2016 Korean Drama Recommendations

Granted that I have a ton of c-dramas in queue for 2016, it's no wonder that my first k-drama for the year was a very short one called Splash Splash Love. If only spare time grew on trees. 

I added a rating widget so you can now rate your favorite Korean dramas below. Expect more historical dramas in the future since it's pretty much my bread and butter.

Legend of the Blue Sea

Legend of the Blue Sea




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Legend of the Blue Sea / 푸른 바다의 전설
Episodes and Genre: 20 Fantasy, Romantic Comedy
Broadcast Period: Nov 2016 SBS
Starring:
Jun Ji Hyun as Shim Chung 
Lee Min Ho as Heo Joon Jae

Synopsis:
A Joseon era mermaid finds herself in Seoul as she meets Heo Joon Jae, a modern day con-artist.

Comments:
Click for more stills.

K2

K2




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: K2 / 안투라지
Episodes and Genre: 16, Action Political
Broadcast Period: Sep 2016 tvN
Starring:
Ji Chang Wook as Kim Je Ha 
Song Yoon Ah as Choi Yoo Jin 
Im Yoon Ah as Go Anna 
Jo Sung Ha as Jang Se Joon

Synopsis:
Kim Je Ha is a bodyguard embroiled in a political war and he falls in love with Go Anna, the daughter of a presidential candidate.

Entourage

Entourage




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Entourage / 안투라지
Episodes and Genre: 16, Dark Comedy
Broadcast Period: Nov 2016 tvN
Starring:
Seo Kang Joon as Cha Young Bin 
Jo Jin Woong as Kim Eun Gab 
Park Jung Min as Lee Ho Jin 
Lee Kwang Soo as Cha Joon 
Lee Dong Hwi as Geobook (turtle) 
Kim Hye In as Seo Hee

Synopsis:
Cha Young Bin is a rising star who brought his friends from the hood to lead the lifestyle of the rich and famous and along for the ride is his foul-mouthed and hard-hitting manager Kim Eun Gab.

Comments:
Click for more stills.


Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds 2016 kdrama




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Moonlight Drawn By Clouds / 구르미 그린 달빛
Episodes and Genre: 18, Romantic Comedy
Broadcast Period: Aug 2016 KBS2
Starring:
Park Bo Gum as Lee Young
Kim Yoo Jung as Hong Ra On

Synopsis:
A prince false in love with a girl disguised as a eunuch.

Comments:
Click for more stills.


Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

2016 kdrama Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Moon Lovers / Scarlet Heart Ryeo / 보보경심: 려
Episodes and Genre: 20, Fantasy, Time Travel Romance
Broadcast Period: Aug 2016 SBS
Starring:
Lee Joon Ki as Wang So (4th Prince)

IU as Go Ha Jin / Hae Soo
Kang Ha Neul as Wang Wook (8th Prince)
Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Yo (3rd Prince)

Synopsis:
Go Ha Jin is down in the dumps until she jumps into the water to save a drowning boy. When she wakes up, she discovers that she has been transported back into Goryeo inside the body of Hae Soo.

Stuck with no idea on how to go back to the future, she must make the most of her time in the past as she becomes embroiled in the political power plays for the throne.


Comments:
Click for more stills.

W

2016 best k-drama W Two Worlds




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must Watch (5/5)
Title: W / W Two Worlds / 더블유
Episodes and Genre: 16, Fantasy, Suspense, Romance
Broadcast Period: Jul 2016 MBC
Starring:
Lee Jong Suk as Kang Chul

Han Hyo Joo as Oh Yun Joo

Synopsis:
W - Two Worlds.

Comments:
To say the trailers were cryptic is an understatement because I was thoroughly as confused as Han Hyo Joo who looked like a deer in headlights most of the time but what an epiphany when I actually started this unassuming k-drama because it is so wonderfully written, gripping, intense, cute.. I'm running out of compliments just watch it, please. 

Oh Hae Young Again

2016 kdrama Oh Hae Young Again




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Another Oh Hae Young / Oh Hae Young Again / 또 오해영
Episodes and Genre: 18, Romantic Comedy, Fantasy
Broadcast Period: May 2016 TVN
Starring:
Eric as Park Do Kyung

Seo Hyun Jin as Oh Hae Young
Jun Hye Bin as Oh Hae Young

Synopsis:
Two women have the same name and Park Do Kyung, a man who can see the future, does everything in his power to avoid them.

Comments:
Honestly, the plot doesn't sound particularly appealing neither does the cast but adding it to the list anyway because word is out that it is that good and I can't wait to see it for myself.

Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Mind starring Jang Hyuk




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Beautiful Mind / 뷰티풀 마인드
Episodes and Genre: 14, Medical Thriller
Broadcast Period: Jun 2016 KBS2
Starring:
Jang Hyuk as Lee Young Oh

Park So Dam as Gye Jin Sung

Synopsis:
Lee Young Oh is a highly-skilled surgeon without a care for anyone. He works at the prestigious Hyeonseong Hospital yet something is amiss. 

Uncontrollably Fond





Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Uncontrollably Fond / 함부로 애틋하게
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romantic Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jun 2016 KBS2
Starring:
Kim Woo Bin as Shin Joon Young

Bae Suzy as Noh Eul
Im Joo Hwan as Choi Ji Tae
Im Joo Eun as Yoon Jung Eun 

Synopsis:
Noh Eul is a PD and Joon Young is a top actor who meet again after being separated when they were young. 

Doctors

Doctors starring Kim Rae Won and Park Shin Hye




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Doctors / Dakteoseu / 닥터스
Episodes and Genre: 20, Medical Romance
Broadcast Period: Jun 2016 SBS
Starring:
Kim Rae Won as Hong Ji Hong

Park Shin Hye as Yoo Hye Jung
Yoon Kyun Sang as Jung Yoon Do
Lee Sung Kyung as Jin Seo Woo 

Synopsis:
Yoo Hye Jung had a difficult childhood and she grew up strong-willed, rebellious and a fighter until the day she meets Hong Ji Hong who becomes her mentor and lover. 

Signal

Signal starring Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo and Jo Jin Woong




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must Watch (5/5)
Title: Signal / Shigeunul / 시그널
Episodes and Genre: 16, Crime Suspense, Fantasy
Broadcast Period: Jan 2016 TVN
Starring:
Lee Je Hoon as Park Hae Young

Kim Hye Soo as Cha Soo Hyun
Jo Jin Woong as Lee Jae Han

Synopsis:
Park Hae Young is a skilled profiler who works for police force, which is the very same organization that he despises to the core. He comes across a non-functional walkie talkie and realizes that it can be used to communicate with the past in an effort to stop crime. 

Comments:
Not usually a fan of crime thrillers unless it is on a whole other playing field like Infernal Affairs, which went on to win an Oscar. I don't know whether Signal is sweeping award shows but it sure as hell deserves to.

The Flower in Prison





Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: The Flower in Prison / Okjunghwa / 옥중화
Episodes and Genre: 50, Legal, Historical
Broadcast Period: Apr 2016 MBC
Starring:
Jin Se Yeon as Ok Nyeo

Go Soo as Yoon Tae Won

Synopsis:
Ok Nyeo is a girl who is born and bred in prison due to her mother who dies a mysterious death. Determined to uncover the truth, she trains to become a a female detective where she will find a purpose that is greater than her own. 

Comments:
Click for more stills.





Please Come Back Mister





Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Please Come Back Mister / Dolawayo Ajeossi / 돌아와요 아저씨
Episodes and Genre: 16, Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
Broadcast Period: Feb 2016 SBS
Starring:
Rain as Lee Hae Joon

Oh Yeon Seo as Han Hong Nan

Synopsis:
Two middle-aged men, one a salary man and the other a gangster, die unexpectedly. Given another chance, they return in the body of a man (Rain) and a woman (Oh Yeon Seo) in the prime of their life but underneath that facade are two people desperate to make the most of what little time they have left.

Jackpot

2016 Korean historical drama Jackpot starring Jang Geun Suk and Yeo Jin Goo



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Jackpot / The Royal Gambler / Daebak / 대박
Episodes and Genre: 20, Historical, Gambling
Broadcast Period: Mar 2016 SBS
Starring:
Jang Geun Suk as Baek Dae Gil

Yeo Jin Goo as King Yeongjo
Jun Kwang Ryul as Lee In Jwa
Choi Min Soo as King Sukjong
Lim Ji Yeon as Dam Seo
Yoon Jin Seo as Sook Bin Choi

Synopsis:
Dae Gil is a commoner known as the best gambler in Joseon and his brother is the future King Yeongjo. Their disparate lives cross paths and they enter into the match of a lifetime.

Comments:
I am waiting for the next episode, please come out soon. Click for more stills.

Remember - War of the Son

Yoo Seung Ho and Park Min Young in Son's War



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Remember - War of the Son / Son's War / 리멤버 - 아들의 전쟁
Episodes and Genre: 20, Legal Melodrama
Broadcast Period: Dec - Feb 2016 SBS
Starring:
Yoo Seung Ho as Seo Jin Woo
Park Min Young as Lee In Ah
Park Sung Woong as Park Dong Ho
Nam Goong Min as Nam Gyu Man

Synopsis: 

Seo Jin Woo is a man with perfect memory but his father suffers from severe dementia. When his father is framed for a brutal crime that shook the nation, Jin Woo takes it upon himself to become a lawyer.

Descendants of the Sun - a ratings powerhouse
(meaning TV ratings over 20%)

Descendants of the Sun 2016 best k-drama starring Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki


Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Descendants of the Sun /太陽的後裔 
/ 태양의 후예 / Taeyangui Hooye
Episodes and Genre: 16, Romance / Melodrama
Broadcast Period: Feb - Apr 2016 KBS
Starring: 
Song Joong Ki as Yoo Shi Jin
Song Hye Kyo as Kang Mo Yun 
Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young
Kim Ji Won as Yoon Myung Joo

Comments: 
"It's dangerous being around a guy with a gun... one day, he'll never come back," narrates the trailer. I'm admittedly hesitant due to my disinterest for sad endings and war movies yet Descendants of the Sun is a k-drama phenomenon set to take over the world that it would be wrong to ignore it any longer. 

Song Joong Ki has always reminded me of the boy next door with his nice guy image from stints at Running Man and in rom-coms. If i ever had doubts of him as a man in uniform, a captain nonetheless, it has all been put to rest from heaps of raging reviews on his stellar performance. 

The drama is seriously killing it and it's only March but can this be THE drama of the year?

Jang Yeong Sil

Korean historical drama Jang Young-sil starring Song Il Gook



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Jang Yeong Sil: The Great Scientist of Joseon / 장영실
Episodes and Genre: 24, Historical
Broadcast Period: Jan 2016 KBS1
Starring:
Song Il Gook as Jang Yeong Sil

Synopsis:
Details the rise of historical figure Jang Young Sil, a man with humble beginnings and his significant contributions to Joseon amidst an era where class difference is rife.


The Merchant: Gaekju

Jang Hyuk in Master of Trade - Inn



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Downright boring (1/5)
Title: The Merchant: Gaekju / God of Trade - Innkeeper / 장사의 신 - 객주
Episodes and Genre: 41, Historical
Broadcast Period: Sep 2015 - Feb 2016 KBS2
Starring:

Jang Hyuk as Chun Bong Sam

Comments:
After several attempts at watching then falling asleep, I abandoned ship. I was half-expecting Merchant Gaekju to be a historical version of Midas, a k-drama also starring Jang Hyuk about the power struggles in the business world. While the result was definitely a period drama revolving around merchants and their trade, the lengthy prose and drama simply wasn't my cup of tea.

One More Happy Ending




Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Pretty Good (4/5)
Title: One More Happy Ending / Hanbun Deo Happy Ending / 한번 더 해피엔딩
Episodes and Genre: 16, Romantic Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jan 2016 MBC
Starring:

Jang Nara as Han Mi Mo
Jung Kyung Ho as Song Soo Hyuk
Yoo Da In as Baek Da Jung 
Yoo In Na as Go Dong Mi
Seo In Young as Hong Ae Ran
Sandara Park as Seul Ah (cameo)

Synopsis:

Han Mi Mo is the CEO of a successful match-making agency but in spite of her unique skill set, she is a divorcee that has had an unlucky streak in love. She remains good friends with the members of the defunct k-pop group called Angels and the story revolves around the friendships and relationships surrounding the lives of these thirty-something women.

Comments:
Getting Sex and the City vibes and it's absofukinlutely awesome. Isn't it crazy that Conan O'Brian cameos? It could have been perfect but it does turn extremely angsty towards the end so minus points for that.

Cheese in the Trap



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Just Another Drama (3/5)
Title: Cheese in the Trap / 치즈 인 더 트랩 
Episodes and Genre: 16, Romantic Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jan 2016 TvN
Starring:
Park Hae Jin as Yoo Jung

Kim Go Eun as Hong Seol

Synopsis:
Yoo Jung is a certified heartthrob who is dubbed as Mr. Perfect for being tall, rich, smart and handsome. Hong Seol is your average college junior who works part-time to pay for her schooling and she seems to be the only person in the school to find something hidden behind Yoo Jung's friendly smile. 

Comments:
When something so inexplicably good combusts into a complete fiasco just about sums up the Cheese in the Trap controversy, which you can read in detail on dramabeans. I was lured by the cheese but it's a trap I tell you!

Moorim School

Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Tolerable (2/5)
Title: Moorim School / 무림학교
Episodes and Genre: 16, Martial Arts School Drama / Fantasy
Broadcast Period: Jan 2016 KBS2
Starring:

Lee Hyun Woo as Yoon Shi Woo
Seo Ye Ji as Sim Soon Duk
Hong Bin as Wang Chi Ang
Jung Yoo Jin as Hwang Sun Ah

Synopsis:
Yoon Shi Woo is a k-pop idol who is slowly losing his hearing. Desperate, he enrolls into Moorim School in hopes that this mysterious martial arts school can heal him. However, this new journey may inadvertently lead him to find himself.


Comments:
The concept drew me in like no other, thanks to my undying support for martial arts dramas, which is why I made it through the end despite the fact that I didn't actually like it. 

Moorim School tells a generic story with mediocre acting. There's fantasy, action and romance made less by a weak storyline that drags on for 16 full episodes. This is a case where I really understand why a primetime drama is lagging behind with mere single digit ratings so low that it's worse than cable.

If you're skeptical, watch Volcano High to spot the difference.

Splash Splash Love

Splash Splash Love 2015 Korean drama review by Asian Drama Withdrawals starring Kim Seul Gi and Beast Yoon Doo Joon

Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Just another drama (3/5)

Title: Splash Splash Love / Pongdangpongdang Love / 퐁당퐁당 LOVE
Episodes and Genre: 2, Romantic Comedy / Time Travel / Fantasy
Broadcast Period: Dec 2015 MBC
Starring: 
Kim Seul Gi as Dan Bi
Yoon Doo Joon as Lee Do

Synopsis:
Dan Bi is a high school student terrible at math but the rigorous educational system in Korea puts so much pressure on the students to do well during entrance exams or be doomed for life. Terrified, she runs away on a rainy day desperately wishing for an escape. She jumps into a puddle and is transported to the Joseon Era where Lee Do is ruling as the king.

Comments:
The premise is nothing we haven't seen before. It combines modern and history into one drama, which always adds up to a lot of funny. Time travel dramas seem to be all the rage nowadays especially with the upcoming Moon Lovers, which is the highly anticipated remake of the Chinese drama Startling by Each Step (Bu Bu Jing Xin). 

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed this drama's take on how to show what I call the 4 stages of time travel 1) utter denial thinking that she must have been transported to the filming of some period drama 2) adjusting to primitive life and being the coolest for having a phone, a pen or any other gadget from the future 3) falling in love 4) fallout from having to stay or leave. Yes, I cried.

This is one drama where I recognized nobody other than the lead actress being the ghost in Oh My Ghost. She was utterly hilarious and unafraid to just go there with the wackiest expressions. Then it was like an epiphany when I read that she used to be part of the cast of SNL Korea. Overall, a predictable but fun TV movie.



One of my new year's resolutions is to update the site regularly because I watch too much for my own good so I feel the need to turn it into something productive. Would appreciate your suggestions on what you'd like to see in the comments section below.

For more listings, see Korean period dramas2015 dramas, and my uber long kdrama listing that spans 14 years. 

38 comments:

  1. what about please comeback mister, it's an interesting and captivating drama.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bravo!! I HAVE A LOVER - BESTEST Korean Drama 2015..Sooo Love the Theme Song by RYU and the Love Story as a whole! Kudos to Kim Hyun Joo and Ji Jin Hee and the Director Choi Moon Suk of SBS TV..Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another one that I have not seen have to check it out. There's too much good stuff to watch these days.

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  3. Everyone you should watch Descendants of the sun, Cheese in the trap and Please come back mister.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wanted to know if you got around to please comeback mister. Oh and do you have any recommendations for asian dramas that aren't mainly centered around love or don't have the typical romance plot.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so glad I discovered you site. After resisting for so long, I gave in to my friends and am now hooked on KDrama.

    Quick question if you please: I can't find any listings for Mirror of the Witch, and I am curious as to how many episodes will be in its entire run.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting always glad to see a convert:) It's not done yet but believe it should be 20 episodes unless they choose to extend.

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  6. Hello, I've been silently stalking your site for a while and i must say that i really enjoy your reviews and recommendations. As of yet, i'm really curious to know what you guys feel about the new drama from Lee Jongsuk and Han Hyojo "W". It's only in its second episode but i'm already hooked on it, its just too good! The plot and the characters are fresh, plus there is the fact that HHJ's character is plain crazy aahaha... thank you very much for your insights, i really appreciate it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juju thanks for visiting. I haven't seen it, went on vacation away from TV and everything else the trailer looks crazy though, I'm excited to watch that and Uncontrollably Fond:)

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  7. I am watching and LOVING Beautiful Mind. Jang Hyuk outdid himself, and Park So-Dam is amazing. Even though I usually watch sageuk exclusively, I made an exception for this drama (bc Jang Hyuk) and I am so glad I did. It's finding to be in my all-time favorite KDramas ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for commenting.. now my watchlist is certainly growing. There's a lot of new k-dramas getting raving reviews W, Doctors, Uncontrollably Fond and now Beautiful Mind. I usually stick to period dramas as well but there are so many good k-dramas to catch up on.

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  8. Put Another Miss Oh on the list!
    it's a must seen drama for 25 above women. I wish I could have love story like this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting:) I hear only good things about it as well, definitely gonna check this out one day. In the meantime, gonna take your word for it and add it to the list too haha

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  9. what about Signal,Reply 1988,Wanted ?they are the best dramas of 2016

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true definitely adding Signal to the list once I get a chance.. haven't seen Reply 1988 yet though. i am busy watching W now:)

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  10. W is awesome...but it's still ongoing...I'm looking foward! ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yesss I'm waiting every week for it too, gonna update the list soon because W needs to be on it hehe

      Delete
  11. Lets fight ghost is also awesome.its got horror,comedy,romance and mystery. Realy nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ahh no time to watch.. maybe one day:)

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  12. these recommendations are really helpful thank u for sharing them but my personal favourite is 'W/Two worlds'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am currently watching W/Two Worlds and I have to agree.. very well-made and mind-blowing developments.

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  13. Yep.. I like w alot but still will vote for descendant of d sun any time ... Nd m also liking moon lover... I guess m always a sucker 4 historical kdrama but dis is funny nd dope

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    Replies
    1. haha this sounds blasphemous but I have yet to finish DOTS probably my opinion will change when I finish it.

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  14. W is the best for me :) next is DOTS then Scarlet Heart Ryeo then Bromance of Taiwan :)

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  15. For me, W is the best

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just finished Scarlet Heart and gotta say I hope to get some more episodes ^_^
    -S

    ReplyDelete
  17. Finished watching scarlette ryeo and moonlight drawn by clouds, i must say i love them both and i hope scarlette ryeo will have a season 2 to have closure and not leaving audience hanging.

    ReplyDelete
  18. cant wait to watch deep blue sea, goblin and hwarang the beginning that are coming out this month and december.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. same here I haven't been keeping up with a lot of k-dramas these days but waiting for Blue Sea and Goblin. Blue sea airs tomorrow:)

      Delete
  19. Excuse me can you change the genre on Entourage to comedy, there's no such thing as Black Comedy . Comedy is Comedy don't put a race on it .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sure I have changed it to avoid any issue... but to be honest from what I understood, black comedy is a genre and it has nothing to do with race.

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    2. FYI - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

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  20. W - Two Worlds and Decendants of the Sun are the best !

    ReplyDelete