[Vote] The Best Korean Drama Of 2016 – Which One Is Your Fave?
2016: The Year of Great K-Dramas!
2016 was a heck of a year from the perspective of K-dramas. We got a really really good line-up, with multiple insanely popular series grabbing attention throughout the year. Also, some very interesting plot choices were presented, showing the potential of Korean television for the future.
I have compiled a list of my personal favourites, dramas that I consider the absolute best, including a poll for you to vote for your personal favourites!
The TOP 3. K-Dramas of 2016
There are three K-dramas that I think were really the absolute best last year, although one of them is still on-going. These dramas literally stick to me like glue.
GOBLIN (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)
This drama aired 10 episodes in 2016 out of a projected 16, so I consider this a 2016 drama. Goblin vowed viewers worldwide with a fantastic story: a 939 year old dokkaebi falling in love with a 19 year old girl. A dokkaebi is a magical being of Korean mythology, said to transform at night from abandoned objects like brooms. It can do magic to people, but when triggered, it is a fearful being. Handsome and tall actor Gong Yoo changed the way Koreans view dokkaebis, since these beings are usually portrayed as ugly goblins with one leg.
The series is quite literally magical: the acting is top notch, the bromance between Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook is probably the best I have ever seen on screen, the story is evenly paced, packed with hilarious jokes (also some witty inside jokes!), amazing dialogues (kudos to star writer Kim Eun-sook), and a hidden mistery that unfolds drop by drop every episode. Top this with some amazing shooting locations and very well chosen wardrobe of the main cast, and you get the magic package of the best K-drama produced in 2016.
The bromance, the bromance!
The inside jokes: Gong Yoo on a movie date with Kim Go-eun, watching his own movie, Train to Busan – and freaking out!
W: Two Worlds
W was one of the new concept dramas this year. Instead of a typical chaebol man falling in love with a poor Cinderella story, we got an amazing tale of a manhwa (Korean manga) protagonist coming to life. Kang Cheol (Lee Jong-suk) is drawn by a manhwa artist, who gets fed up with his own story and decides to kill his leading man off. But alas, the manhwa has its own world, and Cheol refuses to die, dragging the artist’s daughter (Han Hyo-joo) into his world, too. Of course, they fall in love, and the ride begins! Borders of reality and fiction start to disappear and just like the protagonists, the viewers are also not sure which one is real.
The series poses a number of philosophical questions about reality, perspective, free will and love, constantly making you use your brain and think while watching. It is also insanely entertaining and makes you bite your nails in excitement. Not to mention the realy cool, high quality special effects used to make the manga world alive.
tvN has been solidifying its position in the Korean drama world as a producer of top quality, amazing dramas. Goblin is also their creation, and my 3rd place favourite, Signal was also theirs. This is not a fluffy drama, this is serious business. Although intertwined with fantasy elements, Signal focuses on multiple themes, one of them crime investigation. Also, the topic of time continuity, cause and effect, multiple layered moral issues are coming up here. It is also filmed beautifully, like a movie, with amazing actors, especially breathtaking performances of Jo Jin-woong and Kim Hye-soo. There are rumours of a 2nd season – and frankly speaking, I can’t wait to see it happen! The series also boast some of the best OST songs to this date.
Other favourites last year
Besides my top 3, there were several dramas I enjoyed watching in 2016. These are also highly recommended.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Although the drama was not very successful in Korea rating-wise (it barely passed 10% at certain episodes and finished with an averae rating of 7% – very low for a major channel), it amassed a cult following abroad, and was very popular in China. Lee Jun-gi was undoubtedly born to do sageuks.
Six Flying Dragons
I usually don’t like K-dramas that are this long, but this series is well worth it, for Yoo Ah-in presents some of his best acting skills here. Sometimes, his acting literally sent chills down my spine.
Beautiful Gong Shim
This series started out as a fluffy, funny romantic comedy, then turned into something else. This is why it is not in my TOP3, screenwriters sometimes make bad decisions. But all in all, this is really an enjoyable series, the chemistry between Namgung Min and Bang Minah really works wonders, and I did laugh a lot.
Another series I really enoyed, and laughed a lot throughout. Ryu Jun-yeol is an amazing actor, and his chemistry with Hwang Jeong-eum was palpable, even if I don’t really like Hwang’s exaggerated style of acting, generally.
I know that there were a lot of other dramas that were generally very popular last year, like Descendants of the Sun, Cinderella and the Four Knights, Cheese in the Trap, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, Doctors and Jealousy Incarnate, as well as The Legend of the Blue Sea recently, but somehow these did not fit me well, even if some of these were hyped and popular worldwide.
Now it is time for you to vote (up to 3 votes)!
I included those dramas that count as popular for one reason or another (more than 130 dramas aired last year). If your favourite is not among these, please choose “Other”, write and send your choice to us.