The world of Korean dramas is an odd and exquisite place. The South Korean leisure trade is slowly rising to worldwide dominance, as Kpop, Korean motion pictures like Parasite and Minari, and Korean tv sequence take the world by storm.
The time period Korean drama, or Kdrama, refers to virtually any South Korean fictional tv sequence, regardless of the topic or style. That features comedy, romance, sci-fi, horror, you identify it. Most of those tv sequence are primarily based on webcomics, a type of storytelling just like comics that originated in South Korea. You must typically count on a love story regardless of the style (save perhaps horror), and the identical actors are in just about the whole lot. Honest warning, virtually all Korean dramas have fairly outlandish premises, however that’s actually what makes them so good. You simply must discover ways to settle for the unusual and surprising and go alongside for the experience.
Lately, Netflix has turn out to be the go-to place to search out the very best Kdrama choices for US audiences, with many exhibits being labeled as Netflix Originals. This partnership, in addition to the general shift to streaming, has additionally modified the enterprise and construction of Kdramas, as beforehand, just about all Kdramas have been round 16 episodes lengthy and one season solely. Though Korea and their media continues to be typically conservative, the worldwide viewers is unquestionably shifting views to be extra inclusive and consultant of all varieties of folks.
With a view to enable you leap headfirst into this new and increasing space of tv, listed here are 28 of the very best Korean dramas accessible to look at on Netflix, each authentic and never.
Editor’s Notice: This record was most just lately up to date on October 7.
Newly Added: Squid Sport
Creator: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Solid: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon
You’ve positively heard about this one, in truth, there’s a great probability it’s the present that introduced you right here! Netflix’s 2021 authentic Squid Sport charted a right away and unprecedented climb to the highest of Netflix’s most-watched lists, turning into a social media sensation and water cooler speaking level. And for good motive, it’s a intelligent spin on acquainted style archetypes with an distinctive forged that makes for an irresistible binge-watch. Set throughout 9 episodes, the sequence follows 456 debt-ridden contenders by means of a sequence of lethal youngsters’s video games for the promise of a life-changing jackpot for whoever survives. Motion-packed, horror-tinged, and threaded by means of with wealthy character drama, Squid Game generally is a little bit of a bleak bummer, however in a sequence exploring the pitfalls of capitalist extra and the folks it leaves behind, that’s type of the purpose. And like all nice style allegories, it by no means forgets to lace these themes into its endlessly partaking thrills. – Haleigh Foutch
Crash Touchdown on You
Author: Park Ji-eun
Director: Lee Jung-hyo
Solid: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Web optimization Ji-hye, Kim Jung-hyun
Most likely the preferred Korean drama on Netflix thus far is a love story between a North Korean soldier and an heiress from South Korea known as Crash Touchdown on You. Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is a younger, lovely, and supremely rich girl who decides to go paragliding one weekend. She will get caught in a twister that brings her over North Korea, the place she lands. Attempting to flee getting caught by North Korea, Se-ri is protected and hidden by Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin).
Whereas Jeong-hyeok makes an attempt to assist Se-ri and smuggle her again to South Korea, the 2 can’t deny their rising emotions for each other. As the last word Romeo and Juliet, Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri’s chemistry is wonderful, and contemplating the actors began formally relationship after capturing the drama, this isn’t a shock. Crash Touchdown on You is the quintessential Korean rom-com sequence, so it’s positively an important sequence to introduce you to the style.
Author: Park Jae-bum
Director: Kim Hee-won
Solid: Tune Joong-ki, Jeon Yeo-bin, TaecYeon
In Vincenzo, Tune Joong-ki performs a Korean man who was adopted by an Italian household as a baby and raised in Italy as a part of a mafia household. After his adoptive father dies, the person’s organic son makes an attempt to kill Vincenzo, main him to flee again to Seoul, South Korea, the place he has a stash of gold hidden beneath an previous residence constructing. Sadly, Vincenzo has no quick access to the gold except he tears down the constructing, and there’s a neighborhood of people that dwell there.
On the similar time, a corrupt enterprise known as Babel Group illegally takes over the constructing, main Vincenzo to group up with the proficient, strong-willed lawyer, Hong Cha-young, performed by Jeon Yeo-bin, who needs to take down the corporate for private causes. Vincenzo is an element motion, half drama, and half romance, and altogether a can’t-miss present.
Report of Youth
Author: Ha Myung-hee
Director: Ahn Gil-ho
Solid: Park So-dam, Park Bo-gum, Byeon Woo-seok, Kwon Soo-hyun
One sort of sequence that South Korean tv excels at is the coming-of-age drama, or any story centering round a bunch of younger adults discovering their place on the earth. Report of Youth is a good alternative for brand spanking new followers of Ok-Dramas, particularly given the truth that the forged is led by none apart from Park So-dam, who many will acknowledge for her position as Kim Ki-jung in Parasite, the daughter of the scammer household who pretends to be an artwork instructor.
Report of Youth facilities round three younger folks, two fashions and a make-up artist, concerned within the trendy style trade in Korea. The present follows the overall storyline you’ll discover in most romance Korean dramas, however the actors within the forged assist elevate the sequence and create characters that you simply wish to stick round with.
Author: Jo Gwang-jin (webcomic and present)
Director: Kim Sung-yoon
Solid: Park Web optimization-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Na-ra, Ahn Bo-hyun
The primary drama on this record primarily based on a webcomic (though don’t fear, there shall be extra), Itaewon Class is a drama primarily based within the hipster, super-popular space of Seoul known as Itaewon (assume Soho or the East Village in Manhattan). Park Web optimization-joon performs Park Sae-Ro-Yi, the proprietor of an up-and-coming restaurant in Itaewon known as DanBam. When he was in highschool, Sae-Ro-Yi bought expelled for punching a privileged child named Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo-hyun), whose father owns a strong firm known as Jangga Group. This kickstarts a sequence of occasions that result in Sae-Ro-Yi’s father’s dying, adopted by a seven-year plan for revenge.
Itaewon Class is a particularly in style drama each in South Korea and internationally, and it precisely depicts the various experiences of younger adults proper now. Additionally it is the primary mainstream Ok-Drama to characteristic a transgender character, performed by Lee Joo-young, signifying a significant shift in attitudes for the traditionally conservative nation.
Author: Web optimization In
Director: Kim Suk-yoon
Solid: Kim Myung-min, Kim Beom, Ryu Hye-young, Lee Jung-eun
A more moderen Netflix sequence, Legislation Faculty focuses on a bunch of scholars and professors at Hankuk College Legislation Faculty. When a legislation professor is discovered lifeless and former prosecutor and professor Yang Jong-Hoon (Kim Myung-min) is arrested for the crime, the opposite characters work collectively to uncover the reality of what actually occurred and show Professor Yang’s innocence.
You may actually draw similarities between Legislation Faculty and Find out how to Get Away with Homicide, because the Korean drama focuses on legislation college students placing their education to the check to assist out their professor. On the similar time, there are many smaller storylines taking place as properly, like a mysterious connection between a top-tier scholar named Han Joon-hwi (Kim Bum) and the professor who’s killed. If you would like a severe drama with a central thriller, Legislation Faculty is a good possibility.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Author: Jo Yong
Director: Park Shin-woo, Jung Dong-yoon
Solid: Kim Soo-hyun, Web optimization Ye-ji, Oh Jung-se
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a contemporary romantic drama that stands out from the group because of its portrayal of an grownup on the autism spectrum. The sequence stars Kim Soo-hyun as Moon Gang-tae, an orphaned younger man who works as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital. He spends most of his life taking good care of his older brother, Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who has autism. The 2 brothers have lived a lonely life, consistently shifting round, ever since Sang-tae witnessed their mom’s homicide years earlier.
At some point, Gang-tae meets a girl named Ko Moon-young (Web optimization Ye-ji), a youngsters’s creator who has delinquent persona dysfunction. After realizing that the 2 have crossed paths earlier than prior to now, Moon-young develops a small obsession with Gang-tae and follows him round. As Moon-young, Gang-tae, and Sang-tae spend extra time collectively, they start to open up about their trauma and heal. The sequence incorporates a normal romance story, however it shines by means of its portrayal of Sang-tae and his relationship along with his brother. Sang-tae displays typical “spectric” traits, as they’re known as, and the present presents a comparatively correct and compassionate portrayal of a person with autism.
The Uncanny Counter
Author: Yeo Ji-na, Yoo Solar-dong, Kim Sae-bom, Jung Do-yoon
Director: Yoo Solar-dong
Solid: Jo Byeong-gyu, Yoo Jun-sang, Kim Se-jeong, Yeom Hye-ran
If you would like a superhero-style story, look no additional. The Uncanny Counter is the story of So Mun (Jo Byeong-gyu), a form, clever boy who has a strolling incapacity because of a tragic automobile accident he was in as a baby, which killed each of his dad and mom. At some point, So Mun is possessed by a spirit that grants him the facility to banish demons that escape the afterlife. He joins a group known as the Counters, which incorporates Mo-tak (Yoo Jun-sang), Ha-na (Kim Se-jeoung), and Mae-ok (Yeom Hye-ran), who battle collectively towards a rising menace of evil within the space. It will get much more sophisticated for So Mun when he finds out that his dad and mom’ deaths weren’t accidents in any case, and an evil spirit was concerned.
One other sequence primarily based on a webcomic, The Uncanny Counter is a trendy, action-packed thrill experience that doesn’t pull any punches. With a darkish, threatening villain that retains the group on edge, the present maintains a fast tempo, whereas the implausible appearing by the forged provides a deeply emotional facet to the story. Regardless of being marketed as an motion fantasy present, it’s best to nonetheless be able to shed some tears once you watch.
Author: Park Hye-ryun
Director: Oh Choong-hwan
Solid: Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, Kang Han-na
Begin-Up is about in a fictional Korean model of Silicon Valley, the place Bae Suzy’s character Web optimization Dal-mi goals of being the Korean Steve Jobs. Following her ardour, Dal-mi will get concerned with a start-up enterprise and shortly turns into entangled with an advanced love triangle. One younger man named Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) is her old flame, now a profitable enterprise capitalist, whereas Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk) is a younger man down on his luck, who Dal-mi thinks is her old flame. This offers Do-san the motivation to offer his start-up one other attempt, whereas additionally trying to make Dal-mi’s mistake a actuality. Like Itaewon Class, Begin-Up presents a brand new model of life for younger folks. Whereas taking up the fashionable trade of start-ups, the present additionally offers everybody the traditional romance they know they need.
Reminiscences of the Alhambra
Author: Tune Jae-jung
Director: Ahn Gil-ho
Solid: Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Hoon, Chanyeol
A real amalgam of genres, Reminiscences of the Alhambra takes place primarily in Granada, Spain with a Korean forged. A science-fiction drama of kinds, the sequence follows the CEO of an funding firm, Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin), who travels to Spain seeking the creator of an AR sport in improvement that feels means too actual. When sport and actuality begin to blur and somebody is killed, Jin-woo, with the assistance of the developer’s sister, Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin-hye), should discover the bug within the sport and repair it earlier than extra folks die.
Reminiscences of the Alhambra is a breath of recent air for Kdramas because of its setting and progressive premise. Whereas at instances the story lacks sense, the idea and execution are spot-on, and actually, you’ll be able to’t assist however fall in love with Hyun Bin.
Author: Hong So-ri, Kim Hyung-min, Park So-jung
Director: Lee Eung-bok, Jang Younger-woo, Park So-hyun
Solid: Tune Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young, Lee Do-hyun
Based mostly on the webtoon of the identical identify, Candy Residence is an brisk, thrilling apocalyptic horror story about monsters making an attempt to kill everybody and take over the world. No massive deal, proper? Tune Kang makes a uncommon look in a horror present, because the actor normally sticks to romantic dramas (which you will notice afterward on this record). Kang performs a personality named Cha Hyun-soo, a traumatized highschool scholar who strikes into an residence by himself after his dad and mom are killed in a automobile accident. Unbeknownst to Hyun-soo and the opposite residents, their residence constructing occurs to be floor zero for a species of monsters hoping for world domination.
Candy Residence is a good instance of the loopy tales that come out of webcomics, which by some means work so properly when tailored to the display. The sequence is darkish, bloody, and unpredictable, and a particular win for Netflix.
Author: Park Shi-hyun
Director: Lee Jae-hoon
Solid: Im Si-wan, Shin Se-kyung, Choi Soo-young, Kang Tae-oh
Run On is a simple romance that focuses on the connection between Oh Mi-joo (Shin Se-kyung), a hardworking film translator who takes delight in her work, and Ki Seon-gyeom (Im Si-wan), a former sprinter for the nationwide group who needs to turn out to be a sports activities agent. The drama is light-hearted, with not an excessive amount of motion, however it works properly with the story. There’s additionally a significant plotline revolving round gender inequality within the office, as one other character is disregarded regardless of being the pure inheritor of her father’s firm and turning into the CEO of a sports activities company all on her personal.
With the principle two characters, Run On additionally gives an in depth have a look at some distinctive and fascinating professions that aren’t usually portrayed on-screen. Whereas it may not be as thrilling and heart-pounding as some others on this record, Run On is a must-see for the appearing and the mushy chemistry between the 2 lead characters.
Author: Lee Eun-mi
Director: Han Dong-hwa
Solid: Park In-hwan, Tune Kang, Na Moon-hee, Hong Seung-hee
If you wish to watch one thing that may pull at your heartstrings, Navillera is the present. Launched in 2021 and one of many latest Netflix Unique Korean dramas, Navillera stars Park In-hwan as Shim Deok-chul, a retired mailman who simply turned 70. Feeling unfulfilled, Deok-chul decides to try to fulfill his dream of turning into a ballet dancer. However except for his late begin, one other impediment he faces is his worsening Alzheimer’s illness. At some point, he comes upon a younger man named Lee Chae-rok (Tune Kang) working towards ballet for an upcoming competitors. Whereas Chae-rok is a proficient dancer who loves what he does, he’s in a foul monetary state of affairs and his father is in jail. His mom, who handed away, was a ballerina, and it’s one of many few remaining connections he has together with her.
When Chae-rok and Deok-chul meet, they turn out to be associates and study from each other, encouraging the opposite to proceed pursuing no matter makes them pleased. Navillera is one other instance of the shifting views within the Korean leisure trade, with the sequence exploring robust matters of dying, previous age, Alzheimer’s, and the challenges folks can face relating to gender, class, and age when making an attempt to attain their goals.
The King: Everlasting Monarch
Author: Kim Eun-sook
Director: Baek Sang-hoon, Jung Ji-hyun, Yoo Je-won
Solid: Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun, Woo Do-hwan, Kim Hyung-nam
The King: Everlasting Monarch is written by Kim Eun-sook, the author of Guardian: The Lonely and Nice God, also called Goblin. This 2016 sequence might be some of the beloved Korean dramas in South Korea, and the one many individuals use to introduce their associates to this world. The newer sequence, The King: Everlasting Monarch, shares a star with Guardian in Kim Go-eun, who performs the character Jeong Tae-eul, a police officer within the violent crimes squad. On this fantasy drama, there are two alternate realities — one, the Korea we all know as we speak the place Tae-eul lives, and the Kingdom of Corea, the place Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) guidelines as Emperor.
When Lee Gon discovers that he can cross over to the parallel universe, he meets Tae-eul, and you’ll in all probability guess what occurs subsequent. Whereas The King: Everlasting Monarch isn’t pretty much as good as Guardian, the sequence is a singular, bold story with implausible appearing from the principle forged, and an important alternative for fantasy followers.
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung
Author: Kim Ho-soo
Director: Kang Il-soo, Han Hyun-hee
Solid: Shin Se-kyung, Cha Eun-woo, Park Ki-woong
A historic romantic comedy that also manages to discover very severe matters, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung facilities across the title character Goo Hae-ryung (Shin Se-kyung), a noblewoman who turns into one of many first 4 girls historians of the Joseon Dynasty. Nonetheless single at 26, Hae-ryung already challenges the extraordinary gender roles of the period, and she or he continues to encourage the independence of concepts and selections for ladies in all places. She quickly meets Yi Rim, a.ok.a. Prince Dowon, (Cha Eun-woo) the inheritor to the throne whose true ardour lies in writing romance novels beneath a pseudonym.
By means of the romance between the 2 foremost characters and their story, the present additional explores and challenges historic matters of Catholic persecution, censorship, and sexism. Total, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is a hilarious and actually romantic sequence that manages to really feel trendy regardless of the older setting.
Author: Park Hae-young
Director: Kim Received-suk, Kim Sang-woo
Solid: Lee Solar-kyun, Lee Ji-eun (IU), Park Ho-san, Tune Sae-byeok
A really distinctive Korean drama, My Mister tells the story of a chilly girl who has suffered many hardships in her life, who finds sympathy and luxury within the firm of three brothers who’re therapeutic from their very own trauma. The sequence is deeply profound and addresses a variety of severe matters. The forged is led by Lee Ji-eun, additionally recognized by her stage identify IU, who performs Lee Ji-an, a girl who will do something to assist her ailing grandmother. She encounters the center brother, Park Dong-hoon (Lee Solar-kyun), when she is employed as a temp employee at his firm. A coworker instructs her to search out out Dong-hoon’s secrets and techniques, however quickly sufficient she’s falling for the person, who appears to know extra about her than anybody she’s ever met.
Though it’s positively a slow-moving story, the astounding appearing and remarkably written characters will drag you in and hold you enthralled till the final episode. My Mister is a must-watch, particularly in case you are a fan of great dramas.
100 Days My Prince
Author: No Ji-sul
Director: Lee Jung-jae, Nam Sung-woo
Solid: Do Kyung-soo, Nam Ji-hyun, Kim Seon-ho
100 Days My Prince is a interval drama about Crown Prince Lee Yul (Do Kyung-soo), who finds out a secret that ignites a battle for the throne, making him a goal for assassination. Operating for his life, Lee Yul will get shot by an arrow and hit his head, which causes him to lose all of his recollections. Nursed again to well being by a commoner who finds him within the woods and choses to benefit from the state of affairs, Lee Yul is advised that he’s the betrothed of the commoner’s daughter, Yeon Hong-shim (Nam Ji-hyun), and so the 2 get married to avoid wasting her from turning into the spouse of a person she hates. For the subsequent 100 days, Lee Yul lives as a commoner, comparatively ineffective with the day-to-day chores, as Hong-shim slowly warms as much as this unusual man that exhibits up out of nowhere.
100 Days My Prince is a captivating and well-acted drama, and really light-hearted regardless of the preliminary premise. Should you’re searching for a cute, pick-me-up romance, that is it.
Author: Web optimization Bo-ra, Lee Ah-yeon
Director: Lee Na-jung
Solid: Kim So-hyun, Jung Ga-ram, Tune Kang
Loads of Korean dramas really feel like fanfiction made actual, and contemplating many are tales taken proper out of webcomics (like this one), they virtually are. With Love Alarm, one other Netflix Unique, the sequence is about in a world the place there may be an app that notifies you every time somebody in a 10-meter radius has romantic emotions for you. Kim So-hyun performs Kim Jo-jo, a diligent highschool scholar who finds herself in a love triangle with two greatest associates. The boys in query? Hwang Solar-oh (Tune Kang), a good-looking teenager from a wealthy household who’s intrigued when Jo-jo doesn’t naturally wish to date him, and Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga-ram), a standard boy who doesn’t use the Love Alarm app in any respect.
Love Alarm takes on the hypothetical query of what would occur if know-how evolves to have the ability to learn our emotions, and the way folks would take care of being unable to cover attraction or the dearth thereof. The sequence can also be one among a handful of exhibits right here which have a couple of season.
Author: Lee Soo-yeon
Director: Ahn Gil-ho
Solid: Bae Doo-na, Cho Seung-woo, Lee Joon-hyuk, Yoo Jae-myung
Stranger stars Bae Doo-na, arguably top-of-the-line Korean actresses working proper now. Should you watch a variety of Netflix exhibits, you might acknowledge her as Solar Bak from Sense8, the 2015 sci-fi drama that ended means too quickly. In Stranger, Doo-na performs Police Lieutenant Han Yeo-jin, who helps Prosecutor Hwang Si-mok (Cho Seung-woo), a person who lacks empathy and social expertise after having a surgical procedure to deal with sound hypersensitivity, resolve an necessary homicide case.
Unsurprisingly, their investigation uncovers intense corruption within the system, notably with the opposite prosecutors, and properly, you’ll see what occurs. Like Love Alarm, Stranger additionally has two seasons proper now on Netflix. The sequence was an enormous hit, each in South Korea and internationally, with many praising the forged’s performances and the tight plot.
Boys Over Flowers
Author: Yoon Ji-ryun
Director: Jeon Ki-sang
Solid: Ku Hye-sun, Lee Min-ho, Kim Hyun-joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon
Based mostly on Japanese manga written by Yoko Kamio, Boys Over Flowers joins the ranks of many different totally different diversifications, together with the extremely popular Chinese language drama, Meteor Backyard. Made in 2009, this follows a bunch known as F4, the identify of 4 privileged and in style boys who rule over others on the prestigious Shinhwa Excessive Faculty by means of bullying. By means of a sequence of unusual occasions, a lady from a working-class household named Geum Jan-di (Oku Hye-sun) will get a full scholarship for swimming to the identical highschool, and after lastly assembly F4, she actually doesn’t perceive everybody’s fascination with them.
After the chief of F4, Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), tries to bully Jan-di and she or he stands as much as him, he begins to fall in love together with her. Cliché, however the sequence is from 2009, so bear that in thoughts. Quickly sufficient, Jan-di is concerned in a twisted story that goes locations you’d by no means count on. Primarily, in case you are keen on seeing what extra traditional Kdramas appear like, Boys Over Flowers is unquestionably the one to choose, and it’s nonetheless extremely really useful over a decade later. Count on loads of melodrama, outdated style and hairstyling, and a variety of enjoyable.
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