Top 10 highest rated K-dramas in tvN history as of 2021

Top Left: Crash Landing on You, Left Bottom: Hospital Playlist 2, Right: Mr. Sunshine (Images via Official Twitter accounts)
Top Left: Crash Landing on You, Left Bottom: Hospital Playlist 2, Right: Mr. Sunshine (Images via Official Twitter accounts)

tvN is a South Korean entertainment channel owned by CJ E&M, offering multiple epic K-dramas since its launch in 2006. The network is home to many K-drama classics, cementing its position as one of the most prominent companies in South Korea. Thanks to Netflix and, most recently, Squid Game, the demand and recognition of Korean dramas keep on increasing.

Crash Landing on You and Reply 1988 take the top spots for tvN’s highest-rated K-dramas

Nielsen Korea is a company that analyzes TV ratings, advertising and more. It is the most trusted source for its nationwide viewership ratings calculations.

An impressive list of K-dramas are released every year, spreading the Hallyu wave far and wide. On that note, here’s a list of the top 10 tvN series that received the highest viewership ratings in the network channel's history.

10) Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Rating nationwide ratings: 12.665%

Starring Kim Seon Ho and Shin Min Ah, Netflix’s slice-of-life, romantic drama Hometown Cha Cha Cha takes the tenth spot. The series premiered in late August 2021, and quickly became a fan favorite with its intense and realistic portrayal of emotions.

It revolves around beauty-and-brain dentist Yoon Hye Jin leaving her city job and moving to a seashore town. She meets the handyman Hong Doo Shik, a jack of all trades and thus, begins their journey of love.

9) Hospital Playlist 2

Average nationwide ratings: 14.080%

It is written by Lee Woo Jung and directed by Shin Won Ho of Reply fame. Hospital Playlist season 2 continued with the stories of five friends at Yulje Hospital. It stars Jo Jung Suk, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Dae Myung and Jeon Mi Do. The medical buddy-dramedy is one of the top K-dramas fans swear by.

8) Hospital Playlist

Average nationwide ratings: 14.142%

The realistic portrayal of medical professionals and the industry made Hospital Playlist one of the best medical K-dramas. It boasts of a rollercoaster journey of friends’ career, glimpses into the lives of patients and parents and an incredible OST album. Hospital Playlist ranks No. 8 on the highest-rated tvN K-dramas list.

7) 100 Days My Prince

Average nationwide ratings: 14.412%

A romantic historical drama, 100 Days My Prince was released in 2018 and stars EXO”s D.O. and Nam Ji Hyun in the lead. The show offers a fresh take on mixing two old tropes - losing memory and a royal member experiencing a commoner’s way of life. But it does so with romance, comedy, and a heart-wrenching story.

6) Vincenzo

Average nationwide ratings: 14.636%

Starring K-drama world’s biggest superstars, Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Bin and 2PM’s Ok Taecyeon, Vincenzo was released in February 2021. Since then, it has taken the international audience by storm.

It revolves around Park Joo Hyung, aka Vincenzo, who was adopted by an Italian mafia family. As he comes back to South Korea to get his gold, he encounters multiple quirky characters. They become his family and, well, he falls in love with another.

5) Mr. Queen

Average nationwide ratings: 17.371%

Fantasy romcom K-drama Mr. Queen takes fifth place in the highest-rated tvN dramas list. It stars Shin Hye Sun and Kim Jung Hyun in the lead. The period drama premiered in December 2020 and is based on a Chinese web drama called Go Princess Go. The series is based on the classic gender goof-up, where a modern chef lands up in the body of Queen Cheorin in the Joseon dynasty.

4) Mr. Sunshine

Average nationwide ratings: 18.129%

Another sageuk drama up on the list, Mr. Sunshine became a hot topic and is considered a classic. It has compelling cinematography and gives a smooth storytelling experience, despite landing up in controversies. Set in 1900s, the K-drama stars Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri in the lead. It revolves around activists fighting for Korea’s independence from the Japanese colonization.

3) Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, aka, Goblin

Average nationwide ratings: 18.680%

Goblin comprises a star-studded cast of Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun, Lee Dong Wook, Yoo In Na and BTOB’s Yook Sung Jae. It was released in 2016 depicting the bromance between the Goblin and Grim Reaper. With the sizzling chemistry between the two couples and the supernatural storyline, the drama became a cultural phenomenon worldwide.

2) Reply 1988

Average nationwide ratings: 18.803%

Reply 1988, released in 2016, offered an impeccably nostalgic touch to its viewers. In the third installment of the Reply series, the show won multiple awards, including daesangs (Grand Prizes). It revolves around five friends and their families in the Ssangmun-dong neighborhood. The K-drama takes viewers back to simpler times with its effortless storytelling, lovable characters, and subjects such as menopause, first loves, heartbreak and much more.

1) Crash Landing on You

Average nationwide ratings: 21.683%

The King of tvN drama is the Hyun Bin and Son Hye Jin starrer Crash Landing on You. The show was released in December 2019 at the start of the pandemic. It was through this romcom (and Netflix), the K-drama wave crossed international borders. It portrays a romantic story between a North Korean soldier and a South Korean heiress. The incredible cinematography, the depiction of the two countries, a balanced blend of humor, romance, wit, action and heartbreak makes CLOY a must-watch K-drama.

Edited by Aditya Singh