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Forget Squid Game, here are the top 10 K-Dramas from 2021- Cinema express

Forget Squid Game, here are the top 10 K-Dramas from 2021  

Squid Game took the world by storm in 2021, but here are the best K-Dramas of the year that you should not miss

Published: 31st December 2021
Stills from Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Hospital Playlist season 2, Vincenzo, and Nevertheless,

Squid Game took the world by storm after its premiere on September 17. The Korean drama starring Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, and Wi Ha Joon in lead roles, released on Netflix, and it marked break-out performances by Jung Ho Yeon and  Lee Yoo Mi. Yet, there is more to the world of Korean shows than Squid Game.

Here is a list of some of the best K-Dramas that premiered in 2021 and a must-watch for anyone who loved Squid Game. It is a mixed bag of genres and the shows are led by some of the most talented Korean actors.  

1. Vincenzo

Starring Song Joong Ki and Jeon Yeo Been in the lead roles, the show sees a mafia consigliere take on a Korean conglomerate boss by the horns. There is equal parts humor and mafia bloodshed, and the chemistry between the male and female lead is brilliant too. The idea behind the show is to portray many shades of grey and they do it entertainingly.

Streaming On: Netflix

2. Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a romantic comedy starring Kim Seon Ho and Shin Min Ah. The show centers on a dentist who moves to a neighborhood in the outskirts of Seoul. Her romance with a local man highlights what a mature relationship in the face of trauma looks like.

Streaming On: Netflix

3. Hospital Playlist season 2

Hospital Playlist season 2 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor. It depicts the life of five doctor friends and their lives. Each episode is heartwarming and portrays the realities of what working as a doctor would look like in a hospital in the absence of politics and nepotism.

Streaming On: Netflix

4. Happiness

Happiness stars Park Hyung Shik and Han Hyo Joo in the lead roles. The show is set in a dystopian world where ingesting a drug developed to treat cancer leads to a mutation of sorts in human beings. This mutation causes them to change into monsters that thirst for blood. A police detective and his wife who is part of the unit that fights terrorism have to find a way to survive amid a flat full of infected people.

Streaming On: Viki

5. D.P.

D.P. starring Jung Hae In and Koo Kyo Hwan is based on the comic of the same name. The show portrays the life of a soldier who is assigned to a team in the military that tracks down deserters. Due to bullying and hazing in the military, especially in a South Korean context, many young men who enlist in the military to serve desert their positions. Through the soldier who tracks the deserters down, the audiences learn about the lives of different young men.

Streaming On: Netflix

6. My Name

My Name starring Han So Hee, Park Hee Soon, and Ahn Bo Hyun is a show about a daughter's need for revenge. Ji Woo's father is an undercover cop who works with a local gang to feed the police with information. However, in a botched operation, he is killed in his daughter's presence. Ji Woo then trains hard with the same gang to exact revenge for her father's death in an engaging 8-episode thriller.  

Streaming On: Netflix

7. Racket Boys

Racket Boys is another show set outside of Seoul and in the refreshing village that Yoon Hae Kang is forced to reside in after his father gets a job as the badminton coach for a local school. Hae Kang initially hates the move as he has to stop his baseball training. However, if they remained in the city, his father would not have the finances to support him.

From his hatred to his acceptance of not just the new town and its people, but badminton as a sport is a heartening journey that the show captures. The show stars Tang Joon Sang in the lead role.

Streaming On: Netflix. 

8. So I Married an Anti-Fan

So I Married an Anti-Fan is a romantic comedy starring Choi Tae Joon and Sooyoung depicts the life of a celebrity who falls in love with a journalist he had initially had a misstep with. Comedy of errors gives this show a good push and sets it apart from other romantic Korean dramas of its time.

Streaming On: Viki

9. Nevertheless

Starring Song Kang and Han So Hee, Nevertheless, is based on a webcomic of the same name. The show is about how a college student comes to terms with being a part of toxic relationships and how she stands up to men who are toxic. It also opens the audience up to accept different kinds of relationships that are outside of heteronormativity.

Streaming On: Netflix

10. Navilllera

Also starring Song Kang, Navilllera is about a young ballet dancer who helps an old man by teaching him ballet. The old grandpa portrayed by Park In Hwan is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and that so he decides to learn the dance form that he had once been deeply in love with. Over the duration of his classes, he also helps the young man to come to terms with his life's struggles.

Streaming On: Netflix

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