Dramatop Introduction: 50 kdramas included in 2016 ranking

This entry is part 1 of 21 in the post series Dramatop 2016

It’s been just 17 days since Kdramapal was launched so I thank everyone who read the posts on Kdramapal’s website and liked its Facebook page. It still has a long way to go to make a name for itself and organize everything from the website appearance to the main content it is going to be about in the long run. For now, let me introduce Dramatop: Korean Drama Rankings  2016, a post series that will rank Korean dramas in the past year according to their average national viewership ratings. It’s going to happen every January of the year and this post marks the first part of Dramatop.

Part 1 introduces all the dramas that are included in the 2016 ranking, but before I start enumerating them, let me talk about drama ratings first and why I have decided to make this post series. Hundreds of Korean dramas had been released in the past years and more are going to air in the years to come. Certainly, you can’t watch all of them and have to make your priorities. If you’re going to select a drama to watch, how are you going to do it? You might choose based on the actors you like or the plot you are interested in. In my case, when I am not interested in any drama that is currently airing and I have to select dramas from the past years, I would like to watch good dramas first that are considered superior to others by some standards. For that purpose, I have once tried searching BEST DRAMAS OF [INPUT YEAR HERE] but Google did not give me reliable results. So I came up with an idea to publish my own list and Dramatop has been conceptualized.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, viewership ratings are not necessarily indicative of drama quality. High ratings do not tell us that a drama is certainly a good one; similarly, low ratings do not mean that a drama is bad. However, there are certain dramas that achieved high ratings and won major awards, thereby solidifying their status as dramas that are far better than others. Dramatop, therefore, will you give you an idea as to which dramas to watch first whether you are looking for the best dramas or simply making your choice based purely on viewership ratings.

But hey! Are kdrama ratings important in deciding which dramas to watch? Why should you care about them? You or the viewers in general need not to, especially if your drama choices are based on your favorite actors. Nevertheless, viewership ratings reflect the drama preference of the general audience, so if you are curious to see the dramas that many Koreans watch, checking the ratings would really matter to you as an individual fan. These numbers have more significance to the producers of the show, its actors and the TV station on which it is airing. When ratings are high, the director, writer, and almost everyone involved in shooting the drama are happy and determined to do better in their jobs. There are instances when a drama is extended by one or more episodes due to high ratings and in some cases, even get a whole new season. A good example would be the Reply series of tvN. Reply 1997, the first installment, got good ratings and positive reviews, so Reply 1994 followed and received even higher ratings. The next installment, Reply 1988, got better again in terms of ratings and became the highest rated drama in Korean cable TV history. That feat, perhaps along with other reasons, prompted the director to make the fourth installment which is set to be released in late 2017.

In contrast, if the ratings are low, the opposite scenario is most likely to happen. Actors and individuals who are making the show won’t be happy knowing that only a small fraction of the audience watch their drama, and there is no added motivation for them to work harder to make it better (no one’s watching it anyway). The worst result of having poor ratings is the reduction of the original episode count of the drama. If the show has actually a good plot and solid directing despite its low ratings, the viewers who like it are put at a disadvantage as their time to enjoy more of it is taken away from them.

Ok, let’s forget the rating talk for a while and finally move on to the drama list. The list only includes those that have aired all or at least half of its episode count in 2016, have at least 12 episodes, and fall under the following categories:

a. Free-to-Air (FTA) drama – dramas that air on KBS, MBC, or SBS every Mondays and Tuesdays or Wednesdays and Fridays at 22:00 Korean Standard Time (KST). For this year, 29 dramas are included under this category. All network except MBC have 10 dramas each.

b. Cable drama – dramas that air on tvN, JTBC or OCN every Mondays and Tuesdays or Fridays and Saturdays during the evening time slot (20:30 or 23:00 KST). Under this category are 21 shows – 14 from tvN, 6 from JTBC and 1 from OCN.

A total of 50 dramas are included in 2016 ranking and all of them are ranked based on their average nationwide viewer ratings from Nielsen Korea. For this year, there are seven ranking categories:

  1. Top 10 Dramas (FTA & Cable) – Jan 17-26
  2. Top 5 Dramas by Network (KBS. MBC, SBS) – Jan 27-29
  3. Top 5 Dramas by Showtime (Mon-Tue, Wed-Thu & Fri-Sat) – Jan 30 – Feb 1
  4. Top 10 Dramas by Pilot Episode Rating (FTA & Cable) – Feb 2
  5. Top 10 Dramas by Final Episode Rating (FTA & Cable) – Feb 3
  6. Top 10 Dramas by Peak Rating (FTA & Cable) – Feb 4
  7. Complete Ranking – Feb 5

To see all the lists of rankings on one page, go to the Korean Drama Rankings 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 [email protected], message us via Facebook, or comment on the post below.)

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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.