Deema Loves Drama Shares With ELLE Her Top 10 K-Dramas Of 2023 That Deserve A Place In Your Watch List


In 2023, K-dramas saw the return of new seasons of fan-favourite shows like Tale of the Nine-Tailed, a mythological-inspired series that is highly popular among fantasy genre fans; The Good Bad Mother, which delivered a touching story; and The Glory, a wonderfully theatrical vengeance saga that kept us hooked throughout each episode.


A big chunk of this year’s releases were webtoon adaptations and time-travelling shows, which are now the winning factor for a show of any genre that’s starting out. So, we sat down for a discussion with our go-to K-drama expert, Deema Abu Naser, popularly known as Deema Loves Drama for the K-drama community. We jotted down some of the most notable shows in no particular order that we binged on this year, though they might deserve a place in your watchlist before you enter a new era next year:

Call It Love

The plot revolves around Sim Woo Joo’s life, which takes a turn for the worse after her father’s death, when she’s forced out of her home by his mistress. Seeking revenge, she approaches Han Dong Jin, the son of her father’s ex-lover. As she spends more time with him, she realises that she’s fallen in love. It’s a melancholic, beautiful, and heartwarming story showing how every human has a good and bad side, but in the end, we’re all trying our best to stay afloat in this world and to reach for happiness.

Stream on: Disney+ Hotstar

The Glory

A revenge story for the books. This K-drama took the internet by storm. A young woman played by Song Hye-Kyo makes her grand comeback after she decides to drop out of school because of bullies. She then embarks on a mission to get revenge for herself. Keeping this in mind, she lays out her plan by becoming the primary school teacher of the child of the person who bullied her the most. Each episode is filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Stream on: Netflix

The Good Bad Mother

An absolutely beautiful K-drama, showcasing the true power of family, strength, and second chances. If you are looking for something warm and tear-worthy, this is your perfect option. The story narrates the life of Young Soon, a single mother raising her son Kang Ho alone. Despite her love for him, her strict parenting caused Kang Ho to view her as a bad mother. As an adult, Kang Ho became a cold-hearted prosecutor and kept his distance from his mother. However, an unexpected accident caused him to return to his hometown and start over with Young Soon.

Stream on: Netflix

Tale Of The Nine Tailed 1938

A fun sequel to the 2022 hit drama, the story follows Lee Yeon time-traveling  back in time to the year 1938. Lee Yeon meets Ryu Hong-Joo again. She was once the guardian spirit of a mountain in the west, but in 1938 she became the owner of the best high-end restaurant, Myoyeongak, in the capital city of Gyeongseong. When Ryu Hong-Joo met Lee Yeon for the first time, she was fascinated by him, but she couldn’t have him. Now she meets him again, and she feels excitement. Lee Yeon also meets his younger brother, Lee Rang. This drama has everything you would want in a fantasy drama, from fun mythical stories to a great squad with a fantastic ending.

Stream on: Prime Video

See You In My 19th Life

Based on a webtoon with the same name, the female lead of this K-drama, Ban Ji Eum, has an extraordinary ability: she can remember the memories of all her past lives. After repeating her reincarnation for nearly a thousand years, Ban Ji Eum has been living all her lives diligently. After her previous life is cut short by a tragic accident, she sets out to reconnect with the people of her past life in her current one and decides to find a man named Moon Seo Ha, whom she met in her 18th life. Will memories of her 18th life sabotage romance in her 19th? Or will love endure across different lives? The concept isn’t new for K-dramas; it has been explored multiple times, but never like this. Combining romance, fantasy, and wit, See you in my 19th life,’ is one not to miss, not in this life.

Stream on: Netflix

A Time Called You

Another time-travelling, body-swapping romance that follows a woman who finds herself in 1998. She is grappling with the death of her boyfriend. She wakes up in the late ’90s and comes face-to-face with a guy who looks exactly like the man she lost. At this point, every hit show needs a time-travelling cliche that adds allure to the story’s mystery. This K-drama can get a little bit confusing, but the more you watch, the more you get engaged with the plot. Extra marks should be given to the show’s amazing music, which translates the character’s perspective.

Stream on: Netflix

Twinkling Watermelon

A heartwarming, gorgeous K-drama. It has all the right ingredients for the perfect youth drama—fun squads you want to be a part of—romance, music, and so much more. The story starts in 2023, featuring Eun Gyeol, who is a high schooler with a passion for music. During the day, he is a studious model pupil, but at night, he rocks out as a guitarist in a band. But when he stumbles across a strange yet alluring music store, he goes hurtling back in time to 1995. Here, he comes face-to-face with his father, Ha Yi Chan, as a high schooler. Yi Chan takes Eun Gyeol for a lunatic when the latter calls him “dad.” Worse still, it looks like Yi Chan has a crush on an icy cellist named Se Kyeong, not his future mother, Cheong Ah. In a bid to put things “right,” Eun Gyeol joins a band fronted by his future father. But will this be enough to help Eun Gyeol bring his future parents together? And will he ever get back to the 2020s?

Stream on: Viki

Castaway Diva

Mok Ha has always dreamed of becoming a singer. During middle school, however, she ends up on a deserted island, where she manages to survive alone for over fifteen years. When she’s finally rescued, she must adjust to a world that has changed dramatically in her absence. While learning to navigate the complex social dynamics of modern society, Mok Ha is determined to achieve her dream of becoming a singer, and she will stop at nothing to make it happen. This K-drama has explored many heavy topics, but in its essence, it is a drama that makes you feel hopeful and ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

Stream on: Netflix

The Forbidden Marriage

Taking you back in time. After the death of the crown princess, a young Korean king bans marriage for everyone in the Joseon Dynasty, and all of Korea is upset! But for a swindler named So Rang, it’s an opportunity to make money. However, is it a good business decision to fake being possessed by the late crown princess? Not when the King finds out! Your heart will be touched and tickled by this historical romantic comedy. This show is a mixture of every single thing you’d wish would be in a great rom-com recipe and has more.

Stream on: Viki

Weak Class Hero 1

Based on another popular webtoon, this action-packed sleeper hit K-drama is about three friends who each have a unique fighting style when confronting bullies. Only some bullies are hard to defeat, and the friends must rely on each other to make it through the school year in one piece. The show gets extremely graphic (make sure you check the trigger warnings), but it’s combined with wit, action, and mystery to make a really great drama that I couldn’t put down until I finished. Season 2 is coming soon!

Stream on: Viki

Also, read: 7 Visually Stunning K-Dramas Where Cinematography Was The Main Character


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