2022 has been definitely a year for kdrama content, with more kdramas produced than ever, some of them landed on my best-kdramas lists, let us take a look at it.
- this is a personal opinion list. This year was very average, thus, some entries on this list are not 100% or even 90% in terms of all aspects of a production, but they personally appealed to me and I enjoyed them so much, thus, they made it on the list.
- This list is no particular order
- This list includes kdramas from January 1st-2022 to November 30th of 2022 and only includes completed kdramas.
Note: this part of our end-year content recap for 2022, you can read more here
Veteran screenwriter No Hee-Kyung writes what could possibly be her best-written kdrama to date. She’s always had a special place in my heart and the stories she writes always had the nuance they deserve. “Our Blues” wasn’t as hyped as it should have been and it could be mainly because the story turned out to be unexpected in its execution which is something I deeply appreciate.
There is no weak link in “Our Blues” production, everything from the cinematography to the directing and acting, everything was 100%. The unusual screen time distribution made it even more gripping than I had initially expected.
It boasts one of the best and most veteran-filled actors lineups in a kdrama, and everyone truly gave a stunning performance. It tackled so many societal issues and didn’t once attempt to sugar-coat the situation in favor of a toned-down and simple ‘happy’ conclusion. Every single issue it tackled was especially done well, from mental health issues, to teen pregnancy, and disabled people, every topic was handled immensely well.
Its a slow-paced well-made kdrama.
I know there is a lot of contention regarding “Big Mouth” purely based on the ending it had but I still put it on this list because I enjoyed it so much.
I am not gonna sit here and pretend the writing for “Big Mouth” didn’t take a nose dive towards the final episodes but I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t enjoy it for the most part.
Speculating on who big mouse is was very entertaining. “Big Mouth” is an entertaining kdrama. I believe it has a couple of very huge plot holes, but if you choose to disregard that, in essence, it was well-made and very fun to watch.
I didn’t mind some parts of the ending but I had issues with the overall structure of the finale and the script writing starting from episode 10. Still, “Big Mouth” is definitely one of the highlights of kdramas of 2022.
The drama “Juvenile Justice” presents what Netflix could do at its best in terms of Korean content. The drama was well-written and well-directed.
I didn’t feel like it had any wasted moments and it wasn’t afraid of showing how and why certain teenagers and kids do what they do.
The beautiful thing about this drama was that it didn’t focus on demonizing any particular reason behind why we have delinquent teenagers. The blame was as ‘evenly’ distributed as it possibly could, which makes the messages “Juvenile Justice” was trying to convey even more poignant.
Bad parenting, failure on a societal level, and failure from government officials and laws are all contributing factors, and the blame either is shared or shifted depending on the situation.
Very much an amazing drama with amazing performances. The young actors cast in the drama were also so talented.
I’d call this drama a beautiful mess because I think it encapsulates what the drama felt like to me.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t anticipate every single episode of “Little Women.” The screenwriter had expressed her admiration for the screenwriter of the Penthouse saga and you could definitely feel it in her drama’s writing. Its like a toned-down madness of the penthouse series, but still, way better written in comparison. Having said this, being compared to the writing of the penthouse is not exactly a flattering situation.
“Little Women” borders on ridiculous many times throughout its run. Its premiere episodes definitely were one of the biggest and best in a 2022 kdrama. The performances were also amazing, the cast chemistry was also top-notch.
There are many infuriating plot points in “Little Women,” however, the directing is just… I am speechless. Kim Hee-Won is a force to be reckoned with. The tone, the angles, the setup for each set, everything was top-notch.
I think you will probably find “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” on almost every list of best kdramas of 2022, and for very good reasons.
“Extraordinary Attorney Woo” is heartwarming and interesting. It tackles the subject of disabilities well and presented amazing cases to be followed in each episode.
I would have loved it if the drama was a little shorter but the casting and the sincerity shown in each episode were enough to keep almost anyone engaged and interested.
It goes without saying that Park Eun Bin stole the spotlight with her amazing performance but I also think everyone else did an amazing job.
If I had to pick my life kdrama of 2022 it is probably “My Liberation Notes.” This is one of the best kdramas I’ve seen in recent memory, not only one of the best of 2022.
I enjoyed “My Liberation Notes” so much, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this drama is. The acting, directing, scriptwriting, and editing. EVERY SINGLE DETAIL. Everything is worthy of praise. The choices of sets and the way camera angles move were a nice addition to the drama.
Park Hae-Young is one of my favorite Korean screenwriters. For the record, it is not easy to write a slow-paced worthwhile kdrama, however, she manages to make every minute count.
The amount of social commentary this drama offers without it feeling forced is astounding. The re-watch value of this drama is very high because you catch on small details in each viewing.
You can tell she did her best to write some of the most beautiful and profound scripts of any kdramas I have seen in a while.
“Narco-Saints” isn’t a kdrama for everyone, I will start by saying that, but its not because its bad, but because of the themes it presents.
It revolves around drug lords and the infighting between them, its a difficult watch because of the cruelty displayed in each episode, and it gets worse as time goes by, in terms of how cruel it becomes.
Its very well-directed and written. And some of the best performances of a cast in a 2022 kdrama are in this one. Jo Woo Jin particularly shines in this one despite him being surrounded by some very huge veteran actors.
If you love watching amazing performances and don’t mind the gravity, terror, and seriousness of such subjects, then you should definitely give this one a go.
Lee Sung Min…. How can I begin describing this man who always puts out amazing performances?
“Shadow Detective” is my favorite Disney+ kdrama release to date. It encapsulates everything about how good it could be if such types of scripts are done correctly.
“Shadow Detective” is coming back with season two, which I don’t mind. I think it was well-written, well-paced and featured some of the best performances I’ve seen from both Lee Sung Min and Jin Goo to date. This drama is being slept on which annoys me because of how good and entertaining it was.
Weak Hero Class 1
Wavve’s “Weak Hero Class 1” is definitely one of the standout kdramas of 2022 and for good reasons. This came at the tail end of 2022 but delivered so much and was truly a fun-watching experience, for the most part.
The drama tackles bullying in Korean high schools and how destructive that could be to the youth. Despite that, it doesn’t glorify violence or lavish in showing an unnecessary amount of it, and you can feel the sincerity of the people who worked on the drama. Some aspects of the script struggle with making sense but I believe the story, the overall message its trying to convey, as well as the entertainment factor triumph over that.
The characterization of our main heros was done so well and so naturally. From the way they were introduced to each other to the way their friendship progressed into so much more. It was so heartwarming to see and heartbreaking at the same time.
Ji Hoon’s performance definitely stands out and is personally one of my favorite performances by a leading man in a 2022 kdrama. I don’t say this lightly either.
“Anna” was one of those dramas I anticipated a lot. sadly, the conflict between Coupang and the screenwriter-director left the entire project in an awkward position and showed some cracks in both released versions.
The reason its not on the official list is because we have two versions showing what things could have been done differently and I think there are certain elements in both versions that should have been either combined/forgone.
Regardless of this, “Anna” is definitely one of the most interesting concepts among 2022 kdramas, and Suzy’s best performance and kdrama to date- in my opinion. The drama features amazing performances from everyone else too. For those reasons alone, I would highly recommend this drama. Its also very short regardless of what version you end up watching.
“Soundtrack #1” is what romance kdramas should be moving forward. Its the first ever Disney+ kdrama that didn’t disappoint. I have been fairly critical of Disney+’s output for kdramas, and this year, they’ve definitely shown immense progress as they seem to be finding their footing in the industry.
“Soundtrack #1” is sweet, short, and straight to the point. I am glad its only 4 episodes long and not longer than that. There is a space for romance dramas and there will always be, but their current form on traditional Korean broadcasting stations is leaving so much to be desired.
Han So Hee and Park Hyung Sik share great chemistry too.
If you guys follow me for reviews then you probably already know that I don’t quite like romance dramas in general, mainly because I feel they don’t have any innovation or spark left in them, all the stories have already been said and done about 1000 times already, and with almost all kdramas following similar formulas, its not like I am missing out on something.
However, “Business Proposal” was a fun watch, mainly because it knew how cheesy and cringy it was, it was fully aware of that and used it to its advantage many times. It also was on the shorter end with only 12 episodes.
What makes it better is the fact that the main cast share amazing chemistry, all of them. The bromance is also amazing in this one. Sejeong truly stands out and does such an impressive job that its difficult for me to ever picture her as an idol because she’s truly one of the most shining young actors in the industry right now.
While I don’t think the script tries anything new, I think the combination of what I said above lands it in the honorable list of mentions.
Alchemy of Souls Part 1
“Alchemy of Souls” is one of the most popular kdramas of 2022 for very obvious reasons. I was initially thinking of putting it on the official list but I have too many issues with it despite enjoying the experience, most of the time.
I like the concept and the cast of the drama which makes it a worthwhile watch. They’re the best part of the drama.
“Alchemy of Souls” has many flaws in its execution, in its script in certain places, in its mind-boggling CGI that leaves so much to be desired, but the drama still has a lot of amazing performances and cast chemistry that seems to be overshadow and eclipse some of the very obvious issues it has.
The level of filler content present in the first part will only be fully realized once we watch part 2 and judge what happened, I definitely don’t think “Alchemy of Souls” part 1 deserved 20 episodes but its still was very enjoyable.
The casting choices are amazing for the most part. Everyone shares great chemistry and synergy with each other. You can tell the project was made with lots of love and dedication. Jung So Min shares great chemistry not only with the first male lead but also the 2nd and 3rd. This makes for a more fun watching experience.
So this my personal list of favorite 2022 kdramas, what about yours? Let us discuss in the comment section below. Do you think I missed one?