There is no disputing that Korean television has become a favourite among viewers worldwide. With an eye toward the global audience, K-dramas currently focus on extending underrepresented genres, moving beyond heartwarming rom-com.
As a result, many shows in 2022 lived up to expectations, whether in terms of queer representation or the delicate handling of life's complications. Including Son Ye Bin's Thirty, Park Eun Bin's Attorney, and Youn Yuh Jung's Pachinko, this list of the top Korean television programs can convert you into a die-hard lover of K-dramas. Here's the top list for 2022:
1. All of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead, directed by Lee Jae Kyoo and Kim Nam Su, was controversial among South Korean viewers in 2022 but undoubtedly acquired recognition across the globe for its underlining depiction of social topics considered taboo in many Asian countries. The zombie apocalypse drama primarily centres on school children who become trapped inside the facility as the structure becomes the epicentre of a zombie virus spread.
The show gently addresses teen pregnancy, bullying at school, misogyny, and even the gap in social class in South Korean society while featuring intense violence and gore. Yoon Chan Young, Cho Yi Hyun, Lomon, Yoo In Soo, Lee Yoo Mi, Kim Byung Chul, Lee Kyu Hyung, and Jeon Bae Soo are among the primary cast members, together with Park Ji Hu and Yoon Chan Young. The second season of the program will premiere.
2. Business Proposal
Without a spice of joy and humour, what is K-drama? But the film, starring Ahn Hyo Seop and Kim Se Jeong, Business proposals differ from other types. It centres on the tale of a girl from the middle class who agrees to go on a blind date instead of her wealthy buddy. However, when she learns that her date is actually her company's head - someone she has never met - things turn humorous. The two join hands to make a proposal, but love has other plans, and everything ends happily.
3. Extraordinary Attorney Woo
With favourable reviews, Extraordinary Attorney Woo rose to become one of the most-watched K-dramas of the year. The endearing drama stars Park Eun Bin as Woo Young Woo, a young lawyer with autism and savant syndrome who struggles daily with neurotypical people while having extraordinary abilities and a high IQ.
Yoo In Shik's drama is currently the seventh-highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.
4. Twenty-Five Twenty-One
Twenty-five Twenty-One, starring Kim Tae Ri and Nam Joo Hyuk, is a commercial success in 2022. The coming-of-age drama, which takes place between 1998 and 2021, is a tear-jerking story with a bittersweet conclusion. It focuses on the love life of a young fencer with lofty goals and how she meets a man who is going through a difficult time in life. It is under Jung Ji Hyun's direction.
5. Our Blues
One of the eagerly anticipated Korean programs, supported by tvN and Netflix, is Our Blues. After receiving a cancer diagnosis years ago, Kim Woo Bin made his small-screen comeback with it. The drama, which features a stellar cast that includes Kim Woo Bin, Shin Min Ah, Lee Byung Hun, Cha Seung Won, Lee Jung Eun, Uhm Jung Hwa, and Han Ji Min, centres on a variety of stories involving various residents and workers of South Korea's Jeju Island.
The program will make you feel good inside and bring tears to your eyes since it illustrates life's ups and downs. The fact that each character is new and sympathetic is crucial.
6. Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area
Following the success of the Spanish series, Money Heist Korea was an almost exact copy with fresh twists and turns, all set in a united Korea. The series is perfect for binge-watching since it contains thrilling vehicle chases, more heists, and high-octane action.
Yoo Ji Tae, Yunjin Kim, Park Hae Soo, Jeon Jong Seo, Lee Hyun Woo, Lee Won Jong, and Park Myung Hoon reprise their legendary roles in the Netflix original, which was directed by Kim Hong Sun.
Original on Apple TV+, Particularly for performers Kim Mon Ha and Youn Yuh Jung of Minari fame, Pachinko became one of the most critically acclaimed series. The series is based on Min Jin Lee's New York Times best-selling novel and marks Lee Min Ho's OTT debut. It is named after a Japanese pinball machine called Pachinko and centres on the aspirations of Korean immigrants to Japan who left their homeland after suffering under Japanese tyranny.
Although many people claimed that Pachinko painted a negative picture of Japan, its cinematography and faultless depiction of timeframes make it a must-watch. The cherry on top is undoubtedly Lee Min Ho, who sheds his boy-next-door persona and takes on a villainous role that attracts the audience.
8. My Liberation Notes
My Liberation Notes is not your typical K-drama; instead, it offers a relatable yet slightly extended look at the lives of Millennials who are trapped in the concrete jungle and want liberation. Lee Min Ki, Kim Ji Won, Son Suk Ku, and Lee El play grownups who are tired of their mundane daily lives and are fighting to find fulfilment in the corporate world.
It accurately and honestly depicts life's difficulties. It transcends South Korean society's flash and splendour, where everyone is just trying to get by, and it touches a nerve with every 30-something adult.
The most undervalued program of 2022 is, without a doubt, Tomorrow, a Korean drama directed by Kim Tae Yoon. With South Korea having the highest rate of suicide among OECD nations, it beautifully addresses ideas around mental health difficulties.
It neither endorses nor justifies suicide, but it does start a discussion about suicide attempts. Starring Kim Hee Sun, Rowoon from the K-pop group SF9, Lee Soo Hyuk, and Yoon Ji On, it is based on a Naver webtoon from 2017. The main character, an unemployed man, is inadvertently killed by the grim reaper and given the assignment to work with them for a short period of time to help them lead a happy existence with a satisfying job on earth. He works with grim reapers to save people who attempt suicide for various reasons.
Thirty-Nine by Son Ye Jin, Jeon Mi Do, and Kim Ji Hyun challenge traditional K-drama ideas, and it's worth watching. The show chronicles the narrative of the three closest friends and their journey around finding love, celebrating friendship, dealing with heartbreaks, and fighting stereotyped conceptions of society. It also challenges ageism in love and highlights feminism. All of this occurs right before they join the 40+ club. Nevertheless, this place has undeniable chemistry.