Imagine this: June is here. You’re having a quiet night at home, curled up on the couch and looking for something to watch on Netflix. You go to the Top 10 and, surprise, it’s the show that everyone has been talking about. The title? Squid Game, a Hunger Games-esque K-drama. You click on it because it sounds interesting, but then you can’t stop watching.
Squid Game was a big deal for everyone around the world, and now we realise it’s been a long time since we were able to play it. We’ll have to wait a long time for Season Two, which is a shame. Luckily, the world of Korean television is very diverse and very high quality.
So, maybe it’s time to check out some other Korean TV shows. You’re in luck, because you can also stream many of them on Netflix in the United States. So brush up on your Korean (or just turn on the subtitles), because here are the best K-dramas that you can watch on Netflix right now.
Crash Landing On You
When a South Korean heiress gets lost on the wrong side of the DMZ, the area that divides North Korea from South Korea, she falls in love with a North Korean captain while desperately trying to hide her identity and get back home safely. The show is well-known for being popular, and it has the third highest rating in Korean TV history.
This is like Friends crossed with Grey’s Anatomy. Drama happens when five friends who have been close since medical school all work at the same hospital. Aside from showing their lives in and out of surgery, the movie also shows them performing in a band as a way to relax.
It’s the superhero show about the end of the world that you’ve been waiting for. After his family dies in a car accident, a young man moves into a run-down apartment and finds that people in the city are changing into different monsters. He works with a group of other survivors to keep the people of his city from also turning into monsters.
All of Us Are Dead
This series about zombies is even scarier because it takes place in a high school. When a contagious disease turns kids into zombies, the kids who are still alive do what most kids would do: they wait for adults to save them. They try to save themselves when they realise that no one is coming to help them. But even though classmates are dying around them, some of them act differently toward each other because of money and rank. Even in a crisis, people won’t be able to forget what they’ve been taught about class for years. And that’s what’s really scary, even more than the zombies.
After seeing her father get killed, a 17-year-old girl who wants revenge goes to the drug lord her father worked for for help. He takes her under his wing and makes her the newest member of his criminal organisation. After four years of training, she is ready to carry out the plan: join the police force as a member of the narcotics unit so she can find out who killed her father and, more importantly, prove that she is loyal to him.
‘Squid Game’ (2021)
This very dystopian thriller—think Hunger Games meets Parasite, but with a lot more violence—was such a worldwide hit last fall that it beat Bridgerton to become Netflix’s most-watched show ever. The strange part is that 456 people who are down on their luck and need money are asked to play popular children’s games. Even though the winner is promised a lot of money, these contestants have no idea that losing a game could cost them their lives. (Get ready to watch the first season all at once in one night.)
Even though Hellbound didn’t go viral like Squid Game did, it was still a good addition to the dystopian genre. In a dark take on the idea of sin and religious extremism, the show shows a society where “sinners” are given eerie warnings of exactly when they will die, and when that time comes, beasts from the underworld come out to hunt them down and send them violently to hell. And what’s a good dystopian story without a mysterious religious cult leader at the centre?
Hotel del Luna
The Hotel del Luna is a small, historic hotel in the middle of downtown Seoul. What is it? It’s only for ghosts with unfinished business, and it’s run by a mysterious, moody, and materialistic woman named Jang Man-wol (pop star-turned-actress IU), who was cursed to this job as punishment for a sin she committed 1,300 years ago. Everyone who works at the hotel is also a ghost, except for the new general manager, Yeo Jin-goo, who went to Harvard and wants to be a hotelier. His father made a deal with Man-wol 21 years ago that cursed him to this job.