Top Korean Dramas of 2011: Mid Year Review

Korean Drama Recommendations

After watching a few great Korean series in 2010, of course I had to continue watching in 2011. Although we are now only halfway through 2011, I decided to share my list of recommendations for 2011 so far. Below, I will recommend 5 dramas which kept me hooked.

Starting with No. 5 is Dream High: Whenever I recommend this to friends, I always give a warning. Please ignore the first 2 episodes. After the first 2 episodes, the drama really picks up especially since Kim Soo Hyun gets more screen time! From this, you can probably guess that the first thing to thank this drama for is definitely Kim Soo Hyun. Without this show, I wouldn’t have discovered him. Awesome acting by a young actor! Look out for the parts when he realizes that his world may be crashing down and his dreams crushed due to a disease. Another great point is that thanks to JYP, who also acts as a teacher in this drama, we get good songs and performances throughout the series.

For a drama which has such a young cast and where most of them are pop idols, most people would think that this drama would only be suitable for those crazy about idols. Surprisingly, the drama had quite an interesting plot and the characters grew a lot throughout the 16 episodes. We get to see how they each become successful in their own way (making their dreams come true), and to spice things up, certain scandals were included. It was definitely daring to point this out in a drama like this.

Flashmob scene in Dream High (featuring Miss A and 2AM too)

No. 4: My Princess

At number 4 is My Princess. When I first heard the pairing of Song Seung Hoon and Kim Tae Hee, it didn’t really pique my interest but they subsequently won me over with their great chemistry and the overload of cuteness.

Yeah, I know. Surprise surprise! I have never liked Song Seung Hoon although one of the first few Korean dramas which I watched was Autumn in My Heart. However, here he really fits the role. Kim Tae Hee is also awesome as the princess. She has good comic timing and I love all the scenes when they are together. They should however have reduced the supporting actress screen time though. Whenever she appeared, it was fast forward for me....

Falling (My Princess OST)

No. 3: 49 Days

Among my top 5 is 49 Days. This show is quite well written. I loved the surprises incorporated into the drama. It keeps viewers like me engaged. Also, the flashback scenes were sweet as we got to learn more about the main characters’ past particularly Yikyung (acted by Lee Yo Won), Yisoo/Scheduler (acted by Jung Il Woo) , Han Kang (acted by Jo Hyun Jae) and Ji Hyun (Nam Gyu Ri). One thing I did learn from Ji Hyun’s character in this series was that a friend is one of the best gifts you can give someone. And I do agree with this!

Lee Yo Won also stands out as she had to act as 2 characters in this drama. One as Yikyung, and the second as Ji Hyun's soul inside her body. She was pretty good as it was easy to distinguish when she was which character. Definitely not an easy job! This drama also marks Jo Hyun Jae's return to the entertainment industry after completing his army stint.

No. 2: City Hunter

At second place is City Hunter. This is based ona popular manga, titled City Hunter. I have never read the manga so I can't really compare it. But on its own, this drama is fast paced and I have to admit that Lee Min Ho's charismatic acting is what keeps me glued.

As both Lee Min Ho (Eun Sung) and Park Min Young's characters (Nana) can fight, you will get to see some cool fighting scenes too. The storyline is also pretty interesting too as we get to see the dirty reality of corruption and see them get their comeuppance through the handsome City Hunter! Actor Kim Sang Joong who plays the villain is also another reason to watch this drama.

Yang Hwa Jin - It's Alright (City Hunter OST)

No. 1: Greatest Love or Best Love

For me, the top Kdrama of 2011 so far has to be Greatest Love. The Hong Sisters did not disappoint with this well-written drama. Loved their metaphors and that they added their own commentary on the entertainment world in this drama. Many times, we comment without thinking too much....but the people we comment about (celebrities in this case) are humans too. Just that it's too easy to just type something on the internet compared to saying it out loud to someone....

Oh well! I will probably never ever wish a couple to break up or comment that they don't suit one another. One good lesson from this drama definitely! And kudos to the leads Cha Seung Won, Gong Hyo Jin, Yoo In Na and Yoon Kye Sang for playing their characters so well! Thank you for the laughter and the tears!

Sunny Hill - Thump Thump (Greatest Love OST)

Other 2011 Korean dramas which I watched

- Can You Hear My Heart? : In one word, draggy. This series would have been much better if it was shorter. There were too many filler episodes which I felt were not needed. On another note, I liked the way Bong Young Gyu was played. The plot is also the normal makjang type, full of revenge and overacting especially by the actress acting as Dong Joo’s (Kim Jae Won) mother.

- Manny: The premise of this series is interesting as it is seldom that we see a male nanny. Hence the title “Manny”. However, I felt the love plot wasn’t believable. It suffered from the same problem as 2010 Korean drama, Oh! My Lady. I just couldn’t understand the attraction unlike the awesome transition in The Woman Who Still Want to Marry. That is like the best example of an older woman, younger man relationship.

- Miss Ripley: I have to admit that I started watching this because of the lead, Park Yoo Chun! I liked him from Sungkyunkwan Scandal which I watched in 2010. So far, I haven't been hooked to the drama yet.And I guess the problem for me is that it is too melodramatic, which I do not like! And it also doesn't help it when the main female character is not very lovable!

- Royal Family: The beginning was done well with lots of mystery reeling you in. I wanted to know more about why each character was acting in this manner. But…it did not make it to my top 3 despite my love for the lead actor Jisung since watching him in New Heart. Sigh….why show? Why did you have to turn draggy?

More by this Author


Which Korean dramas of 2011 do you like? 47 comments

tamarindcandy profile image

tamarindcandy 5 years ago

Oh cool, thanks. I was just looking for K-drama to watch.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

You are most welcome. Hope you will like my recommendations!


Dreamlin profile image

Dreamlin 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

Thanks for your recommendation.

I love "49 Days", especially Jung Il Woo. He is a great young actor.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks Dreamlin for commenting! I liked Jung Il Woo too =)


jessie 5 years ago

hello. I agree about the 49 days! Definitely one of the best K drama I've ever watched in 2011.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks Jessie for reading & commenting!


Vera 5 years ago

My princess is the worst drama ever !!!


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Hi Vera....There were some horrible parts , that I agree. But I think they had great chemistry =)


Cocoa 5 years ago

There is one top drama that you should not miss.... Scent of a woman. Absolutely beautiful show


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

I agree...I loved Scent of a Woman too. I will include it in my 2011 end of year article on Korean dramas!


Tur_Hs 5 years ago

Hi, i couldn't agree more with u, The Greatest Love is the best drama for 2011! i just couldn't get it outta my head after i finished watching..how???!! haha..


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

I'm glad you both liked the article... =)


pixiejoy profile image

pixiejoy 5 years ago from Earthling

You love Korean dramas too! Cool :D


zu ki 5 years ago

Spy myung wol....so good


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks for commenting! I thought it was good at first, but it became draggy later.


amaniey 5 years ago

i have been watching a few korean drama and i think city hunter is the best korean drama after boys over flowers.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 5 years ago from Singapore Author

I love both dramas too!


Shoeshe 5 years ago

I think the princess man is the best korean drama 2011,the love story romeo and juliet verse korea with happy ending.every episode in this drama is really interesting the chemistry between the both main actor is so so gooooooood,and my heart cant stop jumping every time I see the moment they look at each other eyes and holding their hand,i can feel how deep their love is.plus the rating is also high and always stay at first place every time this drama airing in korea. the both main lead is a beautiful persons with greates acting and killer smile the ost is also delicious so I recommendation the princess man for you all.if you want to try watching it just be prepared your heart and plenty of tissue bcos maybe it making you crying until your eyes out.oh I miss them already


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Loved Princess' Man. Finally Park Ji Hoo has a chance to be in the limelight!


SherryDigital profile image

SherryDigital 4 years ago from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR

How about Flower Boy Ramen Shop? That is my favorite, I haven't seen an of these yet. Thanks for the list. I've got some drama watching to get to.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

I've just started watching FBRS because of Jung Il Woo. Didn't include this because when I compiled this list, the drama was not out yet!


Deki Choden 4 years ago

Dream High was a great Kdrama. I really loved the acting of Wooyoung(Jason). Kim Soo Hyung and suzy were awesome ^^ I enjoyed watching DREAM HIGH :)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Yeah..I liked it too. Thanks for reading and commenting here!


sammie 4 years ago

totally agreeing with your recommendation list! i've watched all the dramas on your top five except for the greatest love...i guess that's one of the next dramas i'll be watching then!

on the other hand though, i don't get why you didn't enjoy can you hear my heart. T.T apart from the slightly draggy episodes 5-7, i found it great to watch. the plot was so touching and i loved nam goong min's acting :)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks. You will probably love the drama so give it a try! Personally for Can you Hear My Heart, I felt the acting was good but the story of revenge was a little too cliché for me. And I felt that some plots should have been shortened. But well, we have our personal preferences =)


prnl 4 years ago

i m very much surprised u missed out royal family and miss ripley which were one of the powerfull dramas in 2011 probably the best like u said that lee dae hee was not lovable which shows that she had done great and well acted which made hate her character.although there were up and down it was a great drama all the actors did good .lastly ending was very different.next drama royal family had really powerfull roles all performed really well i feel these dramas were far more better than above dramas as i have watched them too.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

They would have been my favourites if not for reasons mentioned above! Ripley is just not the types of dramas which I can watch for too long. I prefer more humour =) whereas Royal Family had really good twists but it took too long to get there. Anyway, it's personal taste + opinion so nothing wrong with us having a different list =D


sparkezbunny 4 years ago

I love Kdramas too! I agree with all the ones you have listed but I didn't love Dream High for some reason. My daughter liked it so maybe it's an age thing. I totally agree with your number 1. After seeing that I searched for other stuff with Cha seung won and watched City Hall. I liked that one even better. I'm really enjoying "What's up". I don't particularly like the musical ones I've seen so far. I even stopped watching "The Musical" half way through(so boring) but this one is good. I'm a huge fan of Im joo hwan. I tend to follow dramas with actors I like but on the other hand, I'm always finding new ones too....ah....soo many Kdramas but so little time =)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Ooh..haven't managed to watch City Hall and What's Up. If I have time, I will try your suggestions =)


rachelr 4 years ago

I love The Princess Man, its almost perfect! I've seen it twice and still miss it;)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Yes, it's a good drama and I love the ending!


foufou_80 4 years ago

i love kdrama, for this years my prefert is paradise ranch...it's very amazing and i loved watched protect the boss, i love the acting of Jisung and i loved also Hero Jaejoong,he is very cute


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

I haven't watched Paradise Ranch. But Protect the boss is really funny thanks to the 2 "cousins" Jisung and Jaejoong!


Yixin 4 years ago

the princess man...really really an amazing korean drama..compared to secret garden....i miss park shi hoo oppa and moon chae won..love them both...:')


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

I love them too! They had great chemistry together!


sudina 4 years ago

protect the boss was great with plot and acting.But My princess was worst of all


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Oh really? I quite liked My Princess but I guess every one has their own unique taste =)


aimee 4 years ago

for me PASTA is the best drama ever!!


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

I watched Pasta too! Loved their bickering and it definitely made me appreciate what goes into making a good pasta =)


gloryland profile image

gloryland 4 years ago from Oz

Can You Hear My Hearts is one of the best drama for me; beautiful family drama with lots of meaning. City Hunter was my first Lee Min Ho's drama and I'm now his fans =)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks for sharing your opinion =)


ilena 4 years ago

I 110 % agree with your number 1 recommendation . I love the greatest love so muchhh. I watched it third times and I still laugh and moved by the story ^^ I love the story, so romantic and funny LOL also the casts Cha seoung won and Gong hye jin , love them both. I hope can see them acting together again in the next drama :)


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks for commenting. The drama is awesome because of a great story+cast+directing.


viet nguyen 4 years ago

I watched too many korean drama in 2011. To me, The princess' man is the best.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Haha..too many? I wonder how many you watched. I love Princess' Man too.


Sha 4 years ago

I haven't watched Greatest Love yet, but the rest 4 series were all the BEST! For me, Best Korean Drama of 2011 was Dream High, it simply AMAZING, I am not even a fan of K-Pop before but after watching this series my goodness, they are THE BEST when it comes to a TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, singing, dancing & acting in one show that was GREAT! Kim Soo Hyun was really a great actor most especially the Bus Scene where he thinks Suzy (Hye Mi) left him, and the ending part of the drama as well. And the combination of K-Pop singers like Suzy, IU, Wooyoung, Taecyeon & Eun Jung was a Perfect One, I love Suzy character here, on how she grow a lot from the very first episode to end, the interaction of Taecyeon for HyunZy couple was also very interesting, the way Eun Jung became Suzy's rival as well, and the cute love story of IU & Wooyoung, these are just few of the Best Scenes in this drama, not to mention that they also have the best OST's, since they are all singers, plus the dance moves that will rock your world. Dream High was really THE BEST series so far I've watched (right after Full House, My Girl & Princess Hours) Dream High again made me addicted with the Stars.


lilian_sg profile image

lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore Author

Wow! Thanks for your input. You should really watch Greatest Love. It is really funny.

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