KBS has been pushing out some competitive K-Dramas in 2021! And in case you’re looking for new shows to binge-watch during the upcoming holidays, here are the channel’s top seven as ranked by their viewer ratings.
7. Youth of May
Set in the 1980s, Youth of May captures the life and romance budding amid a violent uprising that killed thousands of Korean citizens demonstrating against the martial law government.
Actress Go Min Si takes on the role of Kim Myeong Hee, a nurse preparing to move to Germany to pursue education, while actor Lee Do Hyun takes on the role of Hwang Hee Tae, a medical student. Their paths cross on a blind date and the two fall in love. But with the country facing such extreme turmoil, they bid farewell in the most heartbreaking way.
This show averaged 4.59% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 5.1% at one point in the span of its dozen episodes.
6. Sell Your Haunted House
Singer-turned-actress Jang Na Ra portrays Hong Ji Ah, a real estate broker cursed with an ability to see and exorcise spirits. With the power handed down from her own mother, she takes over the family business of Daebak Real Estate—an agency to “clean out” and sell haunted spaces.
When Hong Ji Ah meets the con artist Oh In Beom, portrayed by a fellow singer-turned-actor Jung Yong Hwa, she unlocks a part of her long-lost memory that unexpectedly involves him. Together, they hustle to solve the mysterious deaths of their loved ones from years ago.
Sell Your Haunted House averaged 5% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 6% at one point in the span of its 16 episodes.
5. Dali and Cocky Prince
Dali and Cocky Prince starts off with an unexplained murder of Cheongsong Art Gallery’s director. Without him spearheading the operation, the gallery begins falling apart—especially when the director’s nephew accuses it to have been a drug-dealing hub.
Actress Park Gyu Young plays Kim Da Li, the director’s daughter, who rushes home from her studies abroad to save the gallery. Actor Kim Min Jae plays Jin Moo Hak, a self-made chaebol, who gets involved with Cheongsong Art Gallery over a ₩2.00 billion KRW (about $1.69 million USD) investment. As polar opposites, Kim Da Li and Jin Moo Hak constantly clash… but like magnets, they can’t help being uncontrollably attracted to each other.
This romance-with-a-side-of-thriller averaged 5.1% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 5.7% at one point in the span of its 16 episodes.
4. Police University
Not so much the typical slice-of-life K-Drama, Police University deep dives inside the lives of new recruits and instructors at the National Police University of South Korea.
Professor Yoo Dong Man, played by actor Cha Tae Hyun, is a criminal homicide detective with two decades of experience under his belt. After a botched investigation, the professor turns to teach—though he continues looking into his late fiancee’s case. With the help of his rookie officers—Kang Seon Ho, played by B1A4‘s Jinyoung, and Oh Kang Hee, played by f(x)‘s Krystal—the professor unveils even more secrets behind the school, the police force, and the dark web.
This show averaged 6.51% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 8.5% at one point in the span of its 16 episodes.
3. The King’s Affection
Set in the Joseon Dynasty, The King’s Affection takes the ancient omen that “twins are bad luck” and asks, “But what if the queen births a twin?”
Actress Park Eun Bin plays the Crown Prince Lee Hwi, though technically she is the Crown Princess pretending to be the Crown Prince after the real Lee Hwi loses his life. To hide her true identity, she keeps her distance from everyone—except her noble mentor Jung Ji Woon, played by SF9‘s Rowoon. And thanks to their twisted fates, the two fall in love as king and his advisor, as man and man.
This comic-based fusion sageuk (historical series) is averaging 6.61% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 7.8% at one point. It is ongoing, with only 10 out of 20 episodes available for streaming on Netflix.
2. River Where The Moon Rises
River Where The Moon Rises is a modern spin on the classic folktale about the unconditional love between a warrior princess (portrayed by actress Kim So Hyun) and a gentle soul (portrayed by actor Na In Woo) from the Goguryeo Dynasty.
Princess Pyeonggang, born a princess but raised an assassin, sets on to fight for her country against the corruption that has taken over—once she realizes who she really is. Amid her struggles to claim back her throne, she finds and falls in love with On Dal. He fights his own battles as the princess’s path to queendom proves to be a violent one… against his peace-loving nature.
This series, after undergoing an extreme re-shoot after removing an original cast to a national scandal, still averaged 7.63% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 8.15% at one point in the span of its 20 episodes.
1. Royal Secret Agent
Royal Secret Agent is a rom-com sageuk capturing the victories of the “undercover royal inspectors,” the King’s Man of Joseon Dynasty!
INFINITE‘s L (also known as Kim Myung Soo) takes on the role of Sung Yi Gyeom, an administrative officer who passes his state examination with flying colors but ends up demoted after some gambling hiccup. Actor Lee Yi Kyung takes on the role of Park Chun Sam, Yi Gyeom’s talkative but affectionate sidekick. Actress Kwon Na Ra takes on the role of Hong Da In, a female inspector who works alongside Yi Gyeom and Chun Sam. And these three young officials set out among the commoners to serve as the king’s eyes and ears. As secret royal inspectors in the Joseon Dynasty, their mission is to identify any corrupt government officers and investigate their abuses of power.
This show averaged 8.12% in viewer ratings, with the peak reaching 12.% at one point in the span of its 16 episodes.