Growing-up pains? Precious friendships? Young love? Nothing makes us cherish our youth like Korean high school dramas do.
In this article, we round up the best Korean high school dramas we recommend you watch now. The list is a mix of classic, recent, underrated, light, and intense shows. But whatever drama you end up playing, they’re guaranteed to make you think of your uniform-wearing days. And your high school crush, too!
The 10 Best Korean High School Dramas
Looking for drama inspiration? Add these 10 best Korean high school dramas to your watchlist:
- 18 Again (2020)
- Extracurricular (2020)
- Mr. Heart (2020)
- Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)
- Sky Castle (2018)
- Our Beloved Summer (2020-2021)
- Light On Me (2021)
- True Beauty (2020-2021)
- Live On (2021)
- School 2017 (2017)
1. 18 Again (2020)
A tearjerker to begin the list. Hong Dae Young’s (Yoon Sang Hyun) life is falling apart. He just lost his job, his wife filed for divorce, and he’s not on good terms with his two kids. He makes a wish to go back in time, until he’s suddenly transported to the body (Lee Do Hyun) he had at 18 years old.
18 Again slaps us with the struggles of family life. It’s all about mending relationships – with your spouse, kids, and perhaps yourself. Married or not, you’ll definitely sympathize with the show’s well-written characters. Go grab some tissues because each episode will make you cry!
P.S: Lee Do Hyun’s acting as a 37-year old stuck in his 18-year old body is so phenomenal. You have to see it!
2. Extracurricular (2020)
Oh Ji Soo (Kim Dong Hee) is a top high school student. With no family to support him, he runs a sex trafficking business to finance his needs. Things start to get messy when his classmates, Seo Min Hee (Jung Da Bin) and Bae Gyu Ri (Park Ju Hyun) learn his secret and join in his crime.
Extracurricular is a thrilling crime drama. But rather than hate on the kids doing criminal activities, the show will make you question what’s right or wrong. It gives solid commentary on social issues that can leave a high school kid with no choice but to do dirty work.
3. Mr. Heart (2020)
Mr. Heart is a boys’ love Kdrama tells the romance between two track and field athletes. The record breaker but aloof Jin Won (Cheon Seung Ho) gets paired with Sang Ha (Lee Se Jin), a cheery pacesetter. Despite being polar opposites, can they run towards love once the race begins?
This Kdrama is too adorable! If you’re a sucker for the cold-guy-meets-bubbly-guy trope, this one’s for you. And the leads’ height difference is just so cute!
4. Twenty Five Twenty One (2022)
Twenty Five Twenty One follows the lives of five friends from 1988 to 2021. It takes off from the high school days of Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri), an aspiring but struggling fencer. She gets close to her other classmates and Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk), a formerly rich college dropout.
Against a backdrop of the IMF crisis, Hee Do and her friends fight for their dreams. One minute the characters are carefree youths. Next they’re making difficult decisions for their families. But either way, the show has a lot to teach us about the pretty and ugly pains of growing up.
5. Sky Castle (2018)
It’s a crazy show that raked crazy ratings. Four women living in the exclusive “SKY Castle” neighborhood will do anything to climb the social ladder. They’ll get their husbands the best positions and their kids the best schools. Even if it takes a murder or two…
Sky Castle is a satirical show with a wild plot. You won’t expect what will happen next! It started off with just 1.7% but quickly rose to 24% by its finale. If the ratings aren’t convincing enough, it also won several awards for its acting, directing, soundtrack, and more.
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6. Our Beloved Summer (2020-2021)
Our Beloved Summer goes back and forth between the high school days and present lives of an ex-couple. Former lovers Choi Ung (Choi Woo Shik) and Kook Yeon Soo (Kim Da Mi) are reunited when a documentary they shot in high school goes viral.
With lots of angst over a messy breakup, you’ll want to hug all the characters after the 16-episode show. For fans of slowburn dramas that leave fuzzy feelings in your heart, Our Beloved Summer is for you.
7. Light On Me (2021)
This boys’ love (BL) drama is based on a mobile game! A loner in high school, Woo Tae Kyung (Lee Sae On) joins the student council to make friends. He meets Shin Da On (Choe Chan Yi), the friendly student council President, and Noh Shin Woo (Kang Yoo Seok), the hostile Vice President who doesn’t want Tae Kyung in the council.
Light On Me is a short but infinitely charming Kdrama. It packs so much heart and cuteness in each of its 16 episodes that are only 20 minutes long. Look out for the healthy love triangle, coming-of-age, and Tae Kyung’s mysterious first love!
8. True Beauty (2020-2021)
Lim Ju Kyung (Moon Ga Young) is bullied in her high school for being ugly. She masters makeup before transferring to a new school, where her peers unknowingly call her a “goddess.” Her paths cross with the two popular boys in school, the cold Lee Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo) and the kind Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop).
True Beauty is one of the few Kdramas you’d get away with for being too cliche. There’s nothing extraordinary with the plot. But it discussed the issue of self-confidence with so much care. It’s a cute empowering drama you should watch!
9. Live On (2021)
Baek Ho Rang (Jung Da Bin) is famous in social media for being pretty. After she gets anonymous messages threatening to reveal her dark secret, she joins the broadcasting club to catch the culprit. The condescending Ho Rang meets Go Eun Taek (Minhyuk), the broadcasting club’s strict and perfectionist head.
Want another short and sweet drama? Live On is just eight episodes long! The show gave a strong commentary in our age where social media rules and everyone is judged by their looks. It’s a light drama with no over-the-top plot. Jung Da Bin delivered a must-watch performance in this show!
10. School 2017 (2017)
Ra Eun Ho (Kim Se Jeong) dreams of getting into university. But when she’s accused of being “Student X,” a mysterious but heroic prankster at school, Eun Ho risks getting expelled. As she tries to know Student X’s identity, she gets close with Hyun Tae Woon (Kim Jung Hyung), the rebellious son of the school director.
For fans of the friends-to-lovers trope! Like the other dramas in the series, School 2017 tackles lots of heavy issues hounding teens. But it was able to remain magically fluffy all throughout. You’ll grow fond of the very humanly-flawed characters as you watch them overcome their troubles.
P.S: Watch out for the almost-kiss in the rain! The tension and chemistry were off the charts!
There’s a whole arsenal of the best Korean high school drama waiting for you! Whether you want something melancholic, intense, or fluffy, you’ll definitely find a Korean high school drama for your taste. Watch one now, and relive the best of your youth!
Want to watch Korean dramas from a different genre? Check out our selection of: