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All The 2021 K-Dramas That You Shouldn't Skip (So Far)

Which series tops your list?
Best K-dramas of 2021
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/TVN_DRAMA, COURTESY OF NETFLIX
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We're halfway through 2021 and OMG, we have watched so many high-quality K-dramas already! From crime thrillers to rom-coms, we have spent sleepless nights binge-watching these shows and nope, we have no regrets. In fact, we're thankful. LOL!

Here are the *best* K-dramas of 2021 (so far):

1. Vincenzo (February - May 2021)

Who's in it: Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Bin, Ok Taecyeon, Kwak Dong Yeon

Where you can watch it: Netflix

*Everyone* raved about Vincenzo on social media not just because it's Song Joong Ki's comeback drama, but also because of its plot twists! We swear, there's a ~surprise~ in each episode that will leave you hitting the pause button and staring into space. Joong Ki plays the titular role of Vincenzo Cassano, a mafia consigliere from Italy who went back to South Korea to claim his hidden gold. He did claim the gold, but he had to go through a lot of troubles first! Good thing the Geumga Plaza tenants always have his back. We have A LOT to say about this K-drama so go ahead and read our honest review right here.

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2. Move To Heaven (May 2021)

Who's in it: Lee Je Hoon, Tang Joon Sang, Hong Sung Hee

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Where you can watch it: Netflix

A touching K-drama we totally recommend is the Netflix original series Move To Heaven, which tells the story of the departed and the ones they left behind. You're going to prepare boxes of tissues once you watch this because the scenes are so realistic, they hit you right in the feels. What makes it even more compelling is that the episodes are inspired by real-life stories, as seen in Kim Sae Byul's non-fiction essay about his life as a trauma cleanerMove To Heaven is sad yet comforting, and it's a drama that will truly move you.

3. Taxi Driver (April - May 2021)

Who's in it: Lee Je Hoon, Esom, Kim Eui Sung, Pyo Ye Jin

Where you can watch it: Viu

You read that right—Lee Je Hoon led back-to-back shows this year! In Taxi Driver, he transforms into Kim Do Ki, a...you guessed it, a taxi driver. Haha! But he's not just your ordinary man behind the wheel: Kim Do Ki is the antihero you need when you want to plot revenge on your enemies and the law doesn't seem to understand you. Did you know that the criminal cases here are inspired by events in real life? One of them is the Cho Doo Soon case, which is about a  notorious child rapist who was released from prison last year. SHOCKING.

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4. Mr. Queen (December 2020 - February 2021)

Who's in it: Shin Hye SunKim Jung Hyun, Na In Woo, Choi Jin Hyuk

Where you can watch it: Viu

Ah, the crowd-favorite Mr. Queen. If you've seen photos or videos of a queen from the past that twerks under the rain and shouts to the world that she doesn't wear a bra, it's from this K-drama! Here, Shin Hye Sun portrays the character of Kim So Yong, a Joseon dynasty queen. The sitch? A male chef from the present is trapped inside her body! Mr. Queen currently ranks as the fifth highest-rating tVN drama and if that doesn't say a lot about it. we don't know what is.

5. True Beauty (December 2020 - February 2021)

Who's in it: Cha Eun Woo, Moon Ga YoungHwang In Yeop, Park Yoo Na

Where you can watch it: Viu

Others may disagree when we say that True Beauty is a 2021 gem, but hear us out: This webtoon-based high school drama is what you need when you don't want to think of theories. You know, the type na feel-good kilig lang ang dala that you would look forward to after workTrue Beauty revolves around Im Ju Kyung (Moon Ga Young), who has insecurities about her appearance. She finds an escape by putting on makeup. Then there are the two male leads (Cha Eun Woo, Hwang In Yeop) who always remind her that she's pretty. And uhm, yes, we want to be Im Ju Kyung sometimes, hehe.

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6. Law School (April - June 2021)

Who's in it: Kim Bum, Ryu Hye Young, Kim Myung Min, Lee Jung Eun

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Now for a K-drama that needs focus and a whole lot of ~*braining*~—the courtroom series, Law School! The first few episodes will really test your brain power as you come up with an answer on who the real murderer is in the campus. But what makes Law School a must-watch is because once you're able to connect the dots, the feeling is so satisfying! This drama marks the comeback of Reply 1988'Ryu Hye Young and we're *so* happy that our Bo Ra eonnie is finally able to pursue her law school dreams. *winks*

7. The Uncanny Counter (November 2020 - January 2021)

Who's in it: Jo Byeong Gyu, Kim Sejeong, Yeom Hye Ran, Yoo Joon Sang

Where you can watch it: Netflix

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If you like fantasy K-dramas that offer a glimpse of the supernatural, then The Uncanny Counter is for you! Led by five noodle shop employees, this extraordinary bunch does not only serve bowls of hot noodle soup but also justice. They are demon slayers with special powers...and a mop of curly hair at that. Savage yet cute, 'no? The Uncanny Counter is produced by OCN, home to the best crime thrillers in South Korea (like Strangers From HellSave Me, and Black) so you know you're into something amazing talaga

8. Navillera (March - April 2021)

Who's in it: Song Kang, Park In Hwan, Na Moon Hee, Hong Seung Hee

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Who doesn't love an inspiring K-drama about pursuing your dreams? In Navillera, ballet takes the spotlight and and it shows us that age really doesn't matter when it comes to doing what you love. Based on the webtoon of the same name (Fun fact: BTS' V' recommends this read!), Navillera brings us to Chae Rok (Song Kang), a 23-year-old ballerina who seems to be lost in his career path. After he met a 70-year-old mailman who wants to do ballet named Duk Chool (Park In Hwan), his life changes forever. Not only did he find a friend, but he was also able to realize what he truly wants.

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9. The Penthouse 2 (October 2020 - September 2021)

Who's in it: Eugene, Kim So Yeon, Lee Ji Ah, Uhm Ki Joon

Where you can watch it: Viu, iQIYI

Unrealistic, crazy, and blood-boiling—just three words that describe The Penthouse. For real! It's like that noontime telenovela where everyone is pulling each other's hair and getting revenge, only more sophisticated because the characters live in the posh Hera PlaceThe Penthouse is now on its third season and it continues to rake in high ratings in South Korea. In fact, your favorite Korean stars (like BIGBANG's Taeyang) are watching it! Yes, it's stressful but it's also highly addictive, so watch it at your own risk (maybe with a blood pressure checker beside you?).

10. Mouse (March - May 2021)

Who's in it: Lee Seung Gi, Lee Hee Joon, Park Ju Hyun, Kyung Soo Jin

Where you can watch it: Viu, iQIYI

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We all know that nothing is impossible in the modern world, but what if science can predict if an unborn child can turn out to be a psychopath through a simple test? That's one of the many things this thriller K-drama tackles. Lee Seung Gi plays the role of Jang Ba Reum, a young police officer who is well-liked by his peers. He meets detective Ko Moon Chi, a jaded officer who is determined to seek revenge on the infamous Head Hunter, the serial killer that murdered his entire family when he was a child. Also part of the story is the young and handsome doctor Sung Yo Han, whose family has dark secrets. What do these people have in common? Why is the show called Mouse? You'll have to watch this crazy show to find out! P.S. Pinay actress Cherish Maningat is also part of this drama! She even talked about what it was like working with Seung Gi!

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11. Mine (May - June 2021)

Who's in it: Lee Bo Young, Kim Seo Hyung, Ok Jayeon

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Don't you just love dramas about rich people? They may live in the most beautiful mansions and have every material thing we can ever want, but truth is, their world is probably uglier than what we think. Mine follows the story of a chaebol family and all the dark secrets hidden inside the walls of their estate. 

12. Beyond Evil (February - April 2021)

Who's in it: Shin Ha Kyun, Yeo Jin Goo

Where you can watch it: Viu, Netflix

It was no surprise that Beyond Evil won in so many categories at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards. Shin Ha Kyun will seriously give you the creeps as the lead actor in this drama about a small undeveloped town outside of Seoul and the murders and missing persons cases that have been haunting them for years. This show exposes how money and greed can really make people—including police, politicians, and businessmen—well, beyond evil. 

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13. Racket Boys (May - August 2021)

Who's in it: Tang Joon Sang, Son Sang Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Kim Kang Hoon

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Tang Joon Sang is really busy this year! Aside from Move To Heaven, he also leads Racket Boys, a coming-of-age story about a group of young and hopeful badminton players. Here, Joon Sang plays the *super* confident Yoon Hae Kang—an ace baseball star who rekindled his love for badminton when he moved to the countryside. What we love about this K-drama is its simple yet heartwarming storyline, and there's always something that will remind you of your childhood from time to time. In case you're looking for a relaxing show (we watch episodes on Saturdays!), Racket Boys is the perfect ~reward~ after a long and tiring week.

14. Hospital Playlist 2 (March - September 2021)

Who's in it: Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Dae Myung, Jeon Mi Do

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Where you can watch it: Netflix

In 2020, we ranked Hospital Playlist as one of the best K-dramas we've ever watched. This year, with just six episodes released, the second season is already on our list! This drama is what we look forward to every Thursday (more like every week), and we never skip an episode even if a new one is aired late at night. Hospital Playlist 2 shows the friendship of five doctors as they go through medical school, work, and the other stages in their life. There are also the side stories about their families, patients, and the other Yulje Medical Center staff that will either bring you to tears or have you laughing so hard you're close to wheezing. Trust us when we say this: At the end of every HP 2 ep, you will feel so, so healed because it holds the kind of ~*magic*~ that no other K-drama can top. And did we mention how great the OST is? You won't get tired of listening to it all day!

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15. Squid Game (September 2021)

Who's in it: Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, Jung Ho Yeon, Wi Ha Joon

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Netflix's most successful original Korean series to date had everyone talking about marbles, calling cards, and a huge creepy dollSquid Game tells the story of 456 players who joined a game to win 45.6 billion won (around P2 billion)—only to find out that they have to sacrifice their life. And yes, these are childhood games we are talking about. But more than the thrill that it gives, Squid Game portrays the harsh reality where everyone is over-competitive and capitalism is evident. Warning: Although this drama (which took 13 years before it became a series, btw) is not a spookfest, it's still not for the fainthearted (especially if you're scared of blood).

16. D.P. (August 2021)

Who's in it: Jung Hae In, Koo Kyo Hwan, Kim Sung Kyun

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Where you can watch it: Netflix

Another must-watch dark drama is D.P., led by Jung Hae In who plays a soldier named Ahn Jun Ho. As a new enlistee, Jun Ho witnesses the violence inside the military camp and he was so close to being a victim. Fortunately, he was asked to team up with Corporal Han Ho Yul (Koo Kyo Hwan) to catch soldiers who have escaped. D.P. became the talk of the town in South Korea with its depiction of the military, with some saying that they experienced worse in real life. From bullying to sexual harassment, this drama will shake you and have you staring into space with its ruthless scenes.

16. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (Ongoing)

Who's in it: Shin Min Ah, Kim Seon Ho, Lee Sang Yi

Where you can watch it: Netflix

Here's a healing K-drama in case you've had enough of cruelty and gore: Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is our latest obsession and we love it soooo much! Set in the seaside village called Gongjin, the series is about a reliable part-timer named Hong Doo Shik (Kim Seon Ho) and a straightforward dentist named Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Min Ah). Although they're complete opposites, the two found comfort in each other after talking about their traumatic pasts. The kilig is real, you guyslalo na when this dimple couple smiles! Aside from romance, the friendships here are also something you should look forward to. And did we mention how stunning the filming location is? And that the OST will make you feel good? Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha = *Almost* perfect K-drama of the year!

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