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10 Best Historical Kdramas To Watch Today!

10 Best Historical Kdramas

I just finished rewatching Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency and Bloody Heart – two fantastic historical Kdramas for those who aren’t in the know – for the second time, and I absolutely adored them.  

Despite most sageuk (historical) Kdramas being relatively long and politically intricate, this is easily my favorite genre of Kdramas. 

With that said, I’d like to share with you my top ten historical Kdramas of all time. Buckle up and grab your popcorn. I can guarantee you’ll love one (or ten) of the Kdramas on this list. 

I hope you find these recommendations enjoyable, and please don’t hesitate to share your favorite Kdramas in the comments below.

1. Mr. Queen (2020)

Mr Queen Kdrama

Starring: Shin Hye Sun as Kim So Yong/Queen Cheorin, Kim Jung Hyun as Yi Won Beom/King Cheoljong, and Choi Jin Hyuk as Jang Bong Hwan.

Plot: Mr. Queen is one historical drama that will have you in stitches by the time you’re through with episode one. With incredibly-timed quips and a stellar cast, there’s everything to love in this amazing drama.

In this drama, Jang Bong Hwan, the first-first male lead (it’s a little complicated), is a chef working at the Blue House who wakes up in the body of Queen Cheorin of the Joseon dynasty. 

Having no way to go back, he decides to make the most of his life as Queen Cheorin, and if you’ve ever wondered what a switch between a demure maiden and a macho-man-man will look like, you’re in the right place. 

The story evolves as Queen Cheorin – with Bong Hwan’s soul – discovers the dark secrets of King Cheoljong and figures out the one who controls the king as a puppet. I think you’ll love this drama if you fancy retellings and if you missed Shin Hye Sun’s beautiful face. 

As a bonus, if you enjoyed Seol In Ah as Jin Young Seo in A Business Proposal, then you’re going to love her here as the not-so-nice Jo Hwa Jin. 

2. Bossam: Steal The Fate (2021)

Bossam: Steal The Fate Kdrama

Starring: Jung Il Woo as Ba Woo/Kim Dae Seok, Kwon Yu Ri as Yi Su Kyeong, and Shin Hyun Soo as Yi Dae Yeob.

Plot: If you needed another clue that I loved this drama, look to the fact that I’ve already rewatched it this year, and that brings the tally up to three rewatches after the first time it aired. Bossam: Steal The Fate is the type of drama you inhale, whether in bits or in its entirety. 

In this drama, Ba Woo, played by the talented Jung Il Woo, is a ruffian single father who carries out bossams – the kidnapping of widows in blankets to enforce a new marriage – on behalf of his clients. 

But, his fate is changed when he accidentally kidnaps Yi Su Kyeong, a widowed princess living with her inlaws since her to-be husband’s death out of loyalty to their family.

What happens after this is a heart-pounding and soul-wrenching journey to the capital, and I reckon every Kdrama watcher who loves, loves, and loves tropes will appreciate it.

I’ve loved Jung Il Woo since I watched him in Cinderella and The Four Knights and then Haechi, so it’s really no surprise that I gobbled this up. 

3. 100 Days My Prince (2018)

100 Days My Prince Kdrama

Starring: Do Kyung Soo as Lee Yul/Na Won Deuk, Nam Ji Hyun as Yeon Hong Shim/Yoon Yi Seo, and Han So Hee as Kim So Hye.

Plot: In 100 Days My Prince, Crown Prince Lee Yul decrees that all citizens marry before turning 28. Unfortunately, this happens right before he survives a deadly attack on his life and loses his memory. 

Hong Shim, a maiden approaching 28, is then saved by her father before she can be sentenced for disobeying the missing prince’s words, and he presents the amnesiac Won Deuk, who he has brainwashed into assuming another identity as her long-term fiancé. 

Whatever you’ve imagined about a prince (who doesn’t know he’s a prince) attempting to slum it with the locals should be multiplied to 900 billion because Won Deuk was going through it. 

With so many hilarious moments and romantic scenes that held me in a chokehold for a long, long, long time, this is one extremely good historical Kdrama you’re not going to forget in a hurry.

4. Hwang Jin Yi (2006)

Hwang Jin Yi Kdrama

Starring: Ha Ji Won as Hwang Jin Yi, Kim Young Ae as Im Baek Moo, and Kim Jae Won as Kim Jung Han.

Plot: To be honest, I picked this drama because of two things: There’s a younger Jang Geun Suk (can you tell I was positively obsessed with You Are Beautiful) in it, and it’s one of the fantastic Kdramas available on YouTube. 

But, Hwang Jin Yi – loosely based on a real person’s life – won me over with her beautiful dance and resilient spirit. It wasn’t hard to love this drama once I started, and I hope you give it a chance. 

This drama revolves around the life of Hwang Jin Yi, the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and a kisaeng. 

Not wanting her daughter to follow in her footsteps, the kisaeng sends Jin Yi to a temple to be taken care of by a monk. 

But, time and fate bring Jin Yi back to her destiny, and, as a young child, she finds herself mesmerized by the singing and dancing performed by the kisaengs. 

Determined to become the best kisaeng of Joseon, Jin Yi begins her training under the best court dancer, Im Baek Moo. But her life takes an unexpected turn when she falls in love.

This historical Kdrama is full of love, music, sad music, tragedy, some love, more sad music, more tragedy, and even more sad music. If you’re not bawling your eyes out by the final episode, then you can change my name. 

5. Moonshine (2021)

Moonshine Kdrama

Starring: Yoo Seung Ho as Nam Young, Lee Hye Ri as Kang Ro Seo, and Byeon Woo Seok as Lee Pyo.

Plot: The premise of this drama is that a new law is announced in Joseon which prohibits the making, selling, and buying of alcohol. 

Inspector Nam Young, a do-gooder through and through, gets embroiled in a scandal of epic proportions with Kang Ro Seo, a poor, young woman who takes to secretly making and distributing alcohol for a profit, the nonchalant crown prince Lee Pyo, who frequents the underground bars almost as much as the ordinary man, and a host of other characters that support their trade in one way or the other. 

Their story takes an exciting turn when the trio finds a hidden stash of alcohol, and their race to avoid the authorities becomes a life-or-death affair. 

With close brushes with the law (and some crazy, entitled criminals) and a moral conflict at the root of the lead’s role, this was an immensely satisfying watch. 

6. The King’s Affection (2021)

The King's Affection Kdrama

Starring: Park Eun Bin as Crown Prince Lee Hwi/Dam Yi/Yeon-seon, Rowoon as Jung Ji Woon, and Nam Yoon Su as Lee Hyun, Prince Jaeun.

Plot: The OST of this drama is superb, and I absolutely loved the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but The King’s Affection is one of those dramas you have to watch and re-watch at least once a year. 

This drama opens up with the Crown princess giving birth to twins in Joseon, where twins are considered to be ominous – and naturally, the female twin is to be killed. 

To save her daughter, she sends her away, but through fate or luck, her daughter ends up working in the palace as a maid named Dam Yi. 

One day, Dam Yi meets her twin brother, who lives as the crown prince, and they start switching places. 

Unfortunately, her twin brother is mistakenly killed outside the palace while he’s dressed as a girl, and she’s dressed as him in his chambers. 

Their mother finds out about the ruse and pleads with Dam Yi to live as her brother, and she does this successfully for years. 

Until she meets Ji Woon, the son of one of the treacherous nobles, and she falls in love with him. If you think you’re immune to heartbreak, think again. 

This historical Kdrama made me cry so much I could have powered a whole city with the salty liquid.

7. Queen Love And War (2019)

Queen Love And War Kdrama

Starring: Jin Se Yeon as Kang Eun Bo/Kang Eun Gi, Kim Min Kyu as Lee Kyung, and Do Sang Woo as Lee Jae Hwa.

Plot: If you loved Kim Min Kyu in A Business Proposal, then you’re going to love this. Sure, there’s no moment where he takes off his glasses in that oh, so sexy way, but trust me when I say he was practically on fire. 

The way he would charge in in less than two seconds to remove her from uncomfortable situations and the way he didn’t shy away from ever letting her (and everyone that cared to listen) know in whatever way he could that he loved her was simply amazing. 

Reader, trust me when I say you’ll enjoy this one (almost) as much as I did.  

In Queen: Love And War, Kang Eun Bo wants to find the one who killed her twin sister, but only a queen has the power to order the search for a murderer, and she decides to become the queen. 

She tries to get closer to King Lee Kyung, but with so many women vying for his attention, it’s not the easiest thing to do. 

This is another historical Kdrama that I could bet my favorite pen would thrill viewers.  

8. The Red Sleeve (2021)

The Red Sleeve Kdrama

Starring: Lee Jun Ho as Yi San, Lee Se Young as Seong Deok Im, and Kang Hoon as Hong Deok Ro.

Plot: Before we go into the summary of this Kdrama, I’ll have to be honest. The Red Sleeve’s romantic plotline feels more like an aside, so if you’re diving in in hopes of seeing many heroic moments, then you might get a little bit disappointed. 

If you’ll stay for the political intrigue and the court dynamics, this is just the one for you. 

Lee Jun Ho shines in his role as Crown Prince Yi San, a troubled young man haunted by the death of his father, who his cruel grandfather killed. 

Unlike his grandfather, Yi San wants to become a benevolent king after sitting on the throne. 

He falls in love with Seong Deok Im, a court lady assigned to his palace, and offers to make her his royal concubine. 

There’s a lot of intrigue, and this drama might even feel like you’ve been slammed with a somewhat thriller plot, but it’s worth it – I promise. 

I think my favorite thing about historical Kdramas is the numerous lives they dream up for a singular character in history. 

Jeongjo Of Joseon, whose personal name was Yi San (played here by Jun Ho), has been depicted in several other capacities, which I’ll definitely explore in a future post. Suffice it to say that this Kdrama is definitely worth watching, and I hope you take a chance on it,  

9. Arang And The Magistrate (2012)

Arang and the Magistrate Kdrama

Starring: Lee Joon Gi as Kim Eun Oh, Shin Min A as Arang, and Yeon Woo Jin as Joo Wal.

Plot: I love, love, love Arang and the Magistrate, and while it has been a hot minute since I watched it, it still remains one of my favorite Kdramas. 

It’s sort of a blend of different elements, but one thing I can assure you is that the romance in this drama is superb, and there’s no overarching political bent to speak off. 

You’ll enjoy this drama if you like historical Kdramas with a mystery storyline.

So, Arang is a ghost who doesn’t remember her life as she is stuck somewhere in the middle, and for her to find peace, she has to find out how she dies. 

Enter Kim Eun Ho, the town’s new magistrate, played by Lee Joon Gi, who is the only person able to see her. 

Soon enough, they’re trading favors, and what follows is a Kdrama you won’t forget in a hurry.

10. My Sassy Girl (2017)

My Sassy Girl Kdrama

Starring: Joo Won as Gyeon Woo, Oh Yeon Seo as Princess Hye Myung, and Lee Jung Shin as Kang Joon Young.

Plot: Hye Myung is a headstrong princess with a bad reputation who often sneaks out of the palace to get drunk and get clues to help in her search for her mother, who was dethroned and exiled. 

One of her out-of-palace stints leads her to Gyeon Woo, a scholar known as the “national treasure of Joseon” in the most ridiculous way – she throws up on his clothes, faints, and he has to carry her to a hotel. 

She wakes up, assaults him because she believes he tried to touch her, and is promptly whisked away by her efficient guard.

Needless to say, both hate each other with a burning passion from the beginning, but love starts peeking through the shadows when fate forces them into different compromising situations. 

This is one of the best historical dramas you’ll want to have on your watchlist. 

That’s a wrap!

Whether you’re an avid follower of historical Kdramas or just dipping your toes into this genre, the recommendations provided here are sure to satisfy you. 

Don’t hesitate to let me know which ones are your favorites in the comment section below. 

And if you’re looking for some Kdramas that you can quickly finish in a day, check out our list of titles with fewer than ten episodes. 

Fancy some doom-scrolling? Here’s a page chock-full of recommendations. 

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