Korean dramas have been seeing an increase in international viewership over the last few years. This has inspired major streaming networks such as Netflix and Disney+ to help bring Korean media to an even larger platform.
The charm of Korean dramas captured international fans long before these partnerships. These ten popular Korean dramas premiered over a decade ago and are still beloved.
10. Personal Taste– (2010)
Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ho starred as Park Kae In and Jeon Jin Ho, two down on their luck people who become roommates who have difficulty denying their feelings for each other in this romcom.
The drama had a star-studded soundtrack at the time, featuring artists such as SeeYa, 4Minute, Younha, and 2AM.
9. Secret Garden– (2010)
Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won star in this romantic comedy about a stuntwoman and wealthy department store CEO who wake up to find that they’ve switched bodies.
The drama was a massive success and won awards at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards and the 47th Baeksang Arts Awards. The drama was famously parodied by BIGBANG, who spared no effort in recreating its famous scenes.
Secret Garden‘s soundtrack gave us the beautiful song “That Woman” by Baek Ji Young. Hyun Bin also covered the song for the soundtrack under the title “That Man.”
8. Playful Kiss (also known as Mischievous Kiss)- (2010)
Playful Kiss was adapted from the popular Japanese manga, Itazura na Kiss, which was massively popular in Japan. The series follows the intelligent and popular student Baek Seung Jo (played by Kim Hyun Joong) and the invisible student at the bottom of her class, Oh Ha Ni (played by Jung So Min).
The series won Jung So Min, “Best New TV Actress” at the 2010 Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards, and Kim Hyun Joong won the “Popularity Award” at the 2010 MBC Drama Awards.
7. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (also known as My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox)- (2010)
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho stars popular actors Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah. Lee Seung Gi portrays Cha Dae Woong, an aspiring stuntman who accidentally releases a mythological nine-tailed fox, portrayed by Shin Min Ah, who was trapped in a painting for 500 years and dreamed of becoming a human.
Both Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah won the Excellence Award for Actor/Actress in a Drama Special at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards.
6. City Hunter– (2011)
City Hunter was an action-packed thriller adapted from a Japanese manga of the same name. The drama follows a covert group as they plan to avenge South Korean officials who were killed in an attack by North Korean officials. Many twists and turns take place in this addictive show.
Lee Min Ho, Park Min Young, Lee Joon Hyuk, and Kim Sang Joon starred in the show.
5. Dream High– (2011)
This fun drama followed six students as they chased their dream of becoming K-Pop idols. The series starred IU, Suzy, 2PM‘s Taecyeon and Wooyoung, Kim Soo Hyun, and T-ARA‘s Eunjung.
The show had many famous cameos with members of GOT7, DAY6, 2PM, and MONSTA X making an appearance.
The show had a second season the following year with a new cast consisting of Kang Sora, Park Seo Joon, 2AM‘s Jinwoon, SISTAR‘s Hyolyn, T-ARA’s Jiyeon, and GOT7‘s Jay B and Jinyoung.
4. Moon Embracing The Sun– (2012)
Moon Embracing The Sun stars Han Ga In, Kim Soo Hyun, Jung Il Woo, and Kim Min Seo. The historical drama tells the love story of a fictional king, Lee Hwon (portrayed by Kim Soo Hyun), and a shaman named Lady Heo Yeon Woo (portrayed by Han Ga In).
The drama was adapted from a Korean novel of the same name and won “Best Drama” at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards.
3. Love Rain– (2012)
Love Rain takes viewers between the 1970s and 2012 as it tells the love story of Kim Yoon Hee (portrayed by Girls’ Generation‘s YoonA) and Seo In Ha (portrayed by Jang Geun Suk).
The series received low ratings domestically but was very popular in Japan.
2. Reply 1997– (2012)
Reply 1997 told the story of six friends growing up in Busan and switched between showing their life in 1997 and 2012. Reply 1997 was the first of three shows in the Reply series and was wildly popular.
The six friends are played by Apink‘s Eunji, Seo In Guk, former Infinite member Hoya, Shin So Yul, Eun Ji Won, and Lee Si Eon.
1. To The Beautiful You– (2012)
To The Beautiful You was adapted from the popular Japanese manga called Hana-Kimi. The show starred Sulli and SHINee‘s Minho, who played Goo Jae Hee and Kang Tae Joon.
Goo Jae Hee transferred to an all-boys school in the hopes of seeing her crush, record-holding high-jumper Kang Tae Joon. Jae Hee ends up being Tae Joon’s roommate, and things get complicated as she attempts to conceal her identity as a girl.