With over 1.8 billion viewing hours in the global top ten, 2023 is proving to be another extremely successful year for K-dramas on Netflix. Below, we’ve put together the list of the most-watched K-dramas on Netflix in 2023.
This year has introduced a change in the way Netflix tracks what the most popular movies and TV shows are in the global top ten. Dramas with smaller run times and episodes are now no longer drowned out by shows with longer run times and larger episode counts.
Netflix has listed this change as “Views” where you take the number of hours in the global top ten list, and divide it by the total runtime in hours
In the list below we’ve listed what Netflix would define as a” View” with CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents).
Below are the most-watched K-Dramas on Netflix so far in 2023 so far:
10. Mr. Queen (Season 1)
Episodes: 20 | Total Runtime: 23.81 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 4,406,551
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 104,920,000 Hours
Netflix missed out on gaining Mr. Queen as an internationally licensed Original during its 2020/2021 run. Better late than never, the appetite for the drama saw some big viewing numbers, exceeding 104 million hours in the Global top ten.
“In the present day, Jang Bong Hwan is a chef who works for the country’s top politicians at the Blue House. He has a free spirit, but his spirit somehow finds its way into the body of Queen Cheorin in the Joseon period. King Cheoljong, the reigning monarch, is a gentle and easy-going person. However, he is only king in name. Queen Sunwon, the late King Sunjo’s wife, wields true power in the country and has relegated King Cheoljong to a figurehead. Her ambitious younger brother, Kim Jwa Geun, also desires power. Queen Cheorin soon discovers that King Cheoljong is not what he seems and that he has a dark and suspicious side to him.”
9. See You in My 19th Life (Season 1) N
Episodes: 12 | Total Runtime: 12.35 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 6,040,485
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 74,600,000 Hours
The series had a far greater performance on Netflix than it did in South Korea where it failed to break into the top 50 highest-rated cable dramas.
“Ban Ji Eum has an extraordinary ability: she can remember the memories of all her past lives. Repeating her reincarnation for nearly a thousand years, Ban Ji Eum has been living her lives diligently. After her previous life is cut short by a tragic accident, she sets out to reconnect with the people of her past life in her current one.”
8. The Good Bad Mother (Season 1) N
Episodes: 14 | Total Runtime: 15.93 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 7,711,864
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 122,850,000 Hours
Sat in the middle of Korea’s top fifty most watched cable dramas ever, it’s thanks to the quality of shows such as The Good Bad Mother that K-drama fans keep returning to Netflix time after time.
“A tragic accident leaves an ambitious prosecutor with the mind of a child, forcing him and his mother to embark on a journey to heal their relationship.”
7. Doctor Cha (Season 1) N
Episodes: 16 | Total Runtime: 16.5 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 9,173,860
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 150,910,000 Hours
If this was a list ranking the top weekly K-dramas to arrive on Netflix, there would be an argument to place Doctor Cha at the very top. While the series is lagging behind the competition via Netflix, in South Korea it’s a different story entirely. Doctor Cha sits in 7th place with an astonishingly high 18.564% rating, overtaking the likes of Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Mr. Sunshine.
“It tells the story of a medical graduate turned housewife but decided to return to the medical field, and a doctor husband who maintains a perfect dual life. He is great at his job and he is also great at cheating on his wife.”
6. Crash Course in Romance (Season 1) N
Episodes: 16 | Total Runtime: 19.45
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 9,431,876
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 183, 450,000
Wildly popular in South Korea, the series currently sits in 11th place in the highest-rated cable dramas in Korean history after hitting an incredible 17.038% nationwide rating.
Retired ex national team female handball player has become a grocery store owner in order to look after her family while she grapples with her daughter’s tutor’s eating disorder.
5. Celebrity (Season 1) N
Episodes: 12 | Total Runtime: 8.8 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 12,766,912
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 113,200,000 Hours
It’s been a strong year for South Korean Netflix Originals, as proven by the success of series such as Bloodhounds, Black Knight, and Celebrity.
“Fame. Money. Power. One young woman fights to become the next hottest celebrity in the glamorous yet scandalous world of influencers in Seoul.”
4. King the Land (Season 1) N
Episodes: 16 | Total Runtime: 18.9 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 17,014,928
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 323,000,000 hours
Outside of the mainstream eye, King the Land has been one of the most controversial K-dramas on Netflix. The series was review-bombed heavily after two episodes depicted a womanizing and alcohol-drinking Arab prince, played by Indian actor Anupam Tripathi (Squid Game). Drinking alcohol goes against the Muslim faith, and it was also seen as culturally insensitive that an Arab Prince was portrayed by an Indian actor.
Controversy aside, the series has been wildly successful for a weekly K-drama. amassing over 323 million hours in the global top ten, and the 21st highest-rated cable drama in Korean history.
“The hotel heir and the best employee twisted to change the standard of service and undertook to implement the concept “You will be sincerely smiled at in King”. King is the name of the company and a metaphor for addressing guests as kings.”
3. Black Knight (Season 1) N
Episodes: 6| Total Runtime: 4.65 hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 17,075,268
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 79,400,000 Hours
Thanks to the changes made to the way Netflix views the top ten, dramas such as Black Knight with fewer episodes and smaller runtimes finally get the recognition they deserve. While the time the show spent in the global top ten isn’t impressive, its CVE certainly is. Fans will be hoping to see Black Knight sometime in the near future.
“In 2071, where people depend on respirator masks to breathe. Only one percent of the human race has survived, and a strict social stratification has been established in the deserted lands of the Korean Peninsula. Delivery drivers play a crucial role within this system, and for refugees, becoming a delivery driver is their only hope for survival.”
2. Bloodhounds (Season 1) N
Episodes: 8 | Total Runtime: 8 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 20,608,750
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 164,870,000 Hours
One of the best-performing K-dramas on Netflix in 2023, Bloodhounds has beaten nearly every other drama by its CVE count. Many fans are still holding out for the possibility of a second season.
“In order to pay off their debt, three daring youths jump into the money-lending business while confronting the rich and powerful who prey on the weak.”
1. The Glory (Season 1) N
Episodes: 16 | Total Runtime: 14.1 Hours
CVE (Completed Viewing Equivalents): 39,786,525
Total Hours Spent in Global Top Ten: 560,990,000 Hours
The undisputed top K-drama of 2023 is The Glory. Already one of the most successful non-English language dramas in Netflix history, before the streaming service introduced ‘Views’ for its Global top ten lists, The Glory previously sat in fourth place behind All of Us Are Dead, Money Heist (Spanish), and Squid Game.
What’s been your favorite K-drama of 2023? Let us know in the comments below!