Recently on the Korean entertainment website Kpopmap, a poll was created for fans to vote for what they believe to be the best K-Dramas from the first half of 2021. With 21 different shows to choose from, some of the votes were close, while others were ahead by a large margin! Here are the 15 best K-Dramas from the first half of this year, as chosen by fans of the genre.
Release date: March 3 – May 19
Starring: Lee Seung Gi, Lee Hee Joon, Park Ju Hyun, and Kyung Soo Jin
Synopsis: Jung Ba-Reum is a rookie police officer, and an honest person that tries to pursue justice. In this drama, he faces a psychopath murderer that has the entire nation gripped in fear. After events in the show, his life is completely changed.
14. Law School
Release date: April 14 – June 9
Starring: Kim Myung Min, Kim Bum, Ryu Hye Young, and Lee Jung Eun
Synopsis: Set in Hankuk University Law School, this drama follows students and professors at the law school who come across an unusual case.
13. Taxi Driver
Release date: April 9 – May 29
Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Esom, and Kim Eui Sung
Synopsis: Kim Do-Ki graduated from the Naval Academy and became a UDT Official. After his mother was murdered by a serial killer, however, he ends up working for Rainbow Taxi Company. But the company is not an ordinary one: They offer special “revenge-call” services, where clients ask them to take revenge and Kim Do-Ki and his co-workers perform the service.
Release date: March 22 – April 27
Starring: Park In Hwan, Song Kang, Na Moon Hee and Hong Seung Hee
Synopsis: Sim Deok-Chool, a 70-year-old post office worker retiree, has had a lifelong dream of performing ballet. Unfortunately, due to various situations in his life, he had to put aside his dream of becoming a ballet dancer to work a normal job to support his family. Now, however, he makes the decision to pursue his dream again.
11. The Penthouse 2: War in Life
Release date: February 19 – April 2
Starring: Lee Ji-Ah, Kim So-Yeon, Eugene, Um Ki Joon, Yoon Jong Hoon, and Park Eun Seok
Synopsis: (SPOILER FOR SEASON 1) After successfully framing Oh Yoon-hee for murder, Cheon Seo-jin and Joo Dan-tae decided to get married. Their engagement party, however, gets interrupted by Oh Yoon-hee and Ha Yoon-cheol, who have just come back from the United States. As secrets unveil, the relationships among the people at Hera Palace are thrown into chaos, and another mysterious figure appears and confronts them.
10. Beyond Evil
Release date: February 19 – April 10
Starring: Shin Ha Kyun and Yeo Jin Goo
Synopsis: A serial murder case takes place in the small, peaceful city of detective Lee Dong-Sik, a once-capable detective that has been living a quiet life at the Manyang Police Substation. The case is the same serial murder case that took place 20 years ago and changed Lee Dong-Sik’s life. Working together with an elite new transfer detective, Han Joo-Won, the two detectives work to catch the killer. But Han Joo-Won has a secret.
9. Sell Your Haunted House
Release date: April 14 – June 9
Starring: Jang Na Ra, Jung Yong Hwa, Kang Hong Seok, and Ahn Gil Kang
Synopsis: Hong Ji-A is an exorcist who runs Daebak Real Estate. In her occupation, she rids real estate properties of evil spirits and then sells them. Oh In-Bum is a swindler, and he often uses ghosts in his schemes to make money. The two end up working together to solve a secret about the death of Hong Ji-A’s mother, who died 20 years ago.
8. Doom at Your Service
Release date: May 10 – June 29
Starring: Park Bo Young and Seo In Guk
Synopsis: Tak Dong-Kyung is an editor for a web novel company. Myul-Mang, a “middle manager” between God and humans, suddenly appears in her ordinary life. The editor ends up making a 100 day contract with Myul-Mang, at the risk of her life and her love.
Release date: February 20 – May 2
Starring: Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Been, Ok Taec Yeon, Kim Yeo Jin, and Kwak Dong Yeon
Synopsis: At 8 years old, Park Joo-Hyeong went to Italy after he was adopted. Now an adult with the name of Vincenzo Cassano, he is a lawyer working for the Mafia as an advisor. Due to a war between mafia groups, however, he flees to South Korea, where he gets involved with Lawyer Hong Cha-Young. Vincenzo falls in love with her, and also ends up achieving social justice in his own way.
6. Youth of May
Release date: May 3 – June 8
Starring: Lee Do Hyun, Go Min Si, Lee Sang Yi, and Keum Sae Rok
Synopsis: In May 1980, during the Gwangju Uprising, Hee-Tae and Myung-Hee fall in love. Hee-Tae is a medical student, who entered medical school at the top his class, while Myung-Hee has worked as a nurse for the past 3 years. Their love seems destined by fate in the chaotic and violent times of the uprising.
5. Mr. Queen
Release date: December 12, 2020 – February 14, 2021
Starring: Shin Hye Sun and Kim Jung Hyun
Synopsis: In the present day, Jang Bong-Hwan works as a chef at the President’s Blue House. However, his spirit somehow makes its way into the body of Queen Kim So-Yong in the Joseon Period. Because of this, he gets swept up in the intricate and complex relationships between various royals in the family.
4. True Beauty
Release date: December 9, 2020 – February 4, 2021
Starring: Moon Ga Young, Cha Eun Woo, Hwang In Youp, and Park Yoo Na
Synopsis: Im Ju-Kyung is a high school student who, since she was little, has been self-conscious about her looks. To hide her natural face from others, she always wears make-up, which she feels makes her pretty. The drama follows her relationship with two men: Lee Soo-Ho and Han Seo-Joon.
3. Run On
Release date: December 16, 2020 – February 4, 2021
Starring: Im Si Wan, Shin Se Kyung, Choi Soo Young, and Kang Tae Oh
Synopsis: Ki Seon-Gyeom was a once-popular sprinter for the national team, but due to a case, he had to quit the sport. Meanwhile, Oh Mi-Joo writes subtitle translations for movies, and when she meets Ki Seon-Gyeom when he just quit being a sprinter, she feels that they were destined to meet.
2. River Where the Moon Rises
Release date: February 15 – April 20
Starring: Kim So Hyun, Na In Woo, Lee Ji Hoon, and Choi Yu Hwa
Synopsis: This drama tells the love story between Pyong Gang, a princess of Goguryeo raised as a soldier with ambitions to become the King of Goguryeo, and a man named On Dal.
1. She Would Never Know
Release date: January 18 – March 9
Starring: Won Jin Ah, Rowoon, Lee Hyun Wook, Lee Joo Bin, and Lee Kyu Han
Synopsis: Yoon Song-A is a marketer for a cosmetic brand, which she enjoys doing, but she dreams of starting her own cosmetic brand. Chae Hyun-Seung works with Yoon Song-A as a marketer, and becomes attracted to her and tries to pursue her romantically. However, Yoon Song-A declines his advances, as she doesn’t see younger men as dating partners. The drama follows their junior/senior relationship.