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Last Updated 20.07.2024 | 2:59 PM IST



From Reborn Rich to Alchemy of Souls, Twenty-One Twenty-Five to Little Women – 25 incredible Korean dramas of 2022 that are must-watch in 2023

en Bollywood News From Reborn Rich to Alchemy of Souls, Twenty-One Twenty-Five to Little Women – 25 incredible Korean dramas of 2022 that are must-watch in 2023

Bollywood Hungama has curated a list of 25 K-dramas that intrigued the audience in 2022 and are a must-watch in 2023.

Korean dramas continue to garner immense interest globally. Not simply in Korea, the international acclaim for many shows has only surged over the past few years. In 2022, there came dramas in multiple genres – thriller, comedy, romance, historical, slice-of-life, courtroom and much more. With Extraordinary Attorney Woo garnering one of the biggest viewership for Korean drama on Netflix, Reborn Rich broke the all-time TV viewing record in South Korea. Bollywood Hungama has curated a list of 25 K-dramas that intrigued the audience in 2022 and are a must-watch in 2023.

From Reborn Rich to Alchemy of Souls, Twenty-One Twenty-Five to Little Women – 25 incredible Korean dramas of 2022 that are must-watch in 2023

Telling the bittersweet love story of a twenty-one-year-old girl and a twenty-five-year-old boy, Twenty-Five Twenty-One traces a journey of heart-warming companionship, ambition, passion and heartbreak. The drama brought back Nam Joo Hyuk to the small screen and made Kim Tae Ri everyone’s new crush. Told in a span of 16 episodes stretching over almost twenty years, the drama arches over the financial crisis of Korea as well as it affects the characters in a life-altering manner. While the drama speaks about romance and slice-of-life, it does not rely on the rose-tinted version of it. It shows the romance as close to the then harsh reality of the individuals and it sends a message that perhaps not all love stories get a happy ending. And it’s fine. Each relationship is meant to enrich one’s life in its unique manner. It might not always be the end game, but it is something to cherish and learn something from.


Are you looking for a queen who is beyond queenly etiquette? Are you looking for a drama that has ample politics, intrigue, mystery, strong character arcs, comedy and perhaps also some romance? Then look no further! Under the Queen’s Umbrella is the drama for you. This historical drama is set during a fictional time in the Joseon era and tells the story of a quirky queen who makes it her task to straighten her sons aka the spoiled princes in the royal family. The drama is packed with a great story arc that moves smoothly throughout the 16 episodes.


When there is romance, thriller, history, and also slice-of-life, why should a zombie drama stay far behind? For lovers of the horror thriller genre, All Of Us Are Dead is a perfect offering from the altar of high school stories. Set in a high school where all students slowly turn to zombies, it falls upon a bunch of students to save themselves and get out alive. There is a lot of blood and gore on screen, so be fairly warned before deciding to jump in. Adapted from the webtoon of the same name, All Of Us Dead brought several favourite characters alive on screen.


Inspired by the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, the Korean drama Little Women carves its path with its intriguing narration, out-of-the-blue plot twists and much more! Densely packed with thrill, mystery, politics, revenge and greed, Little Women offers a lot to explore in its 12-episode course. The drama leaves the viewers guessing until the very last second regarding where the story is moving. It had been a while since such a drama graced the screens and Little Women did much more than just what the palettes of drama-hungry fans.


We’ve all seen crime procedural dramas that show crimes committed by adults of legal age. But what about the crimes committed by those who are minors? Who will tell their story? Who will bring them to justice? The answer lies within Juvenile Justice. The Kim Hye Soo-led drama tells a nail-biting tale of the minors who are tried for crimes which could lead to severe punishments if they were committed by adults of legal age. Kim Hye Soo portrays the role of a tough-as-nails judge who passes sentences that might sit well with the common folk but are quite needed when it comes to correcting the minors who would one day be the future of the country.


Think about cheesy rom-com, think about A Business Proposal. The K-drama was quite a rave among the fandoms, mostly for the cheesy romance between both the leading pairs. The drama was silly, had pure joy and also imparted understanding about relationships. It was one of those rare dramas, which portrayed pure and unadulterated love between both the first and second lead pairs. A Business Proposal skyrocketed to fame for its cliché romance tropes, cheesy dialogues and mushy romance. Despite carrying the story on the stereotypes attached to rom-com, A Business Proposal showed great character development, which made the viewing experience much more enriching and the characters much more lovable.


Many of us might have come across short videos on the social media platform starring Ji Chang Wook and Soyoung. But how many of us know where the content came from? The answer is the K-drama If You Wish Upon Me. The drama is one of the most underrated and less-spoken gems of 2022. Ji Chang Wook and Soyoung as a leading pair might be odd pair to some but their energies on screen sync well presenting a wonderful pairing. The drama is a classic tale of the grumpy and the sunshine, the miser and the ray of hope. You can easily guess who is who in this tale of hope, love, vigour, and redemption. The dynamic between the characters is very heartwarming to see. The drama sits with the gems like My Mister that feel like that new flavour of ice cream that you are hesitant to try at first but then you indulge in it - slowly, slowly and then all at once.


There are all sorts of oddball jobs in this modern world. But who would have thought that helping the grim reapers could also be on the list? Starring Rowoon, Kim Hee Soon and Lee Soo Hyuk, Tomorrow tells the story of a young man who ends up being a half-human and half-spirit when he goes into a coma after a life-threatening accident. The drama is much more than a funny story of an oddball fitting into his new job. The drama carries with it the faint scent of yesterday in the form of the characters’ hazy memories, unfulfilled wishes and hope for things to have turned the other way. Adapted from a webtoon of the same name, Tomorrow is a quirky story that is sure to make its place in the list of must-watch fantasy dramas.


Pachinko was one of the most anticipated multi-lingual dramas of 2022. Adapted from a novel of the same name by author Lee Min Ji, the Korean-Japanese-English series tells the story of a woman who lived her life through colonization of her homeland and immigration to a foreign land. The drama also marked actor Lee Min Ho’s comeback to the small screen after the time travel fantasy romance drama The Eternal MonarchPachinko went on to win accolades domestically and globally for its brilliant portrayal of the plight of Koreans during the time of Japanese colonization. Told in a series of past and present montages, the drama traces the changes that one went through as a Korean and as an immigrant. It also shows the double marginalization of our leading lady as a woman and a Korean immigrant. Pachinko touched upon various topics such as that colonization, romance, one’s struggle for a better life and the struggle of being a woman in turbulent times.


Our Blues is one of the few dramas that are truly heartwarming and make you feel as if you are a part of the story. The drama sits right next to gems like Hometown Cha Cha Cha, and My Liberation Notes. Telling the story of an assorted bunch of individuals residing on Jeju Island, Our Blues does a lot more than just paint a picture of a quaint lifestyle. The drama shines a sunny light on the struggles of the common folk as they think of making ends meet, as they navigate love and other relationships. Our Blues is a bittersweet ode to the life that we all live and the life that we all aspire to live at some point.


As mentioned above, My Liberation Notes is a gem of a drama. As an audience, we seldom come across a drama that tells the story of those living in the suburbs and the countryside. The folks whose life is often shadowed by the glitz and glamour of the urban landscape. In doing so, the drama makes a soul-warming attempt at telling the story of three siblings living in the country who work strenuously to make ends meet each month. Living far from the city brings with it its own set of limitations in social interactions, trials and tribulations of trying to catch up with the fast-paced life and at the same time find a balance in one’s personal life.


Fighting bullies in school is quite a strong task. One needs to be mentally and physically strong. But time has witnessed that the people who appear weak physically can outsmart the strongest ones with their wit and intellect. Weak Hero Class 1 tells a similar tale of the ‘weak’ overtaking the ‘strong’. Adapted from the webtoon Weak Hero, the drama tells an enrapturing tale of bullying and violence. The physical wounds heal but the wounds on the mind take much, much longer to heal. The drama is a strong commentary on the visible and invisible effects of violence on an individual. The drama is also slated to have a sequel in 2023. Spanning just close to four hours of runtime, Weak Hero Class 1 manages to keep the viewers glued to the screen with its gripping storytelling and acting by the ensemble cast.


A crime legal drama with a stunning dose of nail-biting intrigue is what Insider offers. The title gives away what the story would be about. Starring Kang Ha Neul in the lead, Insider tells the story of a judicial trainee as he gets on an internal investigation that unleashes chaos in his personal life. To find the root of the cause, he ends up losing himself in the process. The drama serves as an important lesson in turning a crisis into an opportunity. It also brings the questions of morality, ethics, right vs wrong, and the dark vs the light. Insider blurs the lines between honesty and manipulation and it brings forth a lot to discuss the corrupt nature of our society and also the judicial system.


Extraordinary Attorney Woo was one of the few dramas of 2022 that was truly heartwarming and spreading awareness at the same time. The drama tells the story of an autistic lawyer Woo Young Woo as she navigates her personal and professional life. She faces challenges and stigma at work because of her autism, but she puts on a brave face and gets over them all. Lee Jun Ho is one of the few K-drama male leads who are a green flag. It is quite unusual for a person to date another who has autism or any kind of disorder. Lee Jun Ho proved that love sees no such demarcation and that it is simply pure and honest. He showed great understanding towards Young Woo’s behaviour and gave her the space and time she needed to familiarise herself with the new wave of emotions. Park Eun Bin played the role of an autistic person very well, and the story did justice in showing the problems that autistic people face in their everyday lives. There was no glossing over and no rosy-tinted views for any arc and that’s what makes the drama a wholesome watch.


Who said all sports dramas have to be filled to the brim with thrills and chills? There is always room to show romance and personal development, along with a hefty focus on the game at hand (pun intended). Love All Play was like a breath of fresh air amidst the high flow of thriller dramas. The drama told the story of a team of young badminton players and how they overcame their challenges both on the court and in life. The young players showed immense character development throughout the story arc. The budding romance between the leads and the emotional upheaval that they go through is delicately shown. Love All Play brings you the best of both worlds with enough for fans of sports drama and rom-com drama.


No K-drama list is complete without a touch of fantasy! Fantasy and magic are some of the best spices in K-drama and Alchemy of Souls present a delectable offering with the best ingredients. It had been a while since a mainstream drama chalked up twenty episodes of a rollercoaster ride. The drama, which is currently in its season two, brought a lot to the table with the intrigue, historical approach, politics, character arcs and of course the delicious touch of magic! Alchemy of Souls engaged the audiences with its impeccable cast, set design and brilliant story arcs. Written by the talented Hong sisters - who are known for their dramas like The Korean Odyssey, and Hotel del Luna, among others - brought a vivid world to life with their storytelling in Alchemy of Souls. The part 2 which consists of 10 episodes, titled Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow is set to end on January 8, 2023.


2021 gave us Vincenzo, and 2022 gave us Reborn Rich. Song Joong Ki made a stunning comeback with this reincarnation thriller drama. Reborn Rich tells the story of a man who is wrongfully murdered and as fate would have it, he is reborn as the youngest member of the same family responsible for his death. He is reborn with the memories of his past life intact, and he makes cunning use of the same for his benefit and revenge. While Song have another hit, it's brilliant performance comes from veteran actor Lee Sung Min who plays the role of his grandfather. Reborn Rich ended with high viewership ratings, and applause from the audience for its gripping tale of filial ties, power, politics, greed, ambition and righting the wrongs.


Who said that romantic comedies always need a full-fledged 16-episode spread to raise the audience’s curiosity? One can achieve it with short-length dramas as well. Disney+ Hotstar’s Soundtrack #1 is a testament to this claim. This Park Hyun Sik - Han So Hee starrer rom-com drama consists of 4 short and crisp episodes which explore the intricacies and the beginning of a romance between the main leads. The drama is quite heartwarming for it explores the equation between our leads who led their lives so far only seeing each other as best friends.


Telling the story of three thirty-nine-year-old women who have been friends for more than half their lives, Thirty-Nine is a wonderful slice-of-life drama with a lot of tear-jerker moments. The drama shows how the three women navigate life, romance and work in modern times. Having been single for a long, each of them has had its share of complicated relationships and heartbreak. The main twist comes when one of the three friends is diagnosed with a terminal disease. The first few episodes are delicate to watch with abundant laughter and light, but soon the story becomes heavy with emotions and life-altering decisions for the characters.


Whenever there is an emergency before anyone comes the first responders are. When it comes to saving a person’s life, the first responders play a crucial role in keeping things stable until the person is transported to a better and more comfortable luxury. The lives of such significant workers are seldom shown on screen, but The First Responders aim to change that. The drama features an ensemble cast and tells the story of the challenges faced by the emergency responders. These are the people who risk their lives for others and try to give the best possible aid in the most severe situations. The First Responders is one of those underrated and less-spoken dramas that you need to have on your radar if you want to indulge in some heart-wrenching and heartwarming stories of people who are no less than a boon to society.


One of the finest performances came from actor Kim Nam Gil who starred in the gritty drama Through The Darkness. Based on a novel of the same title, the autobiography was co-written by Korea's first criminal profiler, Kwon Il Yong and journalist-turned-author Ko Na Mu journaling Kwon's on-field experiences. With his captivating performance, Kim stars in a story in the 1990s and early 2000 who profiles several serial murderers under the criminal behaviour analysis team.


Would you trade your poor but loving family for a life of riches? Based on Naver webtoon of the same name, the series stars Yook Sung Jae, Lee Jong Won, Jung Chae Yeon, and Yeonwoo. The story depicts a life adventure of a youth who became an acquired gold spoon. But, life-alterning decisions come with its fair share of consequences as Seung Cheon (Yook Sung Jae) has to decide which of the possible futures is worth keeping.


Courtroom story, comedy and intriguing trio? One Dollar Lawyer presents a story of a lawyer Cheon Ji Hun who is committed to doing the right thing. Sporting a stylish perm and an unorthodox methodology, he has made a name for himself as one of the most talented lawyers around, routinely beating expensive firms and their lawbreaking clients for just one dollar per case. An inspiration to many, Ji Hun will cause Baek Mu Ri, a confident assistant attorney born into “legal royalty” to question everything she believes after being forced to work with Ji Hun for two months. Starring Namgoong Min as Cheon Ji Hun, a star lawyer with a high win rate who charges his clients one dollar per case; Kim Jieun as Baek Mu Ri, a lawyer born into a family of “legal royalty”, the series garnered one of the highest viewerships of 2022.


Adapted from the webtoon "I Don't Feel Like Doing Anything" and starring Im Siwan and Kim Seolhyun, the series narrates the story of Lee Yeo Reum who decides to take a break from city life and moves to a seaside village called Angok. There, she meets a shy librarian Ahn Dae Bum who also has his fair share of baggage to deal with. The two of them try to find the meaning of life at their own pace and figure out what is happiness in this 12-episode beautiful series. The cinematography, the dialogues and the meaningful interactions bind this beautiful story together.


The year 2022 saw many historical dramas. Starring Kim Min Jae, Kim Sang Kyung and Kim Hyang Gi, the series is set during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and is divided into two seasons with the second season starting in January 2023. It narrates the story of Yoo Se Poong (Kim Min Jae) is a talented young physician who practices at the royal palace and eventually finds himself in a remote Gyesu Village. His abilities attract the attention of a middle-aged local doctor Gye Ji Han (Kim Sang Kyung), the middle-aged local doctor. He meets Seo Eun Woo (Kim Hyang Gi), a young widow who comes from a noble family and must remain loyal to her deceased husband. The story unfolds as the trio begins to spend time in each other's company.

Also Read: From BTS to Stray Kids to SEVENTEEN, TWICE to NewJeans – 20 Best B-side Korean songs of 2022 as dominant as the title tracks


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