10 Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s and 90s to Watch

You may have come across a lot of K-dramas with interesting themes, but have you ever watched Korean dramas set in the 80s and 90s? If not, here’s a list of the top 10 K-dramas with a nostalgic feel.

K-Dramas set in the 90s, 80s, and 70s are loved today thanks to some of the same themed dramas as hugely popular as “Twenty-Five Twenty-One” and “Reply 1988”.

Shows set in the classic era give off a distinct nostalgic feel, and we couldn’t find a retro feel from shows set in the present day. Here are K-dramas set in the 80s and 90s that you must watch!


Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s


1. My Perfect Stranger

Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s

My Perfect Stranger is one of the newest K-dramas set in 1987. It tells the story of Yoon Hae Joon, the youngest announcer ever to work at his broadcasting station. He is calm and direct as a journalist and good-natured in his personal life.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Baek Yoon Young is a woman who dreams of becoming a writer but ends up working at a publishing company. One day, the two travel back to 1987.

There, Yoon Hae Joon tries to find the truth behind a serial murder case while Baek Yoon Young tries to prevent his parents from getting married. They quickly realized that their goals were connected in the end.

This Korean tv show was released in 2023 with 16 episodes. You can watch it on Viki.


2. Youth of May

Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s

Hee Tae is a young man who became the pride of Gwangju when he entered the Seoul National University Medical School with the highest grades.

One day, Hee Tae has to go to a meeting with a potential marriage partner arranged by his father. At this meeting, Hee Tae meets Myung Hee, a nurse who perseveres through life’s thorns.

But Myung Hee is just a substitute who agrees to go to this meeting in place of her friend Soo Ryeon, because she has to prepare plane tickets to study in Germany.

However, Myung Hee and Hee Tae end up falling in love. In May 1980, amidst the fiery passion and cries for democracy resounding throughout Gwangju, Hee Tae and Myung Hee find themselves in an uncertain destiny.

This is one of the best Korean dramas set in the 80s. It is releasing in 2021 with 12 episodes. You can watch this K-drama on Amazon Prime Video.


3. Life on Mars

It tells the story of the leader of the crime investigation team, Han Tae Joo, who has pushed his career and rose through the ranks by trusting data above all else.

One day, while investigating a serial murder case, he has an accident. When he wakes up, he suddenly finds himself in the winter of 1988.

He doesn’t know why, but he is now a detective assigned to work at a police station in a small town. To return to the present, Han Tae Joo tries to solve the case. This K-drama set in 1988 was released in 2018 with 16 episodes.


4. Twenty-Five Twenty-One

Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s

Na Hee Do is a girl who is a member of her high school’s fencing team. But due to South Korea’s financial crisis, the high school fencing team was disbanded. Through all the hardships, he becomes a member of the national fencing team.

The South Korean financial crisis also caused Baek Yi Jin’s father’s business to go bankrupt. This causes a life change for Baek Yi Jin, from living as a rich man to a poor man.

While studying, he worked part-time jobs such as delivering newspapers. Later, he became a sports reporter for a broadcast network. It was then that he met Na Hee Do and started a relationship with her.

This tvN drama was released in 2022 with 16 episodes. You can watch one of the best Korean dramas set in the 80s on Netflix.


5. Different Dreams

It is set in 1919, during the Japanese colonial period, two events paved the way for Korean independence, the March 1st Movement and the establishment of the Provisional Government of Korea. And with that, was born the secret weapon for freedom, the Hero Corps.

Historically and in the drama, the man who led the corps was named Kim Won Bong, only a few people know his real name. He rarely stays in one area for more than two hours and sleeps only for short periods. With passion burning in his heart, he moved swiftly and dreamed of his country’s independence.

Lee Young Jin, a Korean woman who was raised by a Japanese military doctor, followed in her adoptive father’s footsteps, and through a series of events, attended a prestigious medical university in Shanghai. She returns to Joseon and becomes the first female surgeon.

The two cross paths, and though they follow different ideologies, Won Bong soon realizes his need for her and begins to regret sending her deep into enemy territory.

These two characters will walk together, sometimes running, sometimes falling, only to get back up to chase their dreams. Bearing the pain and suffering of the historical events that shaped Korea’s independence, they hope to instill the past so that it will never be forgotten.

This Korean drama set in the 90s was released in 2019 and has a total of 40 episodes.


6. Reply 1988

It tells the story of five childhood friends, who all live in the same Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul in 1988. They lean on each other to survive their challenging teenage years and set a path for their future.

As a group of friends go in and out of mischief around the neighborhood, what experiences from these memorable moments will they carry over to their future lives?

One of the best teen Korean dramas is set in the 80s. It was released in 2015 with 20 episodes and is available on Netflix. This tv show stars Park Bo Gum, Lee Hye Ri, Go Kyung Pyo, Ryu Joon Yeol, and Lee Dong Hwi


7. Pachinko

Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s

This sprawling story is set in the 1980s and chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in a desperate quest to survive and thrive.

You can watch this K-drama on Apple TV. It was released in 2022 and has a total of 8 episodes.


8. Oasis

During the 1980s, South Korea underwent political changes that led to chaos and social unrest. In a small town in Jeolla Province, two best friends, Lee Doo Hak, and Choi Cheol Woong, try to navigate their high school and teenage years.

However, their lives change forever when Oh Jung Shin, a girl from Seoul, transfers to their school. The three quickly became close friends, but the two boys developed romantic feelings for Oh Jung Shin.

Over time, this sparked a love competition between them, and a love triangle was created. However, circumstances beyond their control begin to shake up their young lives.

An unexpected incident involving Lee Doo Hak’s family results in tragedy, pushing him towards violence and revenge. As political events escalate around them, can love be the answer to save the day for these three young friends?

This is one of the best Korean dramas set in the 80s and available on Viki. It was released in 2023 with 16 episodes.


9. Through the Darkness

This K-drama is set in the 1990s, a time when the citizens of Seoul are gripped by a paralyzing fear after a series of brutal attacks and murders occur. A mysterious figure nicknamed ‘Red Hat’ is stalking women on the street and then killing their prey, apparently without provocation.

His habit of attacking randomly makes it impossible for detectives to predict his next move. At the top of their minds was what could trigger him.

Aware of the F.B.I. and his success using a criminal profiler to identify serial killers, the head of the Criminal Behavior Analysis team, Gook Young Soo recruits Song Ha Young, a quiet, reserved, and highly perceptive ex-detective for his team.

Gook believed using this new psychological method would give the police an edge in catching the ‘Red Hats’ and ending the killing spree.

Homicide expert Yoon Tae Goo and his officers question the value of this approach and refuse to enter uncharted territory.

To quell their ridicule, they need to be convinced that this radical crime-fighting approach will increase their arrest rates.

Does Song Ha Young have the ability to gain the trust of heartless criminals while seeing through them? Is he smart enough to outwit them? But more importantly, does he have the emotional fortitude to go through the process?

The series was released in 2022 with 12 episodes. You can watch this 90s background investigative Korean drama on Netflix.


10. Snowdrop

Best Korean Dramas Set in The 80s, and 90s

In 1987, a bloodied man jumped into a women’s university dormitory in Seoul. It was Young Ro, a university student who fell in love with him at first sight on a group blind date.

He then takes care of her despite being under close surveillance and in a dangerous situation. However, Young Ro is surprised to learn the secret.

While it is heartbreaking to watch over his first love Young Ro, Soo Ho has no choice but to move on orders to save his teammates and return to his home country where his brother awaits.

Young Ro rejects his father’s wishes and works hand in hand with Soo Ho to save the man and friend he loves. What will become of their fate?

This is one of the best Korean dramas set in the 1980s that was released in 2021. It has 16 episodes and you can watch this K-drama on Disney Plus.


That was the list of the best Korean dramas set in the 80s and 90s. All the lists that we mentioned above have been updated with the latest and of course the best according to SaranKita’s version. Thanks for reading this article, have a nice day!

Read Also: