5 High Rated Korean Dramas That Don’t Focus on Romance You Must Binge Watch

K-Drama nowadays has evolved! If you still believe that Korean Dramas are all fantasy love stories, you are way behind. These last few years, most of the high-rated K-Dramas that aired have complex storylines that focus on something other than the romance between 2 leads. These kinds of dramas give a remarkably new exciting feel as what used to be cliche scenes are now unpredictable plot twists! Dramas like these have very little romance to no romance at all, which makes it suitable to watch with the whole family, or probably just with your partner. My husband will never watch romance genres with me, and I don’t particularly like watching them with him either. The only kinds of dramas I could watch with him are the ones that have a mixture of mysteries and dark comedy. Since we’ve been stuck at home for the longest time, my husband and I managed to watch quite a number of K-Dramas together and below is a list of the best ones so far.

Do note that the list below is from my preference. I’ve googled several lists for best Korean Dramas for reference, and these dramas are mostly all on the lists. Do also note that the hierarchy below is general and not considered as a rating.

1. The Penthouse Season 1, 2 & 3

  • Aired: Season 1: 2020 | Season 2: 2021 | Season 3: 2021 (Ongoing)
  • Focus: High-Society, Power Greed, Parenting, Marridge
  • Starring: Lee Ji Ah, Kim So Yeon, Eugene, Uhm Ki Joon, Park Eun Seok, and Yoon Jong Hoon
  • Where to Watch: Netflix, Vui
  • Episodes: Season 1 – 21 | Season 2 – 13 | Season 3 – 12
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My husband and I binged watched seasons 1 & 2 for less than a week, and now we’re currently waiting for Season 3 to be fully aired before we start watching this series again. The Penthouse is about wealthy families that live in Korea’s most expensive property called Hera Palace. These families always tend to be at war among them which the penthouse portrays as the family with the most superior power. Not only are the adults are at war, but also all their children who all attend Cheong-ah Arts School and are pressured to be the best Soprano singer among each other by their parents. This series does show a bit of romance, but its plot is mostly on revenge and power greed among the main cast. Season 1 & 2 both starts with tragic scenes then followed by hints of the true incident until the true story is revealed in the last few episodes which are mostly plot twists!

2. Sky Castle

  • Aired: 2018
  • Focus: High-society, Education, Power Greed, Parenting
  • Starring: Yeom Jung Ah, Yoon Se Ah, Kim Seo Hyung, Lee Tae Ran, Oh Na Ra
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Episodes: 20
  • Read More

At first, this drama didn’t interest me much because I wasn’t familiar with the leads, but everyone talked about it on my social media, so after a month, it fully aired, I started to binge-watch, and episode 1 left me stunned. My husband took peeps for episode 1, then joined me to watch the rest of the series. SKY Castle is a residential area for the wealthiest doctors & professors in Korea. They have a small community that focuses on their child’s education to make them top students. The story mostly revolves around the housewives that have a serious role in maintaining pride in their family with their children’s success and their husbands. However, this small community then sees its fall when a new family that moves into the neighbourhood breaks their ways and reveals the dark secrets of this high society.

3. Vincenzo

  • Aired: 2021
  • Focus: Family, Law, Corruption
  • Starring: Song Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-been, Ok Taec-yeon, Kim Yeo-jin, Kwak Dong-yeon
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Episodes: 20
  • Read More

Of course, I was so eager to watch this because of Song Joong-ki and watching the trailer was just ‘wow!’ so my husband got pretty excited as well. We binged watched together; however, the last few episodes didn’t air yet during that time, and he had a hard time waiting. As soon as it aired in Malaysia, he was already in front of the TV (even I’m not that bad of an addict, LOL). Vincenzo is the character played by Song Joong-Ki, who is a lawyer and also a mafia. He’s a Korean boy that an Italian mafia family adopted called Cassano and then raised him in Italy. After his adopted father passed away, he then flees to Korea as his brother tries to kill him and obtain hidden tons of gold from a Chinese Typhoon that died recently. Even though he was the mastermind of hiding the gold, he also had a hard time retrieving it as the Plaza where the gold was hidden had been illegally taken ownership of by the Babel Group. He then joins the tenants of the Plaza to bring down the Babel Group and all their corrupted activities. This drama has a lot of suspense and also tons of humour. The way how Vincenzo solves a problem is unexpected, which makes this drama so good to watch. It does have a hint of romance but only in its last few episodes, which are mostly flings.

4. Prison Playbook

  • Aired: 2017
  • Focus: Family, Prison, Friendship
  • Starring: Park Hae-soo, Jung Kyung-ho
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Episodes: 16
  • Read More

My husband has watched this drama twice already and can still watch it again. I can, too, because this drama touches a lot of emotions. This series shows the lives of convicts and officers in prison, which focuses on a superstar baseball pitcher, Kim Je-hyuk, who was sentenced to 1-year in prison after he saves his sister from a sexual assault. This drama has several sad scenes, but it’s still full of humour with loads of life lessons. It also shows that not every convict are bad people, some are just unlucky with a sad history. This show may be a few years back but it’s totally worth watching and it has won a number of awards too.

5. Voice Season 1, 2, 3, 4

  • Aired: Season 1: 2017 | Season 2: 2018 | Season 3: 2019 | Season 4: 2021 (Ongoing)
  • Starring: Lee Ha-na, Jang Hyuk, Lee Jin-wook and Song Seung-heon
  • Where to Watch: Viu, iQiyi
  • Episodes: Season 1 – 16 | Season 2 – 12 | Season 3 – 16 | Season 4 – 14
  • Read More

If you’re not into romance and prefer dramas involving mysteries and murder cases, this drama is for you. I’m not an avid fan, but my husband loves these kinds of genres, which led him to watch this K-drama Voice. He binged watched Season 1, 5 episodes non-stop alone the whole night and continued the next morning on TV, so I had a few glimpses of the early episodes before I got hooked as well. The drama is about emergency call centre employees and their fight to capture kidnappers & killers. The main lead of this drama is Lee Ha-na, who has special hearing abilities that are an advantage to help save victims. Some scenes portray gruesome killing, but all of it is blurred out. I usually avoid watching these kinds of scenes, but the storyline is amazing. It gets you hooked to know the identity of the killers and their main agenda of killing. Every few episodes have different stories, but they all seem to connect with one at large serial killer.

So which drama on the list have you watched already? If you feel like a missed out on another good no-romance drama let me know in the comments below.


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Surimoden
Author: Surimoden

Sharings of a modern housewife