The Very Big End of Decade Korean Drama Poll – Final Round

It’s time!

The long-anticipated, slightly-belated final round of the definitive End of Decade poll.

Why did it take so long?

Well, you guys were in agreement on the top 7 or so dramas but after that you were pretty evenly spread. I debated whether to keep the poll open until I had a clear top ten or to use a slightly longer list that includes those dramas tied at the bottom. In the end I let them in as they are all good dramas that are worthy of their shot in the Top Ten.

(Which ones were clear winners and which were more marginal? Not telling.)

Unlike the other surveys, this one asks you to rank the dramas so they all get a vote.


What is this?

At the beginning of the year, I was pondering the question of what were the Top Ten Dramas of all time. I could make up my own list but instead decided to do what I do best and collect statistics on it.

In April I ran Round 1 and compiled a list of 100 dramas for you to choose from. Then in May I ran Round 2 to cull this list down to 10 (ish) dramas.

And now we’re here. Round 3. Where you get to take the list and rank it.

The dramas you selected for best and/favourite drama

Age of Youth (favourite)

A much-loved coming-of-age drama about five women in their early 20s pursuing their studies, work and romance.

Because This Life is Our First (Best and favourite)

An intelligent romantic comedy about the pressures of traditional Korean expectations around relationships and marriage, it has a complex female lead and a quirky and empathetic male lead that will make you swoon.

Be Melodramatic (Favourite)

A funny, heartwarming and often heartbreaking tale about three friends navigating their way through Korea’s entertainment industry.

Chicago Typewriter (Favourite)

Books! Reincarnation! The wig! A writer and his first fan uncover a mystery involving their memories of being in the Korean resistance during the Japanese occupation.

Coffee Prince (Best and Favourite)

A gender-bending classic, this romantic comedy about a woman who pretends to be a man to get a job in an all-male coffee shop has been delighting people since 2007.

Forest of Secrets/ Stranger (Best and Favourite)

A brilliantly and intricately-written crime thriller about corruption in South Korea’s judiciary featuring a knockout buddy-cop relationship between two great actors.

Goblin (Best and Favourite)

A fantasy drama about life, death, and the afterlife, and known as much for its gorgeous cinematography and wonderful soundtrack as for its A-list stars

Healer (Best and Favourite)

A mystery, a romance, and an enjoyably angsty Superman fantasy, Healer is about truth in the media and how it’s better to know uncomfortable truths than to live a comfortable lie.

I’m Not a Robot (Best and Favourite)

A fresh, trope-busting romantic comedy about a woman who pretends to be a robot to con a wealthy investor, this drama works both intellectually and emotionally and will have you thinking and crying, not necessarily in that order.

Misaeng (Best)

With a title that translates as “An Incomplete Life”, Misaeng is a slice of life ensemble piece that probes the trade-off between dreams and work.

Mother (Best)

A remake of a Japanese drama of the same name, Mother is an emotional – almost traumatic – drama about a teacher who goes on the run with one of her pupils who is being abused.

My Ajusshi (Best and Favourite)

A show about adulthood, middle age and unfulfilled dreams, this drama explores the lives of people stuck in the rut of middle age  and a young woman forced into that dead-end too soon.

My Name is Kim Sam Soon (Best)

A Noona romance, contract relationship and a Candy/Chaebol romance all in one, this classic from 2005 has everything you expect from an old-school kdrama – whether you want it to or not.

Prison Playbook (Favourite)

A surprisingly-warm drama with a lot of heart revolving around a prison where a famous baseball player has ended up following an assault.

Reply 1988 (Best)

Part of the Reply series of nostalgic slice of life, this revolves around a group of friends in 1988 and is most famous for its epic, community-splitting shipping war.

Reply 1997 (Favourite)

Part of the Reply series of nostalgic slice of life, this revolves around a group of friends in Busan in 1997.

Signal (Best and Favourite)

Based on the American film Frequency, Signal is a gripping, mind-bending time travel crime drama about a profiler from 2015 who finds himself communicating with a detective from 1989 via a walkie talkie he finds.

Six Flying Dragons (Best)

The only Sageuk (Korean historical) in this list, Six Flying Dragons is a 50 episode epic starring some of Korea’s biggest names and dealing with the establishment of the Joseon Dynasty – the Kingdom that existed on the Korean Peninsula from the 14th to 19th centuries.

Sky Castle (Best)

A biting dark satire about Korea’s education system, this a wild and over-the-top ride that features a brilliant ensemble cast and blistering social commentary.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Favourite)

A delightful coming-of-age drama about aspiring athletes pursuing their dreams and falling in love, it is (very) loosely based on the life of Korean weightlifter Jang Mi-ran.


One thought on “The Very Big End of Decade Korean Drama Poll – Final Round

  1. Hello Lee, that’s a great survey. Turns out I have watched ten of the above and not the rest at this point because they haven’t interested me all that much, but maybe one day!

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