Crash Landing on You broke records when its final episode peaked at a 24.1 per cent rating, clocking in an average 21.7 per cent overall viewership to beat what was formerly Korean TVN channel's highest-rated drama, Goblin , at 20.5 per cent. The drama is also officially the second highest-rated cable drama, next to 2018’s Sky Castle . So what was the secret to its success? Below, we dissect five factors that made Crash Landing on You , and other popular K-dramas before it, such a massive hit. 4 major plot holes in Crash Landing On You – spoiler alert 1. Two hallyu stars who are a perfect match of age – and popularity View this post on Instagram A post shared by KDRAMAS(Korean Dramas) (@kdrama_fanclub) on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:37am PST Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin – now known as #BinJin by doting fans – are certified hallyu stars with immense popularity even before Crash Landing on You . Both actors are known for picking solid projects, and the fact they have previously starred in a movie together, The Negotiation in 2018, only solidified their team-up. The pair’s in-sync acting, on-screen chemistry, plus, the undeniable fact that both are good-looking actors (and of the same age, too!), naturally piqued fan interest. Notably, Full House in 2004, with K-pop sensation Rain and acclaimed drama actress Song Hye-kyo as leads, was one of the dramas responsible for bringing the K-drama wave to the fore. Which Korean stars took front-row seats at the world’s fashion weeks? Back in 2010, Hyun starred opposite Ha Ji-won, a multi-awarded actress known for her versatility in TV and movies, in Secret Garden , which gained commercial and critical recognition locally and internationally. Hyun and Ha did so well in portraying their roles, that key scenes in the drama have repeatedly been re-enacted by celebrities in variety shows and referenced in other works. At a time when memes were non-existent and social media wasn’t as big as it is today, Hyun made the sequinned tracksuit a viral image – and it remains iconic to this day. BTS’ Kim Seok-jin is enlisting: how does military service impact a K-pop star’s career? 2. Tried-and-tested K-drama characters: a chaebol and a soldier – both good-looking, and aspirational View this post on Instagram A post shared by crashlandingonyou (@hyunbin_sonyejin) on Jan 31, 2020 at 2:36am PST Usually, only one of the lead characters is rich and powerful. In Crash Landing on You , both of them are. Well, sort of. Captain Ri’s family, to an extent, holds military power in North Korea; while Yoon Se-ri takes the chaebol role as an heiress and department store owner in South Korea. True to every chaebol-led drama, Yoon takes Captain Ri and his troop on a shopping spree (with no spending limit!) so that they can dress up like Seoul-ites. In other words, Yoon is a modern-day princess – every girl wants to be in her Manolo Blahnik heels, and Captain Ri, in his dashing military uniform, is her prince. The charm of a very manly, male protagonist with broad shoulders, a handsome face and strong arms to protect his woman is both irresistible and a guaranteed hit for the K-drama audience. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Korean Dramas (@k.dramas_) on Mar 2, 2020 at 6:32am PST Other than Hyun Bin as Captain Ri, one needs to look no further than Song Joong-ki as Big Boss in Descendants of the Sun , yet another globally popular K-drama, for enough proof that soldiers can deliver an on-screen charm that makes hearts flutter all over the world. Are Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin dating? 3. A slightly unrealistic love story In Korean dramas, common true-to-life themes that hinder the love of the main couple can be one or all of the following: a) a love triangle, where vying parties are equally worthy and attractive, leading viewers to have a “second-lead syndrome”; b) an overbearing parent who would be against the relationship; or c) social hierarchies or customs that would forbid the lovers from being together, because their relationship isn’t what’s considered the norm – such as the classic noona romances: Older woman, younger man – K-drama’s best ‘noona romances’ Now, adding a fantastical or unrealistic element takes the charm of a romance up a notch, as this makes the theme more universal and adds suspense to the story. Instead of a realistic plot that may only cater to a niche audience (for instance, viewers who have experienced similar set-ups), a threat in the relationship that is more far-fetched and heart-wrenching – usually a matter life and death – can speak to a broader audience and leave more to the imagination. While Crash Landing on You doesn’t involve a goblin, a mermaid, an alien, time-travelling or body-swapping, it’s only a fantasy as far as the border that separates North and South Korea is concerned. In this case, Captain Ri and Yoon Se-ri’s relationship falls in the middle of realism and make-believe – a sweet spot that kept viewers satisfied, yet wanting more. After Crash Landing on You: which K-dramas can we watch now? 4. A well-balanced mix of romcom, action and suspense Crash Landing on You had all these elements down pat. One moment Captain Ri is in his yard, saying sweet things to a plant, the next second he’s out shooting at enemies to protect Yoon Se-ri. Amid scented candles and freshly-brewed coffee, their relationship is a warm and cosy romance made complicated by family conflicts, fights and brawls, past hurts, cultural differences, and yes, even geographical limitations. Overall, it’s a roller-coaster ride that leaves the audiences in tears of both sadness and amusement. Another iconic drama that comes to mind is the 2011 manga-based City Hunter : an action-packed, suspense and romance drama, starring popular stars Lee Min-ho and Park Min-young . With all the right elements coming into play, Lee’s performance was noticed for his flexible acting and the drama met international success and was sold to multiple countries, too. Which 4 actors are heirs to ‘K-drama King’ Song Joong-ki’s crown? 5. Unforgettable, supporting cast members in pivotal roles. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 탕준상 (@t_js0813) on Feb 12, 2020 at 3:37am PST RiRi couple aside, viewers also fell in love with the rest of the Crash Landing on You characters: soldier Kim Joo-muk, a Choi Ji-woo fanboy and a pro at Korean dramas, was the most relatable one to fans. Jeong Man-bok, the North Korean wiretapper, called “the rat” in his village, provided an unexpected turn of events that was instrumental in Captain Ri’s mission. Likewise, Captain Ri’s parents, as well as Seo Dan’s mother, and lover, Alberto, also propelled serious plot twists. View this post on Instagram #reply1997 (http://asianwiki.com/Reply_1997) @tvndrama.official A post shared by Korean Drama (@doseofkoreandrama) on Feb 27, 2020 at 5:07am PST Other than military dramas, storylines that are set in a school or an office, medical or legal-themed, or are following a team of chefs or athletes are often made more interesting by subplots, and the unpredictable story arc of their secondary characters. A prime example would be the first of the Reply series, Reply 1997 , which premiered in 2012. It was a breakthrough cable series that followed the story of high schoolers, set in the 1990s – a time of extreme fandom, the debut of first generation K-pop groups, and the onset of the Korean wave. Song Hye-kyo to Parasite’s Cho Yeo-jeong – K-drama skincare secrets revealed Reply 1997 ’s nostalgic, coming-of-age story starred Seo In-guk and Jung Eun-ji of girl group Apink, accompanied by a strong supporting cast that included K-pop idols Hoya, formerly from Infinite, and Eun Ji-won from Sechs Kies, a first-gen Korean group. They made up a crazy, energetic bunch that definitely allowed audiences to understand what it was like growing up in Busan in the 1990s. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter . Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.