2021 K-dramas literally had everything for everyone. From comedy, fantasy, romance, mystery, slice-of-life, politics and violence to an interesting mix of these genres, we’ve probably seen them all. We’ve listed our favorites as we bid goodbye to the year that was. 

‘Vincenzo’

2021 is the year when we fell in love with Song Joong-ki again through his hit drama “Vincenzo.” And what’s there not to love? Song Joong-ki as the accidental hero Vincenzo fighting in a suit is a dream. His leading lady Jeon Yeo-been also shined as the quirky Hong Cha-young. The rest of the supporting cast provided comedic relief to an otherwise heavy revenge plot. K-dramas should take a cue from this drama on how to make the best cliffhangers, which made us hang in there for those 20 awesome episodes.

‘Hospital Playlist Season 2’

“Hospital Playlist” left us with some of the best life lessons you’ll hear in a K-drama.

While productions probably struggled to create new, never-before-seen 2021 K-dramas, PD Shin Won-ho and Writer Lee Woo-jung were chilling with their slice-of-life gem “Hospital Playlist Season 2.” Following up on the smash hit first season, we see the love lives of our favorite doctors bloom in the second season. Although we saw even longer episodes of the medical drama in 2021, we still couldn’t get enough of the 99 crew and their patients’ stories. “Hospital Playlist Season 2” kicks sequel slump’s butt with heartfelt stories and amazing music. 

‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’

“La-la-lala-lalala-la-la, romantic Sunday…” Weekends are never the same after the finale of one of our favorite healing dramas of 2021. With their bedimpled visuals and onscreen chemistry, Kim Seon-ho and Shin Min-a are the perfect rom-com couple of the year. But aside from the main leads, we all fell in love with the simple, unhurried life in the small town of Gongjin. Amidst the pandemic, “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” brought comfort and joy into our screens.

‘D.P.’

Gripping and insightful, “D.P.”sparks debate over South Korea’s mandatory military service. This isn’t your typical K-drama, bereft of the glossy, ultra-stylized productions. It may be closer to reality, except that you probably won’t find someone who looks like Jung Hae-in in the Korean military police. D.P. features some of the best acting we’ve seen in the past year, with Koo Kyo-hwan stealing the show.

‘Move To Heaven’

For those who have lost their loved ones during the pandemic, “Move To Heaven” might be hitting too close to home. The drama follows the exploits of trauma cleaners who clean up and look after the belongings of the deceased. However, rather than focusing on grief and death, each episode celebrates life and what makes us all humans. “Move To Heaven” proves that those who live in our memories are never really dead.

‘Squid Game’

This worldwide hit shocked us all with its violent theme amid the backdrop of childhood games. However, it isn’t shocking how popular the series has become especially in the West where violence in entertainment typically sells. In the drama, the winner takes it all as all losers are set to die. Survival is something we can all relate to now and “Squid Game” makes this theme entertaining and often self-reflective.

Other 2021 K-Dramas Worth Watching

Stay tuned for the second part of our favorite 2021 K-dramas as we list our historical drama picks.

Myla Torres-Eder

Myla writes news stories for a living and watches K-dramas for leisure. She enjoys doing both for Hallyudorama.

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