Top 9 K-Dramas to Watch this Summer

Wait, how is it already 2 a.m.? From tear-jerking love stories to thrilling supernatural plotlines, K-Dramas offer a wide variety of entertainment for all late-night bingers.


Vanessa Jo

Top nine binge-worthy K-Dramas.

Netflix has a ton of binge-worthy shows, but by only watching reliable fan favorites such as Stranger Things and Grey’s Anatomy, shows from other parts of the world — like Korea — get overshadowed. There is a whole world of entertainment waiting to be discovered with just a few clicks of a mouse or swipes on a screen. 

K-drama is a short term for Korean dramas that televise series of shows streamed on many different platforms with diverse subtitles for viewers across the world. Some of the most popular K-dramas are The Heirs, Boys Over Flowers, and My Love From The Star with exciting and various different themes like law, fantasy, family-friendly, melodrama, and of course, historical.

The popularity of K-dramas is on the rise with 18 million viewers — just in the US — for their high-quality productions and unique storylines. With easy-to binge episodes, unique cultural aspects about Korea, and soundtracks featuring popular K-pop idols. Here are the top nine Korean dramas for new K-drama fans.

  1. Descendants of the Sun

No K-drama is more iconic than Descendants of the Sun. This 2016 show is still recognized as one of the best K-dramas ever released with an epic cast, phenomenal original soundtracks which had reached multiple music charts, and a riveting storyline about a captain and a doctor who reunite in Uruk, Iraq. They are both sent to Uruk to fulfill their duties to help save lives, and through this, they rekindle their relationship and fall in love with each other once again, despite the dangers they face. This K-drama has won many awards, including the Grand and Best Drama prize in the 52nd Baeksang Award, 5th APAN Stars Award, 9th Korea Drama Award, and the 2016 KBS Drama Award

  1. Sweet Home

This thrilling show is filled with chilling scenes of an apocalyptic virus that turns humans into immortal monsters. With high viewer ratings on Netflix, Sweet Home is one of the most-watched and binge-worthy K-dramas of 2021 according to The Korea Times, setting a record of rank number three in the US charts. According to Asianwiki, critics have left substantial comments regarding their contentment with flawless elements and detailed gory scenes leaving them with a 91% satisfaction rate. The characters in the show gather together in their apartment, striving to survive the life-threatening virus. 

  1. While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping quickly hit the headlines when it was first released due to its impeccable cast members and alluring storyline. The plot revolves around a young prosecutor and an outgoing neighbor who quit her job as an announcer after a frightening dream. Although at first, they found each other bothersome, the pair later find something in common — the ability to see the future through their dreams. They quickly acquaint themselves with a police officer who has the same ability, which he uses to prevent murderous cases. As crazy as it may seem, the suspense is quite entertaining throughout the entire drama. 

  1. Run On

Although intense and fanatical K-dramas are always fun to watch, simple K-dramas like Run On are also worthy of attention. Unlike other K-dramas with plenty of plot twists and hectic scenarios, Run On presents us with a sweet storyline of an athlete who is the son of a famous politician and actress, and an ordinary girl who is passionate about her career. When a coincidence turns into fate, the two form a close bond and develop feelings for each other. 

  1. Crash Landing on You

This buzzworthy K-drama about a North Korean soldier and a rich, female South Korean CEO who accidentally ended up in North Korea after her parachute malfunctioned during a tornado left viewers in awe. Despite the laws and regulations of a South Korean in North Korean premises, the soldier decides to illegally hide the CEO in his house until they find a solution to safely return her home. However, due to the strict rules, she must pretend to be North Korean and adapt to the lifestyle. This K-drama quickly gained popularity and became one of the most-watched Kdramas of 2020, according to Teen Vogue. 

  1. Vagabond

This K-drama is another exhilarating-filled film with riveting scenes that will keep the audience on their toes. The storyline revolves around a low-paid stuntman and a female NIS agent who seek revenge for the bereaved family including the stuntman’s nephew. Together, they uncover a life-threatening conspiracy that led to the death of passengers in a suspicious plane crash and secrets of what the government could be hiding. High tension and consistently entertaining episodes have left viewers longing for a second season of Vagabond

  1. It’s Ok To Not Be Ok

This heart-wrenching story is about an autistic male and his brother who works in the psychiatric department, and a famous female author of children’s books with an arrogant personality. Though they may seem like strangers, after a few coincidental accidents, the trio comes to realize that their traumatic childhood past and painful memories are somehow connected. Attempting to uncover scarring pasts, they encounter many difficulties as they rediscover covered truths, but also form an unbreakable bond with romantic feelings. 

  1. Leverage

This story is about a father who seeks revenge after losing his son to an incompetent vaccine used to test sick patients. To avenge the power-hungry rich and politicians, the father gathers two young swindlers, a former actress, and a specialist in martial arts, to create a fraudulent team and expose the high positioners. This underrated, action-filled, and comedic K-drama is an adaptation of the American TV show Leverage and is a barrel of laughs for those who enjoy suspenseful, intense scenes. 

  1. Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth

Set during the Silla Dynasty era, the queen calls for a group of elite warriors to be selected to protect the kingdom of Korea. Through the selection, a group of young men grows closer together, sharing a passion and friendship like no other. This K-drama rose to fame with its comedic storyline (despite it being a historical drama with intense scenes) and familiar cast members, with a mix of popular actors and Kpop idols. 

Popular streaming sites to watch these thrillers include Kocowa, Netflix, OnDemand, Viki, and Amazon Prime Video.