Welcome to this year’s edition of “Best Korean Dramas”. If you’re k-drama fan like me, you know that 2023 has been a great year for new shows. From romantic comedies to thrilling dramas, there’s something for everyone. But with so many great shows to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top-rated Korean dramas of 2023, updated for September.
So grab some popcorn and get ready to binge-watch!
After Sim Woo Joo’s father passed away, things went downhill. His girlfriend kicked her out of the house. Angry and wanting payback, she turned to Han Dong Jin, her father’s ex-lover’s son. The more they hung out, the more she realized she had feelings for him. Han Dong Jin, always busy with work and feeling isolated, found his life suddenly changed by Sim Woo Joo’s presence.
Genres: Romance, Drama, Melodrama
Starring: Kim Young Kwang, Lee Sung Kyung, Sung Joon
Yeon Bo Ra is a celebrated love coach and successful author of romance novels. Lee Soo Hyuk is a charming man who struggles to comprehend matters of the heart. Despite his initial unfavorable view of Bo Ra, he finds himself increasingly drawn to her. Han Sang Jin, Soo Hyuk’s friend and business associate, is the head of a book publishing company. The series follows their romantic journey as their lives become intertwined.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Life, Melodrama
Starring: Yoo In Na, Yoon Hyun Min, Joo Sang Wook
3.Black Knight (2023)
In 2071, an apocalyptic air pollution has left only 1% of the population alive. People must wear gas masks to venture outside, and delivery drivers known as knights are responsible for protecting and delivering packages. Knight 5-8 is a legendary knight who meets a young refugee named Sa Wol, who dreams of becoming a knight. With the assistance of Seol A, an officer from the Defense Intelligence Command, Knight 5-8 guides Sa Wol in his quest, despite the harsh and perilous environment. Through their guidance, Sa Wol achieves his goal and becomes a knight.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Kim Woo Bin, Song Seung Heon, Kang Yoo Seok
Ji Hyun moves from a tranquil small town to bustling Seoul to attend university. There he meets Jae Won, who has recently finished his military service. The two quickly bond over their shared love of surfing, and eventually form an emotional connection. While on a surfing trip, they share a kiss, however Jae Won’s subsequent reaction leaves Ji Hyun uncertain of their relationship.
Genres: Romance, Drama, Melodrama
Starring: Im Ji Sub, Oh Jun Taek, Lee Mi Ra
Kim Bong Seok, Jang Hee Soo and Lee Gang Hoon attend the same high school and appear to be ordinary students. Unbeknownst to their peers, they possess special abilities they inherited from their parents. Kim has the ability to fly, Jang has superior athletic capabilities and a fast recovery rate from wounds such as gunshots and stabs, and Lee has superior speed and strength. The trio hides their special powers while their parents work to protect them from exploitation by others.
Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Supernatural
Starring: Ryu Seung Ryong, Han Hyo Joo, Zo In Sung
A group of counters set out to capture malevolent entities from the afterlife who have arrived on Earth seeking an immortal existence. The group must use their specialized skills to stop the evil spirits from achieving their goal.
Genres: Action, Mystery, Comedy, Supernatural
Starring: Cho Byeong Kyu, Yoo Joon Sang, Kim Se Jeong
Kang Ho is an ambitious prosecutor who was raised by his single mother, Young Soon, a pig farmer. Despite Young Soon’s loving nature, Kang Ho viewed her as a bad mother due to her strict parenting style. An unexpected accident led to Kang Ho returning to his hometown and starting his life anew with Young Soon. His childhood friend, Mi Joo, also reconnects with him and her warm heart and strong sense of justice leads to a transformative experience.
Genres: Comedy, Life, Drama, Family
Starring: Ra Mi Ran, Lee Do Hyun, Ahn Eun Jin
Ban Ji Eum possesses the extraordinary ability to recall memories of her past lives. After her previous life ends tragically, she sets out to reconnect with the people she encountered in her 18th life and seeks out a man named Moon Seo Ha. At the same time, Yoon Cho Won, a landscape architect, meets Ban Ji Eum and her life is changed when she sees an image of her dead sister in her. Simultaneously, Ha Do Yoon, Moon Seo Ha’s secretary, develops an affinity towards him. With all the characters together, they must navigate the past and present as they search for love that can transcend lifetimes.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Shin Hye Sun, Ahn Bo Hyun, Ha Yoon Kyung
9.The Glory Part 2 (2023)
Moon Dong Eun, still seething with rage from the abuse she suffered during high school, is on a mission to extract her revenge. Meanwhile, the police and Myeong Oh’s friends investigate his mysterious disappearance. Joo Yeo Jeong assists Moon Dong Eun in her quest for justice, and Moon Dong Eun offers Park Yeon Jin a chance to surrender before resorting to her final plan. Park Yeon Jin, however, is determined to put an end to Moon Dong Eun’s reign of terror. The two then face off in a bloody battle of wits.
Genres: Thriller, Drama, Melodrama
Starring: Song Hye Kyo, Lee Do Hyun, Im Ji Yeon
Lee Ro Um, a con artist with a lack of empathy, is falsely accused of killing her estranged parents. With the help of Han Moo Young, an empathetic lawyer, she is exonerated after 10 years. The two form a partnership to take revenge on those they believe have done wrong.
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Starring: Chun Woo Hee, Kim Dong Wook, Yoon Park
Yoon Dan Oh, the youngest daughter of a wealthy family, now supports her family by running the Ihwawon Inn. Guests are taking the civil service entrance exam with the hope of becoming high-ranking officials. Three of these guests, Kang San, Kim Si Yeol, and Jeong Yoo Ha, each have hidden secrets. Yoon Dan Oh, along with these guests, work together to investigate the disappearance of Lee Seol, who vanished thirteen years ago.
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Drama
Starring: Shin Ye Eun, Ryeoun, Kang Hoon
Kim Eun Mi is a forty-year-old physical therapist and single mother to twenty-nine-year-old Jin Hee. They live together and often bicker. Eun Mi’s life takes a complicated turn when she meets Dr. Park Jin Hong, and Jin Hee faces difficulty getting along with her new director, Eun Jae Won.
Genres: Mystery, Comedy, Romance, Drama
Starring: Jeon Hye Jin, Choi Soo Young, Ahn Jae Wook
Shin Sung Han is a successful divorce lawyer, known for his proficiency in settling difficult cases. With an ironic name which translates to “sacred” in Korean, Shin Sung Han is comforted by his two closest friends, Jang Hyung Geun and Jo Jung Sik, both of whom are also “40-year-old youths”. Despite the challenges he faces with his clients, Shin Sung Han continues to develop his craft and prove himself as an expert in his field.
Genres: Law, Drama
Starring: Cho Seung Woo, Han Hye Jin, Kim Sung Kyun
14.Sing My Crush (2023)
After their first meeting at school ends in disaster, Ba Ram and Han Tae develop a close friendship. Years later, Ba Ram struggles to conceal his romantic feelings for Han Tae.
Genres: Music, Comedy, Romance, Youth
Starring: Jang Do Yoon, Son Hyun Woo, Bang Yoo In
When Moon Joo Ran notices the strange smell in her backyard, she begins to investigate. This leads her to meet Chu Sang Eun, and the two form an unexpected bond. As Moon Joo Ran delves deeper into her investigation, she discovers Sang Eun’s miserable life and the circumstances surrounding Kim Yun Beom’s death. Moon Joo Ran begins to question her own happiness and wealth, and finds the strength to take action.
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological, Drama
Starring: Kim Tae Hee, Im Ji Yeon, Kim Sung Oh
Go Yoo and Joon Hee are best friends since their childhood. When Joon Hee falls ill, Go Yoo donates his kidney to help him. Despite the successful operation, Go Yoo and Joon Hee experience a strange phenomenon known as cellular memory syndrome, which suggests that memories can be transferred to organ transplant recipients. As a result of this, Go Yoo and Joon Hee find themselves competing for the affections of their mutual classmate, So Yeon, whom they both love. The story follows the two friends as they try to navigate the complexities of their friendship and their feelings for the same person.
Genres: Romance, Youth
Starring: Oh Se Hun, Jang Yeo Bin, Cho Jun Young
The season follows the joint operations of the police force, fire department, and paramedics as they respond to dangerous situations. Viewers gain insight into the characters’ motivations and personal struggles while witnessing their bravery and teamwork.
Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Drama
Starring: Kim Rae Won, Son Ho Jun, Gong Seung Yeon
After a tragic accident, Hwang Do Hee and Oh Kyung Sook join forces to make a change. Hwang Do Hee is a powerful career woman with 12 years of experience in President Identity (PI) consulting, and is the leader of the Strategic Planning Office at Eunsung Group. Oh Kyung Sook, also known as the “crazy rhinoceros”, is a labor rights lawyer and the president of the Women’s Worker Association, Korean Women’s Human Rights Wave, and leader of the Worker’s Solidarity with Rights foundation. She is determined to protect the weak. With Hwang Do Hee’s help, Oh Kyung Sook is determined to become the mayor of Seoul. The two set out to create a just and truthful world.
Genres: Business, Drama, Political
Starring: Kim Hee Ae, Moon So Ri, Ryu Soo Young
Dong Joo and Kang San form an unlikely bond as they journey to uncover the secrets of Kang San’s past. As they travel together, the two encounter a variety of people and learn the importance of friendship and humanity. As they unravel the mystery of Kang San’s identity, will they be able to find out who he is and restore his memory?
Genres: Mystery, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural
Starring: Jung Woo, Bae Hyun Sung, Park Yoo Rim
Yoo Se Poong, a former royal physician, has settled in the small village of Gyesu. With the help of his new friends, Seo Eun Woo and Gye Ji Han, Se Poong begins to learn how to heal people’s bodies, hearts and minds. Despite his successes, Se Poong finds himself presented with new challenges and facing new patients. He sets out on a journey to gain a deeper understanding of both the body and the mind, and to help those around him. Employing his unorthodox methods of healing, will Se Poong be able to find success in this new quest?
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Medical
Starring: Kim Min Jae, Kim Hyang Gi , Kim Sang Kyung
Park Ha Kyung, a Korean literature teacher in the 1990s, goes on one-day trips every Saturday to break away from her mundane routine. During her travels, she explores various places, samples various cuisines, and meets various people. Through these experiences, Park Ha Kyung finds solace and understanding.
Genres: Food, Life, Drama
Starring: Lee Na Young, Park In Hwan, Park Se Wan
So Won, born in 1981, encounters a witch by chance when she turns twenty in 2000. The witch curses her with the inability to age beyond twenty and So Won soon realizes the weight of this curse, as she is unable to experience life’s milestones with her beloved ones and is stuck in a loop of no progress. Desperate to get rid of the curse, So Won spots the witch in a photo and travels to the resort in the background. She sneaks in as a resort staff member and meets Kang Hyun and Sang Wook, eventually discovering a way to lift the curse.
Genres: Music, Supernatural
Starring: Jung Su Bin, Choi Yu Ju, Dawon
Kim Taek Rok, a veteran homicide detective, investigates the secret mastermind behind the blackmailer ‘Friend’. He leads a counterattack to uncover the truth and put a stop to the blackmailing.
Genres: Mystery, Drama
Starring: Lee Sung Min, Jung Jin Young, Kyung Soo Jin
The Rainbow Taxi crew, made up of Seong Cheol, Go Eun, Gyeong Gu, and Jin Eon, reunite after a successful mission by their leader, Do Gi. Despite having moved on to regular jobs, the team can’t ignore the injustice in society and continue to fight for the rights of those wronged. After welcoming a new member, On Ha Jun, the group takes on an even greater number of clients. This attracts the attention of a mysterious organization, which kills one of Do Gi’s targets. The crew now faces their greatest challenge yet as they attempt to uncover the identity and motives of this organization.
Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Kim Eui Sung, Pyo Ye Jin
The world is shocked when an alien invasion begins, with horrific creatures hatching from eggs in the sky and attacking humans. Fearing they will be overwhelmed, the South Korean military implements mandatory conscription for all third-year high schoolers. At Sungjin High School, Lee Chun Ho leads the third-years as they undergo military training in the school playground, preparing to fight the aliens. Meanwhile, Park Eun Young, their teacher, is driven to protect the young students from the alien threat. As the 50 days count down until the students’ university entrance exams, the question remains: can the high schoolers save the planet?
Genres: Action, Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Shin Hyun Soo, Lee Soon Won, Kim Ki Hae