Final episodes say a lot about a drama’s success in terms of viewership ratings. Those that started off with high ratings and sustained it tend to finish their broadcast with equally impressive figures or even higher while those that could hardly attract viewers end with relatively low ratings stemming from the loyal fans. Descendants of the Sun and Goblin topped last year’s ranking, and of course, we all know how successful those dramas have been. The following ranking lists the 10 highest-rated Korean drama finale in 2017, with a legal thriller and a melodrama occupying the top spots. (legend: free to air category | cable category)
10. Falsify (11.7 %) & Because This Is My First Life (4.9 %)
The gripping plot and the amazing performance of the cast have made it possible for Falsify to become part of this list. Because This Is My First Life also boasts of talented actors, but what made it succeed relied heavily on its unique storytelling that touches on topics that matter to young viewers today—marriage and what it truly means.
9. Man Who Dies To Live (13.0 %) & Voice (5.1 %)
Man Who Dies To Live unexpectedly became a hit for MBC thanks to its humor and family drama that touches the hearts of many. In contrast, Voice achieved a record-breaking viewership due to its suspenseful and thrilling elements coupled with the stellar performance of Jang Hyuk.
8. Ruler: Master of the Mask (13.4 %) & The Most Beautiful Goodbye In The World (6.2 %)
Coming 8th on the list of the 10 highest-rated Korean drama finale in 2017 is the sageuk that captured many viewers throughout its entire run. Its plot and leads are instrumental to its success, as is the case for The Most Beautiful Goodbye In The World which has a very tragic but relatable plot and veteran actors playing the main characters.
7. Fight For My Way (13.8 %) & Avengers Social Club (6.3 %)
The much-loved Fight For My Way has come this far thanks to its simple yet realistic plot plus an adorable couple. Avengers Social Club has no cute couple viewers would like to see and root for, but it has the story and the relatable characters one would need to love a series.
6. Black Knight (13.9 %) & Tunnel (6.5 %)
Black Knight was a winner in its time slot during its run thanks to a love story many viewers found irresistible and the natural charm of Kim Rae-won. On one hand, Tunnel owes its success to the writing department and the impressive performance of its lead actor.
5. Witch’s Court (14.3 %) & Secret Forest (6.6 %)
Occupying the 5th spots are dramas where the main character is a prosecutor. In Witch’s Court, it is the characterization of the female protagonist and the refreshing subject matter that won the audience’s attention. As for Secret Forest, the plot and the performance of the actors did the job.
4. Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People (14.4 %) & Live Up To Your Name (6.9 %)
Rebel‘s one strength is a trusted hero that has taken residence in the viewers’ hearts, and if the plot is something that couldn’t make you wait for the next episode, it is only fitting for the series to reap such a high rating. Meanwhile, Live Up To Your Name has adorable protagonists and a good plot that could easily woo many viewers.
3. Chief Kim (17.2 %) & Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (9.0 %)
Namgoong Min is a lead actor material as proven by Chief Kim and Falsify which are found in this ranking. His performance in the comedy series is superb, drawing a lot of viewers and driving people to stay tuned to KBS2. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is a certified hit and a commercial success, thanks to an extraordinary heroine and a cute romance.
2. Whisper (20.3 %) & Prison Playbook (11.2 %)
Whisper is the only drama, other than Defendant, that surpassed the 20 percent viewership. The fast-paced and gripping plot is quite something, and so is the performance of the cast. Meanwhile, Prison Playbook is an anticipated drama known before its broadcast to succeed the PD Shin Won-ho way. It’s the director’s name and credits that made the series one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in 2017.
1. Defendant (28.3 %) & Woman of Dignity (12.1 %)
Defendant nearly reached 30 %, an amazing achievement any drama today could hardly duplicate. The series owes its success to award-winning actor Ji Sung and the screenwriter. Woman of Dignity also has an amazing cast, so when the writing department did their job very well to level up the melodrama element, the end result is a final rating that could match that of Signal.