5 College K-Dramas from the 2020s

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Korean Dramas: A Global Phenomenon

Korean dramas have taken the world by storm with their addictive storytelling and compelling characters. These popular television series from South Korea span various genres and offer a unique blend of action, romance, comedy, and drama, providing viewers with a positive and captivating watching experience. Not only are they highly enjoyable, but they also serve as a rich source of research material for scholars, offering insights into different production styles prevalent across the continent.

1. Itaewon Class (2020)

Itaewon Class, set in Seoul and based on the webtoon of the same name, quickly became a sensation when it first aired on JTBC in Korea and later became available on Netflix. This series received numerous awards in 2020 and continues to be popular due to its stunning 80s aesthetics, a compelling protagonist, and a gripping storyline centered around revenge and social dynamics. The main character, 18-year-old Park Sae-Ro-Yi portrayed by Park Seo-Joon, endures the consequences of a fateful act of punching a classmate on his first day of high school. He experiences loss, imprisonment, and ultimately seeks revenge on those responsible for ruining his life.

Park Seo-Joon delivers an excellent performance as Park Sae-Ro-Yi, and the rest of the cast, including Kim Da Mi as love interest Jo Yi-Seo and Yoo Jae-Myung and Ahn Bo-Hyun as the main antagonists, contribute to the series’ overall brilliance.

2. Hi Bye, Mama! (2020)

Hi Bye, Mama! is a heartwarming tvN K-Drama also available on Netflix that tells the story of Cha Yu-Ri, played by Kim Tae-Hee, who exists as a ghost following her untimely death five years prior. Determined to fulfill her unfinished business on Earth, Cha Yu-Ri undergoes a reincarnation process that leads her back to her surgeon husband, Jo Kang-Hwa (Lee Kyu-Hyung), and their child. However, she discovers that her second chance at life isn’t what she had expected, forcing her to make difficult choices.

Aside from being an entertaining series, Hi Bye, Mama! delves into philosophical themes, encouraging viewers to contemplate what they would do if faced with similar circumstances. This adds to the show’s overall appeal and makes it a must-watch.

3. Hospital Playlist (2020-2021)

Hospital Playlist, part of the Wise Life series that began with Prison Playbook in 2017, is a highly popular medical drama that follows the lives of five doctors who have been friends since their college years. What sets this K-Drama apart is its ability to seamlessly merge heartwarming moments with lighthearted humor, creating a feel-good atmosphere throughout. These doctors not only save lives but also share a passion for music, tell jokes, fall in love, and have remarkable chemistry with one another.

With its unique blend of medical drama, humor, and heartfelt moments, Hospital Playlist has captivated audiences and become one of the highest-rated K-Dramas in cable TV history.

4. 365: Repeat the Year (2020)

Imagine being given the chance to relive a year of your life, making different choices and potentially achieving a perfect life. This is the premise of 365: Repeat the Year, a K-Drama based on the novel “Repeat” by Kurumi Inui. The series revolves around ten strangers who dream of a better life and seize the opportunity to travel back in time to precisely one year prior. However, they soon find themselves entangled in an unsolved case, and as the plot unfolds, their true identities and motives come into question.

Featuring a cast led by Lee Joon-Hyuk as Ji Hyung-Joo, a veteran detective, and Nam Ji-Hyun as Shin Ga-Hyun, a webcomic writer with a fascination for serial killer stories, 365: Repeat the Year keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its mysterious and intricate storyline.

5. Flower of Evil (2020)

Flower of Evil is a highly popular K-Drama that centers around a central mystery surrounding a seemingly perfect husband, Baek Hee-Sung (Lee Joon-Gi), who hides a criminal past and assumes someone else’s identity. His detective wife, Cha Ji-Won (Moon Chae-Won), becomes suspicious of her husband’s true nature and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. What would you do if you discovered that the father of your child is a stranger and a criminal? This gripping series challenges societal norms and keeps viewers hooked until the very end.


College K-dramas offer a captivating viewing experience with their addictive and binge-worthy nature. They showcase original and unpredictable storylines, skillfully blending humor, drama, and character development to keep audiences engaged. Whether you’re a fan of romance, mystery, or medical dramas, these K-dramas from the 2020s will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression and are well worth the time spent watching them.


1. Why are Korean dramas so popular?

Korean dramas have gained popularity worldwide due to their unique storytelling, compelling characters, and ability to evoke a wide range of emotions. They offer a refreshing break from mainstream Western television and provide viewers with a fresh perspective on storytelling techniques.

2. Are these K-dramas available with English subtitles?

Yes, many Korean dramas, including the ones mentioned in this article, are available with English subtitles, making them accessible to a global audience. Streaming platforms like Netflix have contributed significantly to the international distribution of K-dramas.

3. Can I watch these K-dramas if I’m not familiar with Korean culture?

Absolutely! Korean dramas are designed to be enjoyed by viewers from various cultural backgrounds. While they may contain cultural references specific to Korea, the universal themes of love, friendship, and personal growth resonate with audiences worldwide.

4. Are there Korean dramas recommended specifically for high school students?

Korean dramas cater to a wide range of age groups, including high school students. While some series may contain mature themes, there are many options suitable for high school viewers. Parents and guardians can use online resources to find recommendations that align with their preferences and values.

5. How can I stay updated with the latest K-dramas?

There are various websites, forums, and social media platforms dedicated to discussing and recommending the latest Korean dramas. By following these online communities and subscribing to streaming platforms that offer K-dramas, you can stay informed about upcoming releases and popular series within the genre.