Updated: December 21, 2021 8:28:21 pm
The year 2021 is coming to an end, and it it has been quite phenomenal for the lovers of K-dramas. While the brutal and violent Squid Game became a global phenomenon, Kim Seon Ho and Shin Min-a whooshed into everyone’s hearts with the simple, yet loveable Hometown Cha Cha Cha. It was also the year of Vincenzo — where Song Joong-ki decided to become a gangster, with a heart of gold.
Here is the lowdown of the K-dramas that won our hearts, and made the most noise in 2021.
Of course Squid Game had to be the first to be mentioned, as even non K-drama fans became aware of the power of the Hallyu wave. Brutal and violent, the dystopian show presented people who are pushed to the brink of desperation due to debt. They are taken to a faraway island, and are promised a lease of life: Play a few children’s games, and earn enormous amounts of money. However, if they lose, they die. Lee jung-ae played the lead role of Seong-gi hun, a man who is compelled to join these dangerous games. The show is Netflix’s most-watched series, and is the top viewed program in more than 94 countries.
Song Joong-ki made a comeback with the mafia drama Vincenzo. He played the titular role, a character who was adopted at the age of eight and sent off to Italy. As an adult, he is a member of the mafia. However, as things begin to spiral out of control, he heads to South Korea, only to encounter a lawyer, Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-bin). The unlikely duo fall in love and help each other to bring down an evil corporation. The show received high ratings and became the ninth highest rated drama in Korean cable television history.
Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Fresh from the success of Start-Up, Kim Seon-ho won hearts again as he played the loveable Hong Du-sik, a man who is desperately trying to move from his broken past. He finds love in the practical and clear-minded Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a). A warm, sweet show that followed all the K-drama tropes of love and mush, won much acclaim from critics. The chemistry between the lead actors was praised, along with the storyline.
This show left fans divided — they either loved it, or hated it. Breaking away from the usual K-drama tropes of cheesiness and heartrending romance, Nevertheless, starring Song Kang and Han So-Hee, was a rather mature outlook at relationships, commitment and intimacy — a topic that K-dramas usually don’t touch upon. The show caused much discussion and debate among fans on whether it was promoting toxicity in relationships, or just delving into the very real fears that people have. It was unusual for a K-drama, but definitely stands out in the list of shows in 2021.
Hospital Playlist Season 2
The doctors returned with their heartwarming friendships and complicated love lives. Viewers finally got answers to the questions they had been seeking since the Season 1 finale, and their favourite couples got the closure that they needed. The show received high acclaim and is considered one of the highest-rated Korean shows in cable television history.
If Han So-Hee played a woman afraid of love in Nevertheless, she made fans forget that with her revenge-driven persona in My Name. She played the role of a woman seeking vengeance for her father’s murder, and then later becomes an undercover cop.
Sisyphus: The Myth
Park Shin-Hye returned to the small screen after a 2-year break, opposite Jo Seung-Woo. The story revolved around a bright engineer, who is on a quest to uncover the truth behind his older brother’s death, and a mysterious woman who travels back in time to save the world from danger.
Move To Heaven
This heartwarming tale chronicles the adventures of Geu-ru, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome and Sang-gu, who suddenly finds himself as Geu-ru’s guardian. The two join hands as “trauma cleaners”, a group of people clearing out the last possessions of the deceased and uncovering stories that are left behind. They also have the task of delivering the stories of the deceased to the people they’ve left behind, offering closure, farewell and comfort.
My Roommate is a Gumiho
Need some supernatural romance? K-dramas have enough of that. The story follows Shin Woo-yeo (Jang Ki-yong), a handsome man, who is actually a 999-year-old fox (Gumiho, in Korean). In order to become fully human, he collects human energy in a bead. He has a life-changing encounter with Lee Dam, tying their fates together — as she accidentally swallows the bead. The bead can only exist inside a human for a year, following which Lee Dam will die and Shin can’t become human. The two decide to live together to solve the problem.
Watch this space for the Breakout actors of 2021 on Sunday.
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