Top 10 Best K-Dramas of 2021 — OtakuKart Picks!

The year 2021 has been a great year for K-drama fans and since it is ending, let’s get a glimpse of the best K-dramas of the year. Under all the peer pressure, if you have still refrained from starting up with K-dramas (cough, Squid Game, cough), we just wanna know if you live under a rock. Well, it’s never too late to enter into the K-drama world! You get uncountable varieties here, ranging from swoon-worthy romantic comedies to horror fantasy tales, so there’s a rare chance for you to get bored of it. While the Korean entertainment industry has been delivering K-dramas one better than the other for years, this year, we have got some of the most exceptional ones that definitely deserve your attention more!

Otakukart has arrived at your service with the top ten best 2021 K-Dramas that we recommend. You should definitely watch as early as possible! It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a pro. These exclusive picks are the best for your enjoyment.

10. Doom at Your Service

Director: Kwon Young Il
Screenwriter: Im Me Ah Ri
Starring: Seo In Guk, Park Bo Young, Lee Soo Hyuk, Kang Tae Oh, Shin Do Hyun, Dawon
Total Number of Episodes: 16
Where to Stream: Viki

The very first thing that might make you interested in this show is the presence of super attractive actors. However, once you start watching, the story will gradually reel you in if you are into melodramas. So basically, the story is about a woman named Tak Dong Kyung who gets diagnosed with brain cancer and comes to know that she has only 100 more days left to live, after which she will suffer from a painful death. However, the non-human doom, who has been wanting to end his miserable life, offers Dong Kyung a deal that she cannot refuse. She makes a deal with him such that after the end of 100 days, instead of her, the person whom she would love the most in the world at that time will die while she survives.

Best 2021 K-dramas Doom at Your Service
Doom at Your Service

However, after realizing that it will be her brother who would have to die instead of her, she decides to fall in love with the doom himself. But when it actually happens, she realizes she won’t be able to live in a world without the love of her life. While the premise sounds very gloomy, the setting is quite cheerful as the characters brim with charm and light. Moreover, there is a beautiful analogy in the series which might interest the audience.

9. My Name

Director: Kim Jin-Min
Screenwriter: Kim Ba Da
Starring: Han So Hee, Park Hee Soon, Ahn Bo Hyun, Lee Hak Joo, Kim Sang Ho, Jang Yool
Total Number of Episodes: 8
Where to Stream: Netflix

After watching actress Han So Hee in the naive character of Yoo Na Bi in ‘Nevertheless,’ K-drama, watching her in a strong and determined character in ‘My Name’ was definitely unexpected. However, she did a wonderful job in this woman’s odyssey of vengeance. The story follows a member of the organized crime ring, Yoon Ji Woo, who, after losing her father in a murder, becomes an undercover agent as a police officer under the direction of a powerful crime boss, Choi Moo Jin. He is the leader of the biggest drug ring in South Korea but harbors deep motives.

Best 2021 K-dramas My Name
My Name

A just police detective named Jeon Pil Do, who is a member of the Drug Investigation Unit, gets partnered with Yoon Ji Woo. The show narrates a suspenseful and violent tale of a woman who loses herself to take revenge, traveling through the deepest pits of the vicious and dark criminal underworld, drowned in brutality and cruelty.

8. Nevertheless

Director: Kim Ga Ram
Screenwriter: Jung Won
Starring: Song Kang, Han So Hee, Chae Jong Hyeop, Yang Hye Ji, Lee Yeol Eum, Kim Min Gwi
Total Number of Episodes: 10
Where to Stream: Netflix

A very refreshing and realistic 2021 K-drama coming from the Korean entertainment industry, ‘Nevertheless,’ is about two people who struggle with commitment issues, coming together for temporary pleasure. While Yoo Na Bi goes through an ugly break-up, she happens to meet a hot and attractive boy named Park Jae Eon, the universal playboy who is flirty towards everyone but doesn’t get swept up in emotions. Despite knowing that Jae Eon is a walking red flag, Na Bi doesn’t seem to stop herself from getting drawn towards him, just like a butterfly getting attracted to a beautiful flower.

Best 2021 K-dramas Nevertheless,
Nevertheless,

The show focuses primarily on the sexual tension between the main characters who take decisions impulsively, driven more by their instincts than a well-thought and calculated approach. This is one of the main reasons why young spectators have been attracted to this series, despite it receiving loads of criticism.

7. Move to Heaven

Director: Kim Sung Ho
Screenwriter: Yoon Ji Ryun
Starring: Lee Je Hoon, Tang Jun Sang, Hong Seung Hee, Jung Suk Yong, Jung Young Joo, Lee Moon Shik
Total Number of Episodes: 10
Where to Stream: Netflix

When you ever feel like desperately looking for the meaning of your existence in life, you should come to this show. A slice-of-life K-drama series, ‘Move to Heaven’ is about an autistic man named Geu Roo who, along with his father, looks after the business of arranging the possessions left by deceased people. However, when his own father dies, he is left lonely until his uncle Sang Koo, appears in his life suddenly as his new guardian.

Move to Heaven
Move to Heaven

Sang Koo, a former martial arts fighter, is cold by personality. After a mysterious incident that took place during one of his fights, he was forced to be imprisoned. Binge-watching it is wholesome enough for you to feel all your emotions stirred up together!

6. My Roommate is a Gumiho

Director: Nam Sung Woo, Park Joon Hwa
Screenwriter: Baek Sun Woo, Choi Bo Rim
Starring: Jang Ki Yong, Lee Hye Ri, Kang Han Na, Park Kyung Hye, Kim Do Wan, Bae In Hyuk
Total Number of Episodes: 16
Where to Stream: Viki

A hilarious rom-com fantasy drama, ‘My Roommate is a Gumiho’, centers on a history major college girl whose entire life changes after she accidentally collides (literally) with a man while helping his drunk friend. The man, in reality, is a 999-years old nine-tailed fox who, because of another accident, ends up transferring his magical marble inside her body when they collide.

My Roommate is a Gumiho
My Roommate is a Gumiho

The marble is the only thing that can make him an ordinary human, so he decides to reveal himself in front of her and ask her to move in with him. The girl is left with no choice but to agree to him after knowing that mishandling the marble can kill her. You are going to love the characters of the show, especially the female lead, with whom you might relate like no other! Give the series a chance, and we assure you won’t have anything to complain about.

Also Read: 7 Reasons Why You Should Watch It’s okay to Not Be okay Kdrama

5. Hospital Playlist 2

Director: Shin Won Ho
Screenwriter: Lee Woo Jung
Starring: Yoo Yeon Seok, Jo Jung Suk, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Dae Myung, Jeon Mi Do, Shin Hyun Bin
Total Number of Episodes: 12
Where to Stream: Netflix

After the immense success of the first season, the second season of ‘Hospital Playlist’ was one of the most anticipated 2021 K-dramas, and it has indeed met the expectations of the fans. The series is one of the best Kdramas out there when it comes to portraying the lives of doctors in everyday life. Working at Yujie Medical Center are five doctors who have known one another since their medical school days who are also into making music together as the band, ‘Mido and Falasol.’

Hospital Playlist 2
Hospital Playlist 2

The second season continues the heartwarming everyday stories of the doctors, both personal and professional—definitely, a great watch for slice-of-life K-drama lovers. Every episode of the show is sure to make you smile, cry, laugh, and sing out aloud.

4. Vincenzo

Director: Kim Hee Won
Screenwriter: Park Jae Bum
Starring: Jun Yeo Bin, Song Joong Ki, okay Taec Yeon, Jo Han Chul, Kim Yeo Jin, Kwak Dong Yeon
Total Number of Episodes: 20
Where to Stream: Netflix

Although Vincenzo is a show with law, crime, and corruption as its prime subjects, you can easily get addicted to it because of its unique way of dealing with the antagonists and the hilarious side characters who maintain the necessary balance. One of Netflix’s most-watched 2021 K-dramas, ‘Vincenzo’ is about a South Korea-based Italian consigliere who flees to Korea after the death of his adoptive parents, leaving the mafia factions at war. He aims at recovering tons of gold hidden in the basement of a building, which is also the target building of the president of the Babel group for his own needs.

Vincenzo
Vincenzo

As he tries to retrieve the gold, he gets involved with the people of the building, a witty lawyer named Hong Cha Yong, and her revenge against the leader of the Babel group. Vincenzo Cassano is an anti-hero character who, though is self-righteous, has an extraordinary way of dealing with things. Not to mention, the acting performances of the villains are chef’s kiss!

Also Read: Best ‘Cha Eun Woo’ Kdramas That Will Make You Believe In Love Again

3. Squid Game

Screenwriter & Director: Hwang Dong-Hyuk
Starring: Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, Jung Ho Yeon, Wi Ha Joon, Anupam Tripathi, Oh Young Soo
Total Number of Episodes: 9
Where to Stream: Netflix

Every 2021 K-drama is incomplete without the inclusion of the record-breaker of the year, ‘Squid Game’ which received immense fame both in the domestic market and the international market. The story follows 456 people who are financially broke but grab an irresistible offer of entering into a competition of traditional Korean children’s games, at the end of which the winner will be awarded a huge sum of money. When Seong Gi Hun, a debt-ridden chauffeur who mooches money off his old mother, gets this opportunity to fix his life, he grabs it without much thinking.

Squid Game
Squid Game

However, the first thing that the organizers of this unusual competition do is take the contestants to a remote place, out of the reach of the general public, where Gi Hun comes across his childhood friend Cho Sang Woo and 454 other players. The friendly environment soon turns into a ground of bloodshed as the game brings forth deadly consequences for the losers. Although the show is not completely groundbreaking, it will definitely keep you at the edge of your seats. The twists and turns are unpredictable, while the plotline is very original. And… for your information, the show makers have even decided to produce a sequel to this smashing hit!

2. Happiness

Director: Ahn Gil Ho
Screenwriter: Han Sang Woon
Starring: Han Hyo Joo, Park Hyung Sik, Jo Woo Jin, Lee Joon Hyuk, Park Joo Hee, Baek Hyun Jin
Total Number of Episodes: 12
Where to Stream: Viki, We TV

The Drama marks the comeback of two of the most talented actors, Han Hyo Joo and Park Hyung Sik, on the television screen in lead roles. The show has been making headlines ever since it was announced, and now that it has finished airing all the episodes, we can assure you that it definitely deserved all the hype! The show has been set in a world where a new strain of a virus is gradually engulfing the entire country, making the infected people lose their senses, forcing them to bite people and drink blood right from their veins.

Best 2021 K-dramas Happiness
Happiness

Yoon Sae Bom, a self-righteous officer under the military training unit, and Jung Yi Hyun, a detective of violent crimes, get involved in the first few cases of the disease and are now locked in an apartment building where different classes of people remain quarantined together. The dwellers will not only have to protect themselves from the unusual disease but also fight the conflicts prevailing between disparate social groups. This latest 2021 K-drama clearly runs a paradox of the meaning of its title and asks the viewers to cherish everything they have even amidst all the chaos and threats.

1. Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Director: Yoo Je Won
Screenwriter: Shin Ha Eun
Starring: Kim Seon Ho, Shin Min Ah, Lee Sang Yi, In Gyo Jin, Lee Bong Ryun, Jo Han Chul
Total Number of Episodes: 16
Where to Stream: Netflix

So this might be the ‘Drama of the Year’— a realistic, refreshing, and engaging tale about two individuals, Yoon Hye Jin and Hong Du-shik, whose lives keep getting involved with each other after Hye Jin pays a visit to the seaside village of Gongjin, where Du-shik lives. A series of incidents take place, which makes the skilled dentist Hye Jin want to quit her job in Seoul and open a dental clinic in the village with his best friend.

Best 2021 Kdramas Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Hometown Cha Cha Cha

As she starts living there, she realizes that everyone in the village is very fond of Du-shik, who doesn’t have a fancy permanent job but seems to be able to do anything! The entire village depends on him, and whenever they come across an odd situation, the first call for help goes to Chief Hong. You might not want to miss out on this K-drama if you are tired of watching stories with a similar plotline. Not only does it feature kind and likable leads, but it also has a variety of side stories that are equally interesting and adds up to the overall beauty of this series.

Also Read: Top Ten Best K-Dramas to Make Your Christmas Merrier