[Ishani's Picks] Top 10 Peak Fiction K-Dramas
By Ishani Sarkar | Published on
A term that has recently risen to popularity in the world of entertainment, "peak fiction" refers to any content that employs innovation, originality and novelty to create the best of the best when it comes to fictional storytelling. Here are my picks for the top 10 peak fiction K-Dramas, ranked in no particular order.
Netflix's space stunner "The Silent Sea" takes the concept of "life on the moon" and runs with it, giving us a truly spectacular yet in a sense, a desperately cruel alternative universe that might not be as far from reality as we think. In addition, it brings matters of global importance such as climate change, resource coservation and space ethics to the forefront.
"Hellbound" is a deeply human story about divine intervention that isn't as holy as one is led to believe. True divinity exists in the very essence of humanity. As such, it isn't surprising that the modern world, as depicted in "Hellbound" is mired in chaos. With mysterious demonic entities condemning mankind to Inferno, the only way to save yourself is to save another.
Besides being one of the most brilliant critiques of class struggle in society, contemporary and ancient alike, "Kingdom" is also a groundbreaking piece of art, especially when it comes to revolutionizing the "zombie" sub-genre. After all, being tethered to reality is what makes it such an amazing example of peak fiction.
The only K-Drama on this list without any elements of fantasy, science-fiction or the supernatural, "The Devil Judge" is nonetheless a masterful work of satire and world-building. In dystopian South Korea, humanity regresses to "an eye for an eye" and needless to say, the world goes blind. "The Devil Judge" is a must-watch!
Another Netflix original that birthed monsters out of human emotions, "Sweet Home" is one of those rare fantasy dramas that make you think just as much as they make you shiver. While the predominant genre is horror, it encapsulates elements of tragedy, youth and even romance in a wondefully nuanced way.
A lesson on Korean mythology, "Bulgasal: Immortal Souls" is nothing short of a masterpiece, giving a fresh modern twist to an extraordinary plot rooted in folklore. Naturally, it goes without saying that "Bulgasal: Immortal Souls" will go down in K-Drama history as peak fiction.
"Guardian: The Lonely and Great God"
On to lighter subject matter, "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God", a K-Drama that gave new life to the Korean wave all over the world, is a prime example of peak fiction. From bringing heaven on Earth, quite literally, to highlighting a transcendent love story, "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God" does it all with grace.
When characters in a comic book become sentient, the world around them comes crashing down. One of the finest works of metafiction in K-Dramas, "Extraordinary You" leaves you wanting more and more. If you're a fan of manhwa, you're going to love this!
Mermaids, time travel and royal secrets, "The Legend of the Blue Sea" has all the makings of peak fiction and most definitely lives up to that status. The conviction with which the universe of this drama is created and the way it moves towards resolution is truly worth high praise.
A space-time wormhole fantasy / crime thriller, "Signal" is one of the highest rated K-Dramas of all time and for good reason too! From the brilliantly well-written screenplay to the sheer integrity of the work, everything about "Signal" is top-notch and truly marks a turning point in the genre.
By Ishani Sarkar.
Ishani Sarkar is a Writer, Editor and Hallyu journalist with years of experience in writing about Korean art, entertainment and culture, editing and managing content as well as interviewing Korean artists and celebrities. Ishani Sarkar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.