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13 Most Popular and High-Rated TvN Dramas

Updated on April 5, 2019
Mare-sensei profile image

Mare is a certified K-drama and K-pop enthusiast. She always likes to discover new things about the wide world of Korean entertainment.

TvN: The Home of Record-Breaking K-Dramas

The famous South Korean cable channel, tvN, is known for producing many successful Korean dramas of our time. They produced some of our favorite hit series that we love to watch again and again. Whatever the genre is, there is always a best show from this amazing channel. In this list, find out tvN's most remarkable dramas in cable television history, together with their respective highest viewership rating.

1. Reply 1988 (18.8%)

For 20 episodes, Reply's third season made us realize that we need to treasure family, friends and relationships. Set in the year 1988, it revolves around five friends and their families living in the same neighborhood and how they slowly develop their characters. The captivating friendship and love between Deok-sun and Taek captivates us, because she fell in love with a lonely genius, and he loved her imperfections. It has a good rating from the start, but as the story slowly progresses, it became more and more interesting and the ratings went up until it reaches the highest on its final episode.


  • Hyeri as Sung Deok-seon/Sung Soo-yeon
  • Park Bo-gum as Choi Taek
  • Go Kyung-pyo as Sung Sun-woo
  • Ryu Jun-yeol as Kim Jung-hwan
  • Lee Dong-hwi as Ryu Dong-ryong

2. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (18.6%)

Simply known as "Goblin", this phenomenal drama swept our hearts and minds instantly as it constantly topped the ratings in its time slot. It has 16 episodes but due to popular demand, it has an additional 3 special episodes. This is not your usual rom-com, because it has a fantasy element to it that seemed somehow controversial to others. Anyway, everyone who got caught of the "Goblin fever" will never forget how Gong Yoo handsomely portrayed the role of an immortal being. He bagged the Best Actor Award at the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards in 2017.


  • Gong Yoo as Kim Shin (Goblin)
  • Kim Go-eun as Ji Eun-tak
  • Lee Dong-wook as Wang Yeo (Grim Reaper)
  • Yoo In-na as Sunny
  • Yook Sung-jae as Yoo Deok-hwa

3. Mr. Sunshine (18.1%)

Praised for its excellent production and deep narrative about Korea's history, Mr. Sunshine won the "Drama of the Year" award at the 6th APAN Star Awards, as well as the "Grand Prize" for main actor, Lee Byung-hun. Cinematography was elegantly executed in a manner that no other drama has ever done before, and the narration was made perfectly for us to understand what life like was during the old Seoul days. Another interesting factor is the main actress that portrayed a strong female character, and how she became strong in fighting for independence. Overall, this drama deserves a big round of applause.


  • Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi
  • Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-shin
  • Yoo Yeon-seok as Goo Dong-mae
  • Kim Min-jung as Kudo Hina
  • Byun Yo-han as Kim Hee-sung

4. 100 Days My Prince (14.4%)

A sweet and romantic period drama that will make you smile, laugh, and cry. "100 Days My Prince" has won the hearts of K-drama lovers with its cute, heart-fluttering romance about the crown prince who loses his memory, and his 100-days adventure outside the palace as a commoner. His experience as a noble guy turned into a man with a lowly status creates a bright and funny side to the story, as he never forgotten the ways of the noble despite having amnesia. Garnering positive response, it became a big success especially when it reached its highest rating during the last episode.


  • Do Kyung-soo as Lee Yul / Na Won-deuk
  • Nam Ji-hyun as Yeon Hong-shim / Yoon Yi-seo
  • Jo Sung-ha as Kim Cha-eon
  • Kim Seon-ho as Jung Jae-yoon

5. Signal (12.5%)

One of the most unbeatable high-rated drama down in television history is the 2016 award-winning series, Signal. Within its first episode down to the very last, it attracted the attention of audiences for its brilliant acting, solid plot, and excellent production. Inspired by real-life criminal incidents in Korea, such as the infamous Hwaseong serial murders, it has an exciting element about solving the long-time murder case that is linked into series of events in the present. Thanks to a mysterious walkie-talkie that transmits signal from the year 2000, the main characters gained clues in solving the biggest question mark of the crime.


  • Lee Je-hoon as Park Hae-young
  • Kim Hye-soo as Cha Soo-hyun
  • Cho Jin-woong as Lee Jae-han

7. Prison Playbook (11.1%)

Reply 1994 is the second season of the Reply anthology series, which is known for its nonlinear slice-of-life drama set in the 90's, giving off the unique retro vibe. In this season, the story focuses on six handsome university students who live together at a boarding house in Seoul. They are under one roof with the daughter of the house named Na-jung. The narration goes back and forth to the past and to the present, leaving a big question mark as to who will be Na-jung's husband.


  • Go Ara as Sung Na-jung
  • Jung Woo as Sseureki
  • Yoo Yeon-seok as Chilbong
  • Kim Sung-kyun as Samcheonpo
  • Son Ho-jun as Haitai
  • Baro as Binggeure
  • Min Do-hee as Jo Yoon-jin
  • Sung Dong-il as Sung Dong-il
  • Lee Il-hwa as Lee Il-hwa

6. Reply 1994 (11.5%)

Showing the challenging lives of prisoners behind the iron bars, Prison Playbook is an interesting drama depicting the crime and injustice that made the superstar baseball player experience the cruel life of being a convict. Comical in a serious sense, the main character Kim Je-hyuk plays the role of a smart guy inside the prison who thinks outside the box. He later made acquaintances to other people in the penitentiary and in the detention center. This Wednesday-Thursday hit drama was awarded as the Best Drama of 2018 at the 12th Korean Cable TV Awards, and it was Park Hae-soo's first-ever lead role in TV.


  • Park Hae-soo as Kim Je-hyuk
  • Jung Kyung-ho as Lee Joon-ho
  • Krystal Jung as Kim Ji-ho

8. The Crowned Clown (10.8%)

Inspired by the 2012 blockbuster film, Masquerade, "The Crowned Clown" takes over the small screen featuring the young promising actor Yeo Jin-goo who played a double role as a king and a clown. This historical drama received positive reviews in all aspect, especially in keeping the viewer's interest for 16 episodes. It was set on Joseon era when an evil king meets his doppelganger who is just a mere clown, and gave him the throne and the power. In order to survive inside the palace, the clown learned how to play politics. While keeping his true identity, he can't help but fall in love with the queen, who thinks he is still her husband. No doubt, this is one of the best K-dramas of 2019.


  • Yeo Jin-goo as Ha-seon (clown) / Lee Heon (king)
  • Kim Sang-kyung as Lee Kyu (Chief Royal Secretary)
  • Lee Se-young as Yoo So-woon (queen)

9. Encounter (10.3%)

What will happen if two big names in Korean industry makes the biggest boyfriend and girlfriend on-screen encounter? For 16 episodes, fans have anticipated the chemistry and the heart-skipping romance between the award-winning actress, Song Hye-kyo and Korea's most lovable actor, Park Bo-gum. This new melodrama kicked off a good start by reigning over the ratings list. Following a simple concept of a freelance man and a wealthy woman, it shows how the two different worlds met and hope to achieve their desire to have a simple life together. With its warm, light, and mellow mood, you'll enjoy watching it if you need some time to relax and chill for a moment.


  • Song Hye-kyo as Cha Soo-hyun
  • Park Bo-gum as Kim Jin-hyuk

10. Memories of the Alhambra (10%)

When the queen of Korean drama is paired with a top-notch actor, it's definitely going to be a big blast. Showcasing the "Park Shin-hye and Hyun Bin" couple, the fantasy-suspense drama, Memories of the Alhambra was praised for its uniqueness, creative story line, fresh concept, and mind-blowing twists. This will make you think deeply as it dives through a groundbreaking virtual game that relates to the characters' life story and background. It also catches the audience's attention with its wonderful cinematography, featuring some of the most beautiful places abroad, including Spain and Barcelona.


  • Hyun Bin as Yoo Jin-woo
  • Park Shin-hye as Jung Hee-joo / Emma
  • Park Hoon as Cha Hyung-seok

11. Another Oh Hae Young (9.9%)

Also known as "Another Miss Oh", this series is about a man named Park Do-kyung, who became confused with two woman with the same name, Oh Hae-young. He's about to tie the knot with Hae-young, but was left broken-hearted when she ran away on their wedding day. Feeling desperate and miserable, he plotted a revenge for Hae-young, but he was surprised to learn that it's a different woman who bears the same name as his supposed wife. The funny love story of these two left us hooked for 18 episodes, and it held the record highest audience rating for a tvN Monday-Tuesday show. Due to its popularity, it was extended by 2 episodes and 2 specials.


  • Eric Mun as Park Do-kyung
  • Seo Hyun-jin as Oh Hae-young (Soil)
  • Jeon Hye-bin as Oh Hae-young (Gold)

12. Lawless Lawyer (8.9%)

With a pool of veteran and award-winning actors, this 16-episode drama is a masterpiece of thrill and excitement. Also known as Lawless Attorney, it was a commercial hit in Korean television. Set in a corrupted fictional city called Kisung, the story focuses on Bong Sang-pil and Ha Jae-yi, who are lawyers with dark experiences in the past. Together they formed the Lawless Law Firm in order to correct the law and fight the injustices brought about by the villainous judge, Cha Moon-sook. This is a legal drama that excites you every episode, leaving some breathtaking moments with great pacing and excellent action scenes.


  • Lee Joon-gi as Bong Sang-pil
  • Seo Ye-ji as Ha Jae-yi
  • Lee Hye-young as Cha Moon-sook
  • Choi Min-soo as Ahn Oh-joo

13. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim (8.6%)

"What's Wrong With Secretary Kim" features the adorable and sweet Park couple that made our hearts flutter. Based on the novel of the same title, this drama aired for 16 episodes and became the most search Korean language drama of 2018 on Google in South Korea. This rom-com series has a simple plot which is mainly about the professional and romantic relationship between Lee Young-joon, the smart and handsome Vice Chairman of Yumyeong Group with an arrogant and narcissistic personality, and his secretary of nine years, Kim Mi-so. Mi-so is a beautiful and talented woman, but Young-joon's hard to understand character makes her office life difficult. Later, she developed romantic feelings towards her conceited boss, and their funny love story continued to bloom.


  • Park Seo-joon as Lee Young-joon
  • Park Min-young as Kim Mi-so

What is your favorite TVN drama?

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© 2019 Mare-sensei


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