10 Best 2023 Korean Dramas Right Now

Updated June 13, 2024 • Staff

Get ready to be swept away by a K-drama wave that's showing no signs of slowing down soon. These ten Korean dramas of 2023 are the epitome of binge-worthy entertainment. With their addictive storylines, sizzling chemistry, and a dash of that irresistible K-drama magic, these shows are capturing hearts across the globe. Whether you're a seasoned K-drama addict or just starting to explore this colourful world, dive into the best 2023 Korean dramas that are making screens sizzle with drama, romance, and sheer entertainment.

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10.

My Lovely Boxer

In the era of behind-the-athlete documentaries, the timing of a series like My Lovely Boxer is perfect. The series follows a young boxing prodigy, Lee Kwon-Sook (Kim So-Hye), who suddenly disappears at the height of her career to escape the toxicity of her home life and avoid becoming commodified as a boxer. In its first two episodes, it's clear that this isn't about the sport itself. Rather, as Kwon-Sook and sports agent Kim Tae-Young (Lee Sang-yub) cross paths, the exploitative practices in the sports industry are quickly exposed, showing the disconnect between sports as a profession - both a passion and a way to make ends meet - and sports as entertainment at any cost. The show wastes no time glamourizing an athlete's life but instead illuminates every dark corner waiting to make a quick buck. And like the tell-all documentaries, the horrors behind the scenes are upsetting, but keep you watching. 

Our staff rating: 7.7/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Kim Hyeong-mook, Kim Jin-woo, Kim So-hye, Lee Sang-yeob, Park Ji-hwan
Director: Choi Sang-yeol, Hong Eun-mi
9.

Lies Hidden in My Garden

A mysterious rotting smell and hard thuds heard from above start the series off on an eerie note. Moon Joo-ran (Kim Tae-hee) is a seemingly perfect housewife, but under the guise of her well-kept home are a secretive husband and a son who possibly resents her (currently unknown) condition. Meanwhile, Chu Sang-eun (Lim Ji-yeon) is trapped in an abusive marriage and dreams of escape. As Joo-ran becomes paranoid about the smell in her backyard and Sang-eun gathers evidence to leave her husband, the two women find a harrowing revelation. Leads Kim and Lim immediately offer memorable, haunting performances, while the setup described above is a captivating start to a psychological thriller that promises a web of secrets and lies.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Actor: Baek Hyun-joo, Cha Mi-kyeong, Cha Sung-je, Choi Jae-rim, Im Ji-yeon, Kim Sung-oh, Kim Tae-hee, Lim Ji-yeon
Director: Jung Jee-hyun
8.

Mask Girl

Mask Girl is a dark comedic thriller that follows people on the fringes of beauty norms trying to live with their pain and shame. Low self-esteem and a desire for attention are at the center of the drama, making it relatable and easy to empathize with even when everything goes awry. Although Mo-mi, the titular Mask Girl, is at the forefront of the narrative, subsequent episodes switch to new perspectives, allowing us to interact with Mo-mi in different ways. And with each new character's POV, we witness how other ostracized people find comfort in and hurt each other when there's no one else to turn to. The first three episodes are intense and surprisingly violent, but ultimately seeing the extremes of the discrimination that beauty standards perpetuate makes the story worthwhile.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Ahn Jae-hong, Ko Hyun-jung, Lee Han-byul, Nana, Yeom Hye-ran
Director: Kim Yong-hoon
Rating: TV-MA
7.

Star Wars: Visions

More a showcase of various styles of animation than an expansion of Star Wars lore (and all the better for it), Visions finds some of the freshest expression for these tired tropes—rendered in what are easily the best visuals this franchise has ever seen. Across the 18 episodes of its first two seasons, the series communicates the mystical nature of this universe with much more ease than the live-action films do. And even as Visions begins to repeat some of the exact same ideas and story structures in multiple episodes, the repetition also begins to feel like the reinforcement of a universal narrative throughout time and space: there will always be light that will counter the darkness, often coming from the bonds between family and friends.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Free Watching Options:

Watch Star Wars: Visions on Hulu for free
6.

Behind Your Touch

When the psychometric powers of the main character are only activated when she touches a butt, you know that Behind Your Touch will be as silly and hilarious as the show’s powers. The K-drama gets into ridiculous moments, oftentimes inspired by other dramas from the action, horror, and romance genres, but done in exaggeration for comedic effect. And the cast really gets into the action, with Han Ji-min and Lee Min-ki’s excellent chemistry and timing able to deliver the jokes written by the team. As the first season will end soon, it’s hard to say if the ending will be as good as its start, but so far, Behind Your Touch takes interesting comedic twists of the K-Drama tropes we all know and love.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Han Ji-min, Joo Min-kyung, Jung Yi-rang, Kim Hee-won, Lee Min-ki, Lee Seung-joon, Park Hyeok-kwon, Park No-shik, Park Sung-yeon, Suho, Yang Jae-sung
Director: Kim Sok-yun
5.

Divorce Attorney Shin

There are plenty of divorce-related Korean dramas, but Divorce Attorney Shin is a gem among them. Based on the webtoon with the same name, the show is centered on an eccentric lawyer, whose trot-dancing ways and unconventional handling of clients doesn’t detract from his winning cases. Instead of the ruthless and collected attorneys we’ve seen previously, Shin Sung-han has a human side, a side that enables him to empathize with his clients. And like the lawyer, the show does the same, handling multiple cases, without discarding them by the end of the episode, and embracing its nuances in a well-rounded way.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Cho Seung-woo, Han Hye-jin, Jung Moon-sung, Kim Sung-kyun, Lee Eun-jae
Rating: TV-MA
4.

Castaway Diva

After a whole pandemic, rising inflation, and a whole climate crisis the world hasn’t yet resolved, it can be hard to feel hope towards a new day. However, the third collaboration between director Oh Choong-hwan and screenwriter Park Hye-ryun feels like a reminder to keep hope despite life’s circumstances. Castaway Diva has the classic manic pixie dream girl, but you have to admit that Seo Mok-ha’s optimism and survival instincts despite serious life circumstances makes it easy for her to root for. The way she appreciates what modern life has to offer makes it easy to appreciate how much good came up even just within 15 years. And with an unexpected mix of ecology and abuse themes, it stands out from other dramas, even when it gets instantly and unexpectedly serious.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Cha Hak-yeon, Chae Jong-hyeop, Kim Hyo-jin, Kim Joo-heon, Park Eun-bin
Director: Oh Choong-hwan
3.

Death’s Game

When life gets tough, especially without money or opportunities, it can be hard to cling onto life. There’s the real temptation to end it all, but what if Death is tired of this last resort? Death’s Game reimagines life after Choi’s suicide as a video game, whose limited lives function like reincarnation into different save points, and whose game over means eternal damnation in hell. With such an interesting premise from the popular webtoon, some of the best actors in Korea, and no way of being able to predict what would happen in Choi’s multiple, varied lives, Death’s Game reinvents plenty of today’s K-Drama tropes while possibly reconceptualizing how we feel about life and death… if it’s able to stick the landing when the second half drops this January.

Our staff rating: 7.9/10
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Actor: Choi Si-won, Go Youn-jung, Jang Seung-jo, Kim Jae-wook, Kim Ji-hun, Kim Kang-hoon, Kim Mi-kyeong, Lee Do-hyun, Lee Jae-wook, Nam Kyung-eup, Oh Jung-se, Park So-dam, Seo In-guk, Sung Hoon, Yoo In-soo
Director: Ha Byung-hoon

Free Watching Options:

Watch Death’s Game on Amazon Prime for free
2.

Queenmaker

Full of twists and turns, Queenmaker is a corporate turned political K-drama where a corporate fixer plays campaign chess against her former employers and retail conglomerate the Eunsung Group. Centered on her and the earnest human rights lawyer she’s trying to get elected, the show has Do-hee mentoring Kyung-sook in the art of PR, this time for the good. Even as the show reuses the genre’s classic tropes, the series’ plot points are entertaining, with each new twist naturally occurring as each side tries to dig dirt on the other and use it for political clout. It’s one of the most intriguing K-dramas we’ve seen this year.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Hyun Bong-sik, Jin Kyung, Kim Hee-ae, Kim Sae-byuk, Lee Kyung-young, Moon So-ri, Ok Ja-yeon, Ryu Soo-young, Seo Yi-sook
Rating: TV-MA
1.

The Good Bad Mother

Life never goes the way we expect, especially for those who don’t have plenty of options. Because of this, parents strive to create a path for their kids to the best possible future they can manage, even if it causes some resentment. The Good Bad Mother portrays this, with some melodramatic flair, but the way the series tells its story is complex, layered, but totally compelling – as Jin Young-soon tries to reconnect with her son while also seeking justice for her husband, and Choi Kang-ho looks for family in any way he can. And it’s balanced with lighthearted humor and slice-of-life sequences that celebrate the lives of the ordinary people.

Our staff rating: 8.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ahn Eun-jin, Choi Moo-sung, Lee Do-hyun, Ra Mi-ran, Yoo In-soo
Rating: TV-MA

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