17 Must-Watch Korean Dramas That Will Change Your Life

From achieving success to suicide prevention and freedom from the mundane, here are 17 must-watch Korean dramas that will inspire you to change your life:

In no particular order.

Misaeng: Incomplete Life (2014)

Genre: Workplace, Drama
Synopsis: An employee fights to get out of the cruel corporate world he has become trapped in. He only has his wit, diploma and go game strategies to help him break free.
No. of episodes: 20
Starring: Im Si-wan, Lee Sung-min, Kang So-ra, Kang Ha-neul, Byun Yo-han, Kim Dae-myung, Shin Eun-jung, Park Hae-joon
Written by: Jung Yoon-jung
Directed by: Kim Won-seok
Date: October 17 – December 20, 2014
Network: tvN

It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

Genre: Romance, Melodrama, Medical
Synopsis: A novelist clashes with a psychiatrist on a talk show, but soon they become roommates.
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Jo In-sung, Gong Hyo-jin
Written by: Noh Hee-kyung
Directed by: Kim Kyu-tae
Date: July 23 to September 11, 2014
Network: SBS

Kill Me, Heal Me (2015)

Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Suspense, Medical Drama
Synopsis: Cha Do-hyun, a businessman with dissociative identity disorder, attempts to regain control of his life with the help of Oh Ri-jin, a first-year psychiatric resident who treats him in secret.
No. of episodes: 20
Starring: Ji Sung, Hwang Jung-eum, Park Seo-joon, Oh Min-suk, and Kim Yoo-ri
Written by: Jin Soo-wan
Directed by: Kim Jin-man; Kim Dae-jin
Date: January 7 – March 12, 2015
Network: MBC

Dear My Friends (2016)

Genre: Drama
Synopsis: Several friends share personal stories with Park Wan, hoping that she will write a novel about them.
No of episodes: 16
Starring: Go Hyun-jung, Kim Hye-ja, Na Moon-hee, Go Doo-shim, Park Won-sook, Youn Yuh-jung, Joo Hyun, Kim Young-ok, Shin Goo
Written by:Noh Hee-kyung
Directed by: Hong Jong-chan
Date: May 13 to July 2, 2016
Network: tvN

My Mister (2018)

Genre: Drama
Synopsis: Aman in his 40’s withstands the weight of life. A woman in her 20’s goes through different experiences, but also withstands the weight of her life. The man and woman get together to help each other.
No of episodes: 16
Starring: Lee Sun-kyun and Lee Ji-eun
Written by:Park Hae-young
Directed by: Kim Won-seok
Date: March 21 – May 17, 2018
Network: tvN, Netflix

Black Dog: Being A Teacher (2019)

Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Synopsis: After failing her teaching certification again and again, Ko Ha-neul finally passes an interview for a temporary role at Daechi High. As a new teacher, Ha-neul struggles with the intricacies of teaching as well as departmental strife.
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Seo Hyun-jin, Ra Mi-ran, Ha Jun
Written by: Park Joo-yun
Directed by: Hwang Joon-hyeok
Original network: tvN
Date: December 16, 2019 to February 4, 2020

The Light In Your Eyes (2019)

Genre: Drama, Slice-of-life
Synopsis: A tragic accident causes a woman to lose all her time before she can use it up; a man gives up all of his radiant moments and lives a lethargic life.
No. of episodes: 12
Starring: Han Ji-min, Kim Hye-ja, Nam Joo-hyuk, Son Ho-jun
Written by: Lee Nam-kyu, Kim Soo-jin
Directed by: Kim Suk-yoon
Date: February 11 – March 19, 2019
Network: JTBC

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (2020)

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Synopsis: A road to emotional healing opens up for an antisocial children’s book author and an employee in a psychiatric hospital.
No of episodes16
StarringKim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji, Oh Jung-se, Park Gyu-young
Written by: Jo Yong
Directed byPark Shin-woo
DateJune 20 – August 9, 2020
NetworkTVN, Netflix

18 Again (2020)

Genre: Melodrama, Fantasy, Coming-of-age
Synopsis: A 37-year-old Dae-young is on the verge of being divorced with Da-jung finds himself inside his 18-year-old body.
Based on: 17 Again by Jason Filardi
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Kim Ha-neul, Yoon Sang-hyun, Lee Do-hyun
Written by: Ahn Eun-bin, Choi Yi-ryool, Kim Do-yeon
Directed by: Ha Byung-hoon
Date: September 21 to November 10, 2020
Network: JTBC, Netflix, iQIYI, Viu

Itaewon Class (2020)

Genre: Drama
Synopsis: An ex-con and his friends fight to make their ambitious dreams for their street bar a reality.
Based on: Itaewon Class by Gwang Jin
No of episodes: 16
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Nara
Written by: Gwang Jin
Directed by: Kim Sung-yoon
Date: January 31 – March 21, 2020
Network: JTBC, Netflix

Move To Heaven (2021)

Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A young man with Asperger syndrome and his uncle work as trauma cleaners, clearing out the possessions of dead people, uncovering the stories they left behind and telling them to loved ones.
Based on: Things Left Behind by Kim Sae-byul
No of episodes: 10
Starring: Lee Je-hoon, Tang Joon-sang, Ji Jin-hee, Lee Jae-wook, and Hong Seung-hee
Written by: Yoon Ji-ryeon
Directed by: Kim Sung-ho
Date: May 14, 2021
Network: Netflix

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

Genre: Romantic comedy, Slice of life 
Synopsis: At a crossroads, a dentist moves to a seaside village where she meets a handyman intent on helping his neighbours.
Based on: 2014 Mr. Hong film by Kang Seok-beom and Shin Jung-goo
No of episodes: 16
Starring: Shin Min-a, Kim Seon-ho and Lee Sang-yi
Written by: Shin Ha-eun
Directed by: Yu Je-won
Date: August 28 – October 17, 2021
Network: tvN, Netflix

Navillera (2021)

Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Synopsis: A 70-year-old man with a dream and a 23-year-old man with a gift lift each other out of harsh realities and rise to the challenges of becoming ballet dancers.
Based onNavillera by Hun and Ji-min
No. of episodes: 12
Starring: Park In-hwan, Song Kang, Na Moon-hee and Hong Seung-hee
Written by: Lee Eun-mi
Directed by: Han Dong-hwa
Date: March 22 – April 27, 2021
Network: tvN, Netflix

Twenty-Five Twenty-One (2022)

Genre: Romantic, Drama, Coming of age
Synopsis: The series depicts the romantic life of five characters from 1998 to 2021. 
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Bona and Lee Joo-myung
Written by: Kwon Do-eun
Directed by: Jung Ji-hyun
Network: tvN, Netflix
Date: February 12 – April 3, 2022

Tomorrow (2022)

Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Synopsis: The series depicts the gri reapers who guided the dead to save the people who want to die.
Based on: a webtoon, Tomorrow by Llama
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Kim Hee-sun, Rowoon, Lee Soo-hyuk, Yoon Ji-on
Written by: Park Ran-i, Park Ja-kyung, Kim Yu-jin
Directed by: Kim Tae-yoon, Sung Chi-wook
Original network: MBC, Netflix
Date: April 1 to May 21, 2022

My Liberation Notes (2022)

Genre: Drama, Mystery
Synopsis: It tells the story of three siblings and a secretive stranger who want to escape from their dead-end life.
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Lee Min-ki, Kim Ji-won, Son Seok-koo, and Lee El
Written by: Park Hae-young
Directed by: Kim Seok-yoon
Original network: JTBC, Netflix
Date: April 9 to May 29, 2022

Our Blues (2022)

Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Synopsis: The series revolves around the sweet and bitter life of people standing at the end, climax, or beginning of life, and depicts their stories in an omnibus format against the backdrop of Jeju Island.
No. of episodes: 20
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, Cha Seung-won, Han Ji-min, Kim Woo-bin
Written by: Noh Hee-kyung
Directed by: Kim Kyu-tae
Original network: tvN, Netflix
Date: April 9 to June 12, 2022