19 Korean Dramas That Will Turn 10 This 2019
Reminisce 2009 with our list of Korean dramas that will be ten years old this 2019!
Before we deeply immerse ourselves in all the Korean dramas the year 2019 has to offer, let us take a step back — ten years to be exact — to the dramas that made our hearts pound, got us laughing hard, brim our eyes with tears, and root for our favorite characters back in 2009.
This year, these dramas will celebrate their tenth anniversary since they first appeared on the television screens of South Koreans.
#1 The Accidental Couple
The Accidental Couple premiered on KBS2 on April 29, 2009. It starred acclaimed film actor Hwang Jung Min and top actress Kim Ah Joong in a romantic comedy revolving around a contract marriage. Hwang took on the role of Go Dong Baek, a post office employee, who was entangled in an unlikely relationship with top actress Han Ji Soo played by Kim.
The pair was joined by Joo Sang Wook as Kim Kang Mo, Lee Chung Ah as Gu Min Ji, Baek Sung Hyun as Han Sang Chul, and Jeon Mi Seon as Cha Yun Kyung. It run for a total of 16 episodes, concluding with an average viewership rating of 11 percent.
The Accidental Couple marked Hwang Jung Min’s first television project after 14 years as a stage and film actor. It was also Kim Ah Joong’s comeback project after three years since starring in her breakthrough film 200 Pounds Beauty.
#2 Assorted Gems
Assorted Gems is a family drama which aired every Saturday and Sunday from September 2009 to February 2010 on MBC. It has a total of 50 episodes, with its storyline focusing on the story of the Gung family and the four siblings — who were named after precious stones — Bi Chwi (Jade), Ryu Bi (Ruby), San Ho (Coral), Ho Bak (Amber).
Go Na Eun, who played the character of Bi Chwi, won the Excellence Award at the 2009 MBC Drama Awards for her portrayal. Fellow cast members Kim Young Ok and Jung Hye Sun were both given the Golden Acting Award at the same award ceremony.
#3 Boys Over Flowers
The year 2009 brought the F4 phenomenon on high once again when South Korea, via KBS2, released its live adaptation of the highly popular manga Hana Yori Dango titled Boys Over Flowers. It led to a another Korean Wave, positioning its cast members Ku Hye Sun, Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon, and Kim So Eun at the center of the wave and as household names, not only in South Korea, but all over Asia.
Despite the familiar and cliché story of Boys Over Flowers and the drama being the third live adaptation of the manga following Taiwan’s Meteor Garden and Japan’s Hana Yori Dango, it received high viewership rating from its premiere on January 5, 2009 to its final episode on March 29, 2009, averaging 25 to 28 percent. It was broadcast in other countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Canada, Puerto Rico, and more, where it also enjoyed immense popularity.
Boys Over Flowers is often credited for catapulting the mainstream popularity of its leads especially its lead actor Lee Min Ho who played Gu Jun Pyo.
Aside from the drama series, the official soundtrack of Boys Over Flowers was also a hit. Kim Joon’s group T-Max sang “Paradise”, “Say Yes”, and “Wish Ur My Love” for the drama, while Kim Hyun Joong’s group SS501 performed “Making A Lover” and “Because I’m Stupid”. SHINee also sang “Stand By Me” for the drama.
#4 Brilliant Legacy
Brilliant Legacy is a top-rated drama which maintained its top position for 20 consecutive weeks and became one of the highest rated drama of 2009. It premiered on April 25, 2009 and ran for a total of 28 episodes.
The drama starred Lee Seung Gi and Han Hyo Joo as Sunwoo Hwan and Go Eun Sung, respectively. It also featured Moon Chae Won as Yoo Seung MI, Go Eun Sung’s step-sister, and Bae Soo Bin as Park Joon Se. The story circled around the life of Go Eun Sung who lost everything due to the greediness of her stepmother and who tried to redeem herself and her family.
Brilliant Legacy marked Lee Seung Gi’s first main role. With the show’s high ratings and popularity, it propelled Lee’s career as an actor. Aside from high viewership rating, the drama also led the actor and other cast members to win awards at various awarding ceremonies that year.
#5 Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel was So Ji Sub’s comeback drama after five years following I’m Sorry, I Love You. The drama aired its first episode on February 18, 2009 and ran for 20 episodes, ending on April 23, 2009.
Cain and Abel, which also starred Shin Hyun Joon and Han Ji Min, was inspired by the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s sons Cain and Abel. So played Lee Cho In, a talented doctor who seems to have all the good things in life. Meanwhile, Shin took on the role of Lee Seon Woo who was envious of his brother.
So Ji Sub received praise for his portrayal of Lee Cho In, earning him acting awards such as Best Actor at the 2009 Grimae Awards, Actor of the Year in Broadcasting at the 2009 Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and Top Excellence Award at the 2009 SBS Drama Awards.
#6 Cinderella Man
Kwon Sang Woo played a dual role in MBC’s 2009 drama Cinderella Man about Lee Joon Hee and Oh Dae San who look exactly alike but came from different backgrounds, with the former being an heir to a fashion empire and the latter being a clothes seller at Dongdaemun Market.
Moreover, Cinderella Man was Girl’s Generation member Yoona’s comeback drama after her successful acting project You Are My Destiny.
The drama, which was inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella, premiered on MBC on April 15, 2009. It has a total of 16 episodes. It recorded single-digit ratings during its run and only secured a double-digit rating during its seventh episode.
#7 The City Hall
Dubbed by acclaimed writer Kim Eun Sook as her funniest work, The City Hall is a romantic comedy drama which followed the adventures of Shin Mi Rae (played by Kim Sun Ah) who became the youngest mayor of Inju City and her relationship with cold-hearted and ambitious Jo Gook (played by Cha Seung Won). It aired its first episode on April 29, 2009 and its final episode on July 2, 2009, totaling 20 episodes.
Although the drama was a moderate hit, viewers praised the chemistry between Kim Sun Ah and Cha Seung Won who returned on the small screen after six years. The drama also earned the two stars Excellence Awards at the 2009 SBS Drama Awards.
#8 Creating Destiny
It was really destiny created as the set of Creating Destiny allowed for love to blossom between its lead stars Eugene and Ki Tae Young who got married in 2011 and welcomed their daughters in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
Creating Destiny is a 31-episode drama about Han Sang Eun (played by Eugene) and Kim Yeo Joon (played by Ki Tae Young) who devised a plan to avoid being wed out of their parents wishes. The drama premiered in October 2009 and ended in January 2010. It was broadcast on MBC.
#9 Friend, Our Legend
Friend, Our Legend is a retelling and expansion of the 2001 film Friend, a coming-of-age story revolving around four childhood friends who became bitter enemies. The drama was also directed by Kwak Kyung Taek, who directed the film.
It starred Hyun Bin as Han Dong Su (portrayed by Jang Dong Gun in the film) and Kim Min Joon as Lee Joon Seok (portrayed by Yu Oh Seong in the film).
Friend, Our Legend was entirely shot in Busan and was pre-produced — a rarity in Korean dramas at that time.
In 2017, director Kwak Kyung Taek directed the sequel of his 2001 film titled Friend: The Great Legacy where Yu Oh Seong reprised his role. It also introduced Kim Woo Bin as Han Dong Su’s son.
#10 He Who Can’t Marry
He Who Can’t Marry told the story of architect Jo Jae Hee who seemed to have all the qualities of an ideal husband yet remained single in his 40s. Actor Ji Jin Hee played the main character Jo Jae Hee in this drama which teamed him up with Uhm Jung Hwa.
The drama was released on June 15, 2009. It aired its 16th and final episode on August 4, 2009.
Aside from Ji and Uhm, He Who Can’t Marry also includes Kim So Eun and Yoo Ah In as Jeong Yoo Jin and Park Hyun Kyu, respectively.
#11 High Kick Through the Roof
High Kick Through the Roof is dubbed as the second season of the highly popular sitcom High Kick! which aired in 2006. The sitcom revolved around the Lee family headed by Lee Soon Jae, a character portrayed by veteran actor Lee Soon Jae.
Despite the series being considered the second season of High Kick!, High Kick Through the Roof varies in terms of its characters and their stories, although it maintains the original series format and overview.
High Kick Through the Roof launched Hwang Jung Eum to mainstream stardom and kickstart Highlight’s Lee Gikwang’s acting career on TV.
Iris is a highly successful drama both commercially and critically. It went on to top viewership ratings, averaging 35 to 40 percent in its 20-episode run from October 14 to December 17, 2009. The drama and its cast members also won several awards at various awarding ceremonies including Best Drama at the 46th Baeksang Arts Awards.
The big-budgeted drama, which marked Lee Byung Hun’s TV comeback after five years, revolved around the two best friends, Kim Hyun Jun (played by Lee) and Jin Sa Woo (played by Jung Joon Ho), who were scouted to be part of the National Security Service by Choi Seung Hee (played by Kim Tae Hee).
Iris also featured BIGBANG’s T.O.P as Vick, Kim Seung Woo as Park Cheol Young, and Kim So Yeon as Kim Seon Hwa. Its success led to Athena: Goddess of War and Iris 2.
#13 My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady brought Yoon Eun Hye, Yoon Sang Hyun, Jung Il Woo, and Moon Chae Won together in a romantic comedy story about a rich and arrogant woman named Kang Hye Na who lived her whole life being treated like a princess and a former gigolo named Seo Dong Chan who became her butler.
The drama had an average viewership rating of 15 percent from its 16 episodes which aired from July to October 2009. It was also remade in the Philippines starring Jasmin Curtis-Smith, Vin Abrenica, and Luis Alandy.
#14 My Too Perfect Sons
My Too Perfect Sons was a weekend drama which aired on KBS2 from April 11 to October 11, 2009. It has a total of 54 episodes. The drama featured a star-studded ensemble led by veteran actors Baek Il Seob and Yoon Mi Ra, Son Hyun Joo, Lee Pil Mo, Han Sang Jin, and Ji Chang Wook.
As of press time, the drama ranked 50th among all dramas aired on public broadcasting networks with the highest rating ever at 44.2 percent.
Its writer Jo Jung Sun received the Best Writer award at the 2009 KBS Drama Awards. Additionally, My Too Perfect Sons was nominated for Best Soap and Telenovela at the Rose d’Or or Golden Rose Awards.
#15 Queen of Housewives
Queen of Housewives marked Kim Nam Joo’s successful return to television dramas after an eight-year hiatus. The drama premiered on March 16, 2009 on MBC as a Monday-Tuesday drama.
Aside from dominating the ratings game during its 20-episode run, it also created a trend among housewives in terms of fashion, make-up, and confidence.
Moreover, Kim’s portrayal of a confident and modern housewife who tried to help her husband climb the corporate ladder by joining a social wives club earned her various accolades. Additionally, Yoon Sang Hyun’s character as Heo Tae Joon became the actor’s breakout role.
Queen of Housewives had an average viewership rating of 21 to 22 percent with its final episode reaching 31 to 33 percent.
#16 Queen Seondeok
Queen Seondeok is one of the highest top-rated drama in South Korea with a peak viewership rating of 44 percent. It was produced by MBC in celebration of its 48th founding anniversary. Its story was inspired by the life of Queen Seondeok of Silla, the 27th ruler of the kingdom and its first reigning queen.
The drama, which ran for 64 episodes, premiered on the network on May 25, 2009 and ended on December 22, 2009. It starred Lee Yo Won as Queen Seondeok, Go Hyun Jung as Lady Mishil, Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yushin, and Park Ye Jin as Princess Cheonmyeong.
Aside from winning the drama race with its high ratings, the series and its cast members received recognition and awards for it. It also swept the 2009 MBC Drama Awards and won the Best Series Drama at the 2010 Seoul International Drama Awards.
#17 The Return of Iljimae
The Return of Iljimae premiered on MBC on January 21, 2009, making Jung Il Woo the third actor to portray the legendary hero Iljimae which was based on a Chinese folklore during the Ming Dynasty. The actor followed Jang Dong Gun who took on the role in 1993 and Lee Joon Gi who played it in 2008.
The Return of Iljimae started strong in terms of viewership rating, earning a double-digit rating during its first episode. However, the drama continued to see a drop in its viewership starting from its second episode, ending its 24-episode run with an 8-percent rating.
The Return of Iljimae was also Sandara Park’s debut drama in South Korea.
#18 Three Brothers
Three Brothers is a weekend drama which followed My Too Perfect Sons on KBS’ Saturday-Sunday schedule. It started its 70-episode run on October 17, 2009 and ended it on June 13, 2010. It reached 40 percent in terms of viewership ratings, prompting the network to extend its initial 50-episode run to 70.
Three Brothers is a family drama depicting the family of a retired police officer who has three sons who are different from each other. It starred Park in Hwan as the father, Ahn Nae Sang as the eldest son, Oh Dae Gyu as the middle son, and Lee Joon Hyuk as the youngest son.
#19 You’re Beautiful
Despite garnering mediocre ratings during its run, You’re Beautiful was highly popular overseas, creating a cult following among viewers who tuned in to its episodes online. It launched its stars Park Shin Hye, Jang Geun Seuk, CNBLUE’s Jung Yong Hwa, and FTISLAND’s Lee Hong Ki to international stardom for their roles as Go Mi Nam, Hwang Tae Kyung, Kang Shin Woo, and Jeremy, respectively.
The drama, which started airing on SBS on October 7, 2009, wrapped up its 16-episode run on November 26, 2009. It was broadcast in other Asian countries and reportedly was comparable to Winter Sonata in terms of popularity in Japan. Aside from the show’s popularity, its official soundtrack was also hugely popular.
You’re Beautiful was also Jung Yong Hwa’s debut project even before his official debut as the leader of CNBLUE.
Other dramas that will turn ten this 2019 include: Don’t Hesitate, Empress Cheonchu, Everybody Cha-cha-cha, Good Job, Good Job, Invincible Lee Pyung Kang, Ja Myung Go, Loving You A Thousand Times, The Road Home, Romance Zero, The Slingshot, Style, Swallow the Sun, Tamra, the Island, Temptation of An Angel, Triple, Two Wives, What’s For Dinner?, Wife Returns, and Will It Snow for Christmas?.