ZAPZEE’s Choice: Top 10 Korean Dramas of 2022

best korean drama 2022

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

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Here are the 10 dramas that received great love this year. (In order of released date)

All of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead
Credit: Netflix

All of Us Are Dead is a drama that reaffirmed the popularity of K-zombies following Train to Busan and Kingdom. It successfully combined the charms of zombie series with the grammar of teen dramas, becoming a global hit. In particular, the action sequences of zombies were highly acclaimed. Yoon Chan Young, Park Ji Hu, Lomon, Choi Yi Hyun, and more rose to stardom, and the production of season two was confirmed in June.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One
twenty five twenty one review
Credit: tvN

Twenty-Five Twenty-One drew favorable responses for portraying the dreams, love, and friendship of young people who struggled in the midst of the IMF that struck the country and summoning the memories of the good old days. Whether Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri) and Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk) will see a happy ending received great attention until the end, and as of May 8th, the show recorded about 171 million viewing hours on Netflix.

Semantic Error
Semantic Error
Credit: Watcha

Semantic Error is a drama that led to the popularization of the BL genre by breaking the stereotype that only BL fans enjoy it. The drama adaptation turned the novel into a youth romance with all the R-rated scenes taken out, and Park Seo Ham and Park Jae Chan’s chemistry is considered the biggest success factor. Thanks to the popularity of the drama, the sales of the original novel surged, and even the movie version was released and achieved good results.

Business Proposal
Netflix Kdrama Business Proposal
Credit: SBS

Business Proposal overcame the limitations of rom-coms that were believed to be popular mainly in Asia and received love from Europe, the States, and South America as well. Although it doesn’t deviate much from the familiar grammar of the genre, the fast-phased development and cartoon-like directing received good responses. In particular, Kim Se Jeong stood out the most, winning the nickname “Korean Emma Stone” through the show. 

My Liberation Notes
My Liberation Notes
Credit: JTBC

My Liberation Notes, the new project by My Mister writer Park Hae Young, received little attention in the beginning due to its gloomy overall tone. However, as Mi Jung (Kim Ji Won) and Mr. Gu (Son Suk Ku) grew closer, an enthusiastic fan base was formed, and Kim Ji Won’s line – “Worship me” – became a new meme. Korea was the only country where Stranger Things 4 failed to take the top spot on Netflix, and it was because of this drama.

Alchemy of Souls
Alchemy of Souls 10 episode
Credit: tvN

Alchemy of Souls is the drama that newly pioneered Korean action fantasy romance. It is said that sister writers Hong Jung Eun and Hong Mi Ran, who first attempted the genre through A Korean Odyssey, have completed their attempt through the show. The romance between Mu Deok (Jung So Min) and Jang Uk (Lee Jae Wook) enriched the charm of fantasy romance, all the while not missing out on the visual attractions and fun story. Part 2 (subtitled Light and Shadow), which replaced Jung So Min with Go Youn Jung, kicked off strong.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Credit: ENA

Extraordinary Attorney Woo started a craze, arousing social interest in the autism spectrum disorder. The show started at 0% ratings, but the number skyrocketed with every episode, eventually reaching 17.5%. This drama is considered the founding contributor of ENA, the new cable network. Not only Park Eun Bin, who showed a brilliant performance, but actors such as Kang Tae Oh and Kang Ki Young came under the spotlight. The drama recently won a nomination for Best Foreign Language Series at the Critics Choice Awards.

Big Mouth
Big mouth review
Credit: MBC

Big Mouth, Lee Jong Suk’s comeback project since his discharge, is the only drama aired on MBC this year to record double-digit ratings. The perfect combination of Lee Jong Suk’s improved acting prowess, his chemistry with his co-star YoonA, and the fast-moving narrative that drew curiosity about the real identity of Big Mouse, has led the drama to its success. Lee Jong Suk is a strong candidate for this year’s Grand Prize for MBC Drama Awards.

Little Women
little women Kim Go Eun
Credit: tvN

The teaming up of Decision to Leave writer Jung Seo Kyung, Vincenzo director Kim Hee Won, and Kim Go Eun was successful. Little Women, which reinterpreted Louisa Alcott’s novel of the same name to fit the Korean sentiment, luxuriously completes the story of people who either desire or are wary of money. The actors’ passionate performance, the unexpected twist, and the movie-like directing gained favorable reviews. Moreover, despite the show not being a romance drama, Kim Go Eun and Wi Ha Jun’s relationship became a hot topic.

Reborn Rich
reborn rich review
Credit: JTBC

No matter what anyone says, the best drama that’ll wrap up 2022 will be Reborn Rich. It broke the previous record set by Extraordinary Attorney Woo and set the highest ratings this year. It attracted viewers’ attention by exquisitely connecting the story of a conglomerate family we meet in the media with the revenge of a betrayed hero. Additionally, the eye-catching performances of actors, including the lead actor Song Joong Ki, have made headlines, and especially Lee Sung Min’s transformation into Chairman Jin Yang Cheol is just awe-inspiring.

 

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

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