Mid-Year K-Drama Recap: 16 Engaging Korean Dramas Aired From January – June 2018

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Remakes, dual roles and healing dramas sum up the first half of 2018 Korean dramas!

A lot has happened in the first six months of 2018 Korean drama world. We are happy to announce how it has been an amazing ride with myriad of story concepts and well-written drama pieces that were executed well by the show runners and the actors.

From the remnants of 2017 tail-end dramas, we had an abundance of hero-centered stories in slice-of-life tones which left encouraging impressions to the viewers.

Romantic stories as a staple genre for South Korean dramas satisfied its fanbase with a generous amount of memorable love tales poured in especially in the season of spring.

Having no definitive runaway hit for the first half of the year can be explained with how almost all 2018 Korean dramas which have recently aired are generally amazing. We have the rating’s statistics reflecting even distribution of numbers to back up that deduction.

Here’s our must-watch picks from the first batch of 2018 Korean dramas which aired from January to June 2018.

1. Prison Playbook (tvN)

Prison Playbook

It will be hard for the viewers not to subconsciously join the virtual cause to protect baseball star Kim Je Hyuk from any harm that comes his way. His clueless yet adorable portrayal of a kind-hearted athlete, who got incarcerated for an assault case in trying to protect his sister, easily gains empathy points from the audience.

The daily picture of convicts’ activities like doing wood works, gardening, field exercises, and even the mundane eating times is injected with spirited approach.

Prison Playbook lets you understand how mistakes are not supposed to define you as a person. It teaches you that personal battles are given to be won over, and that having a good heart is a blessing at all times.

2. I’m Not A Robot (MBC)

I'm Not a Robot

I’m not a Robot is easy to love due to its quick pacing and endearing cast.  Less the corporate world related conflict attached to the hero’s character, everything in the drama sails smoothly.

If you like saccharine stories, this drama is perfect for you. It notches well the bullet points of addictive romantic comedy. Light and sassy… sweet and steady. It communicates how the heart believes what the situation tries to conceal. It affirms how reciprocated love is felt even if it is not vocally declared – all these with the backdrop of futuristic AI powered android.

3. A Korean Odyssey (tvN)

A korean odyssey

A Korean Odyssey joins the fantasy-romance trend dominating K-dramaland in the recent months and is strong in limning character sketches of the supernatural beings depicted in the story. It also highlights interesting arcs and bends that raises awareness on modern societal problems through side problems solved in the story before the culminating conflict.

A Korean Odyssey spins a thickly designed plot which focuses on character redemption, with the romance plot acting as the supporting driver to achieve the designed pilgrimage of the characters.It makes use of a realistic storytelling inducing addictive bliss and burrowing pain following its supernatural premise.

4. Return (SBS)

Park Jin Hee

On paper, the cast roster speaks for an exceptional vibe with actors known for their stellar works through the years. The casting rigamarole was sustained well to maintain its gripping legal-crime premise.

Return is a strongly portrayed drama which relies on the precise shifting of plot bends to highlight the growth and movements of the main characters who are caught up in the murder mystery. Viewers will be left on the edge of their seats as a battle of cunning ways erupt ceaselessly from its onset up to the pinnacle of its riveting high.

5. Misty (jTBC)

February 2018 Korean Dramas Misty

Kim Nam Joo proves her top TV actress status with another superb heroine she drew in jTBC’s 3rd highest rated drama, Misty.

Misty bravely dissects relationship in an enthralling tale of a woman in the brink of losing her career and reputation after being caught up in a murder. Her husband portrayed by Ji Jin Hee does everything in his power to absolve her while they try to work on their marriage.

6. Switch Change The World (SBS)

Switch Change The World

Time whizzes enjoyably in the swift paced story of Sa Do Chan. The mood, the characters, and even the music set up an engrossing legal-crime drama, powered by caper activities and clever showdown between the heroes and the villains. It maintained its upbeat tone and clever narration, while unraveling the back stories.

Throughout, Switch Change The World has never played favorites on the outsmarting game between the heroes and villains. The turning of tables and mind tricks powered the engaging core of the narrative.

7. Welcome to Waikiki (jTBC)

Eulachacha Waikiki

Welcome to Waikiki spurred to a big pile of happiness pill during its run, capitalizing on the brilliant synergy of its small cast, who were keen to display their best out of the character sketches laid for them.

The balance of romance and comedy was fused to perfection, but the breakthrough comedy skits could be credited to the drama’s success.

This is one story that k-drama followers should definitely watch this year. Whether on a bingewatch or after a day’s work, the amazing cast of Welcome to Waikiki will never ever let you down.

8. My Mister (tvN)

My Mister

My Mister has introduced characters who are living up to the weight of life realities. Through their shared pain, they find out the meaning of life through mutual healing.

The series pictured ordinary flawed characters making the viewers able to relate to their pains as if they were their own. Narrated in the perspective of a young woman who has long given up with the miserable life she had to live, My Mister takes you to a breathtaking acceptance of how happiness never amounts to the level of success, fame and money, but by living life to the fullest.

9. Grand Prince (TV Chosun)

Grand Prince

Grand Prince announced its presence through an engaging symphony of love and drama, involving a woman caught in between the affection of two Joseon princes. The grandiose design, powered by indelible portrayals of the actors, made up the familiar contours of classic historical masterpiece which we have loved in the past, visibly evident in this new spectacle.

As the only period drama aired in the first half of the year, Grand Prince superbly unravels the poignant events of the story.  It drives a balanced energy by incorporating the trademark political strife of historical dramas and cushioning it with the romance elements of the story.

Grand Prince secures a well-blended serious and bright notes, while drawing the viewers to its stunning love tale. The seamless narration easily navigates the viewers to the compass of the narrative.

10. Something In The Rain (jTBC)

Something in the Rain

Taking subtle storytelling that is focused on the bliss and complication of the love tale, viewers would be immersed to cheer for the fulfillment of the romance which is belatedly realized, crazily enjoyed, and painfully let go in Something in the Rain. It reinvents the romance drama landscape with how it fervently keeps the serenity of the storytelling by its heartfelt dialogues and spontaneous scenarios.

True love has its own way of proving a relationship that did not initially work – may still work at the right time. That has been one of the myriad takeaways you can ruminate about in Jun Hee and Jin Ah’s story.

11. Suits (KBS2 TV)

Whether you’re a fan of the original American series or a newcomer to the legal drama’s fandom, you will surely find yourself drawn to Suits, thanks to its compelling storyline and relatable characters. It is also able to provide a fresh take on the original series’ framework and characterizations without overly sticking to it, which gives everyone something new to look forward to.

The Korean remake of Suits makes the series its own and gives viewers a lot of reasons to get hooked. May it be the thrill that legal dramas bring, the romance that makes us swoon without a fail, the life lessons we learn through the characters, Suits is able to cater to a plethora of elements and make it blend with each other very well in just one show.

12. The Miracle We Met (KBS2 TV)

The Miracle We Met

The Miracle We Met is perfect for those who are looking for a good cry. The drama does not hold back from tugging at your heartstrings and changing the way you look at your everyday life.

However, if you’re not ready for a story that will make your heart heavy while and after watching it, then you should probably think twice. The Miracle We Met is not for the faint of heart – because this drama will definitely shatter yours in pieces.

13. Lawless Lawyer

Lawless Lawyer

One unambiguous conflict plus precise hero-villain showdown makes Lawless Lawyer a thrilling crime drama that does not suffer with pointless plot insertion and indecisive characters. The airtight narration consistently conforms to the shifting of the plot bends.

It banks on a sane trajectory approaching the solid portrayals of the lead cast and facile story thread of crime and its deserving punishment.

Because these three ongoing dramas seem to have no other way to go but a gratifying closure, these stories deserve to be included in this list.

14. Partners for Justice (MBC)

Investigation Couple

MBC’s investigative-legal-crime drama has let the numbers speak for its scintillating run. You can never go wrong with Jung Jae Young drama. The actor tends to pick stories that pique your interest and his portrayal defines ownership down to bits.

The probing of crimes tackled through the hands of forensic expert spur the thrills and seals efficiently the sub-conflicts depicted in the story.

15. Miss Hammurabi (jTBC)

Miss Hammurabi

Courtroom judges have never been so entertaining until we met the civil cases arbitrators of Miss Hammurabi. Legal dramas typically generates conflict through cases worked on while fusing it to the characters moving in the story. That has been the case for Miss Hammurabi and it excels greatly on that note.

16. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim (tvN)


What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is not the most neatly written rom-com, but on the moments that matter, it definitely delivers.

Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young power the addictive magic of tvN’s mid-week rom-com by keeping it high on the love notes and throwing sweet captured frames each week.

There you go! Tell us which dramas captured your eyes in the first six months of 2018.

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About the writer

abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting watching K-Dramas as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.

  • Favorite Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and City Hunter



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