Here's a fact: 2020 is a big year for Korean dramas. With everyone holed up at home due to the quarantine, the Hallyu fever has undoubtedly reached an all-time high, attracting both new and old fans alike to consume every K-drama content that have been made available by streaming sites such as Netflix and Viu.
Combing through all the addicting titles that this year has blessed us with might feel a bit overwhelming if you don't have all the time in the world. But fret not, because in the sea of new K-drama releases from 2020, we've already shortlisted the ones that will keep you glued on your screen from start to finish. We swear on our K-drama fangirl license—none of these gems will waste your precious time!
Below, in no particular order, we list down the best K-dramas of 2020 that you shouldn't dare miss out on:
1. Crash Landing on You
No surprise here! It won't even be an exaggeration to say that Crash Landing on You kicked off everyone's K-drama obsession over the quarantine period. The tvN series starring Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin ended on a high note in February 2020 and took the world by storm, recognized by the likes of Variety, Time Magazine, and Elle as one of the best shows to watch on Netflix. The massively popular romantic comedy, which tells the love story between South Korean heiress Yoon Se-ri and North Korean military captain Ri Jeong-hyeok, currently ranks as the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history.
2. The World of the Married
Speaking of highest-rated K-dramas, there's a reason why The World of the Married emerged as the most talked-about series in South Korea in the first half of 2020. The JTBC drama top-billed by Kim Hee Ae—who won a Baeksang Award for her riveting performance as Dr. Ji Sun-woo—tackles marriage, betrayal, infidelity, and everything in between as a seemingly perfect family crumbles after a dangerous affair. It's the most-watched series ever in Korean cable television history, according to Nielsen Korea.
3. Hot Stove League
Trust us when we say that you don't need to be a sports fan to appreciate Hot Stove League, which bagged the Best Drama trophy from the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards. The SBS drama tells the story of Baek Seung-soo (Namgoong Min), a newly appointed general manager of a professional baseball team called Dreams and his seemingly impossible pursuit to take it from the bottom of the league to the top. It's probably the most underrated K-drama of 2020 that you'll regret not watching.
4. Itaewon Class
There are so many life lessons to glean from Itaewon Class, which revolves around the goal-oriented and hardworking Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo Joon), an ex-convict who's determined to turn his modest food business into the best restaurant in Korea. In order to do so, he must compete with Jangga Co., which is run by the very family responsible for his father's tragic passing. As a testament to the series' success, Itaewon Class currently ranks seventh among the highest-rating Korean dramas of all time.
5. Flower of Evil
Love a good crime thriller with a jarring mystery to solve? Flower of Evil, starring Lee Joon Gi and Moon Chae Won, will keep you on the edge of your seat from its first episode down to the last. The tvN drama tells the story of a married couple: The wife is a detective who must uncover the secrets behind a series of murders; and the husband, albeit a loving father on the outside, turns out to be a fugitive with a dark past who's living under another person's identity. Its heart-racing finale took first place in its time slot across all networks, recording the highest ratings of the drama’s entire run, according to Nielsen Korea.
6. The Penthouse
If you enjoyed the wild ride that was The World of the Married, then you can expect The Penthouse to take you on a different level of crazy. Starring Lee Ji Ah, Kim So Yeon, and Kim Eugene, the controversial SBS drama is set in a 100-floor luxury penthouse apartment occupied by South Korea's wealthiest and most powerful. The female-centric series features revenge, rivalry, and gripping plot twists that will keep you hooked and wanting more.
Regardless if you're on Team Good Boy or Team Living Buddha, there's no denying the K-drama phenomenon that was Start-Up. Top-billed by Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, and Kim Seon Ho, the 16-episode tvN series, which is set in South Korea's fictional Silicon Valley called Sandbox, will leave you with a number of practical life lessons on business, love, family, and friendship. The hit drama did not fail to stir online debate and make it to social media's top trending topics with every new episode. Aptly, Vice has dubbed it the "escapist show you've been looking for in 2020."
8. Hi Bye, Mama!
Ready your tissues! Hi Bye Mama, the tear-jerking tvN series starring Kim Tae Hee, Lee Kyu Hyung, and Go Bo Gyeol, tells the story of Cha yu-ri, a ghost who passed five years ago and was given the chance to become human again in order to take back her place as a wife to her estranged husband and as a mother to the daughter who never knew she existed. Don't watch this unless you're prepared to ugly-cry—you've been warned.
9. Kingdom: Season 2
For the fans of the horror genre, Kingdom Season 2—headlined by Ju Ji Hoon and Bae Doona—is definitely not to be missed! As Prince Lee Chang struggles to claim back the throne and save his people from the blood-thirsty plague, he will once again come face to face with death. We dare say that the second installment of Netflix's period zombie drama is even better than the first. It's in no way short of suspense, plot twists, political struggles, and characters that you'll either despise or root for.
10. It's Okay to Not Be Okay
It's Okay to Not Be Okay—a.k.a. Kim Soo Hyun's much-awaited K-drama comeback—is inarguably a raging Hallyu success. The tvN series, which also stars Seo Ye Ji and Oh Jung Se, tackles mental health, brotherly love, and a complicated romance between a caretaker at a psychiatric ward who doesn't know how to be happy and a children's book author with an antisocial personality disorder. IOTNBO not only managed to enter the list of the highest-rated Korean dramas of all time, it was also the most popular Korean drama series on Netflix in Taiwan, and has secured a spot in the streaming platforms's Top 10 not just in the Philippines but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and more. Additionally, it has received wildly positive reviews from the likes of Elle, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, and Forbes, calling it "the most visually appealing drama of 2020."