Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin top drama ranking based on first episode ratings

I am so glad that we’re finally moving on to another ranking category because the three previous lists contain no surprises at all. The new list ranks kdramas (separately for FTA and cable category) based on their first episode ratings. Waaa, ratings again? You’re probably getting sick of ratings and all those numbers but Dramatop: Korean Drama Rankings 2016 is really all about them!

Descendants of the Sun is the highest-rated kdrama in 2016, but its first episode rating is not high enough to beat Legend of the Blue Sea. The main driver of LOTBS‘s very successful start is its lead actors Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Min-ho who are more popular than their counterparts in Oh My Geum-bi and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-jo.

Doctors comes third, thanks to Park Shin-hye and Kim Rae-won who pulled off the difficult roles they had to play. It is followed by the much-hyped drama Uncontrollably Fond starring Kim Woo-bin and Bae Suzy, and Jackpot which surprisingly completes the top 5. Jackpot premiered on March along with Monster and Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho which are both on the list of the highest-rated kdramas in 2016. It’s so bad that it failed to maintain such a high rating throughout its run.

It’s not surprising to see Lucky Romance on top 6 as fans were eager to see again Ryu Jun-yeol after his highly successful tvN drama Reply 1988. On one hand, I personally didn’t expect Sweet Stranger and Me to be on top 9, although it’s actually possible to premiere with flat 9.0% when a drama is competing with not-so-great-in-ratings shows like Moon Lovers and Woman with a Suitcase. Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho, Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, and W-Two Worlds complete the top 10. You might feel bad to see W on the bottom of the list while Sweet Stranger or Jackpot is on a higher rank and ask why Moonlight Drawn By Clouds is not even on the list, but be reminded that this list is based on first episode ratings alone (plus the fact that the ratings data come from Nielsen Korea). The success of a drama premiere in the ratings game depends mainly on its cast, the strength of its rivals, and whether or not these rivals are also airing their first episodes.

    Top 10 Free-to-Air Dramas by First Episode Ratings:

  1. Legend of the Blue Sea (16.4%)
  2. Descendants of the Sun (14.3%)
  3. Doctors (12.9%)
  4. Uncontrollably Fond (12.5%)
  5. Jackpot (11.8%)
  6. Lucky Romance (10.3%)
  7. Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho (10.1%)
  8. Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (9.5%)
  9. Sweet Stranger and Me (9.0%)
  10. W-Two Worlds (8.6%)

For the cable category, Goblin sure knows how to endlessly beat Signal and other dramas. Its success could be attributed mainly to writer Kim Eun-sook who also penned the highly successful Descendants of the Sun and its lead cast Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun who starred in hit projects Train To Busan and Cheese in the Trap, respectively, earlier in 2016. Let’s Fight Ghost and The Good Wife complete the top 5.

Memory recorded an impressive 3.81% to secure the top 6 spot. It’s the first drama in which Lee Sung-min played a lead role after Misaeng, the 2014 successful tvN workplace drama that almost won Best Drama in 2015 Paeksang Arts Awards. Cheese in the Trap is on top 7 while pre-produced drama Cinderella and the Four Knights is on top 8. It’s easy for the latter show to gain over 3% in ratings because it aired without rival dramas on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 pm KST. The same can be said to Cheese and Pied Piper which both aired on Mondays and Tuesdays against no rival from other networks. The K2 completes the top 10 list.

    Top 10 Cable Dramas by First Episode Ratings:

  1. Goblin (6.32%)
  2. Signal (5.42%)
  3. Dear My Friends (4.90%)
  4. Let’s Fight Ghost (4.06%)
  5. The Good Wife (3.97%)
  6. Memory (3.81%)
  7. Cheese in the Trap (3.60%)
  8. Cinderella and Four Knights (3.55%)
  9. Pied Piper (3.31%)
  10. The K2 (3.23%)

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: KBSMBCSBS & 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.