Complete ranking of Korean dramas in 2016 based on viewer ratings

This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Dramatop 2016

It’s time to say goodbye to the exhausting post series that is Dramatop 2016. The goal of Dramatop is simple and easy (although data gathering and ensuring their accuracy is tiring!), and that is to rank Korean dramas based on their nationwide average TV ratings from Nielsen Korea. Fifty kdramas (29 free-to-air and 21 cable dramas) are included in 2016 ranking and of course Dramatop will not be able to complete its mission until the complete ranking is released. So, here it is!

Complete Ranking of Free-to-Air Dramas

Average: Overall 9.97%, KBS 10.39%, MBC 7.55%, SBS 11.74%

  1. Descendants of the Sun (28.58%)
  2. Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (20.39%)
  3. Doctors (18.41%)
  4. Moonlight Drawn By Clouds (18.29%)
  5. Legend of the Blue Sea (17.60%)
  6. Remember: War of the Sons (15.00%)
  7. Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho (12.88%)
  8. W – Two Worlds (11.63%)
  9. Jealousy Incarnate (10.51%)
  10. Monster (9.73%)
  11. Uncontrollably Fond (9.41%)
  12. Jackpot (9.33%)
  13. Shopping King Louis (9.06%)
  14. Woman With a Suitcase (8.39%)
  15. On the Way to the Airport (8.36%)
  16. Lucky Romance (8.16%)
  17. Entertainer (7.74%)
  18. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (7.59%)
  19. The Master of Revenge (7.33%)
  20. Goodbye Mr. Black (6.52%)
  21. Wanted (6.37%)
  22. Oh My Geum-bi (6.06%)
  23. Sweet Stranger and Me (5.56%)
  24. One More Happy Ending (5.23%)
  25. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-jo (4.619%)
  26. Night Light (4.615%)
  27. Come Back Ajusshi (4.46%)
  28. Beautiful Mind (3.91%)
  29. Moorim School (3.53%)
Descendants of the Sun is on the top in the ranking of korean dramas in 2016
Descendants of the Sun is the highest-rated Korean drama in 2016 (free-to-air category). With an average rating of 28.58% and peak of 38.80%, DOTS established itself as the monstrous hit drama of the year. It is the only drama in 2016 that surpassed the 20% mark in its second week and also the only one that reached over 30% in ratings. Thus it is natural that it holds these 2016 titles: the highest-rated KBS drama, top Wed-Thu drama, and drama with the most-watched finale and highest-rated episode.

Complete Ranking of Cable Dramas

Average: Overall 3.93%, tvN 4.82%, JTBC 1.97%, OCN 3.34%

  1. Goblin (12.81%)
  2. Signal (8.82%)
  3. Oh Hae Young Again (6.88%)
  4. Cheese in the Trap (5.96%)
  5. Dear My Friends (5.07%)
  6. The K2 (4.86%)
  7. The Good Wife (4.67%)
  8. Drinking Solo (3.56%)
  9. Let’s Fight Ghost (3.39%)
  10. 38 Task Force (3.34%)
  11. Memory (2.92%)
  12. My Wife’s Having an Affair this Week (2.82%)
  13. Cinderella and Four Knights (2.76%)
  14. Rude Miss Young Ae Season 15 (2.60%)
  15. Fantastic (2.36%)
  16. Mirror of the Witch (2.34%)
  17. Ms. Temper and Nam Jung-gi (2.24%)
  18. Pied Piper (2.14%)
  19. Age of Youth (1.33%)
  20. Entourage (1.00%)
  21. Madame Antoine (0.71%)
Goblin is on the top in the ranking of korean dramas in 2016
Goblin is the highest-rated Korean drama in 2016 (cable category). Kim Eun-sook sure knows how to write stories that attract the Korean audience. As if DOTS is not enough, her second drama project last year which is Goblin also became very successful in Korea and abroad. The drama achieved an all-time high ratings of 18.68%. Although this is not enough to beat Reply 1988’s record of 18.80%, it secured an average rating of 12.81% which surpassed Reply’s 12.43%. Thus it currently holds the record of being the highest-rated Korean cable drama of all time.

OK, that’s it. Are you happy to see your favorite dramas on top of the list? Or you’re so disappointed to see them at the bottom of the ranking? If it’s the latter case, it’s alright. Like what I’ve said in the intro of this post series, low ratings do not necessarily imply that a drama is bad (in directing, writing, acting, etc.). What they tell us is that only a small portion of the audience bothered to watch the drama during its run. And why is that the case? Aside from a number of factors that affect how the viewers decide which dramas to watch, every individual has his/her own drama preference. One might think that drama X is so bad or so-so but others may think otherwise.

If you consider this ranking in deciding the next dramas you would like to watch, please do so without relying too much on the list. It is not right to exclude Beautiful Mind or Age of Youth in your next-to-watch list just because they have very poor ratings. To know whether or not a certain kdrama deserves its low (or high ratings), read reliable reviews and comments about it online.

I would like to end  this post series by reminding everyone that most of us, if not all, watch Korean dramas primarily to entertain ourselves; hence it doesn’t really matter if you’re watching a kdrama as good as Signal or something that no one seems to care about. So long as you like it, just hit the play button and enjoy!

Dramatop 2016

(Dramatop 2016 is a Kdramapal post series that ranks kdramas based on their nationwide average viewership ratings from Nielsen Korea. It includes in its ranking only prime time dramas that air from Monday to Saturday. We ensure the accuracy of our ranking result by collecting data directly from Nielsen Korea’s website and other reliable sources. If you have feedback or questions regarding the rankings and this post series in general, you can send them to postseries@kdramapal.com, message us via Facebook, or comment on the post below.)

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