The Best K-Dramas From 2021

Monday, January 3, 2022

Year 2021 has come to end and so has the K-dramas that were released this year. I missed quite a number of K-dramas this past year due to a lack of time.  Nevertheless, I was able to watch the ones I had hoped to watch from this past year. These 7 K-dramas that were released from 2021 have left lasting impressions.

These Are The Best K-dramas From 2021

Yumi's Cells Poster

7. Yumi's Cells (2021)

Yumi's Cells is a webtoon-turned K-drama. This K-drama stars Goblin's Kim Go-eun as Yumi and Itaewon Class's Ahn Bo-hyun as Goo Woong. Yumi's Cells is a 14 episode K-drama which is a shorter series than the typical 16 episodes. The story is about an ordinary woman, Yumi, in her 30s trying to figure out her love and work life. The story features Yumi's cells, all of which are represented by different emotions, that help her navigate and direct her actions through life situations. It is a K-drama that is much like Disney's Inside Out.

Yumi's Cells is a cute K-drama to watch on days when you need a break from the serious ones. The animated cells will keep you laughing as they scramble to figure out the ups and downs of relationships. I am also happy to relay that it's been confirmed that season 2 of Yumi's Cells will be released in 2022.

Lovers of the Red Sky

6. Lovers of the Red Sky 

Lovers of the Red Sky is a fantasy historical K-drama with spirits, demons, and gods.  Starring Kim Yoo-Jung as Hong Cheon-gi and Ahn Hyo-seop as Ha Ram. Hong Cheon-gi is a child who was born blind due to a curse that was placed on her family while Ha Ram is a child that has the divine power to control water. During a ritual that he performs, he loses his sight while Cheon-gi miraculously is given sight.

The two children, now grown, are brought together by fate within the royal palace where they work together to conceal a demon called Mawang into a portrait of a deceased King.

I had high expectations for this K-drama so I am sure that it has affected the way I ranked this particular one. Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable drama to watch.

5. Doom at Your Service (2021)

Doom at Your Service, also known as One Day Destruction Entered the Front Door of My House, is a melodrama that will make you go through boxes of tissues on end. Starring Park Bo-young as Tak Dong-kyung and Seo In-guk as Myeol-mang (Doom), the drama starts off by showing the unfortunate life of Tak Dong-Kyung. Having lost her parents at a young age, she grew up having to look after her brother, work tirelessly at her job, find out that the person she's seeing is an adulterer and if that's not enough, she finds out that she has a brain tumor and doesn't have much time left to live. Infuriated at her life, she gets herself drunk and curses doom onto the world. Not knowing that Myeol-mang is an actual "being", he ends up showing up at her doorstep. She makes a deal with Doom to be able to enjoy her last 100 days on earth without pain until the grim reaper comes to take her soul. But things get a little complicated when the two start building a relationship making the lines a little bit hazy. Watch to find out what happens but prepare yourself for tears.

4. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is a cute romantic comedy K-drama that stars Shin Min-ah as Hyejin and  Kim Seon-ho as Dusik. Most of the drama takes place in a small village named Gongjin. Hyejin, who is a city girl from Seoul, goes to Gongjin on her deceased mother's birthday. It is a place where Hyejin has memories with her then ill mother. During her visit, she meets Dusik on several occasions where unfortunate situations happen to her during her visit. On her way back to Seoul, she receives a phone call from her ex-boss who antagonizes her. Out of anger, she tells her that she is opening up her own dental clinic which ends up being in Gongjin.

Hyejin's character was fun to watch as she transforms from being an uptight woman to one that is much more relaxed as she starts a relationship with Dusik.

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is light and entertaining and it was a very enjoyable drama to watch when I needed a pick-me-up. I highly recommend this one. To read about how this K-drama saved my life, read Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha Saved My Life.

Vincenzo 빈센조

3. Vincenzo 

Vincenzo is a 20 episode K-drama that will keep you on your toes. Park Joo-hyung, played by Song Joong-ki, was adopted by an Italian family and renamed Vincenzo Cassano. In Italy, he became a lawyer and a consigliere for the mafia. He returns back to Korea to reclaim 1.5 tons of gold that he helped stash in the basement of Geumga Plaza. Unfortunately, a conglomerate group called the Babel Group illegally gains Geumga Plaza. Among the tenants of the building, a law firm called Jipuragi Law Firm is run by Hong Yoo-chan who ends up being murdered. After the death of her father, Hong Cha-young, played by Jeon Yeo-been, joins forces with Vincenzo to help fight the Babel Group.

This particular K-drama was hard for me to sit through cause it can be quite serious. It took me some time to finish but I highly recommend it because the storyline was well scripted.

The King's Affection 연모

2. The King's Affection

The King's Affection, starring Park Eun-bin as Lee Hwi and Rowoon as Jung Ji-un, is set during the Joseon period when having twins was considered to be an ominous sign. Crown Princess Consort gives birth to boy-girl twins and it is ordered by her father to have the girl killed. However, Crown Princess Consort saves her daughter, by sending her out of the palace grounds to a temple where she could live her own life. Unfortunate events occur that lead her back into the palace as a palace maid. Her twin brother, Lee Hwi, who is unaware of his twin sister, sees that she looks identical to him and asks her to pretend to be Crown Prince while he leaves the palace grounds. During his time outside the palace, he is murdered and his sister is forced to play her twin brother's role for the rest of her life. 

To read a more detailed synopsis, please read The King's Affection Fiction or Non-Fiction.

The Red Sleeve 옷소매 붉은 끝동

1. The Red Sleeve

The Red Sleeve stars Lee Se-young as Seong Deuk-im and Lee Jun-ho as Yi San. The K-drama is set in the Joseon Dynasty and revolves around Crown Prince Yi San and court maid, Seong Deuk-im. This K-drama, based on the novels with the same name by author Kim Mi-Kang, is a story about Crown Prince Yi San who later becomes Kim Jeongjo, and his desire to have Seong Deuk-im become his royal concubine. It is a K-drama that has stolen my heart because of the love story, the laughs, and its historical contents. This K-drama has continued to rank high on the viewership ratings in Korea and I can assure you, you do not want to miss out on this love story that is based on real historical people.

Other K-dramas that may interest those who are able to handle horror or bloody scenes are D.P.Squid Games, and Kingdom. There has been much talk about these K-dramas this past year and will probably be worth your time if you are capable of handling gory and horror.

I did watch D.P. and though I thought it had a good storyline, it was a little too much for me. It can get very graphic and it will definitely get your heart pumping. This K-drama is confirmed for a second season with only 6 episodes in the first season.

What do you think about my list of best K-dramas from 2021? Did I miss any K-dramas that should be on the list? Let me know in the comments below.

I look forward to the 2022 K-dramas!



All image resources courtesy from Asian Wiki.

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