These 5 upcoming original Netflix Korean dramas, or Korean Netflix original series (K-NOS), make up a solid proof that the leading entertainment service in the world is stepping up its original Korean content. Well, we shouldn’t be surprised because Netflix announced in January its plans to produce such content “to capitalize on growing global demand for made-in-Korea films and dramas.” But that growing demand is apparently not just global in scope as the local market has also been craving for content coming from its very own land, especially high quality productions backed by a company as popular as Netflix. And here’s a good news that surfaced just last month: the number of the platform’s Korean subscribers tripled in one year, an impressive and sudden increase driven by the release of Kingdom on January 25. With its worldwide appeal and support from the local audience, these original Netflix Korean dramas will sure to grace our screens soon. And we expect more in the years to come!
1. Love Alarm
Love Alarm is the first official original Korean drama announced by Netflix in January 2017. It just so happened that two years later it is still not ready for streaming on the platform and the second one announced (Kingdom) got released first. Based on the popular webtoon of the same title, the youth romance drama is about a mobile application called “Love Alarm” that alerts its user if someone within a ten-meter radius likes him/her. It stars Kim So-hyun (Radio Romance) as Kim Jo-jo, a high school girl who is cheerful and bright despite her painful past, and Song Kang (The Liar And His Lover) as Hwang Sun-oh, a rich and popular guy in her school who falls for her. Song Geon-hee, who recently made a strong impression on the viewers with his role in Sky Castle, is playing a supporting character. This original Netflix Korean drama will have eight episodes that will be released this year simultaneously on the streaming giant and cable network tvN (it seems like we won’t get all episodes at once like in the case for My First First Love). It is directed by Lee Na-jeong, who helmed Fight For My Way and Oh My Venus.
Extracurricular, previously called Human Lessons, is the latest Korean original series officially announced by Netflix on April 23. It is a teenage crime drama about a high school student named Oh Ji-soo, to be played by rookie actor Kim Dong-hee who was last seen in the hit satire Sky Castle, who commits a serious crime in order to earn money for his college tuition. When a teenager named Seo Min-hee (Jung Da-bin, Should We Kiss First) finds out about his illegal activities, she herself gets caught up in Ji-soo’s crimes, and so does his schoolmate Bae Gyu-ri (Park Joo-hyun). This new original Netflix Korean drama boasts an ensemble of fresh and seasoned talent. Its main cast is composed of newbie actors who were carefully selected for their roles through auditions, and supported by veteran actors like Choi Min-soo (Lawless Lawyer, Sandglass) Park Hyuk-kwon (Where Stars Land, Six Flying Dragons) and Kim Yeo-jin (My Strange Hero, Love in the Moonlight). Extracurricular will be directed by PD Kim Jin-min of Lawless Lawyer, The Liar and His Lover, and Marriage Contract.
3. Me Alone And You
Forget about teen-oriented dramas and look at Me Alone And You, about a lonely woman who meets an AI-powered hologram named Holo. Yoon Hyun-min (Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter) will play the dual roles of Holo and its creator, Go Nan-do. The creator is a genius owner of an IT research company who has done a lot of tech projects alone but despite his countless contributions, his stepsister and the company’s official CEO are the only people who are aware of his existence. He worked as a hacker in a high-profile cybercrime case 10 years ago and has since lived in hiding when the general public is led to believe that he is already dead. Go Sung-hee (Suits) took on the role of the lonely woman named Han So-yeon, a successful and competent assistant manager working for a big company. Her position requires her to deal with a lot of people but she suffers from prosopagnosia or the inability to recognize faces. This Netflix Korean drama is directed by Lee Sang-yeob, whose previous works include Familiar Wife and Shopping King Louis. Meanwhile, the screenplay department is led by Ryu Yong-jae of Pied Piper and Liar Game.
4. School Nurse Ahn Eun-young
School Nurse Ahn Eun-young is an exorcism comedy headlined by Jung Yu-mi (Live) and Nam Joo-hyuk (The Light In Your Eyes). The series is based on a novel of the same name and centers on a fearless and bright nurse named Ahn Eun-young who has a supernatural ability to drive, albeit hilariously, bad spirits away. She becomes a newly-appointed nurse in a high school where she discovers a mystery that requires her special talent and unorthodox methods of going after ghosts. Jung Yu-mi took on the titular character while Nam Joo-hyuk signed up for the role of Hong In-pyo, a Korean literature teacher in the said school which is run by his family. He is protective of his students, which is probably why he ends up becoming Ahn Eun-young’s partner in exorcising evil spirits. The Netflix Korean drama will be helmed by movie director Lee Kyung-mi whose credentials include The Truth Beneath and Crush and Blush, and penned by Jung Se-rang, the author of the original novel who is known to bring out vivid descriptions in her stories. It will have six parts which will be available exclusively on Netflix in 2020.
5. Kingdom 2
Of course, the sequel to Kingdom is part of this list. The 6-episode first season follows a Joseon crown prince (Ju Ji-hoon, Item) who embarks on a mission to investigate the spread of a mysterious zombie outbreak amid the political tension in the palace stemming from the absence of the supposedly sick King and the greed for power of one (Ryu Seong-ryung) of his ministers. The second season will continue the story on where it left off with Ju And Ryu reprising their roles, along with Bae Doo-na who plays a nurse and one of the few people who have first discovered the outbreak. While award-winning writer Kim Eun-hee (Signal) joined the team again to write the entire script for Kingdom 2, original director Kim Seung-hun had been tasked with directing only the first episode and a new PD is in charge of the rest. Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed that the change in PD won’t have negative effects on the production. The series is expected to be released in the first half of 2020.
The number of Korean dramas on Netflix that were not ordered and produced by the company itself is also on the rise. Recently, Netflix announced that it will launch two Korean dramas in May headlined separately by Jung Hae-in and Park Bo-young.