Given the great international success of Squid Game in 2021, 2022 has showered upon us a huge amount of korean dramas, also thanks to the entry of new streaming giants such as Disney + and the abundant production of Netflix. Yet it certainly cannot be said that this has been a great year in terms of quality for Korean TV. It is in fact very difficult to find a drama that has moved and convinced us in its entirety and that he didn’t get lost along the way bungling the ending.
This 2022 offered us definitely too many protagonists lawyers, abundant terminally ill and countless psychopathic killers, squeezed into stories for the sole purpose of making the storylines more interesting (maybe not). And there was no shortage of them either disappointments for the comebacks of great performers (Son Ye Jin and Seo Ye Ji and Lee Jon Sook to name just a few) who have chosen poor dramas and not even the personal scandals that have scuttled and destroyed careers.
In short, is something saved from this turbulent 2022? Let’s find out together.
Here are the best Korean dramas of 2022 (+2 reality shows):
Our Beloved Summer
Okay, we know we plugged in Our Beloved Summer also in the 2021 ranking. In our defense it should be noted that this drama ended in 2022 and honestly, if it were possible, we would put it in the rankings of all years past and future seen how much we liked it. A very romantic story without ever being cheesy, realistic protagonists and outlined with extreme care and played by two actors in a state of grace. A drama full of iconic scenes that even a year later are still etched in our memory.
It will appeal to those who love unconventional love stories
Twenty Five Twenty One
Sport, youth, friendship, passion. A great story with a protagonist, Kim Tae Ri, absolutely extraordinary: vital, enthusiastic, naive and at the same time wise. A growing up story set in the 90s full of fresh, intense and passionate emotions. Cured in the settings and secondary characters. A coming of age just perfect infused with nostalgia.
It will appeal to those who want to take a dip in the 90s
My Liberation Notes
Deep, introspective, verbose. Not a drama to be taken lightly, but one that wants to investigate what it means with its lonely and lost characters be truly free. Free from society’s expectations, fears and judgment of others and ourselves. A journey to safety with an extraordinary cast and unforgettable characters.
Those who loved My Mister so much will like it
Extraordinary Atonery Woo
A light legal e full of heart, with an unusual and adorable protagonist. Woo Young Woo is autistic and when she is hired by a major law firm she has to face a good deal of problems and prejudices to be able to settle in. Once again Park Eun Bin she proves to be one of the best Korean actresses of the moment, wearing the role of the protagonist to perfection. A drama that she will not fail to make you laugh and excite.
Anyone who loves legal dramas with a heart will like it
little women starts from the Little Women novel and builds something completely different. Three penniless sisters find themselves involved in the shady and criminal dealings of a rich family and will do anything to protect each other. A drama full of rhythm, tension and twists. Well-kept in direction, settings and photography. Perfect for those looking for a different story than usual.
A Business Proposal
The real romantic comedy of the year, breezy and hilarious. A business proposal takes the classic schemes of rom coms – the love story between the CEO and the employee and a fake relationship of convenience – to make fun of them and subvert them, creating hilarious situations. An absolutely unmissable light and romantic Korean drama for those who love the genre.
It will appeal to those who love romantic comedies are also funny
Pachinko is the television adaptation of the beloved historical novel by Min Jin Lee and it’s technically not a Korean drama. A Tv series rich and sumptuous which follows the adventures of Korean immigrants in turn-of-the-century Japan, unfolding over four generations of one family. The costumes, the settings, the direction, everything is well cared for in this drama with a western but profoundly Korean taste. A family saga of survival in the face of hardship and discrimination.
Among the protagonists, in the large international cast, too Lee Mi Ho in a new role.
It will appeal to those who love family sagas and history
A very short thriller drama. Only four episodes brimming with tension. A huge and ferocious, almost demonic boar breaks the peace of a small village. When a group of men set off on a hunting trip to kill him, an incident occurs in the woods that will disrupt the lives of many, bringing to light envy, jealousy and people’s basest instincts.
It will appeal to those who need strong emotions
All of Us are Dead
Based on a Korean webtoon Now At Our School, this drama tells of a zombie apocalypse that hits a high school. Following the epidemic, a group of students finds themselves trapped in the school complex with no way out or possibility of rescue. The boys will have to fight for your own survival. Zombies return to the scene bringing to light social conflicts and hidden truths.
It will appeal to those who can’t get enough of zombies
Recipes for Farewell
A drama mild and mature. A woman, discovering that she has terminal cancer, asks her estranged husband for help by taking him back home with her and her son. To support her, he begins to study healthy recipes that they can support it. With two great actors as protagonists, the drama never indulges in melodrama, using cooking and recipes to tackle complex themes and deep emotions.
It will appeal to those who love cooking and the peaceful and profound stories
A man discovers the shady dealings of a powerful family for whom he has been working for years and is killed for this. However, he awakens twenty years earlier, in the body of one of the young heirs of that same family. With the knowledge of the future he possesses and all the rage at what happened to him, he will seek vengeance. An excellently constructed drama which, also thanks to its protagonist, Song Joong Ki, set the audience record this year. An intricate and well-balanced plot that never indulges in the gratuitous exaggeration typical of the genre.
Those who love suspenseful power struggles will enjoy it
To compensate for a not entirely exciting 2022 for Korean dramas, we have decided to add to this list two “reality” shows that have really entertained and excited us: In the Soop: Friendcation And Young Actors’ Retreat.
In the Soop: Friendcation
Park Seo Joon, Peakboy, Choi Woo Shik, Park Hyung Sik and V dei BTS extension they share a deep friendship which has been going on for ten years now. Carving out a little space in their busy lives, they take a short vacation in a beach house, where they while away the time chatting, cooking, eating and sleeping. Very normal activities that they carry out under our curious eyes and from which it transpires the strong bond which unites them. A reality show with a decidedly different tone from the western ones in which hostility and disagreements are the masters. A handful of episodes that will make you laugh, excite and move.
Young Actors’ Retreat
Director Kim Seong Yoon manages to reunite for a short retreat the casts of three of his dramas: Love in the Moonlight (2016), Itaewon Class (2020), e The Sound of Magic (2022). A swarm of more or less famous young actors therefore find themselves facing team competitions while having fun, meeting each other and making new friends. A program that allows us to get to know some of the most famous actors in the Korean drama scene a little better, as they try their hand at the typical challenges of Korean variety shows, including cooking for a horde of hungry fans. Young Actors’ Retreat aims once again to highlight the softer and kinder side of its protagonists by giving those who watch it a cuddle and lots of laughs.