10 Highest-Rated Korean Dramas in 2017 (Cable Category)
10. Because This Is My First Life (3.5 %)
The much beloved slice-of-life romance Because This Is My First Life occupies the 10th spot on this list of highest-rated Korean dramas in 2017. The series started off with a 2 percent viewership but achieved almost 5 percent for its final episode. It has a compelling storytelling that addresses the perspective of today’s generation on marriage and dating.
Synopsis: A dating app engineer and a screenwriter end up marrying each other for him to collect monthly rent and for her to have a comfortable room, but things become complicated when they fall in love for real.
2016’s Top 10: 38 Task Force
9. The Most Beautiful Goodbye in the World (4.2 %)
The remake of the 1990s drama of the same name is the latest success of the writer who penned the original and the award-winning family drama Dear My Friends (Best Drama, 2017 Baeksang Arts Award). The series has only four episodes, with the first three ones pulling in around 3.5 percent viewership and the last one a whopping 6 percent. The heart-wrenching drama about a dying mother was loved by the viewers.
Synopsis: A dedicated mother learns one day that she has terminal cancer, which prompts her ungrateful family to gather in support of her and provide her a satisfying life during her remaining days.
2016’s Top 9: Let’s Fight Ghost
8. Voice (4.4 %)
Voice is literally crime and gore, but these things did not scare viewers away and are the very elements that made the series a success. The series is the first among cable dramas to achieve 5 percent viewership after just three episodes and although the ratings fluctuate throughout its run, the numbers remain decent and impressive especially for a crime drama.
Synopsis: Two police officers who work at an emergency call center and have lost their loved ones at the hands of a serial killer team up to solve the murder case and catch the killer who murdered his wife and her father.
2016’s Top 8: Drinking Solo
7. Secret Forest (4.6 %)
Secret Forest seems a a pretty strong contender to win this year’s Best Drama from Baeksang Arts Awards as manifested by positive reviews from critics and viewers, including Kim Eun-sook, writer of Descendants of the Sun, who was very well impressed by its screenplay. Popular Kdrama blog Dramabeans named it as 2017’s Best Drama. It’s really a must-see; one who have seen it could hardly disagree.
Synopsis: An emotionless prosecutor and a fierce detective cop work together to solve a serial murder case involving the prosecutor’s office, and the truth surprises them all.
2016’s Top 7: The Good Wife
6. Tunnel (4.7 %)
Beating Secret Forest by a very small margin is another crime drama—Tunnel. The drama was off to a modest start with 2.7 percent viewership but it went on to achieve a peak of over 6 percent. A protagonist you could root for and his cute relationship with his daughter is one thing that makes this drama adorable. The lead actor’s performance is very good and the time-travel element is used effectively to drive the direction of the story.
Synopsis: A police detective from 1986 travels to the present after passing through a tunnel while chasing a serial killer. After finding out that the case remains unsolved even after 30 years, he works with another detective and a criminal profiler to catch the murderer.
2016’s Top 6: The K2
5. Avengers Social Club (5.2 %)
Avengers Social Club is the fifth highest-rated Korean series in 2017 (cable category). With ahjummas as the protagonists, no one expected the series to become a hit and reach a peak viewership of over 6 percent. It broke records during its run and ended up as one of the highest-rated dramas of cable network tvN.
Synopsis: A heiress, a fish store owner, and an ordinary housewife form a team with one common mission to complete—seek revenge against those who hurt and betrayed them.
2016’s Top 5: Dear My Friends
4. Live Up To Your Name (5.4 %)
The second time travel drama on this list, Live Up To Your Name boasts of funny and adorable characters you can relate to and root for. Its the lead actors’ performance that made this drama hard to forget, and it’s their adventure back and forth the present that could make you involved with their lives. The series had a modest start in viewership but it managed to improve right after the pilot episode until it reached a peak of almost 7 percent.
Synopsis: An oriental medicine doctor from 17th century Joseon travels into the present and meets his modern-day counterpart, a doctor who believes only in western medicine.
2016’s Top 4: Cheese In The Trap
3. Woman of Dignity (6.6 %)
Woman of Dignity is not your typical melodrama. Well, its ratings say that at least. Although it started off with a low 2-percent viewership, it recorded a gradual increase until it pulled of a very successful final broadcast which reaped over 12 percent in viewership—a feat no other cable drama has achieved. A social conflict between an upper class and a lower class woman takes center stage in the show’s story.
Synopsis: An elegant woman lives a life of luxury and peace with his rich husband, until a poor woman walks into her life and tries to take her place and climb the social ladder.
2016’s Top 3: Oh Hae Young Again
2. Prison Playbook (7.56 %)
With PD Shin Won-ho’s brilliant record as the man behind the massive hit Reply or Answer Me series, no one will be surprised that its next project will reap a similar or even greater success. Indeed, the drama was a hit as far as ratings are concerned. PD Shin’s signature directing style—with clever use of flashbacks and a touch of comic relief from lovable characters—is such a factor instrumental to the drama’s success. It started off with a very decent rating and ended with a whopping 11 percent.
Synopsis: A star pitcher hero is about to join the Major League but he ends up in prison after an incident and needs to adjust to his new life.
2016’s Top 2: Signal
1. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (7.65 %)
The highest-rated Korean drama in 2017 (cable category) is the romantic comedy Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. This drama is the first one to surpass 5 percent in viewership in the second episode, an achievement followed by numbers hovering around 7.6 percent. Unlike Goblin which has a powerful male lead character, a “strong woman” takes center stage in this drama. Interestingly, it was written by the same writer (Baek Mi-kyung) who wrote Woman of Dignity.
Synopsis: Do Bong-soon, a woman with superhuman strength, gets caught up in a serial murder case around her neighborhood and her CEO boss and long-time crush have to live together in one house as a result.
2016’s Top 1: Goblin