Best K-dramas on Netflix in 2022
2022 has been a breakthrough year for Korean dramas. With the global success of Squid Game, Vincenzo, and Hometown Cha Cha Cha last year, Korean dramas have been ruling the Netflix charts weekly, becoming more and more mainstream and accessible. With K-dramas in virtually every genre, from high-stakes action thrillers to nostalgic romantic comedies, available to stream on the platform, there is a wide range of dramas for fans to choose from. So, before the year ends, let's take a look at some of the best dramas that made 2022 such a stellar year for K-drama lovers all over the world.
The Sound of Magic
Known for its eye-catching cinematography, fascinating plot, heartfelt messages, catchy musical numbers, and stellar cast list, Annarasumanara (The Sound of Magic), made waves as one of the best musical K-dramas of the year. What makes the series so hard-hitting however is the fact that beneath the veneer of whimsical fairy-tale-like storytelling lies a darker, hard-hitting truth about poverty, bullying, murder, madness, and societal, familial, and academic pressures.
The Sound of Magic is a story full of growth and following our passions despite all hardships. It relates to young adults who are forced to follow a path chosen for them by adults and directly appeals to the childlike innocence and wonder we all felt once upon a time.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Following the story of Woo Young Woo, a talented rookie lawyer with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the drama sheds light on the reality of living with mental disorders and tackles some of the most prevalent and controversial issues in contemporary Korean society. From fraud, LGBTQ+ relationships, and self-harm, to North-Korean defectors, ableism, bullying, and nepotism – the drama has it all.
Unlike many legal K-dramas which focus on intense takedowns in court, flashy action scenes, revenge, and convoluted conspiracies to fuel the plot, Extraordinary Attorney Woo focuses on the little aspects of everyday life that seem insignificant or normal to most people, but can often be challenging for a neurodivergent individual, making it a fan-favourite.
Little Women, based loosely on Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic, takes an entirely new and darker twist to the classical tale of sisterhood, making it both unique and completely unexpected. The drama follows three sisters as they struggle to make a living in a world that seems biased toward the rich who know how to work the system. Eventually, they turn to a life of crime to beat the odds stacked against them. It is a suspenseful and thrilling drama that makes us root for the underdogs and the incredulous murder mystery plot leaves a lasting impression on the viewers long after it's over.
All of Us Are Dead
When a high school becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak, the students are forced to band together and fight their way out or get killed and become one of the zombies themselves. This puts their teamwork and friendship to the test, as some lose their lives along the way while others make it out, scarred but alive.
The drama successfully uses the popular action-filled zombie genre to comment on societal issues and tug at our heartstrings. Suspenseful and dramatic, it is no surprise why this drama received over 650 million hours of watch time in 2022, following similar apocalyptic zombie Korean dramas and movies like Happiness and Train to Busan.
Twenty Five Twenty One
Growing up in an age where dreaming seems impossible, Na Hee-do, an ambitious teen fencer, becomes friends with Baek Yi-jin, a hardworking reporter trying to rebuild his life and former reputation. Due to the financial crisis they go through early on in their bright careers, both are forced to rethink their initial goals. As the pair support each other's dreams and work towards succeeding in their individual fields, they overcome various internal and external hurdles, and grow as people because of it.
Twenty Five Twenty One is an endearing drama of love, loss, and growth, and an aspiration story of a group of young creatives as they work towards greatness in their chosen career paths at a time of great loss.
This gripping crime thriller follows the story of Park Chang-ho, an unsuccessful lawyer who gets involved in a criminal case and is mistakenly identified as Korea's most powerful con-artist, "Big Mouse", putting his life in danger. But who framed him and is there a bigger, sinister web of deception at work? And the most important question, who is the real Big Mouse? As Chang-ho works to unearth the truth with the help of his wife, the evocation plot takes various twists and turns, keeping viewers guessing till the end.
Big Mouth also marks actor Lee Jong Suk's much-anticipated return to screens following the completion of his mandatory military duty. If you're looking for a suspenseful mystery thriller mixed with romance and angst, then this is definitely the drama for you.
What happens when you take the popular rom-com trope of fake dating, and add a case of mistaken identity to it? A brilliant and hilarious K-drama that's hard not to love, of course. When Shin Ha-ri goes on a blind date pretending to be her best friend and finds out that her date is actually the new CEO and boss of the company she works at, all chaos ensues. Hilariously quirky and adorably romantic, Business Proposal is the perfect comfort show for days when all you want to do is shut off your brain and watch rich, attractive people fall in love.
Sara Kabir is a dreamer, a Literature graduate, and a writer. She is often found juggling academics and her countless hobbies. Send her K-drama recommendations @scarletfangirl on Instagram.