Many K-Dramas come out each year, but there are only a few that get the spotlight. This article will show you the 10 highest-rated dramas in the history of South Korean cable.
Though, it’s important to note a few things first. Public broadcast shows and cable shows are rated differently than each other, and as such, they cannot be on the same list. Cable channels are subscriptions that need to be paid for such as JTBC, tvN, OCN, MBN, and more. For these dramas, the ratings are calculated relative only to households with subscriptions to paid television channels. Also, there are significantly more dramas on cable television, so it is much harder for them to get higher ratings as the is so much to watch. The average is usually around 5-8%.
(P.S. Netflix, Viki, and other online subscription services are not counted.)
Now that there’s some background, let’s get into the ten!
10. Signal (12.544%, tvN)
Fifteen years ago, a young girl was kidnapped on the way from school, and Park Hae Yeong (Lee Je Hoon), who was in elementary school at that time, witnessed the crime. As time went by, he began to distrust the police. Fifteen years later, he is now a police officer and criminal profiler. One day, he finds a walkie-talkie that allows him to get in contact with Detective Lee Jae Han (Jo Jin Woong) who is in the past.
9. Hospital Playlist (14.142%, tvN)
This drama depicts the story of five doctors that are friends who started their friendship in 1999 (20 years ago) at the same medical school and are now colleagues in the same hospital.
8. 100 Days My Prince (14.412%, tvN)
Lee Yul (D.O.) is the Crown Prince of Joseon and a perfectionist who disregards the majority of those in the royal palace and appears cold and demanding when in reality, he is just lonely. One day, he passes a law stating that all Korean citizens of marriageable age must do so before they reach the age of 28. Hong Shim (Nam Ji Hyun) is the “oldest” unmarried woman in her village and requires a husband to avoid punishment. In an attempted assassination, Lee Yul is severely injured and goes under Hong Shim and her father’s care. He develops temporary amnesia and is forced to marry Hong Shim as a commoner.
7. Itaewon Class (16.548% JTBC)
Park Sae Ro Yi (Park Seo Joon)’s life has been turned upside down after he gets expelled from school for punching a bully, not to mention, his father is killed in an accident. He follows his father’s footsteps and opens a pub named “DanBam” in Itaewon and strives towards success and a greater future.
6. Mr. Sunshine (18.129%, tvN)
This drama centers on a young boy born into a house servant’s family that travels to the United States during the 1871 Shinmiyangyo (U.S. expedition to Korea). He returns to his homeland later as a U.S. marine officer. He meets and falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter. At the same time, he discovers a plot by foreign forces to colonize Korea.
5. Goblin (18.680%, tvN)
Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) possesses immortality but is tired of living while everyone else around him dies. For 900 years, Kim Shin has searched for his bride, a mortal who can pull out the sword in his chest and end his life. One day, he encounters Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), an upbeat high school student who can see the dead. She claims to be the Goblin’s bride who can end his immortal life, but the task gets complicated as the two fall in love.
4. Reply 1988 (18.803%, tvN)
Five childhood friends, who all live in the same neighborhood, lean on each other to survive their teen years and set a path for their futures. Sung Deok Sun (Lee Hye Ri) struggles for attention as the middle child in her poor family while also being ranked 999th in school. Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Joon Yeol) only thinks about soccer, even after his family becomes rich overnight. Sung Sun Woo (Go Kyung Pyo) is student council president and a caring and dependable son to his family. Ryu Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi) is a geek who knows more about girls and life than the rest of his friends, but his poor academic score prevents him from going to college. Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) is a genius Go player who dropped out of school to go professional.
3. Crash Landing On You (21.683%, tvN)
This K-Drama tells the story of a South Korean heiress and a North Korean elite army officer. One day, while paragliding, Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) crashes into North Korea because of an intense storm. There she meets Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin), who agrees to help her return to South Korea. Over time, they fall in love despite their countries being at odds.
2. SKY Castle (23.779%, JTBC)
Han Seo Jin (Yeom Jung Ah), Noh Seung Hye (Yoon Se Ah), Jin Jin Hee (Oh Na Ra), and Lee Myung Joo (Kim Jung Nan) live with their families in SKY Castle, a luxury private neighborhood. All of the women wish for their children to enter prestigious universities. One day, Myung Joo unexpectedly commits suicide following her son’s acceptance into Seoul National Unversity as a medical student. The community is shocked and her remaining family moves out of SKY Castle. However, the residents are even more shocked when Lee Soo Im (Lee Tae Ran) and her inferior family move in. Soo Im takes it upon herself to help them and challenge the other women of SKY Castle while questioning her ways of supporting her step-son and uncovering the truth of what happened to Myung Joo’s family and their relation to the grade coordinator, Kim Joo Young.
1. The World of the Married (28.371%, JTBC)
This drama is actually a Korean remake of the BBC One series, Doctor Foster. In this show, everything seems perfect in the life of family doctor and associate director, Ji Sun Woo (Kim Hee Ae). She lives in Gosan with her husband, Lee Tae Oh (Park Hae Joon), and their teenage son, Joon Young (Jeon Jin Seo). Although, when she discovers that her husband is having an affair and even their mutual friends are helping him conceal it, the happy family life shatters, and she sets off seeking revenge.