Year In Review: 2017 Best Korean Dramas
It’s time to crown the best stories from 2017 Korean Dramas!
We finally reached the end of K-Drama parade in 2017, hence it is time to find out the Best Korean Dramas that have happened in our life this year.
Since this is my first year-end review, I will set the rule to cover dramas with starting broadcast date from January 2017. Now, the tricky part is how the December batch of dramas are set to conclude on January 2018. With that consideration, I will be including them on the next year’s list.
There are well-made Korean dramas that speak for itself through numbers, but there are also special ones which drown you with stunning writing and creative picture. The roster of my best K-drama picks feature inventive plots and genuine characters. I don’t over-analyze the technical aspects of story-building. I usually create my own thoughts on what the drama gives me, and not for what it fails to give or persuade. I lean more on appreciating the aesthetics, novelty, pertinent intangibles, and types of messages emanating from each story.
What made this year a little different than the previous ones was how we got a selection of chronicles where you would feel the writers pouring out their emotions to complement the character sketches and the imaginary worlds they built.
Dominating K-Dramaland this year are thriller and legal dramas with a few remarkable romantic stories. Fantasy elements are still active components for K-Drama concoctions. But this has been a year when we actively chase felons with detectives and investigate crime cases with prosecutors.
Here are the 2017 Best Korean Dramas that you should watch when you have time to binge.
First Quarter K-Drama Top Picks
Chief Kim (KBS)
Workplace comedy-drama Chief Kim delights with Nam Goong Min’s impeccable attack on his unique underdog role seeking to take down corporate politics through his keen mind and elaborated grasp of turning problems to opportunities. The upbeat tone and cast synergy fuel the humor and lessons of the narrative.
Carving a commanding impression as a legal drama to beat for 2017, the outwitting battle of the hero and villain in Defendant triumphantly gifts its followers with nerve-wrecking mind games in a good versus evil theme. With solid performances from the hero and villain, it concludes with a satisfying end game.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (jTBC)
The quirky fantasy rom-com secured immense following through the love couple’s endearing chemistry. Amidst the noticeable plot fillers, the love frames were what resulted Bong-bong and Min-min couple’s impressive social media following.
Chasing a clever psychopath is brilliantly executed by the dauntless detective team of Voice. It is always at a high note, and not taking a chance to rest the grit and vigor of the story-building.
Second Quarter K-Drama Top Picks
Circle leans to an amazing sci-fi story perceptive to viewers, who may or may not be a fan of the genre. It never went wrong for being ambitiously inventive. It never showed any signs of defiance, and was always sure of the track it was taking. The brave movement of the story plus the incorporation of brotherly love would just blow your mind away.
Fight For My Way (KBS)
What made this modestly written K-Drama a hot topic can be credited to the unadorned narrative that describes what regular people do and feel in their mundane living. It incidentally creates its own kind of beauty by presenting a cheerful cast, who channels the honest storytelling to a good-humored spectacle. It leaves lingering lessons on chasing dreams while finding true love.
Chicago Typewriter (tvN)
Chicago Typewriter defies creative boundaries as it switches the past and present timelines without losing the brilliant writing and fascinating characters that moved in the story. It takes pride on balancing romance and friendship. The ingenious weaving of the fictional thread sets a basic rule that the viewers have to accept — the dynamic reincarnation plot that involves a life affirming friendship between two friends who love the same girl.
Third Quarter K-Drama Top Picks
Queen For Seven Days (KBS)
Queen For Seven Days efficiently maximizes the staple government intrigues and character motivations to balance the frustrating love line. While you grieve with the love couple who are forced to love each other from afar, you will accept that true love is kept in the heart with the best memories you have with someone, even if you cannot have future moments together.
Stranger/Secret Forest (tvN)
Stranger bravely dissects the cover ups happening in the police organization along with the corruption in the prosecution office, without tiring the audience with pointless stopovers. The series gives no more than what is required to story building, yet it makes sure how every detail conspires to present a comprehensible picture. It showcases sleek showdowns where intellect and power function are used as chess pieces proving how excessive tears and evil doings need not to be elaborately shown onscreen as long as it is neatly narrated.
The mystery solving plot unravels the details of the story that is traced to a prohibited medical research of 24 years about human cloning and a sort of cure-for-all vaccine. The ambitious medical plot about stem cell therapy and human clones seems awkward to a crime drama, but the moment your attention is settled, your brain will become busy processing the what-ifs and OMGs of the story.
Fourth Quarter K-Drama Picks
Because This Is My First Life (tvN)
Powered by a vibrant cast, the heartfelt writing reinvents the trite rom-com cohabitation premise to a whole new level, leaving traces of affirming feel-good love moments that would make you smile after each chapter. If you want to deviate from the standard romance stories with a relaxing drama that is intuitively penned, an overnight marathon of Se Hee and the gangs’ love journey will make you sigh and ponder about those sweet little moments of being in love.
While You Were Sleeping (SBS)
Bringing together the thrills of the legal drama premise and the fated love frosted story is the strength which mobilizes the addictive surge of the drama. Thumbs up to the clear delineation of the heroes versus villain showdown that does not exaggerate. The quick-witted main leads maneuver the tale through their shared visions, and are never stubborn to think ahead of the imaginary conflicts thrown at them. They patiently tackle together the maze-like answer to the final conflict.
Deserving of the Name (tvN)
The smartly written time-slip drama of a celebrated Joseon acupuncturist transported in the modern times achieves the neat placement of time bending element on its supernatural stage. The medical plot fuses well to the intricate comparison between modern technology and traditional medicine due to the winning performances of the main leads.
The Package (jTBC)
The fleeting romance of the lead couple in The Package radiates a resonating message that you can love instantaneously, fall out of it and love more at the right time. It is a romantic gift that is ironically spirited while running on a wistful narrative. The supporting chronicles appear like puzzle pieces meant to complete the entire picture of the tale. It results to an excellent capture of the drama’s ultimate message – how personal relationship, romantic or otherwise, won’t reveal apprehensions due to a man’s self-sacrificing nature.
We also ran a poll early this month to get the pulse of the viewers for their favorite picks among the 2017 Korean Dramas. Here’s the list of Top 10 Korean Dramas as selected by the viewers.
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon emerged as the top favorite among the audience. Romance genre dominated the type of stories most watch by K-drama fandom as reflected on the top picks, which include While You Were Sleeping, Fight For My Way and Because This Is My First Life.
Below is the list of completed reviews for 2017 Best Korean Dramas.
Click on the respective drama thumbnail to read the the full review:
Together, let’s wish for another prosperous K-Drama parade this coming 2018! Happy New Year everyone!
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