KBS, SBS and tvN are the 3 broadcasting stations that produced most Korean hit dramas with record-breaking ratings.
Korean contents are currently dominating most of the TOP 10 trending on Netflix in various countries. The majority of these well-known dramas are created and produced by KBS. SBS and tvN. Let’s look through some of their successful series in 2021.
KBS’s hit dramas
Revolutionary Sisters (highest rating: 32.6%)
A combination of mystery, romance and comedy genres – Revolutionary Sisters tells the story of a family that unexpectedly became suspects of a crime after the mother got murdered during parent’s divorce proceedings.
The oldest sister in this family – Lee Kwang Nam has an extraordinary personality. Since she is the apple of her mother’s eyes, she doesn’t have much love for her father. Lee Kwang Sik is the second daughter. Although Lee Kwang Sik doesn’t receive much care from her parents, she is a kind girl who is considerate to others.
Meanwhile, the youngest daughter Lee Kwang Tae has unique individuality. She’s good at martial arts and doesn’t care about marriage since she grew up seeing the unhappy married life of her parents.
According to Nielsen Korea, the first episode of this drama, which was aired on March 13th, recorded an impressive rating of over 20%. Thanks to its interesting storyline, “Revolutionary Sisters” ended with the highest ratings reaching 32.6%.
Royal Secret Agent (highest rating: 14%)
“Royal Secret Agent” is another successful series from KBS this year that received compliments for its interesting script and high ratings. This drama tells about a state examination top scorer but loves martial arts. He works as an administrator at the government office. One day, he was caught gambling and then was made a secret royal inspector for the government in the Joseon dynasty. After then, he has become a spy for the king as well as the speaker for normal people – a secret hero of justice.
The popularity of “Royal Secret Agent “ grew throughout its broadcasting period and recorded the highest average nationwide rating of 14%
River Where the Moon Ries (highest rating: 10%)
The drama tells the love story between Princess Pyeong Gang and General On Dal, two characters in the classic folk tale of Goguryeo period. Princess Pyeong Gang is the daughter of King Pyeongwon – the 26th king of Goguryeo, one of the three kingdoms in the Three Kingdoms period of Korea. The drama revolves around the princess who wants to reclaim her country and become its first queen, with the help of the boy who falls in love with her.
Viewers feel pity for this drama, especially its female lead, talented young actress Kim So Hyun, as the drama was expected to surpass Penthouse, but its rating could only hit the peak of 10% due to the male lead (Jisoo)’s violence scandal.
SBS’s hit dramas
While KBS chooses to focus on historical drama, SBS seems to invest more on the modern context and reflect the social scandals with the series “Penthouse” and “Taxi Driver.”
Penthouse season 2, 3
“Penthouse 2” with the highest viewer rating of 29.2% has become a craze in the past year. Following season 1, which recorded 5.9 million viewers, “Penthouse 2” focuses on Shim Su Ryeon‘s secrets, Oh Yoon Hee‘s revenge, Cheon Seo Jin‘s downfall, and the story of the Hera kids thriving to become the best and won the top prize at Cheong Ah Art school.
Following season 2, “Penthouse 3” focuses on the residents of Hera Palace after the end of their trials. They are now released on bail and their children are preparing for the entrance exam to enter the most prestigious university of the country, Seoul National University.
Now that the residents of Hera Palace are out of prison, Su Ryeon and Oh Yoon Hee team up with Cheon Seo Jin to take down Joo Dan Tae. The characters’ past secrets are gradually revealed, the jealousy and struggles of the characters reach their climax, and then the Hera Palace residents receive a tragic ending at the end of the drama. Season 3 puts a stop to the whole story, but its rating only achieved the highest of 19.5%, lower than that of Season 2.
Taxi Driver (Highest rating: 16.0%)
A drama that was quite popular and also achieved a high rating in the past year is “Taxi Driver.” The drama revolves around Kim Do Gi, a graduate of the Korean Military Academy who lost his mother at a young age. He is working as a taxi driver for a company that provides “revenge” services to its customers. With his partner, including IT expert Go Eun, he works to help people get their worthy revenge.
On May 29, “Taxi Driver” came to an end with the final episode hitting average nationwide ratings of 10.9% and 15.3% with two parts. The most viewed scene was in episode 16, achieving the viewer rating of up to 18%.
tvN’s hit dramas
Vincenzo, Hospital Playlist 2, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha are the most popular dramas on tvN this year.
This series centres around Vincenzo (Song Joong Ki), a Korean boy who was adopted by an Italian family at the age of eight. He grew up to be an advisor for his adoptive father’s notorious mafia organization. Things suddenly changed when Vincenzo‘s adoptive father died, leading to an internal war within the organization. Vincenzo became the target that needed to be abolished.
The subject of power politics has always been a film topic that has attracted a lot of attention from Korean TV viewers. The first episode reached 7.7% rating and the finale received 14.6% rating, making Vincenzo the ninth highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.
Hospital Playlist 2 (14.0%)
Following part 1 about the extraordinary lives of 5 talented doctors, the drama continues to make a splash not only in Korea but also in other Asian countries. The story revolves around the group of friends as they embark on hospital adventures involving medicine, music and relationships.
Hospital Playlist 2 achieved the highest nationwide rating of 14%.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (12.7%)
The film talks about Yoon Hye Jin, an intelligent and pretty dentist living in the big city. She loses her job after she righteously accuses the clinic’s head doctor of overdoing patients’ treatment for profit. She embarks on a trip to the idyllic seaside village of Gongjin, where she meets Hong Du Sik. Du Sik is held in high esteem in the village because he takes care of the elders and does not shy away from any odd jobs. By chance, the paths of the two people cross several times and they take a liking to each other, while Du Sik constantly helps Hye Jin out of trouble.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha scored an average nationwide rating of 12.7%.
If the “rating race” between the three stations becomes more and more intense, no one else will benefit from it except…us. If you do not know what to do this weekend, choose one of the eight movies above to watch!