Best Korean Dramas of 2021: Personal Pick

I must admit that I didn’t get to watch a lot of Korean dramas in 2021. I stuck mainly to rewatching some of my favorites because the current trend in romance tropes didn’t quite appeal to me as much this year (although I have a couple of dramas I am waiting to binge). Here’s my list of my personal favorites though and I hope you give them a watch.

Squid Game. Squid Game is more of a series than a drama with only nine episodes for the first season. It is a gritty battle royale type of series where only one contestant will survive after playing a series of lethal children’s games. Squid Game trains the spotlight on the extent one can live with one’s humanity when pushed to the wall. It is also a disgusting look at how money and power can make playthings out of the lives of the poor and the desperate. Plenty of food for thought. Read my Squid Game Review

Hellbound. How do people deal with the unknown? How do they respond to fear? Hellbound posits the role that faith has to play in the perceived end of days as executioners from hell batter and punish those who have been sentenced to the fires of damnation. While Squid Game focuses on money and power, Hellbound explores the depth of fear and how people can abandon their humanity with the goal of saving themselves from a tragic afterlife. Yoo Ah In delivers another master class in acting and Won Jin Ah makes the most of her smaller role in this series. Read my Hellbound Review

Jirisan. As if the life of a mountain ranger isn’t dangerous enough, a serial killer preys on hikers in Mount Jiri disguising the deaths as mere accidents. Ju Ji Hoon and Jun Hi Hyun team up to play a pair of mountain rangers who want to put an end to the killings and discovering the motive behind the deaths. Even with a supernatural element, Jirisan effectively provides a look at the actual work of park rangers and the amount of danger they place themselves daily in order to protect the mountain and save people’s lives. It will definitely keep you on your toes even until the final minute. My only complaint from this well written and executed series is the lack of a clear love line between the two characters. Their chemistry was epic. Read my Jirisan Review

Happiness. My final pick for 2021 is Happiness which sounds like a romcom but is actually as far from it as it can be. Han Hyo Joo and Park Hyung Sik are a tough duo with a strong connection as they try to keep the order in the locked down Le Ciel apartment complex as an outbreak infects people with an insatiable need to drink people’s blood. This doesn’t mean to say that romance remains in the backburner for the rest of the series. Patience is a virtue and Happiness will deliver on a great ending. Read my Happiness Review