Top 10 most watched Korean TV series and movies on Netflix in 2021: Han So Hee and Song Joong Ki made it to the list twice

2021 has been a successful year for Korean dramas and movies not only domestically but also internationally. Netflix, the world’s biggest streaming service, plays an important part in this success thanks to the constant releases of hit Korean shows throughout the year, most notably the global sensation Squid Game. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 most watched Korean dramas and movies on this platform in 2021!

1. Squid Game

Squid Game getting 1st place comes as no surprise as it has been crowned Netflix’s most watched show globally in 2021, staying in the Top 10 for 11 weeks in 90 countries with a total of 2,157,050,000 hours watched. 

Without a star-studded cast, what makes Squid Game stand out is the compelling and unique storyline through each episode. The show centers on hundreds of cash-strapped people who participate in a deadly survival game with a prize of 45.6 billion won, risking their lives to become the ultimate winner.

2. Vincenzo

Vincenzo came in 2nd place in this ranking. The drama maintained its position in Netflix’s Top 10 worldwide for 278 days and was trending in 56 countries. Starring Song Joong Ki, Jeon Yeo Bin, and Ok Taecyeon, Vincenzo premiered on tvN on February 20, 2021, and was released on Netflix shortly after it aired on tvN.

The drama follows Vincenzo (Song Joong Ki), an Italian mafia lawyer who returns to Korea and teams up with female lawyer Hong Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin) and her intern Jang Joon Woo (2PM’s Taecyeon) to tear down an unrivaled conglomerate using villainous methods. 

3. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

Coming in 3rd place is a healing and lighthearted rom-com, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, which has been in Netflix’s Top 10 worldwide for 13 weeks in 52 countries.

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha has earned a total of 271,820,000 hours watched worldwide. Set in the village of Gongjin, the drama depicts heartwarming stories of Hong Doo Shik and Yoo Hye Jin, as well as other villagers. Without drama or twists and turns, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha captures the audience’s hearts with its authenticity and rusticity. 

4. My Name

My Name, starring Han So Hee, has achieved much success not only in Korea but also globally and received numerous compliments from professional critics.

Produced by director Kim Jin Min, My Name has a total of 198,140,000 hours watched on Netflix worldwide. This action thriller marks a remarkable image transformation of Han So Hee, from a naive girl in her previous drama Nevertheless to a feisty and tough character. My Name revolves around Yoon Ji Woo (Han So Hee) who joins a ruthless crime gang and infiltrates the police force as an undercover to avenge her father. 

5. Hellbound

Although Hellbound has been released for only a short time, it still came in 5th place with an impressive 111,000,000 hours watched on Netflix. Prior to its release, Hellbound was expected to be the 2nd Squid Game, and the results did not disappoint. 

Set in Korea in modern times, Hellbound depicts the turmoil of society following inexplicable appearances of otherworldly beings, as many people suddenly receive a “death sentence”, clearly announcing the date and time they will be dragged to hell by hideous monsters.

6. Nevertheless

The next one is another work by Han So Hee, Nevertheless. The drama was, without a doubt, an excellent stepping stone for this actress’s acting career. Nabi is undoubtedly a typical image that people will immediately think of when talking about Han So Hee, despite its achievements not being equal to those of My Name.

The drama is a love story of teenagers in their twenties. After her first love ended badly, Yoo Na Bi gave up her belief in love or fate, but she completely changed her mind after meeting Park Jae Eun, an architecture student. The drama has been viewed for a total of 58,670,000 hours around the world.

7. Hospital Playlist 2

Stopping at 7th place, Hospital Playlist 2 has received a lot of positive feedback from the audience, especially about the “healing” content of the work. Continuing the unfinished stories in the first part, the drama still  revolves around the daily activities of five doctors: examination, surgery and relationships with other colleagues.

The series has been viewed a total of 72,060,000 hours on Netflix worldwide.  There is even an episode that attracts millions of shares and comments on forums and social networks. 

8. Space Sweepers

Space Sweepers is Song Joong Ki‘s second work to appear on this list. Despite the fact that the drama was initially underestimated, it went on to receive widespread acclaim from audiences in other countries. With a budget of up to 21 million dollars, its spectacular effects have wowed the audience.

The film is set in the world in 2092, after the Earth is completely polluted and people have to find new lands in the universe to live.  Song Joong Ki plays Tae Ho, a member of the Victory scrap ship. On board are Captain Jang (Kim Tae Ri), robot Bubs (Yoo Hae Jin), former mafia Tiger Park (Jin Seon Kyu).

One day, they discovered in the collected scraps a robot baby named Dorothy – the object that UTS and the Black Fox terrorist group are looking for.  Tae-ho’s crew initially intends to exchange Dorothy for the prize money, but gradually develops feelings for her.

9. Sisyphus: The Myth

Despite the controversy, Sisyphus: The Myth still reached the Top 10. However, compared to the huge scale of the project, this is still an unequal achievement.  As a rare film in the sci-fi genre, Sisyphus: The Myth takes the theme of time travel, has a huge investment budget and A-list stars like Park Shin Hye and Jo Seung Woo.  However, it is not enough to convince the audience.

This is a special project to mark the 10th anniversary of JTBC, with an investment of up to 25 billion won.  Inspired by Greek mythology, the film is about female warrior Kang Seo Hae (Park Shin Hye), who returns from the ruined future to the past with the goal of saving genius engineer Han Tae Sul (Jo Seung Woo) and helping Korea get out of the war.

10. Kingdom: Ashin of the North

Kingdom is a Korean series on the subject of zombies.  Successful in combining historical and horror genres, Kingdom is highly appreciated for its fresh and engaging storyline.

Before returning with season 3, Kingdom once again captivated the audience with the special episode – Kingdom: Ashin of the North, with the participation of actress Jun Ji Hyun, actor Park Byung Eun, child star Kim Si A. As an independent prequel, the film has a separate content from the two released parts, explaining the origin of the tree that revives the dead and discovering the identity of the character Ashin – who the group of Lee Chang (Joo Ji Hoon) encountered on the trip to the North to learn about the zombie epidemic at the end of season 2.

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