Descendants of the Sun, Goblin achieve highest TV ratings among kdramas in 2016

Many kdrama fans might not be surprised to see the massive hit dramas Descendants of the Sun and Goblin on top of the list, but some might find it interesting to know that these two dramas were written by one person (although DOTS has one more writer). The writer is Kim Eun-sook, who also wrote other popular dramas like Lovers in Paris, Secret Garden and The Heirs. In addition, the two dramas were also directed by one PD whose name is Lee Eung-bok. Is this pure coincidence? Or their pairing was really that good and productive? Anyway,  if we can call DOTS and Goblin as dramas of the year (2016), perhaps we can call Ms. Kim and Mr. Lee the writer and director of the year, respectively. They should reunite again this year so we could say for sure if they working together is the best thing to happen for all the kdrama fans out there. Don’t you agree?

Free-to-Air TV Top 1:  Descendants of the Sun (28.58 %)

Descendants of the Sun poster

Descendants of the Sun tops the list of the highest rated dramas in 2016 with a jaw-dropping record of 28.58%! When I decided to watch this drama in 2015, it’s only because I like Song Joong-ki’s and Song Hye-kyo’s performance in Nice Guy and That Winter the Wind Blows, respectively. I did not expect back then that it would turn out so big that people from around the world would go gaga and talk about it intently. It really performed so much better than other dramas in terms of ratings. Its first episode saw a 14.3% audience share, and by next week it reached over 20%. It’s not even a little over 20%, but 23.4%! These numbers just kept improving every week and on its fifth week, DOTS already surpassed 30%. With the drama achieving 38.8% (just a little lower than 40%) for its finale, it was apparent already in April last year that it’s going to be the highest rated Korean drama in 2016. Many fans love it so much that they demanded an extension, but to no avail. That’s one downside to pre-producing dramas. Speaking of pre-produced dramas, other networks (SBS and tvN) followed suit but the produced shows were not as successful as DOTS. KBS itself used the same format for Hwarang, but the drama could hardly break through 10% and is improving in ratings only recently when Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim ended its run. So what makes Descendants of the Sun a particularly successful pre-produced show? Is it the witty script, good directing, or simply the love story between the two main characters? You be the judge. Others think that it is overrated, but in any case it’s one of the best dramas  in 2016 as it received major nominations from Paeksang Arts Awards last year, including for Best Drama, Directing, & Screenplay.

Descendants of the Sun tv ratings

Director: Lee Eung-bok & Baek Sang-hoon Writer: Kim Eun-sook & Kim Won-seok Main Cast: Song Joong-ki & Song Hye-kyu  Broadcast Period: February 24, 2016 – April 14, 2017 (Wed-Thu) Time-slot Rivals: One More Happy Ending, Goodbye Mr. Black & Come Back Ahjusshi

Cable TV Top 1: Goblin (12.81 %)

korean drama Goblin poster

The show that took away Signal‘s chance to become the highest-rated drama in 2016 is Goblin. I watched this drama because of Kim Go-eun and like DOTS, I did not expect it to become such a hit show. It’s the only cable drama last year that gained an average rating higher than 10%. Due to its star-studded cast, its premiere was well-received with ratings already surpassing 5%. It’s finale got an audience share of 18.68%, just 0.12 points lower than Reply 1988‘s 18.80%. That means Reply 1988 is the winner when we compare the two dramas based on their peak ratings. In terms of average ratings, however, Goblin just recently overtook Reply as the highest rated tvN drama of all time. It’s 12.81% beats Reply‘s 12.43%. So, Goblin is now the highest rated cable drama of all time as far as average nationwide viewership ratings from Nielsen Korea is concerned.

korean drama Goblin tv ratings

DirectorLee Eung-bok, Kwon Hyuk-chan & Yooon Jong-ho Writer: Kim Eun-sook Main Cast: Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun, Lee Dong-wook, Yo In-na & Yook Sung-jae Broadcast Period: December 2, 2016 – January 21, 2017 (Fri-Sat) Time-slot Rivals: Solomon’s Perjury

The top 10 list is finally complete! We have the following dramas that performed better than the others in terms of TV ratings (free-to-air / cable TV):

  1. Descendants of the Sun (28.58%) / Goblin (12.81%)
  2. Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (20.39%) / Signal (8.82%)
  3. Doctors (18.41%) / Oh Hae Young Again (6.88%)
  4. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (18.29%) / Cheese in the Trap (5.96%)
  5. Legend of the Blue Sea (17.58%) / Dear My Friends (5.07%)
  6. Remember (15.00%) / The K2 (4.86%)
  7. Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho (12.88%) / The Good Wife (4.67%)
  8. W-Two Worlds (11.63%) / Drinking Solo (3.56%)
  9. Jealousy Incarnate (10.51%) / Let’s Fight Ghost (3.39%)
  10. Monster (9.73%) / 38 Task Force (3.34%)

To see all the list of rankings on one page,  go to the Korean Drama Rankings 2016.

(Dramatop: Korean Drama Rankings 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 [email protected], message us via Facebook, or comment on the post below.)

(Source of images: KBS & TVING)

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Me? Just an ordinary lad with an extraordinary (says this something called 'stereotype') habit of watching Korean dramas. It started with action-filled City Hunter and the rest, as they say, is history.