cinema and media studies, korea, korean drama, TV

top 3 K-dramas of 2020

what a time to have been indoors. the majority of 2020 was spent on lockdown and I spent the early months of COVID-19 quarantine bingeing on old school K-dramas which you can read about here.

now that 2020 is about to wrap up, let’s rank the best K-dramas of 2020 in order.

#1: World of the Married

You can’t fight me on this. When it comes to high stakes drama, this is it. There’s a reason why World of the Married has the highest cable ratings of all time (as of December 2020) outdoing another JTBC drama SKYCastle (2018). World of the Married is written by Kang Eun-kyung who wrote the hit series Baker King Kim Takgu which also achieved record breaking ratings 10 years ago and earned Yoon Shi-yoon a Best New Actor Award in 2010. similar to SKYCastle, World of the Married‘s pilot episode ends at such a high point of dramatic intensity that it’s impossible to watch without gasping. I gasped very loudly and walked around my room alone yelling, “oh my god” over and over again.

#2: Crash Landing on You

Netflix really outdid itself this year by picking up exclusive US rights to some top notch storytelling and high-end production value Korean TV series from tvN. Crashlanding on You brings together two very attractive veteran K-drama actors Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, and is set in both Seoul and Pyongyang. It began airing in December 2019 through the early months of 2020. Right as the series was winding down, COVID-19 cases began to rise. I’m sure pretty much anyone watching K-dramas binge-watched this series during quarantine.

#3: Itaewon Class

JTBC has been impressive this past year with some groundbreaking dramatic series that targets a younger audience. I saw a lot of reactions and responses to Itaewon Class on TikTok. It gained massive popularity for its refreshing storytelling, complex characters, and excellent music. I really dug this show, and I appreciated them giving a transgender character a happy romantic ending although I wish her role could’ve been played by an actual trans actress. It was a great big step but there’s always room for growth when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights in South Korea.

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am launching a new K-drama podcast called K-Drama School on January 4, 2021. I’ll be putting my PhD in Cinema & Media Studies to good use by blending deep textual analysis, Korean cultural and historical contextualization, comedic riffs and amazing guests. A new episode will drop every Monday at 8AM PST.

You can start getting updates by following @kdramaschool on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Podcast episodes will become available wherever you subscribe to podcasts including but not limited to iTunes and Spotify. Video podcasts will also become available every week on YouTube.

I really appreciate your kind support.

happy holidays & i wish you a blessed 2021 in the year of the ox!

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