As the pandemic is still slowing down economies and affecting tourism, one of the only things left to entertain people as they retreat in the safety of their own homes is their favorite shows and films. While the pandemic did affect many TV productions this year, the K-drama industry continues to premiere new shows every month. In June, one of the new series topped the ranking, which comes as no surprise considering it entered the weekly ranking even before its broadcast started. Below are the top 10 most talked-about Korean dramas in June.
Note: A buzzworthy or most talked-about Korean drama is one that is frequently mentioned or discussed on Korean blogs, forums, social media, and other online platforms. Buzz scores are different from TV ratings. This composite ranking is based on research done by Good Data Corporation, which publishes the most buzzworthy dramas and actors every week. Contact us to learn more about our methodology.
10. Good Casting (SBS) – 3.07%
From its ninth place last month, the series dropped down to the last spot as it airs its final episode on the third week of June. Nonetheless, the drama recorded a double-digit rating during its premiere. Giving off a girl-power concept with its old-school vibe music, Good Casting features a similar feel to the American classic Charlie’s Angels but in Korean ahjummas (middle-aged women) version, complete with real-life adult responsibilities. Starring Choi Kang-hee, Kim Ji-young, Yoo In-young, Lee Jong-hyuk, Lee Sang-yeob, and Lee Jun-young, the series follows three female agents who infiltrate a company as undercover spies to look for the person linked to a certain Michael, the one responsible for the death of one of their agents three years back. (Peak position: No. 7 in the third week)
9. Dinner Mate (MBC) – 4.35%
Starring Song Seung-heon, Seo Ji-hye, Lee Ji-hoon, and Son Na-eun, the feel-good romance drama is based on a webtoon titled Would You Like to Have Dinner Together? written by Park Si-in in 2013. Dinner Mate follows a producer at a digital content company (Seo Ji-hye) who meets a psychiatrist (Song Seung-hoon) by chance, and they end up eating dinner together. He meets her again over dinner the following nights, so they both decide to dine together from then on to discuss matters in their lives, without knowing each other’s personal details. Before the premiere, the drama series already caught the attention of viewers and also Crash Landing on You fans, where Seo Ji-hye previously starred. It reunited her with Kim Jung-hyun (in a cameo role), who was her character’s love interest in the aforementioned series. While Dinner Mate comes off as a romantic comedy, it has an underlying element that serves as an eye-opener for people who don’t open up and share their troubles in life, giving everyone something to relate to. (Peak position: No. 7 in the first and fourth week)
8. Oh My Baby (tvN) – 4.69%
The eighth most talked-about Korean drama in June is Oh My Baby, which also clinched the eighth spot last month. Jang Na-ra takes on a new character in this romantic comedy. Even if she has given up on love, she still yearns to have a child, and fate has a cunning way of granting people’s wishes. On her way to parenthood, she gets entangled with three unusual men: her colleague, played by Jung Gun-joo; a photographer, played by Go Joon; and a pediatrician, played by Park Byung-eun. The viewers are praising the progression of the story as well as Na-ra’s character. Along with its comedic feature and romantic side plots, Oh My Baby is a feel-good family drama that is perfect for all ages to watch and enjoy. (Peak position: No. 6 in the first and second week)
7. My Unfamiliar Family (tvN) – 5.53%
Starring Jung Jin-young, Won Mi-kyung, Choo Ja-hyun, Han Ye-ri, Shin Jae-ha, and Kim Ji-seok, the family drama centers on the sad but undeniable reality of many families of today. As each member of the family grows up, they also tend to grow apart from each other. Some of them may end up opening up to and trusting other people instead of their family. In turn, that family member grows more distant and becomes a stranger to their real family by each passing day. My Unfamiliar Family attempts to reach its audience with a warm and touching message with every episode, with some of the scenes a bit depressing but still with a twist. Fans are lauding the drama because of its beautifully written script, good directing, relatable characters, non-clichéd plot, valuable lessons, and great performances from the cast. (Peak position: No. 5 from the first to the third week)
6. Backstreet Rookie (SBS) – 5.80%
Based on the popular webtoon Convenience Store Saet-byul, written by Hwalhwasan and illustrated by Geumsagong, Backstreet Rookie centers on the quirky and odd romance between a convenience store manager (Ji Chang-wook) and his somewhat suspicious but cheerful part-time employee (Kim Yoo-jung). The series taps on problematic societal realities with its comical take on the life of the two main characters. While the series had inconsistent ratings from the moment it premiered, even becoming controversial right after its first week, it continued to make buzz online. Meanwhile, the two main characters showed undeniable onscreen chemistry from the very start, with their romantic ship sailing from the first scene of them accidentally bumping into each other. (Peak position: No. 3 in the third and fourth week)
5. Mystic Pop-up Bar (JTBC) – 6.01%
If ever you need somewhere to drink and pour your heart out, Mystic Pop-up Bar is there to serve you. The fifth most talked-about Korean drama in June centers on a mysterious eating and drinking establishment run by a bad-tempered woman (Hwang Jung-eum), her part-timer with a mysterious power (Yook Sung-jae), and a former Afterlife police officer (Choi Won-young). They are tasked to help 100,000 customers resolve their problems through their dreams before the time runs out and face the unpleasant consequence awaits them. Based on the webtoon Ssanggabpocha by Bae Hye-soo, the drama series attracted attention because of its similar vibe to Hotel del Luna, and viewers lauded the drama’s comedic take of its tragic plots. It is the first JTBC drama to air every Wednesday and Thursday evening in eight years. While the series has already closed its curtains a few weeks ago, Hwang Jung-eum is back on the small screen as she has taken on another role in a new series, Men Are Men, which premiered this week. (Peak position: No. 4 in the first week)
4. Kkondae Intern (MBC) – 8.07%
Still on the fourth spot from last month’s buzz rankings, Kkondae Intern follows an office worker, played by Park Hae-jin, who quits his job because of his conservative and old-school boss, played by Kim Eung-soo. He applies at another food company and gets hired, and his hard work lands him the position as the head of the sales and marketing department. One day, he gets a senior intern who turns out to be his former boss at his previous job. Aside from the rather comedic take on office events, the series presents a relatable and timely situation of trying to bridge the wide gap between the old and new generations of corporate employees. The series is written by a rookie screenwriter who won MBC’s Drama Screenplay Contest in 2018, and the PD is known for other hit series such as 100 Days My Prince (2018) and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (2016–2017). (Peak position: No. 3 in the first and second week)
3. Once Again (KBS2) – 12.07%
From the tenth spot last April to the fifth spot last month, Once Again climbs up once more to claim this month’s third spot for buzz rankings. The series is a family drama that centers on the divorce of one of the Song family’s daughters from her husband who is a fellow doctor. The two met in medical school, fell in love, got married after they graduated, and worked in the same hospital. But as every couple goes through rough patches at one point inf their married life, some never recover and often separate. Starring Lee Min-jung and Lee Sang-yeob, the show highlights the typical family drama element as each member continues to discover the true meaning of familial love and self-happiness. (Peak position: No. 2 in all four weeks)
2. The King: Eternal Monarch (SBS) – 13.74%
Lee Min-ho’s comeback drama The King: Eternal Monarch ended in the second week of June, but it still clinched the second spot of the most talked-about Korean dramas for the whole month. The series follows a king of a monarchical Korea in a parallel world, played by Lee Min-ho, who time travels between universes and meets a feisty and headstrong detective, played by Kim Go-eun. When a traitor threatens the balance of both worlds through a magical flute, the portal between their worlds has to be closed, and the king faces a dilemma between saving his kingdom or choosing his love. The romantic fantasy series encountered many controversies and drawbacks before and during its premiere, but it continued to top the buzz ratings since its first episode. The series garnered both positive and negative feedback from its audience throughout the whole show, as some pointed out the drama’s failure to reach fans’ expectations. (Peak position: No. 1 in the first and second week)
1. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (tvN) – 16.65%
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay got off to a great start, and it keeps getting better and better with each episode. Starring Kim So-hyun and Seo Ye-ji, the psychological romance drama follows a health worker in a psychiatric ward who catches the attention of a famous children’s book writer who developed an anti-social personality disorder due to a childhood trauma. As they spend more time with each other, the two eventually start to heal each other’s emotional and psychological wounds. The series has an interesting take on mental health issues, as it attempts to present the narrative of people with mental health problems in almost like a fairy-tale manner but with a dark twist. But more than that, the actors themselves are stealing the spotlight from the series. The audience has pointed out the emotional and climactic performance of the lead cast, in particular Seo Ye-ji. (Peak position: No. 1 in the third and fourth week)
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