5 Best K-Dramas of 2022 So Far, Ranked

Every year, fans get overwhelmed with the long list of K-dramas from romances, thrillers, ‘Slice of Life’ dramas, and many more. In 2022, fans got more than they bargained for with riveting dramas like All of Us Are Dead, Business Proposal, and Why Her? – to name a few. But some of the best K-dramas from 2022 had fans talking for weeks and still missing the main characters.

Seo Yea-ji as Lee Ra-el in the 2022 K-drama 'Eve.'
Seo Yea-ji as Lee Ra-el in the 2022 K-drama ‘Eve’ | via tvN

‘Eve’ became Seo Yea-ji’s most successful comeback since her Emmy-nominated 2020 K-drama

South Korean actor Seo Yea-ji was at the top of her game when she starred in the Netflix and tvN romance drama, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. After taking a brief hiatus, she had fans in a frenzy for her return in a thrilling leading role. In 2022, Seo starred as Lee Ra-el in Eve.

The thriller K-drama revolved around a woman scorned who spends her life perfecting her revenge plan. As a teen, Ra-el saw her family’s demise at the hands they trusted most and a family who wanted to take power. Ra-el disappears and resurfaces more than a decade later as a perfectly sophisticated woman dead set on sending the people who hurt her to hell.

RELATED: 5 of the Best 2022 Romance K-Dramas to Watch This Fall

Her plan involves the CEO of LY Group, Kang Yoon-kyum (Park Byung-eun), who played a part in her wounded past. She is aided by politician Seo Eun-pyeong (Lee Sang-yeob), who witnessed her family’s tragic fate. Eve became the talk of the town for Seo’s impressive double persona, cold gaze, and unforgettable character.

‘Pachinko’ is a heartwrenching diaspora story of a Korean family

Apple TV+’s Pachinko is still considered a K-drama and one of the best from 2022. Viewers need a tissue box at the ready while watching its agonizingly beautiful story of a Korean female lead who sacrifices for the sake of her future family.

Based on the novel by Min Jin Lee, Pachinko tells the story of a family across generations, starting with Kim Sunja (Kim Min-ha and Youn Yuh-jung). The story revolves around Sunja’s journey into adulthood during the Japanese occupation of Korea. She falls in love with a Japanese/Korean man named Koh Hansu (Lee Min-ho). But she becomes disillusioned by love and faces a harsh reality.

RELATED: ‘Little Women’ and 4 of Wi Ha-joon’s Best K-Drama Roles – Ranked According to IMDb

To survive, she makes the brave decision to leave her life behind and venture to Japan. While witnessing Sunja’s story, viewers meet Solomon Baek (Jin Ha), her grandson, who cannot find a balance between his Korean, Japanese and American identities. Pachinko is set to develop a second season.

Pachinko is available to stream on Apple TV+.

‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ is one of Netflix’s best K-dramas in 2022 about realistic young love

At the beginning of 2022, the Netflix and tvN K-drama Twenty-Five Twenty-One was all fans and critics could talk about. The coming-of-age story captured fans’ hearts with its story of friendship, young love, and growing up.

Set in the late 90s, Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) comes from the middle class and was a fencing prodigy. When the IMF Crisis hit, her school’s fencing team was cut. It allows Hee-do to enter another program where her idol Ko Yu-rim (Bona), trains. At the same time, Baek Yi-jin’s (Nam Joo-hyuk) family loses everything of their upper-class living. In return, Yi-jin takes up odd jobs and meets Hee-do by accident.

RELATED: 5 Netflix Original K-Dramas From 2022 With the Highest Scores, According to IMDb

They soon develop a strong friendship as they support each other through the ups and downs of growing up. At the same time, they face the complex feelings they have for each other and where it leads them. The K-drama gained popularity for its mystery as the story is told through Hee-do’s present-day daughter and who her father is. Twenty-Five Twenty-One also shocks fans with its finale and realistic portrayal of life and love.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One is available on Netflix.

‘Alchemy of Souls’ had fans theorizing possible storylines from the get-go

There is no denying that the K-drama, Alchemy of Souls, created by the Hong Sisters, deserves a spot as one of the best dramas of 2022. The historical fantasy K-drama revolves around a made-up world where the characters harness magic to become mages. A killer assassin transports her soul into a blinde female named Mu-deok (Jung So-min).

Her sword and body are the most prized possession in her world, and she seeks to regain them. But at the same time, the son of a powerful mage family named Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook) wants what he is owed. After his father seals away his powers as a baby, he seeks his true master.

RELATED: 5 Best ‘Second-Lead Syndrome’ K-Dramas That Define the Well-Known Trope

He finds his master in Mu-deok, realizing she is the infamous mage Nak-su. While Nak-su trains her pupil, secrets and mystery arise within Daeho that lead to turmoil. Part of Alchemy of Souls’s charm was its developing love story and the multiple theories fans created to uncover the truth about the main characters. The K-drama is scheduled for a second season in December 2022.

Alchemy of Souls is available on Netflix.

‘Extraordinary Attorney Woo’ was Netflix’s best and top-ranked 2022 K-dramas

One of 2022’s best K-dramas is Extraordinary Attorney Woo starring Park Eun-bin in the lead role of Woo Young-woo. The ‘Slice of Life’ K-drama warmed fans’ hearts with its emotional stories of Korea’s first attorney on the autism spectrum. Fans followed along as Young-woo navigated the real world inside and outside the courtroom.

Each episode of the K-drama tackled a social issue that the main characters had to face morally and legally. Fans watched as Woo-young and her team faced inter-family disputes, unlawful murder convictions, and a case of complicated love. Extraordinary Attorney Woo has fans hooked as they saw the female lead, for the first time, experience love and personal growth. The K-drama’s success and ranking on Netflix have led to discussions of a second season.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo is available on Netflix.

RELATED: 5 Best ‘Slice of Life’ K-Dramas From Netflix in 2022