2016 has been a terrific year for K-dramas, with stars like Song Joong-ki, Lee Jong-suk, Ji Sung, and Park Shin-hye all appearing on the small screen. Among all the star-studded and popular K-dramas of the year, here are five of the best.
Descendants of the Sun
Not only have South Korean audiences been swept up with Song Joong-ki syndrome, but also viewers from all over the world. Descendants of the Sun has broken all K-drama records for the year, and it isn’t just about how attractive the actors are. Descendants of the Sun had an amazing storyline, was shot in picturesque Greek islands, and there was a wonderful on-screen chemistry between all of the main characters.
The show won Best Drama Series at the Asian Television Awards and Grand Prize at the 52nd Baeksang Art Awards. It also won the title of most popular actress (Song Hye-kyo) and most popular actor (Song Joong-ki). Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo have also won the iQiyi Global Star Award at the Baeksang Awards.
Signal is a police drama starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo, and Cho Jin-woong and is inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders. This was also one of the most popular K-dramas of the year, with near-perfect character and story development.
It’s hard to decide whether Signal was better than Descendants of the Sun, but according to IMDb, Signal scores an 8.9 and DotS is at 8.5. Signal also won the Best Drama and Best Screenplay at the 52nd Baeksang Art Awards, and Kim Hye-soo won Best Actress.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Starring Lee Joon-ki and IU, Scarlet Heart: Ryeo is based on a Chinese novel by Tong Hua. The show proved that a happy ending isn’t necessary for the drama to still be popular. However, despite many Scarlet Heart: Ryeo fans finding the end disappointing, it’s still an unmissable K-drama. Hopefully, there will be a season two due to popular request, called Scarlet Heart Seoul.
W – Two Worlds
From its unique plot to the incredible acting from leads Lee Jong-suk and Han Hyo-joo, W – Two Worlds was one of the most popular K-dramas of 2016. It marked Lee Jong-suk’s return to the small screen after almost a year. W started out strong, but the ratings fizzled towards the end due to a weak story and character development, but it still is a great watch.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and The Legend of the Blue Sea
Both Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and The Legend of the Blue Sea are still going, but they have each maintained similar ratings and popularity despite being on at the same time. Both shows are unique and amazing K-dramas, so it’ll come down to their respective endings to decide which is the better of the two.
The Legend of the Blue Sea has the star power of Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Min-ho, who are both popular and incredible actors, and the storyline combines the historical and supernatural in a really interesting way.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo, on the other hand, has a warm and different storyline with the female lead Kim Bok-joo (Lee Sung-kyung) playing a promising weightlifter and not your typical K-drama damsel in distress. That in itself promises a great K-drama.