Historical dramas not only give you a glimpse of the past but also the roots of the culture. Here is the list of 10 historical Korean dramas made by a fan for a fan. These dramas are a must-watch, it doesn’t matter if they are just 16 episodes or 81 episodes, they will not disappoint you in any way. Laughs, cries, thrills and romance, they are a complete package.
1. Mr. Sunshine
Aired back in 2018, Mr. Sunshine has Lee Byung-Hun and Kim Tae-Ri in the lead roles. Set in Hanseong (present-day Seoul) in the early 1900s, tells the story of a native Korean man returning as an American Soldier played by Lee Byung-Hun who falls for an aristocrat’s daughter. Among all the war-like conditions their romance blooms in the most innocent way. With a great plot and amazing cast, this show is worth watching.
2. Empress Ki
Set in the time when Genghis Khan built an empire all across East Asia and East Europe, tells the story of a woman coming from a small kingdom from Korea, Goryeo who despite her lowly status became the last empress of the Yuan Dynasty, the empire Genghis Khan built. For 37 years she held immense power over the dynasty. The 51-episode series engages the viewers such that the 51 episodes start seeming less for this masterpiece.
3. Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Who doesn’t know of this epic heart-wrenching drama that made fans cry all over the world. During a total solar eclipse, a woman from the 21st century falls in the water and finds herself back in Goryeo Dynasty in the year 941. Living as Hae-Soo among the princes of the Wang family, she falls in love with the kind and warm-hearted prince Wang Wook but later starts developing a beautiful relationship with the fearsome 4th prince Wang So infamous as "Wolf-Dog". This drama makes the viewers happy in the initial episodes but as the drama progresses, it gets the viewers crying. With famous names and a good storyline, this drama still has its fans waiting for a season 2.
4. Arthdal Chronicles
Arthdal Chronicles is a fictional drama set in the mythical land of Arthdal which holds many secrets and mysteries. Eun-Som played by Song Joong-Ki was born with a fate that he will bring disaster to Arthdal and Tan Ya played by Kim Ji Won has the same fate. She has the supernatural power to see dreams of the future which leads her to become the next great mother of the Wahan Tribe. Wanting to become the first king of Arthdal, Tagon is the war hero of the nation and the strongest warrior. New mysteries unfold as the drama progresses. Season 2 of this drama is to be aired soon.
It is the first Netflix original Korean series. Set in the Joseon Dynasty, Kingdom tells the story of the crown prince Lee Chang and his army men, when a plague that resurrects the dead people. Amidst his investigation of the former king's death and chaos, he meets people who make a stand to stop the plague before it reaches Sangju but little did, they know was that the plague had already spread its legs. The series was positively viewed and with all the twists and turns, the second season was released on March 13, 2020.
The drama tells the story of Jumong, the founder of Goguryeo, one of the three main nations. Being overshadowed by his half-brothers, he does not realize his dreams until he meets So Seo No. A merchant's daughter who later becomes his second wife helps him realize his dream of building a new country. Most of this drama is fictional as not much information is available about jumong.
7. Queen Seondeok
Being abandoned by her parents due to a prophecy and raised by her father’s servant, upon finding out her real identity, Deokman set out on a journey to take revenge for her twin sister's death and take what initially was hers and become the first female king of Silla. This drama had the top ratings with every episode and is one of the biggest dramas in Korean history.
8. 6 Flying Dragons
Yi Bang Won, the third king of Joseon and father of King Sejeong the Great, helped his father King Taejo establish the Joseon Dynasty. Conflicts, struggles rise and fall of the six dragons who fought for their goals is displayed in this drama.
Adapted from the original Chinese drama Go Princess Go, Mr. Queen is hilarious time-travel and a body swap drama. This drama does not have any episodes which you may feel dull. This drama is about a male chef who, after falling in the swimming pool, finds himself in the body of Queen Cheorin in the Joseon era. This drama shows the struggles of the modern-day man stuck inside a Joseon-woman’s body and breaking all the norms a queen is bound by. This drama is perfect for lifting your mood on a blue day.
10. Moon Embracing The Sun
The drama centers around the throne just like any other historical drama. Conflicts, assassinations, plannings, and politics led to the death and resurrection of Heo Yeon Woo, who falls in love with the crown prince Lee Hwon and was to become the Crown Princess. The queen dowager orders her death to secure more powers by making the daughter of her family clan the crown princess. This drama has perfect casting with Han Ga In as Heo Yeon Woo and Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon.