Here’s our top 11 recommendations for you to watch from last year in 2019.
First in our list of the best Kdramas to watch on Netflix is Kingdom (2019). The plot revolves around a zombie contagion set in ancient Joseon period. No guns or modern weaponry to combat the dead, just swords and sticks. The zombies sleep during the day, and feed during the night. These aren’t your typical slow walking The-Walking-Dead zombies. They run.
That alone raises the thrill factor.
The cast isn’t the usual star-studded Hallyu A-listers, but Ju Ji-hoon and Bae Doona have certainly played their roles impressively, keeping the viewers reeled in with their acting. Haven’t watched it? Here’s the link to watch on Netflix. We’ve also completed our drama recaps on the first season, starting with Kingdom Episode 1 – if reading is your thing. But really, go watch this.
Kingdom Season 2 is not quite out, but it is slated to be released to be released March 2020. Can’t wait!
Memories of the Alhambra is a gamer’s dream. The story revolves around an augmented reality (AR) game that mysteriously started to affect gamers in real life.
The hyper-realistic graphics in the AR game excites Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun-Bin), CEO of a gaming company that has the AR technology the game requires to play it. Not wanting to lose the game’s rights to his competitor, Jin-woo went to Granada to meet with the game developer Jung Se-joo , only to find Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin-hye), Se-Joo’s sister. Se-Joo went missing and Jin-woo suspects the game has a dark secret to it.
With a $25 million budget, the show boasts an impressive production in many overseas sets outside of South Korea, particularly primarily around Granada, Spain.
The beautiful landscapes, and captivating music (Recuerdos de la Alhambra is part of the series’ soundtracks), engages viewers with a audio-visual treat and a fast-paced storytelling helps to put this show on our top 5 list. The show was screened from December 1, 2018 to January 20, 2019. While not quite 2019, I would definitely recommend watching it.
You can watch Memories of the Alhambra on Netflix here.
If that isn’t enough to turn heads, Vagabond has the third most budget of any Korean Dramas filmed to date: ( ₩25 billion), more than $20 Million USD. Filming is done in more exotic locations like Portugal, Morocco and locally in South Korea. Special effects and CGI helps lend strength to this fast-paced action thriller.
That said, the best part of this Kdrama is the plot. Cha Dal-gun’s investigation of his nephew’s death in the B357 plane crash leads to uncovering corruption and cover-ups by the upper echelons of the South Korean Government. There’s no one to trust except himself, and a female N.I.S agent, Go Hae-Ri.
Some reviewers put the final episode as a let down, but let’s just wait for Vagabond Season 2 to come out.
Hotel Del Luna is the highest-rated Korean drama of 2019 (but who really cares about ratings?). In terms of story plot and acting, it’s top notch.
Casted by Lee Ji-eun (IU) who plays the owner of Hotel Del Luna and Yeo Jin-goo (Koo Chan-Seong), their on-screen chemistry lends to the grand story telling of a strange world of a hotel that serves the newly dead.
I personally thought that IU’s acting was superb, as she switched roles between her past and her current role as the owner of Hotel Del Luna.
A mixture of horror, comedy and romance, this is the kdrama to watch for that touch of love in a fantasy world.
You can watch Hotel Del Luna on Netflix here.
We have a romance comedy, Romance Is a Bonus Book.
In a typical “Noona” romance story, the female lead is older than the male. While some may cringe at the idea, Lee Jong-suk (playing Cha Eun-ho) and Lee Na-young (as Kang Dan-i) played their roles perfectly.
Cha Eun Ho and Kang Dan-i became close friends after Dan-i saved Eun Ho from an accident when they were young. In the present, Dan-i who is a mother and a divorcee, was desperate to rejoin the work force and ended up joining Eun Ho’s company. Their relationship took a turn romantically thereafter.
For a light-hearted romantic comedy to end the year, this is a good choice to put on your watchlist.
It is the highest rated drama in 2019 with a peak rating of 23.8% according to Nielsen Korea. If a strong female lead, played by Gong Hyo-jin is your kind of drama, you can’t go wrong with this. A romantic comedy at heart, the plot of a policeman falling in love with a single mother with a son is coupled with the suspense of a serial killer out for blood makes it an oddly satisfying watch.
It is a romantic comedy between the two, while having the “Abyss” as the center, and also a psychopathic killer that killed Se-yeon in the first place.
Love Alarm is like the Korean version of Black Mirror, without the dystonia future it often paints. It begs the question of how human interaction would be like, if there is an app that tells you if someone that likes you in the the vicinity of 10m. Such is the premise of the show.
Does it take out all the fun out of courtship and the thrill of approaching someone to hook up? Is such a technology a bane or a boon?
Either way, it’s a fun romance show to watch.
From Kim So-hyun’s previous dramas ( Hey Ghost, Let’s Fight ) , she plays the role of a romantic female convincingly, so I would absolutely recommend this one.
Season 2 is announced to be renewed. So let’s wait on that one!
Chocolate is your typical sweet romance melodrama.
The two main leads, a neurosurgeon (Yoon Kye-sang) in the present, who used to dream of becoming a chef, and (Ha Ji-won) cross paths once a long time ago. Cha young (Ji-won) was inspired to be a chef when Lee Kang (Yoon Kye-sang) cooked for her, and she did eventually became a world famous chef. Years later they met again at a hospice later and the story takes off from there.
Should you watch this? If you’d like tear-jerkers and emotional plots, this kdrama tells a very compelling story that gives you all the fuzzy feeling inside.
Clean with Passion for Now aired on Netflix in 2019. You can watch it here.
There couldn’t have been two worse people to get together.
One, a rich heir and the CEO of a cleaning company, “Cleaning Fairy”, played by Yoon Kyun-sang that has OCD, and mysophobia, which is an extreme fear of germs and very particular about cleanliness.
The other a happy-go-lucky girl, down on her luck with her career and would do anything and get down and dirty, played by Kim Yoo-jung – who eventually worked at Cleaning Fairy and would fall in love with Seon-kyul, Kyun-sang’s character.
It’s lovely to watch as the pair has great on-screen chemistry, and it’s light-hearted and funny to boot. Watch!
My Country: The New Age begins with a dark introduction of rebellion. It is a story set between the transition period of the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty.
Plenty of young faces to see, with Yang Se-jong playing as Seo Hwi and Woo Do-hwan as Nam Sun-ho, two friends that became enemies due to the misunderstandings, a product of a chaotic time. Kim Seol-hyun plays Han Hee-jae, an intelligent woman raised by kisaengs (courtesans of the time). A young-ish cast, which is quite refreshing for a historical drama.
To be honest, the drama starts off uninteresting and is off to a slow start but it gets better after a few episodes. Definitely love Seolhyun’s acting though!
My Country: The New Age streams on Netflix, link here.
That’s it for our top 11 Korean Dramas on Netflix for 2019!
- Arthdal Chronicles – (Starred by Song Joong-ki, which is reason enough to watch. Let down by weak plot.)
- Designated Survivor: 60 Days (South Korean remake of Designated Survivor that’s actually decent.)
And that’s our list of Kdramas in Netflix to watch in 2019. Are there any Korean Dramas that you think should make the list?
Let us know in the comment below!