Several famous K-pop idols have shown the world that their talent is beyond singing. In fact, some of them have received acting awards and their TV drama projects are listed among the most popular, highest-rated, and most-watched series of all time.
Hence, here are 17 must-watch Korean dramas starring Famous K-pop stars: In no particular order.
Dream High (2011) with singers IU, Bae Suzy & 2PM’s Taec-yeon
K-pop stars Bae Suzy, IU, and 2PM’s Ok Taecyeon ventured into the world of acting. They all played as high school students who share dreams of becoming K-pop idols in Dream High (2011). They also worked with Kim Soo-hyun and other artists in this drama.
The show was a hit among teenagers, won the Grand Prize (Daesang) award at SKY PerfecTV Awards 2011, received a Special Award for Foreign Drama at the Tokyo International Drama Festival 2011 while Bae Suzy won the Best New Actress award at the KBS Drama Awards 2011. It is also worth noting that the drama received nine (9) nominations at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2011.
Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016) with BTS’ V
Kim Tae-hyun also known as V from the famous boy band, BTS, has explored the world of acting through a supporting role in the historical drama, Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth (2016-2017). He worked alongside Park Seo-joon, Park Hyung-sik, Choi Min-ho, and Go Ara.
BTS’ V played as Seok Han-Sung, the youngest male member of Hwarang, which is an elite group formed by the Queen to break the power of the nobles. Remarkably, he won the Best Idol Actor for his performance in this drama at the Soompi Awards 2018.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016) with singers Lee Joon-gi and IU
The historical-fantasy series, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016) with K-pop idols IU and Lee Joon-gi gained much attention internationally. Lee Joon-gi played a cruel prince whose attitude begins to change while getting to know a good woman portrayed by IU.
They won the Best Couple Award while Lee Joon-gi took home the Hallyu Star Award and IU received the Idol Academy Award at the SBS Drama Awards in 2016.
The K2 (2016) with Girls’ Generation-Oh!GG’s Yoon-ah
Yoon-ah is a member of the girl group Girls’ Generation-Oh!GG who has appeared in various film and television acting projects. In 2016, she was cast with Ji Chang-wook and others for the political-action drama, The K2.
She won the Asia Star Award and Popularity Award at the Asia Artist Award (AAA) in 2016.
While You Were Sleeping (2017) with singer Bae Suzy
Bae Suzy played as a journalist who sees visions of accidents and deaths in her dreams in the thriller-fantasy series, While You Were Sleeping (2017). She worked alongside Lee Jong-suk, Jung Hae-in, and Lee Sang-yeob.
She won the Top Excellence Award at the SBS Drama Awards in 2017 and Most Popular Actress at Baeksang Arts Awards in 2018.
100 Days My Prince (2018) with Exo’s D.O.
Doh Kyung-soo, also known as D.O. in the South Korean-Chinese boy group, Exo, ventured into the world of film and TV acting. He played various roles and received acting awards from different movie and drama projects.
In 2018, he was cast as the Crown Prince in the historical drama, 100 Days My Prince, and worked alongside Han So-hee, Kim Seonho, and others. Besides the drama’s high viewership ratings nationwide, D.O. also won the Actor of the Year at the Soompi Awards 2019 and Most Popular Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2019.
Gangnam Beauty (2018) with Astro’s Cha Eun-woo
After a supporting TV role in 2017, Astro’s Cha Eun-woo landed a main role in the romantic-comedy series, Gangnam Beauty (2018). He played as Do Kyung-seok, an intelligent, rich, and handsome college student who appears cold outside due to his broken family.
He won various awards for his performance in the drama including Best New Actor and Hallyu Star Award at the Korea Drama Awards 2018, Breakout Actor at the Soompi Awards 2019, and Most Charming Actor at the iQIYI Entertainment Awards in 2019.
My Mister (2018) with singer IU
My Mister (2018) is IU’s 9th TV series participation, a slice-of-life drama that received seven (7) nominations and two (2) wins including Best Drama and Best Screenplay at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2019. It also won the Grand Prize (Daesang) award at The Seoul Awards in 2018.
Meanwhile, IU won the Top Excellence Award for her performance as Lee Ji-an in the drama at the APAN Star Awards 2018.
Hotel Del Luna (2019) with singer IU
Hotel Del Luna (2019) is IU’s 10th TV series, which is also one of the highest-rated or most-watched dramas in South Korea’s cable TV history.
In this dark-fantasy drama, she played as Jang Man-wol, a moody owner in a hotel that only accepts ghosts with unfinished business in the past life. IU was also nominated for Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2020.
Vagabond (2019) with singers Lee Seung-gi and Bae Suzy
Singers Lee Seung-gi and Bae Suzy joined forces as actors for the second time in the crime-action series, Vagabond (2019).
They received the Best Couple Award, Top Excellence Award, as well as the drama won the Hallyu Contents Award at the SBS Drama Awards in 2019.
Start-Up (2020) with singer Bae Suzy
Start-Up (2020) is one of the most popular Korean drama during the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the most watched TV series on Netflix worldwide during its run. It stars Bae Suzy as Seo Dal-mi who dreams of becoming the Steve Jobs of South Korea. She worked alongside Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seonho, and Kang Han-na.
The drama won the Outstanding Korean Drama while Bae Suzy got the Outstanding Korean Actress at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2021. She was also named Actress of the Year at the Korea First Brand Awards in 2020.
Flower Of Evil (2020) with singer Lee Joon-gi
Lee Joon-gi played a dark and mysterious character in the suspense-melodrama, Flower Of Evil (2020). It received five (5) nominations at the Baeksang Arts Awards 2021 including Best Drama and Lee Joon-gi for Best Actor.
Lee Joon-gi also won the Asia Celebrity and Best Artist Award at the Asia Artist Awards (AAA) in 2020.
Mouse (2021) with singer Lee Seung-gi
It is worth noting that Lee Seung-gi won the Grand Prize (Daesang) award in TV category at the Asia Artist Award (AAA) in 2021.
He performed a complicated role, displaying Jung Ba-reum’s dual personality in the crime-science fiction series, Mouse (2021). It was also the singer-actor’s 12th drama appearance.
The King’s Affection (2021) with SF9’s Rowoon
Kim Seok-woo, also known as Rowoon in the boy band, SF9, also ventured into acting. He has appeared in 11 TV series since 2016 including The King’s Affection (2021), one of the most watched TV series on Netflix worldwide in 2021.
In this historical drama, he played as the Royal Tutor for the Crown Prince who happens to be a woman. Rowoon won the Best New Actor and Popularity Award at the KBS Drama Awards in 2021.
Vincenzo (2021) with 2PM’s Taec-yeon
2PM’s singer-rapper, Ok Taec-yeon, played the antagonist role in the popular crime series, Vincenzo (2021). He worked alongside Song Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-been, and Kwak Dong-yeon.
Vincenzo (2021) won the Top Excellence Korean Drama at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2021, Drama of the Year at the Brand of the Year Awards 2021, Special Award for Foreign Drama at the Tokyo Drama Awards 2021, Best Drama Series at the Asian Television Awards 2021, as well as Best Creative and Best Asian TV Series at the Asia Contents Awards in 2021.
It is also one of the highest-rated dramas in cable TV history and one of the most watched TV series on Netflix worldwide in 2021.
The Red Sleeve (2021-2022) with 2PM’s Junho
2PM’s Junho has appeared in various film and TV series including the popular show, The King’s Affection (2021-2022). In this historical-romantic drama, he played as the King of Joseon who falls in love with a court lady. It is one of the most watched TV series in South Korea in 2021 and gained international popularity through Viu.
Junho took home four (4) awards including Best Actor at Baeksang Arts Awards 2022. The drama also won several awards including Drama of the Year at the MBC Drama Awards 2021 and Best TV Drama at the Korea PD Awards 2022. It also received seven (7) nominations at the Baeksang Arts Awards in 2022.
Snowdrop (2021-2022) with Blackpink’s Jisoo
After her cameo roles in a few TV series, Blackpink’s Jisoo landed a main role in the melodrama-black-comedy Snowdrop (2021-2022) and worked alongside Jung Hae-in. She played as Eun Young-ro, a college student who gets trapped in the dormitory along with her friends when North Korean soldiers tried to run away from the South Korean government officials.
Snowdrop (2021-2022) ranked the #1 most watched series on Disney+ in Asian countries during its run. It also entered the 1st Blue Dragon Series Awards as a nominee for Best Drama while Jisoo has been selected as a candidate for Best New Actress and Most Popular Actress; a nominee for Best Asian Series and Jisoo for Featured In Asian Series at the international SEC Awards.