‘SKY Castle’ tops Google’s list of trending Korean TV shows of 2019

SKY Castle scored another achievement on December 11 when Google named it as South Korea’s top trending search term of 2019 in the television category.

Google recently unveiled its Year In Search 2019 data, which take a look back at the most notable searches of the year. As Google points out, the top trending searches are those that saw the largest spikes in traffic over a sustained period in 2019 compared to 2018. They are not the terms that were searched for the most during the entire year.

Sky Castle poster
Promotional poster for SKY Castle

In South Korea, SKY Castle (JTBC) was the biggest search trend of 2019 in the TV category’s top 10, which is comprised of seven Korean dramas. It is followed by Hotel del Luna (tvN), Extraordinary You (MBC), and When The Camellia Blooms (KBS2). tvN’s travel-reality show Kang’s Kitchen rounded out the top 5.

Interestingly, the US TV series Game Of Thrones came in sixth in the ranking, followed by Arthdal Chronicles (tvN), The Fiery Priest (SBS), My Only One (KBS2), and the variety show Produce X 101 (Mnet). Here is the complete list:

  1. Sky Castle (JTBC)
  2. Hotel del Luna (tvN)
  3. Extraordinary You (MBC)
  4. When The Camellia Blooms (KBS2)
  5. Kang Kitchen’s Season 2 (tvN)
  6. Game Of Thrones Season 8 (HBO)
  7. Arthdal Chronicles (tvN)
  8. The Fiery Priest (SBS)
  9. My Only One (KBS2)
  10. Produce X 101 (Mnet)

In the overall search terms ranking for South Korea, SKY Castle ranked fourth, following Thanos (no. 1), Jung Joon-young (no. 2), and Sulli. Hotel del Luna also made it to the top 10 as the ninth placer.

Hotel del Luna Poster
Promotional poster for Hotel del Luna

The title “SKY Castle” refers to a fictional, exclusive residential area in Seoul that is home to wealthy families who each boasts of an excellent educational and professional background. The drama revolves around these families as they try to keep their prestige by making sure that their children go to the best universities in South Korea’s capital. (“SKY” is also an acronym that refers to the three most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University.)

The drama’s popularity in Google search is supported by its TV ratings. It premiered in November 2018 with a humble rating of less than 2 percent. However, it went on to surpass the 20 percent mark in January 2019 and became the highest-rated cable Korean drama of all time in terms of peak TV rating.

In addition, the “buzz” ratings support Google’s data naming SKY Castle as the biggest Korean TV show search trend of the year. The drama is so far the most talked about Korean drama in 2019 thanks to its average and peak buzz scores of 32.8 percent and 37.0 percent, respectively.

SKY Castle’s popularity was driven by the impressive writing, superb direction, and stellar performance of its cast. It was nominated for Best Drama at the 55th Baeksang Awards, and although it lost to My Mister, it boasts the most number of wins received during the prestigious award ceremony. Jo Hyun-tak, the drama’s PD, won Best Director while Yum Jung-ah took home the Best Actress award. Meanwhile, Kim Byung-chul and Kim Hye-yoon won Best Supporting Actor and Best New Actress, respectively.

2019 marks the third year in a row that a cable drama became the top trending search term in the TV category. tvN’s What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim and Goblin were the titleholders in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

The top trending drama searches in Google’s previous Year In Search lists include KBS2’s Descendants Of The Sun (2016), MBC’s She Was Pretty (2015), SBS’s The Master’s Sun (2013), and MBC’s Moon Embracing The Sun (2012).


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InternJang manages a team of writers to publish and promote content for Kdramapal every day. He began watching Korean dramas in 2014 and fell in love deeply with his all-time favorites Signal, Reply 1988, and Misaeng. His affinity for writing led him to start a blog and, later on, spearhead efforts to establish KDP as one of the most dependable sources of K-drama information online.