Long before Netflix got into the K-drama game, there was Viki. As viewers across the globe increasingly fall under the spell of Korean dramas, Viki still stands as the OG leader in this genre. Born in 2007, Viki had a small but dedicated following of drama lovers. The streaming platform grew steadily and was introduced to a wider audience when it was bought by Rakuten in 2013.
Viki currently has more than 1000 Korean TV series and over 200 Korean movies on its roster which is the largest selection of Korean content available on a mainstream platform. However, it is still far behind Netflix in terms of subscribers, and many newcomers to K-dramas have never even heard of this amazing streaming service. Viki has access to hundreds of exclusive titles including smash hit “Reborn Rich” starring Song Joong-ki, and “My Dearest”, which recently topped the Korean charts and featured an epic must-see love story inspired by “Gone with the Wind”. Also included in their collection are classic gems like “Giant”, the epic 60-episode drama that immerses you deep into the ’70s and ’80s as Gangnam is just being imagined and created.
In short, Viki is an essential platform for lovers of Korean content. If you are thinking about signing up for a subscription, there is currently no limit to the number of devices that can be logged into the same account so you can theoretically share with friends and family. However, you cannot create separate profiles the way you can with Netflix or Hulu.
Here are our picks for the 20 best K-dramas to enjoy on Viki. Enjoy!
(Dramas listed by date from most recent to oldest)
1. My Dearest (2023): 8.8
“My Dearest” is a period drama that became one of the most popular dramas of 2023. Set in the mid-17th century, the drama depicts a dark period in Korean history when the country is helplessly caught as a pawn between two warring Chinese dynasties, the Ming and the Qing.
Jang Hyun is a dashing playboy who seems to be living without purpose or desire. He’s a cold-hearted man who loves no one until he meets Gil Chae. She is charming and admired by all, but her first love, Yeon Jun, is already engaged to her best friend, Eun Ae. Yeon Jun struggles with his feelings for Gil Chae but cannot break off his engagement due to tradition. Eun Ae, unaware of the intrigue surrounding her, does not doubt or resent the two.
If these characters remind you of Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara and company, it’s because the writer was inspired by Margaret Mead’s “Gone with the Wind”. But what starts off as a rather silly copy of the original epic book and film, “My Dearest” takes a turn midway through and becomes a rare and beautiful love story for the ages, one that Rhett Butler could only dream of.
2. Reborn Rich (2022): 8.5
Yoon Hyun Woo (Song Joong Ki) is a devoted, hard-working, and loyal secretary to the Jin family, which runs the lucrative Soonyang Group business empire. But one day, he is ruthlessly betrayed by the family, who frame him for embezzlement. He dies shortly after – but is miraculously brought “back to life” when he wakes up inside the body of the youngest male member of the family – Jin Do Joon.
After he realizes what has happened, he decides to take revenge. He hatches a plan to overthrow Jin Yang Chul (Lee Sung Min), the cold-blooded and money-hungry CEO of Soonyang Group. Yoon Hyun Wo plots to use his new “identity” to formulate a hostile takeover of the group – and punish the people who killed him. But what role will be played in all this by a dogged public prosecutor named Seo Min Young (Shin Hyun Bin), an anti-corruption investigator who becomes known as the “Soonyang Group Grim Reaper?”
Based on a popular Korean web novel, “Reborn Rich” is an extremely engaging insider look into how the .01 percent lives and was 2022’s most-watched K-drama in Korea. This drama alone might make it worthwhile to get a subscription to Viki! Once you start watching, you won’t be able to stop until the last episode.
3. The Red Sleeve (2021): 8.8
In Korea during the first half of the 1700s, Yi San (Lee Junho) is an aloof and perfection-loving young prince. His father’s killing haunts him, although it leaves him in the position to take the throne once his grandfather – the cruel and ruthless current king responsible for Yi San’s father’s death – dies. He has resolved to become a benevolent monarch who will reform the law when he eventually takes the throne. But his father’s death continues to haunt him.
At court, he meets a young woman named Sung Deok Im (Lee Se Young). Yi San falls in love with her and tries to convince her to become his official concubine. But Sung Deok Im is strong-willed and free-spirited. She is also sharp enough to grasp that while becoming a royal consort to the future king is a prestigious role, it is one that would restrict her freedom and be an unlikely source of happiness. But Yi San’s love for Sung Deok Im is true, and she starts to understand that forming a union with him could ultimately benefit his troubled realm.
“The Red Sleeve” is based on the true story of Korea’s favorite Joseon King’s love story. This bitter-sweet love story will make your heart sing at times and cry at times.
4. Mr. Queen (2020): 8.2
A male chef (Choi Jin Hyuk) has risen up the ranks to find a job cooking for the country’s top politicians in the South Korean presidential residence, the Blue House.
He is something of a dreamer – but one day finds himself in the body of a young queen from Korea’s past, Kim So Yong (Shin Hye Sun).
Kim So Yong’s husband is the reigning monarch, King Cheol Jong (Kim Jung Hyun). However, he is only king in the name – the late King Sunjo’s Queen, Sun Won (Bae Jong Ok), has taken advantage of Cheol Jong’s better nature and is ruling the realm in his name.
“Mr. Queen” is a period and fantasy drama with a light touch. In essence it takes full advantage of the ample comedic opportunities that can be found in the transformation of the lead character’s gender and the mishaps that can occur with time travel.
Three women who live at Seoul’s most luxurious penthouse apartment will stop at nothing to protect their status and their children’s futures. But a murder at Hera leaves one mom questioning her place in this elite society and puts her on the road for revenge.
“The Penthouse” series is set in a luxury residence coveted for its beautiful views and privacy and tells a captivating tale of the elite’s insatiable desires.
When a man starts a job as a driver for Rainbow Taxi, he takes on more than just traffic. Soon, he’s serving vigilante justice for those forgotten by the system.
Based on a hit Korean webcomic and starring Lee Je Hoon, the “Taxi Driver” series dives into topical social issues in ways that keep viewers watching.
Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) might be the vice president of his family’s massively successful company, but that doesn’t mean he has what it takes to do a good job. Propped up by his incredibly talented secretary, Kim Mi So (Park Min Young) for nine years, she has made him look like the shining star that Young Joon believes he is.
But after Mi So suddenly decides to quit, her arrogant boss comes to realize that he can’t live without her. Having unknowingly shared a traumatic childhood experience, the pair come to understand that maybe they do belong together after all.
With jealousy forming over Young Joon’s older brother, Lee Sung Yeon (Lee Tae Hwan), and his growing relationship with Kim Mi So, the boastful executive decides he has to win back his secretary no matter what.
8. Guardian, the Lonely and Great God (Goblin) (2016): 8.8
“Guardian: The Lonely and Great God,” also known as “Goblin,” is a mesmerizing blend of romance, fantasy, and comedy that delves into the life of an immortal goblin, Kim Shin, who seeks to rest and end his eternal life. His fate intertwines with Ji Eun-tak, a spirited high schooler who bears the mark of the goblin’s bride, the only one who can release him from his curse.
Set against a backdrop of mystical lore and modern-day challenges, their journey is peppered with poignant encounters, including the goblin’s complex friendship with the amnesiac Grim Reaper. As Kim Shin and Eun-tak’s destinies entangle, they navigate a world of love, sacrifice, and existential dilemmas. This visually stunning drama is a feast for the eyes and the whimsical elements playfully balance the deep emotional undercurrents. “Gobin” explores the themes of life, death, and the redemptive power of love.
9. Descendants of the Sun (2016): 8.6
“Descendants of the Sun” is a mega-hit TV series from writer, Kim Eun-Sook who also wrote the 2023 sensational hit Netflix drama, “The Glory“. Both dramas star Song Hye Kyo in award winning roles.
In “Descendants”, the captain of a Korean special forces unit, Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki), catches a thief on his day off alongside his friend and fellow soldier Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo). Along with this capture, Shi Jin has a chance encounter with a hospital trauma surgeon, Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo).
Although he immediately falls for her, Mo Yeon mistakenly believes Shi Jin is a part of the thief’s criminal gang. After he proves the truth, they begin an unlikely relationship. Yet it doesn’t take long for the couple to realize they have conflicting views on human life – with Shi Jin having to kill to protect lives while Mo Yeon does everything she can to save them.
After they decide that these philosophical differences are too much to overcome, they decide to end their relationship and Shi Jin is deployed to the fictional war-torn country of Uruk. Some months later, Mo Yeon is put in the awkward position of rebuffing her hospital director’s advances.
As revenge, she is assigned to a team of medical volunteers who travel to Uruk, setting up a reunion with Shi Jin where they bond over their differences and discover how powerful love can be.
11. Doctors (2016): 7.9
With a cast of talented stars and newcomers, including Park Seo Jun and V of BTS, “Hwarang” is a historical K-drama that follows the lives of the Hwarang, a group of elite warriors in the Silla dynasty (57 BCE – 935 CE) who are trained to protect their King and their country. But the ranks of the Hwarang are far from uniform; some of there for vengeance, some are there to hide from their enemies, and some are there to claim the throne.
13. The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016): 8.3
How can a mermaid from the Joseon era survive in modern society?
Shim Cheong (Jun Ji Hyun) is a mermaid who follows her one true love, a nobleman’s son named Kim Moon from the Joseon Dynasty to modern-day Seoul. Moon’s modern doppelgänger is Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho), a highly-skilled scam artist who first becomes interested in Shim Cheong because of a jade bracelet worth $6 million that she wears.
With nowhere to go, Shim Cheong is taken in by Joon Jae, who also finds his con partners, Jo Nam Doo (Lee Hee Joon) and Tae Oh (Shin Won Ho), hiding out in his home fleeing a vengeful past victim of their scams. Shim Cheong discovers a rival for Joon Jae’s heart in Cha Shi Ah (Shin Hye Sun), a researcher at KAIST who deals with ancient artifacts.
“The Legend of the Blue Sea” is a romantic fantasy drama about the last mermaid on Earth meeting a city swindler and adapting to life on land.
14. Oh My Venus (2015): 8.3
When you go from the top of the pecking order in the looks department in high school and then fall to the bottom in adulthood, is it possible to get back up?
Kang Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah) was envied by every girl and desired by every boy in high school as the “Daejeon Venus” because of her pretty face and killer figure. Despite coming from a poor family, Joo Eun was determined to go to law school and become an attorney.
At age 33, she achieved her professional goals and has been in a stable relationship with her high school boyfriend, Im Woo Sik (Jung Gyu Woon), for 15 years. But she has let herself go over the years and is now overweight and often disregarded and overlooked by society and her coworkers.
On the plane ride back from a quick business trip to the United States, Joo Eun has an embarrassing run-in with Kim Yeong Ho (So Ji Sub) and his two sidekicks, Jang Joon Seong (Sung Hoon) and Kim Ji Woong (Henry Lau).
15. She Was Pretty (2015): 8
A once pretty and popular, but now struggling and unconfident, intern at a Korean fashion company reunites with her childhood best friend and pen pal. In a reversal of fortune, her once chubby childhood friend is now a handsome and successful editor at her fashion magazine. So, instead of meeting him, she has a gorgeous friend pretend to be her. But, after writing to each other for years, how long will it take before her handsome friend finds out the truth?
16. It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014): 8.6
EXO’s D.O. co-stars in this touching K-drama with a compelling story. When a cynical writer and a compassionate psychiatrist fall in love despite their differences, they soon discover that they both have hidden scars that threaten their happiness. Can they heal each other and overcome their fears?
17. Giant (2010): 8.9
If you’ve ever wondered how South Korea catapulted from a poor war-torn country into the modern industrial nation it is today, you must watch “Giant”. This 2010 Korean drama is a sweeping epic that has aged well and is just as entertaining today as it was when it was first released.
Masterfully intertwining the personal and political, “Giant” captures the turbulent journey of three siblings through the 1970s and 1980s, a period of immense industrial and political upheaval in South Korea. Set against the backdrop of Seoul’s rapid development, the series chronicles the lives of Lee Kang-mo, Lee Sung-mo, and Lee Mi-joo, who are tragically separated as children due to the nefarious schemes of a powerful figure.
As they grow up, their paths diverge dramatically, leading them into worlds of business, politics, and revenge. The drama skillfully weaves a tapestry of love, ambition, and vengeance, as the siblings confront their past and fight to reclaim their destiny. With its rich historical context and gripping storyline, “Giant” offers a highly engrossing look at the cost of progress and the enduring power of family bonds.
18. Secret Garden (2010): 8.2
Ra Im aspired to be a firefighter like her father, but she gave up on that dream after losing her father to a fire. Instead, she got to see Jong Soo, the action director, at a filming site while working part-time on set Since then, she has worked as a stuntwoman, longing to be the first female action director.
Ju Won is a cranky and hysterical man who owns a department store. He is not keen on dating and thinks a marriage of convenience is the best kind of romance. One day, their souls are switched, causing many unexpected incidents to happen. It’s only when their souls are switched that they begin a journey to look for their true selves. While they struggle to take their bodies back, they mature, and their romance blooms.
19. Coffee Prince (2007): 8.3
Eun Chan is a certified taekwondo instructor who works part-time as a delivery woman. One day, she comes across a delivery order that leads her to Han Gyeol, an heir to a conglomerate. Her boyish appearance deceives everyone into thinking she’s a strong man with a petite figure. Han Gyeol, on the other hand, also has a case of mistaken identity when his grandmother believes he’s gay.
Eun Chan and Han Gyeol’s entanglement leads to them working together in a cafe, which soon brews a different kind of love story. They face multiple problems along the way that bring them closer and makes their love stronger than ever. Alongside them are Han Gyeol’s cousin Han Sung and his ex Yoo Joo, who are also dating. Their love triangles bring excitement as they test another level of friendship and family.
20. Jewel in the Palace (2003): 8.7
One of the most watched K-dramas of all time, Jewel in the Crown, is set in the middle of the 18th century in Joseon. This was a time when women held little influence in society. It tells the tale of an orphaned kitchen cook who strives to learn the secrets of Korean cooking and medicine and goes on to become the King’s personal physician. It is based on the true story of Jang Geum, the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty. Immerse yourself in this historical tale of perseverance, culture, and tradition.