We are finally at the half of the year with no signs of the pandemic slowing down. But like the famous adage says, “The show must go on,” the Korean dramas are also far from closing down their curtains for the meantime. Below are the top 10 most talked-about K-dramas for the month of May.
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. Born Again (KBS2) – 2.49%
First on the list is Born Again, which clinched the 10th spot for the month of May. Starring Jang Ki-yong, Jin Se-yeon, and Lee Soo-hyuk, it tells the tragic story of the intertwined fates of our three main characters through two timelines—the 1980s and the present. After their tragic deaths in the 1980s, they are reincarnated in the present time. Their destinies are connected, bringing the three of them together again after reincarnation. Viewers liked the series’ concept that steered away from the usual love triangles, showing another perspective to romance. The plot is also unpredictable and keeps the audience second guessing every now and then. The storyline also highlights a tragic, twisted, and mysterious narrative that tells the humans’ purest emotion when it comes to love, relationship, second chances, and death. (Peak position: No. 9 from the first to the third week)
9. Good Casting (SBS) – 2.71%
With its old-school vibe music, undercover female agents, and dynamic characters who scream girl power, Good Casting successfully recorded a double-digit rating on their premiere. It has a good record in terms of TV and buzz ratings. Fans pointed out the vibe similar 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 revolves around three female agents who go undercover at a company to look for the person who is 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)
8. Oh My Baby (tvN) – 3.23%
Jang Na-ra returns to the small screen once again after her starring role in VIP. Opposite her role as a wife with a cheating husband in her last series, she takes on a new role in this romantic-comedy drama as a career woman who has given up on love but yearns to have a child. 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. 5 in the second week)
7. Mystic Pop-up Bar (JTBC) – 3.41%
Mystic Pop-up Bar revolves around a mysterious eating and drinking establishment run by a bad-tempered woman, played by Hwang Jung-eum, a part-timer, played by Yook Sung-jae, and a former Afterlife police officer, played Choi Won-young. Before the time is up, they have to help 100,000 customers resolve their problems through their dreams. Based on the webtoon Ssanggabpocha by Bae Hye-soo, the new series exude a certain Hotel del Luna vibe, and fans already have so many theories about the lead characters’ past lives. The viewers pointed out the character chemistry and lauded the drama’s comedy in between the tragic side plots. It is the first JTBC drama to air every Wednesday and Thursday evening in eight years.
6. Find Me in Your Memory (MBC) – 4.09%
If you’re more into slow romance with little bits of mystery, then this series is one of the perfect candidates. Find Me in Your Memory is a heartwarming narrative of the romance between a news anchor who can remember everything in his life due to a memory condition and a rising actress with a forgotten past. With the heartwarming performance of Kim Dong-wook and Moon Ga-young, the love team received praise from fans for their undeniable on-screen chemistry despite their age gap. Even with the slow-paced plot and predictable storyline, the fans showed appreciation to the actors and supporting characters for their excellent performance. The directing and storytelling of the drama also helped maintain a stable narrative of emotions throughout the story that didn’t overwhelm the audience. (Peak position: No. 4 in the first and second week)
5. Once Again (KBS2) – 4.66%
From the tenth spot last month, Once Again climbs to the fifth spot for the month of May. The series is a family drama that tells the story of 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 their lives soon take a different turn as they struggle with their marriage. Starring Lee Min-jung and Lee Sang-yeob who breathed life into the lead characters, the show highlights the typical family drama element as each member continues to discover the true meaning of familial love and self-happiness. Fans are drawn to the series because of the realistic characters and their struggles as they maintain their relationship with each other. (Peak position: No. 5 in the third and fourth week)
4. Kkondae Intern (MBC) – 5.57%
Coming up on our fourth spot is Kkondae Intern, which tells the story of an office worker (Park Hae-jin) who quits his job because of his old-school boss (Kim Eung-soo). He is hired at a food company later on, where 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. In between the comedic scenes, the viewers can relate to each of the office characters and the 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 third and fourth week)
3. Hospital Playlist (tvN) – 16.74%
With no complicated storyline, character conflicts, or stressful scenes, fans are going for the show for its relaxing vibe and feel-good story. Hospital Playlist is the second installment of the Wise Life drama series and tells the friendship of five medical doctors. They have been friends since their days in medical school until they became full-pledged doctors and formed a band. Jo Jung-suk, Yoo Yeon-seok, Jung Kyung-ho, Kim Dae-myung, and Jeon Mi-do all graced us with their acting and musical skills as friends, bandmates, and colleagues. If you’re a fan of the Prison Playbook and Reply 1988, Hospital Playlist exudes the same vibe as the aforementioned dramas as the director of both shows and the writer of Reply 1988 are the ones who led the production of Hospital Playlist. The drama is already renewed for a second season, but the production team has yet to announce other details amidst the pandemic. (Peak position: No. 1 in the fourth week)
2. The World of the Married (JTBC) –18.53%
Breaking the record as the highest-rated cable Korean drama of all time, The World of the Married has single-handedly dominated the chart of the most talked-about Korean dramas last month and has now clinched the second spot for the month of May after it ended on the second week. It tells the story of a successful career and family woman whose perfect life is ruined by her husband’s extramarital affairs with a much younger woman. While infidelity is not entirely a new thing in the K-drama plots, the series’ approach to the trope might be the biggest and maddest story of adultery we’ve seen in K-dramaland. Every episode gave the viewers the shock of their lives, not to mention the steamy scenes, intense fighting, and vengeful twists between the main characters Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-jun, and Han So-hee. Kim Hee-ae previously bagged the Best Actress award for TV in the recently concluded 56th Baeksang Arts Awards. (Peak position: No. 1 in first and second week)
1. The King: Eternal Monarch (SBS) –19.95%
The ever-majestic roles that Lee Min-ho played in his past dramas always strike fans at heart, and his new royal character in The King: Eternal Monarch is no different. The series revolves around an emperor, played by Lee Min-ho, who time travels between parallel universes and teams up with a detective, played by Kim Go-eun, to close the portal between their worlds and save their loved ones, even if it means sacrificing their own love story. The romantic fantasy series already made a lot of buzz on various online platforms even before it premiered for several reasons, such as its famous lead actors Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun and its writer Kim Eun-sook who is one of Korea’s top screenwriters. 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 third week)