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21 K-Drama Superlatives From 2020

Many issues have been up within the air this 12 months. (And no that’s not an airborne virus joke). Travels, research, work, leisure, relationships, and many others. have all been impacted a technique or one other. However there’s one factor that is still fixed and that’s Okay-dramas. And with that, right here is our annual superlative roundup.

Regardless of the notably tough 12 months, we are able to nonetheless discover the silver lining and be grateful that we’ve at the very least had a powerful exhibiting in Okay-dramas to assist us get by our stuck-at-home days. We’ve seen loads of fantasy, sci-fi, and even makjang dramas, although there does appear to be much less sageuks this 12 months. Cable channels specifically have gifted us with well-written, well-produced, and well-cast dramas.

To honor the dramas which have accompanied and supplied us with therapeutic or have simply been a type of escapism, I provide you with, in no specific order, 2020’s superlatives.

Now earlier than you stand up in arms about not seeing your favourite drama, please word that this isn’t an inventory of the most effective dramas of 2020, however somewhat a enjoyable, foolish technique to take a stroll down reminiscence lane. So be happy to go right down to the feedback part and nominate superlatives for all the opposite deserving dramas!

Disclaimer: This text solely consists of dramas that premiered between December 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020. Additionally, minor spoilers forward!

Most victorious return from the army (2020)

Kim Soo Hyun in “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: June 20 – August 9, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun, Search engine optimization Ye Ji, Oh Jung Se, Park Gyu Younger, Kim Mi Kyung

Kang Ha Neul obtained this title final 12 months for his victorious return with “When the Camellia Blooms.” This 12 months there have been truly fairly a number of male actors making their post-enlistment comeback, however Kim Soo Hyun was arguably concerned with probably the most critically-acclaimed drama of the bunch. He had a cameos in “Resort Del Luna” and “Crash Touchdown On You” earlier than having his official comeback with one of the crucial talked about dramas of the 12 months, “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” Kim Soo Hyun performs Moon Kang Tae, a caregiver who works at a psychiatric hospital and has an autistic older brother (performed by the ever-so-talented Oh Jung Se). The entire drama, with dashes of fairytale surprise, is distinctive, aesthetically pleasing, and fronted by a powerful solid.

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Most certainly to make you’re taking a double take

Cho Search engine optimization Woo in “Hello Bye, Mama”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: February 22 – April 19, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Tae Hee, Lee Kyu Hyung, Go Bo Gyeol, Search engine optimization Woo Jin

“Hello Bye, Mama” is a drama a couple of (deceased) mom named Cha Yu Ri (Kim Tae Hee), who’s been given an opportunity to return again into the world of the dwelling. With all of the tearjerking moments between mom and daughter (and household typically), you’ll possible get dehydrated from all that crying. However that’s not the superlative that’s bestowed to this heartfelt drama. No, it wins “most certainly to make you’re taking a double take” as a result of that’s what’s going to occur to you whenever you notice that the tremendous cute Search engine optimization Woo, ie. Cha Yu Ri’s daughter, is definitely performed by a bit boy(!) actor named Search engine optimization Woo Jin. It’s shocking, however nonetheless so, so cute.

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Drama that gave you probably the most extreme SLS

Han Ji Pyeong in “Begin-Up” 

Aired on: tvN
Air date: October 17 – Dec 6, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Seon Ho, Kang Han Na

“Begin-Up” options two buzzy actors Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk as the principle leads but it surely’s the second male lead Kim Seon Ho who has fully stolen the hearts of viewers in every single place. Each as soon as in awhile, we get an SLS (Second Lead Syndrome) so extreme that we in all probability flip to fanfiction to appease our aching hearts, and this time we expertise it in Han Ji Pyeong, the “good boy” with a prickly exterior however a delicate coronary heart. It’s unimaginable to not love this man with the irresistible smile and with how he unwaveringly watches over Search engine optimization Dal Mi (Suzy). It’s no surprise the actor himself, Kim Seon Ho, has develop into a sizzling commodity. It’s about time too!

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Most certainly to get you to danger all of it and go paragliding

“Crash Touchdown On You”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: December 14, 2019 – February 16, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Hyun Bin, Son Ye Jin, Kim Jung Hyun, Search engine optimization Ji Hye

There’s possible not an enormous share of us who would dare to strive excessive sports activities, together with the tamer ones like paragliding (particularly in dangerous climate). And but when Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) does so and crash lands in North Korea, she manages to fulfill the tremendous hunky soldier Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin). Whereas attempting to sneak her again into South Korea, the 2 develop emotions for one another, however naturally their bi-national relationship isn’t easy crusing. However (and sure it’s an enormous “however”), if we have been capable of have our personal whirlwind romance with somebody as hunky, charming, and candy as Ri Jeong Hyeok, then heck, signal us up for the following paragliding session! Enjoyable reality: “Crash Touchdown On You” is presently the highest-rated tvN drama.

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The drama hairstylists most certainly (secretly) disliked

“Itaewon Class”

(*21*)

Aired on: JTBC
Air date: January 31 – March 21, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Park Search engine optimization Joon, Kim Da Mi, Yoo Jae Myung, Kwon Nara, Ahn Bo Hyun, Lee Joo Younger

Primarily based on a webtoon, “Itaewon Class” is about an eclectic bunch of misfits working at restaurant-slash-pub referred to as Dan Bam, below the possession of Park Sae Roy (Park Search engine optimization Joon), who additionally simply occurs to be a convicted felon. Apart from the attention-grabbing characters and refreshingly untraditional storylines, the characters’ hairstyles have been sizzling subjects too. From Ma Hyeon Yi’s (Lee Joo Younger) change from silver to black hair, to Jo Yi Search engine optimization’s (Kim Da Mi) two-tone hair, to Park Sae Roy’s… properly, Park-Sae-Roy hair, the present began a pattern of individuals sporting comparable hairstyles. And after the one centesimal request, it wouldn’t be shocking if hairstylists received bored with telling their shoppers, “I’m sorry, however solely Park Search engine optimization Joon can pull off the Park-Sae-Roy-haircut.”

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Drama with probably the most star-powered cameos

“Report of Youth”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: September 7 – October 27, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byun Woo Seok, Kwon Soo Hyun

“Report of Youth” is in regards to the story of three youths who’re striving to realize their desires regardless of the tough realities of their respective industries, together with Sa Hye Joon (Park Bo Gum) who’s working in direction of being a model-turned-actor, and Ahn Jung Ha (Park So Dam), a woman who quits her workplace job to develop into a make-up artist. The drama gained fairly a little bit of consideration not only for being Park Bo Gum’s final drama earlier than his army enlistment, but in addition for the caliber of visitor stars they managed to get for fast cameos. The star-powered cameos embrace Kim Hye Yoon, Search engine optimization Hyun Jin, Park Search engine optimization Joon, Kang Han Na, Lee Sung Kyung, Woman’s Day’s Hyeri, and lots of extra!

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Most scandalous responsible pleasure

“The World of the Married”

Aired on: JTBC
Air date: March 27 – Might 16, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hee Ae, Park Hae Joon, Han So Hee, Park Solar Younger, Kim Younger Min, Chae Gook Hee, Lee Geung Younger, Kim Solar Kyung, Jeon Jin Search engine optimization, Shim Eun Woo

Earlier this 12 months, one of many buzziest dramas (from each viewers and critics) was none apart from “The World of the Married.” Even now it holds the title of highest-rated drama throughout all cable channels. Ji Solar Woo (performed by the particularly excellent Kim Hee Ae) seemingly has the right life, with a contented household and a profitable profession. Nonetheless, this all comes crashing down when she finds out she’s been betrayed by her husband and thus begins her journey to hunt revenge, giving us a wealthy and compelling storyline that’ll ship you on a rollercoaster journey!

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Most certainly to attract you right into a controversial debate

“Story of the 9-Tailed”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: October 7 – December 3, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Lee Dong Wook, Jo Bo Ah, Kim Bum, Hwang Hee, Kim Yong Ji, Lee Tae Ri

The controversy right here isn’t in regards to the motivations of the antagonist, The Imoogi/Terry (Lee Tae Ri), or about how the epic, folktale-centered storyline might or might not have (barely) unraveled in ultimate episodes, and even about whether or not you’re extra within the Yeon-Ji Ah romance or the Yeon-Rang bromance. No, the actually controversial debate right here is to do with nine-tailed fox brothers’ preferences in direction of mint chocolate ice cream. And as a lot as I like Rang (Kim Bum) — and let’s face it: Rang’s character arc is arguably the extra superior — I’m firmly on staff Yeon (Lee Dong Wook) and staff mint chocolate right here. (The place are all my #MintChocLovers at?).

Begin watching “Story of the 9-Tailed” right here: 

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Theme of the 12 months: A number of dimensions

 “The King: Everlasting Monarch,” “Practice,” “Alice”

2020 was the 12 months that closely featured exhibits with alternate/a number of dimensions, although it in all probability felt extra so as a result of these three exhibits aired one after the opposite, and instantly, our Okay-drama viewings have been filled with sci-fi exhibits about time-traveling and alternate worlds. (Possibly screenwriters themselves have been hoping for a non-COVID-19 alternate dimension?)

“The King: Everlasting Monarch”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: April 17 – June 12, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Lee Min Ho, Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan, Kim Kyung Nam, Jung Eun Chae, Lee Jung Jin

In the epic fantasy “The King: Everlasting Monarch,” there’s a parallel world, a number of doppelgängers, time-travel, lots of math and physics, and much more product placements that barely hassle to be discreet. (Significantly, this drama almost gained a distinct superlative — most certainly to get you to binge on milk tea and fried rooster). When Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho), who’s additionally the King of the Kingdom of Corea, unknowingly makes use of a magical alternate-dimension-opening flute, he finds himself in a parallel world. There, he comes throughout the individual he’s been looking for all this time, Lieutenant Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun), believing that she was the one who saved him from an assassination try some 20 years in the past.

“Practice”

Aired on: OCN
Air date: July 11 – August 17, 2020 (12 episodes)
Starring: Yoon Shi Yoon, Kyung Soo Jin, Shin So Yul

“Practice” begins off as a regular (however intense) crime thriller, with detective Search engine optimization Do Received (Yoon Shi Yoon) investigating mysterious murders all by some means linked to at least one one other. Then proper on the finish of the second episode, we instantly see that there’s actually a parallel world in play. The 2 alternate dimensions are linked by a prepare that may journey between them. The characters from world A are vastly completely different from world B, all due to a choice made by Search engine optimization Do Received one fateful night time a few years in the past. With conflicts and drama occurring in each worlds, there’s double the exhilaration to maintain us absorbed in this thriller of a drama.

Begin watching “Practice” right here: 

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“Alice”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: August 28 – October 24 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hee Solar, Joo Received, Kwak Si Yang, Lee Da In, Kim Sang Ho

“Alice” is probably the most sci-fi of those three exhibits, with the entire premise revolving round time-travel. As an agent of a time-travel company, Yoon Tae Yi (Kim Hee Solar) travels again in time to accumulate an object, however finally ends up staying in that point after she learns she’s pregnant. Years later, sure forces search her out and homicide her, to the horror of her son Park Jin Gyeom (Joo Received). Then begins a time-hopping cat-and-mouse chase, as Jin Gyeom tries to uncover the reality behind his mom’s homicide in addition to the story behind the genius physicist who bears the identical face and title as his deceased mom.

Begin watching “Alice” right here: 

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Most intricate love triangle (or five-angle)

Once I say sophisticated, I imply sophisticated. (Check with the above infographic if you happen to get misplaced). Mainly, as soon as upon a time, there have been two behavioral analysts working within the Nationwide Legal Investigation unit named Lee Joon Gi and Moon Chae Received (“Legal Minds”). In the future, Moon Chae Received decides she’s had sufficient of crime-fighting and turns into a fairy. She falls in love with a woodcutter, and after he dies, she waits 600+ years for him to reincarnate. That’s when she comes throughout two potential candidates, Yoon Hyun Min and Search engine optimization Ji Hoon (“Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter”).

Sadly, Moon Chae Received simply can’t determine which ones is her husband, so she simply ditches them each and goes again to her old flame — crime-fighting and Lee Joon Gi — who seems to be her actual husband in any case (“Flower of Evil”). And what occurs to Yoon Hyun Min and Search engine optimization Ji Hoon, the 2 spurned males? They determine {that a} fairy who can’t acknowledge them isn’t actually value their time, in order that they transfer on and switch their consideration to Hwang Jung Eum as a substitute (“To All The Guys Who Liked Me”). Additionally they might or might not have continued their bromance.

Mainly, this AU fanfiction is only a means of claiming, how on earth did we get so many coincidental pairings and reunions this 12 months?! And simply to be very clear, not one of the above truly occurred (not within the literal sense at the very least), so actors… please don’t sue me.

Begin watching “Flower of Evil”: 

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Begin watching “To All The Guys Who Liked Me”: 

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Man with the longest life span

Joo Ji Hoon in “Kingdom 2” and “Hyena”

A Crown Prince from the Joseon period battles a horrifying plague within the 1300s. 600+ years later, the identical man is seen working as a lawyer. Coincidence? I feel not. Women and gents, Joo Ji Hoon — the person who lived for 600+ years!

“Kingdom 2”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: March 13, 2020 (6 episodes)
Starring: Joo Ji Hoon, Ryu Seung Ryong, Bae Doona, Kim Sung Kyu, Kim Sang Ho, Jeon Suk Ho, Kim Hye Joon

The second season of “Kingdom” is simply as acclaimed as the primary, because it continues Lee Chang’s (Joo Ji Hoon) wrestle to avoid wasting his folks from the zombie-plague — in case you haven’t heard, it is a historical-zombie style mashup, which is definitely significantly better than it sounds — whereas additionally attempting to stop rival factions (and a sure cray-cray queen) from stealing his rightful seat to the throne.

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“Hyena”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: February 21 – April 11, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Kim Hye Soo, Joo Ji Hoon

Switching gears, “Hyena” is a enjoyable, considerably campy drama led by Kim Hye Quickly and Joo Ji Hoon, and whose chemistry collectively principally stole the present. Whereas the characters themselves have varied shades of grey to them, you’ll end up falling in love anyway due to the actors’ robust performances. And as with different authorized dramas, there’s lots of twists and turns however there’s additionally loads of humorous facets too, and also you’ll get pleasure from seeing Joo Ji Hoon tapping into his comedic facet.

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Most deliciously darkish and twisted drama

“Extracurricular”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: April 29, 2020 (10 episodes)
Starring: Kim Dong Hee, Jung Da Bin, Park Ju Hyun, Nam Yoon Soo, Choi Min Soo, Park Hyuk Kwon, Kim Yeo Jin

Because the superlative signifies, that is fairly a darkish drama, principally as a result of the folks concerned are youngsters, which makes every thing further troubling. Mannequin pupil Oh Ji Soo (Kim Dong Hee) is such a goody-two-shoes that his trainer even encourages him to “trigger a bit bother.” If solely the trainer knew what Ji Soo was as much as after faculty. Let’s simply say it’s extremely unlawful. However the boy has desires and people desires are costly. This non-typical faculty drama with its complicated and intriguing (and topical) storyline will go away you wanting for extra.

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Most dysfunctional household

“My Unfamiliar Household”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: June 1 – July 21, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Han Ye Ri, Chu Ja Hyun, Shin Jae Ha, Kim Ji Suk, Jung Jin Younger, Received Mi Kyung

“My Unfamiliar Household” revolves round a household the place the assorted members of the family discover out that they don’t actually know one another and a few have even chosen to chop ties with the others. Whereas a few of the occasions within the drama might veer in direction of soap-drama territory, every thing nonetheless feels grounded and lifelike, which solely makes you’re feeling much more for the difficulties and struggles the household goes by. The drama examines what “household” is from completely different views, and it does so in a poignant, brutally sincere, and thought-provoking method.

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Begin watching “My Unfamiliar Household” right here: 

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Most certainly to make us very grasping

“Dr. Romantic 2”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: January 6 – February 25, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Han Suk Kyu, Ahn Hyo Seop, Lee Sung Kyung, Kim Joo Heon

For years, followers have been begging for a second season to the highly-acclaimed “Dr. Romantic,” and this 12 months we lastly received it. This sophomore season is simply as excellent as its predecessor, with medical circumstances that may tug-at-your-heartstrings whereas additionally giving us character-driven writing. Apart from the spine of the drama, Han Suk Kyu, who performs Physician Kim, the present additionally provides Ahn Hyo Seop and Lee Sung Kyung to the solid as second-year fellows which might be taken below Physician Kim’s wings. And now that we’ve seen how properly they’ve overcome the sophomore hunch, we are able to’t assist however be grasping and ask for a season three!

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Begin watching “Dr. Romantic 2” right here: 

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Actors who have been EVERYWHERE

Uhm Hyo Sup and Kim Soo Jin

Disclaimer: I’m not truly taking attendance for each actor within the trade. That being mentioned, if you happen to have been live-watching a number of dramas throughout October or November, you might need discovered your self questioning if you happen to have been watching the fitting drama, as a result of actor Uhm Hyo Sup was in a minimum of three of the then-airing dramas, together with “Story of the 9-Tailed,” “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol,” and “Begin-Up.” These three dramas all debuted in October, so at one level he actually was in every single place!

And if you happen to thought Uhm Hyo Sup was busy, then there’s additionally Kim Soo Jin, who was in as many as eight(!) dramas this 12 months, in each supporting and recurring capacities. She was in “My Holo Love,” “Hospital Playlist,” “A Piece of Your Thoughts,” “Candy Munchies,” “My Unfamiliar Household,” “Story of the 9-Tailed,” “Range League,” and in addition within the currently-airing “Cheat On Me, If You Can.”

Battiest drama

“Range League”

Aired on: SBS
Air date: December 13, 2019 – February 14, 2020 (16 episodes)
Starring: Namgoong Min, Park Eun Bin, Oh Jung Se, Jo Byeong Gyu

Should you didn’t catch the pun, “Range League” is a drama about baseball. And also you don’t have to love or perceive baseball to get pleasure from this present for what it’s — a extremely good underdog story that’ll provide you with all of the feels. When Goals, an expert baseball staff, lands in final place for 4 straight seasons, they rent a brand new common supervisor who has managed a number of championship-winning sports activities groups. And although Baek Seung Soo (Namgoong Min) has no expertise in baseball, he’s decided to show Goals into the most effective within the league.

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Begin watching “Range League”: 

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Battiest drama (actually)

“The College Nurse Recordsdata”

Aired on: Netflix
Air date: September 25, 2020 (6 episodes)
Starring: Jung Yu Mi, Nam Joo Hyuk

“The College Nurse Recordsdata” is unusual, to remain the least. Jung Yu Mi’s and Nam Joo Hyuk’s characters — a nurse and a trainer, respectively — work at a faculty that’s infested with “jellies,” which is a way-too-cute title for the bodily types of damaging wishes and emotions. There’s additionally a rainbow-glowy toy sword and BB gun concerned, that are the “weapons” in opposition to these “jellies.” That ought to provide you with an thought of how quirky this drama is. Backside line, that is positively not your common Okay-drama and it’s binge-able in a single sitting, so if you happen to’re into whimsy and battiness (with actually good CGI results), then be sure you test it out!

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Drama with probably the most murderers

“Memorist”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: March 11 – April 30 (16 episodes)
Starring: Yoo Seung Ho, Lee Se Younger, Jo Sung Ha

On the floor, “Memorist” is rather like your normal mystery-thriller, the place detectives chase after dangerous guys. However as soon as we actually dive in, it’s a lot greater than that. There’s a fantasy component to it, the place the principle protagonist Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho), has supernatural skills to scan an individual’s recollections with a contact. And because the story step by step unfolds, we discover that there are dangerous guys killing off different dangerous guys, forming a type of bloody killer-chain. It’s an intense drama with sufficient thrills, pink herrings, twists, motion, and murderers to maintain you on the sting of your seat.

Begin watching “Memorist” right here: 

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Most certainly to make your blood boil

“The Penthouse” 

Airing on: SBS
Air date: October 26, 2020 – January 5, 2021 (21 episodes; tentative)
Starring: Lee Ji Ah, Kim So Yeon, Eugene, Uhm Ki Joon, Park Eun Suk, Yoon Jong Hoon

The currently-airing “Penthouse” offers us one of the crucial “oh-my-gosh-they-didn’t!” melodramas of the 12 months. There’s loads of makjang parts and morally questionable characters, which provides to the scrumptious addictiveness of the drama. And whilst you’ll be totally entertained, we additionally recommend discovering methods of calming your self down, in any other case it’s possible you’ll simply blow a blood vessel from watching all of the atrocious issues these power-hungry dad and mom and their kids stand up to.

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Begin watching “The Penthouse”: 

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Most certainly to start out a pink tracksuit pattern

“The Uncanny Counter”

Airing on: OCN
Air date: November 28, 2020 – January 24, 2021 (16 episodes, tentative)
Starring: Jo Byeong Gyu, Yoo Joon Sang, gugudan‘s Kim Sejeong, Yeom Hye Ran

The currently-airing “The Uncanny Counter” is the right look ahead to anybody who likes the comedian ebook/superhero style. Primarily based on a webtoon, this fun-filled drama is a couple of group of red-tracksuits-wearing superheroes referred to as “counters,” who work in a noodle store by day and search out demons by night time. Every “counter” has a distinct superpower, the demons have ranges to them, and there’s loads of action-packed scenes that may maintain you totally entertained. Enjoyable reality: “The Uncanny Counter” presently holds the title of highest-ratings on OCN.

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Playlist of the 12 months

“Hospital Playlist”

Aired on: tvN
Air date: March 12 – Might 28, 2020 (12 episodes)
Starring: Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Dae Myung, Jeon Mi Do

Anybody who’s watched “Hospital Playlist” will very possible let you know it’s one in all their high dramas of the 12 months. There’s one thing positively heartwarming about watching the robust bond between 5 pals, who’ve at all times received every others’ backs ever since assembly in medical faculty some 20 years in the past. They get pleasure from every others’ firm a lot they even shaped a band and spend extra time collectively simply jamming. The casting right here is pitch excellent and the 5 share such nice chemistry, it actually does look like the actors have identified one another endlessly. And since the drama is extra slice-of-life than intense medical drama, every thing simply feels chill and breezy and is the perfect look ahead to whenever you simply must unwind. And the music on the present? Pitch excellent!

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Which of those dramas have you ever watched or will probably be including to your watch checklist? What different superlatives did you bestow in your favourite dramas? Share your nominations and feedback with us under!

Belinda_C has written 55+ articles and quizzes in 2020 and needs to thank all of the readers and allow them to know she appreciates each one in all them. Discuss Okay-dramas and SEVENTEEN along with her on Twitter!

All-time favourite: “Kill Me Heal Me,” “Defendant,” “Resort Del Luna”
Trying ahead to: A extra spectacular 12 months of Okay-dramas in 2021!

About the author

Kim Diaz

Kim recently joined the team, and she writes for the Headline column of the website. She has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism.

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