2022 Wrap: Best of K-dramas

Team FC

Alchemy of Souls (Season 1)

The Hong sisters made a comeback this year — their last show was the weird and delightful Hotel del Luna —  with a fantasy epic about a dreaded assassin whose soul finds itself trapped in a weakling’s body.

All of Us Are Dead

South Koreans seem to have a thing for zombies and they've done rather magnificent things with zombie outbreaks in the past (Kingdom anyone?). In All of Us Are Dead, the zombie outbreak takes place in a high school after a science teacher experiments on a hamster that goes on to bite a student.

Bloody Heart

It’s been a good year for sageuks (historical K-dramas), beginning with The Red Sleeve, which ended at the start of 2022. Like in The Red Sleeve, there’s a hamstrung prince and a fiercely independent woman powering Bloody Heart.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Park Eun-bin created something of a sensation as the brilliant, rookie attorney Woo Young-woo who is on the autism spectrum. Her Woo Young-woo has a few noticeable tics and struggles to understand the way people around her communicate, but Park made sure her character never felt like a caricature.

Little Women

Undeniably the most original Korean drama of the year, Little Women crackles with wit, suspense and sharp writing. The series is directed by Vincenzo’s director Kim Hee-won and written by Jeong Seo-kyung, who is known for being director Park Chan-wook’s writing partner.

My Liberation Notes

At the end of a particularly exhausting day, Yeom Mi-jeong (Kim Ji-won) stands before Gu-ssi (Seon Seok-ku), a reticent and alcoholic tenant, as he downs his daily soju. “Why do you drink every day? Would you like me to give you something else to do?” she asks, tears pricking at her eyes. “Worship me,” she orders him.

Through the Darkness

Through the Darkness’s Korean title translates to “Those Who Read the Hearts of Evil” – a telling title. The series is loosely based on a non-fiction novel of the same name, co-written by South Korea’s first-ever criminal profiler Kwon Il-yong and former journalist Ko Na-mu.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is, first and foremost, a tale of passion. Not between a man and a woman – although we get plenty of that, too – but between two fencing rivals: Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) and Ko Yu-rim (Bona).

Under the Queen’s Umbrella

One of the most interesting interventions in K-drama is the reimagining of historical political stories in a way that shows the role that women may have played. Fusion sageuks like Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung have done this particularly well.

Yumi’s Cells (Season 2)

In the first season of Yumi’s Cells, we were introduced to the idea of each person having a cell city in their brain — cells being animated cuties who guide the person’s behaviour. There’s a cell for love, there’s a cell for fashion, there’s a cell for sleep … you get the picture.