When you see a Korean drama on Netflix that bears the “Netflix original series” label, do you know what it means? For Korean dramas, it’s either Netflix has exclusive international streaming rights to the show OR the series is a true Netflix Original (in this case, I’d like to use the term “Netflix Korean drama”).
Netflix Korean dramas are a thing now, thanks to the streaming giant’s ever-growing interest in made-in-Korea shows. They are those dramas that Netflix commissioned and produced to be released exclusively on its platform. So far, Netflix released four K-dramas it can proudly call its own, namely Kingdom (2 seasons), My First First Love (2 seasons), Love Alarm, and My Holo Love. Did you know that another one (Extracurricular) is due to premiere on April 29? And eight more are still in the works? Get to know these new Netflix Korean dramas below.
All of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead is Netflix’s newest take on the Korean zombie thriller genre, following the critically acclaimed series Kingdom. It will follow a group of high school students who are trapped in their school amid a zombie outbreak as they struggle to escape from the school and save their lives. The series is based on the chart-topping 2009 Korean webtoon Now at Our School by Joo Dong-geun, which is a big hit in Korea and other parts of Asia, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. It will be helmed by PD Lee Jae-kyu of The King 2 Hearts (2012) and Beethoven Virus (2008).
Also based on a popular webtoon, Hellbound is the latest project of Yeon Sang-ho, the director of the hit 2016 zombie action film Train to Busan and writer of the 2020 occult thriller series The Cursed. Set on a world where supernatural beings condemn people to hell, this Netflix Korean drama tells the story of people who must fight for their survival. Interestingly, PD Yeon will team up with Choi Gyu-seok—the author of a webtoon (Songgot) that was remade into a JTBC series (Awl) in 2015—to write the drama’s script. The source material of this series received widespread critical acclaim, so with PD Yeon and writer Choi’s collaboration, we can expect this show to deliver!
Love Alarm Season 2
Love Alarm Season 2 will be back with the original cast. Kim So-hyun (The Tale of Nokdu) plays an ordinary high school girl who gets involved in a love triangle between her two schoolmates, played by Song Kang (When the Devil Calls Your Name) and Jung Ga-ram (When the Camellia Blooms). The series is also based on a webtoon and set in a world where anyone can detect who has feelings for them using a mobile application. The main cast of the drama gathered on February 21 for a script reading session. This is the second Netflix Korean drama to have a sequel, following Kingdom and My First First Love.
Move to Heaven
Move to Heaven refers to the name of a trauma cleaning business run by a young man with Asperger’s syndrome and his father. Rookie actor Tang Jun-sang, who recently appeared in Crash Landing on You, will play the role of the son, who ends up inheriting the business after the death of his father. Lee Je-hoon (Where Stars Land, Time to Hunt) will take on his ex-convict uncle, who ends up becoming his guardian. Together, the two uncover the stories of the deceased and learn about the importance of life and death. This Netflix Korean drama is penned by screenwriter Yoon Ji-ryeon of Angel Eyes, Operation Proposal, and Boys Over Flowers. It is based on a nonfiction essay entitled “The Things We Leave Behind” published by Kim Shae-byeol in 2015.
Starring Lee Jung-jae (Chief of Staff 2) and Park Hae-soo (Prison Playbook), Round Six is a mystery survival drama that revolves around people who enter a survival game to win a whopping 40-million-dollar prize. The game is motivated by popular children’s games in Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, including the “squid game” (which is the literal translation of the drama’s Korean title). In this game, players draw different geometric shapes on the ground, which look like a squid as a whole, until only one player is left. Lee Jung-jae (Chief of Staff) plays a man who joins the game to win prize money after he lost his job when his company restructured. Park Hae-soo, meanwhile, portrays the childhood friend of Lee’s character who participates in the same game after he gets involved in misappropriating company funds.
Sweet Home is another webtoon-based drama about a reclusive high school student who moves into his new apartment after the death of his parents and goes through terrifying events as monsters appear and threaten to sweep away humanity. Song Kang signed up for the lead role, and he is joined by Lee Jin-wook (Voice 3), Lee Si-young (Liver Or Die), and Lee Do-yun (Hotel del Luna) in the main cast. The series is directed by Lee Eung-bok, the director of the hit series Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, and Descendants of the Sun.
The School Nurse Files
The School Nurse Files is a fantasy romance series that centers on a high school nurse, played by Jung Yu-mi (Live), who has the supernatural ability to drive spirits away. The series also stars Nam Joo-hyuk (The Light In Your Eyes) as a Korean literature teacher who is protective of his student and becomes Jung’s partner in exorcism. It is adapted from the 2015 award-winning novel School Nurse Ahn Eun-young written by Jung Se-rang, who also serves as the writer of the live-action remake.
The Silent Sea
Among the Netflix Korean dramas on this list, The Silent Sea is probably the most interesting one as it is poised to become the first-ever outer space-themed Korean drama in history. The sci-fi thriller will follow the story of elite scientists on their quest to retrieve unknown samples from an abandoned research facility located on the moon. Gong Yoo (Goblin) is in talks to headline the series as a charismatic soldier and exceptional member of the Space and Aeronautics Administration who is tasked to lead the mission. Bae Doo-na (Kingdom Season 2) has also been courted to play a lead role. The series is based on a 2014 short film of the same name by director Choi Hang-yong, who will also direct the adaptation.