the first Korean drama to hit the top 10 on Netflix in the United States.
Reclusive orphan Cha Hyun Soo (Song Kang of Navillera) moves to a new apartment building after the death of his whole family. Humans start turning into monsters and the residents of the apartment building fight for their own survival. This drama also stars Lee Jin Wook of Goodbye Mr. Black and Lee Si Young of Boys Over Flowers.
Watch Sweet Home on Netflix.
Italian mafia lawyer Vincenzo Cassano (Soong Joong Ki) returns to Korea after the new leader of his mafia clan attempts to assassinate him. He searches for a hidden stash of gold in a derelict building inhabited by a group of motley individuals. The property is abruptly and illegally taken over by a chaebol company, hindering Vincenzo’s chance at nabbing the gold. Vincenzo moves to recover both the building and his gold by whatever means necessary.
Vincenzo co-stars Jong Yeo Bin as talented lawyer Hong Cha Young and Ok Taecyeon as her energetic intern with a big secret. Kim Yeo Jin, Yang Kyung Won, and Lee Hang Na make memorable appearances.
Watch Vincenzo on Netflix.
Another rare Korean drama that earned three seasons, Voice has remained consistently popular on Netflix. Voice is also OCN’s highest-rated drama of all time.
Investigators, voice profilers, and criminal psychologists use the recordings from an emergency call center to solve difficult crimes. Lee Ha Na stars in all three seasons as master voice profiler Kang Kwon Joo. Jang Hyuk co-stars in the first season, and Lee Jin Wook co-stars in the second season.
Watch Voice on Netflix.
Upcoming Korean Dramas in Netflix Rotation for 2021
Mysterious creatures arrive on Earth and sentence humans to hell. Yoo Ah In stars as the man who plans to stop them.
Based on the American TV drama of the same name, Younger stars Seo Ji Hye as a woman who hides her age to get the job of her dreams. Sung Joon co-stars.
The Silent Sea
Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, and Lee Joon star in this science fiction mystery thriller. A team of researchers find out what happened to an abandoned lunar base while retrieving a classified sample.
What’s Your Favorite Netflix Korean Drama?
I hope Netflix continues to stream more Korean dramas as their audience grows. I look forward to what Netflix offers in the future!
Have a favorite Korean drama on Netflix? What about a drama from another country? Share it with us in the comments!