The 15 best Korean dramas on Netflix, from Squid Game to Kingdom and Crash Landing on You

Asia's Tech News Daily

has a dizzying array of options, Lee Jung-jae, Read the full review, The Handmaiden, Train to Busan

After stepping into the K-drama game a few years ago, Netflix has grown to become the world’s top purveyor of Korean drama content.

With its mix of original series produced in-house, licensed shows from tvN and JTBC and its library of classic titles, the streaming giant has a dizzying array of options sure to keep any viewer hooked for days on end.

Here is our pick of 15 of the best K-dramas you can stream on Netflix right now.

1. Signal

Signal, one of the original breakout cable dramas, remains among the best shows to ever grace Korean screens.

Loosely based on the American film Frequency, the show follows Park Hae-young (Lee Je-hoon), a young profiler in the present who finds a walkie talkie that allows him to communicate with Lee Jae-han (Cho Jin-woong), a grizzled detective in the 1980s.

He teams up with detective Cha Soo-hyun (Kim Hye-soo) to solve cold cases before they get a chance to happen.

Signal kicked off a new era of sophisticated K-dramas thanks to its gripping and dark storyline.

2. Squid Game

The newest entry on this list, Squid Game has quickly turned into a global sensation, reaching a viewership that goes far beyond the usual K-drama audience. In the show, 456 debt-ridden souls find themselves in a gigantic survival game as they face off in playground game-inspired challenges, each with deadly twists.

The sets are lavish, the costumes colourful and the body count exceptionally high in this feverishly entertaining Korean entry to the death game genre.

Silenced director Hwang Dong-hyuk provides grand staging and breathless twists, while Lee Jung-jae leads a cast featuring a scintillating debut from Jung Ho-yeon. Read the full review

3. My Mister

K-pop superstar IU (aka Lee Ji-eun) was already an established actress, but she became a respected thespian in the acclaimed drama My Mister, sharing the screen and standing shoulder to shoulder with top actors like Lee Sun-kyun.

She plays Ji-an, a temp worker in an architecture firm struggling with personal problems and crippling debt. Lee Sun-kyun plays a senior company man with his own troubles, including a wife who is having an affair with the CEO. Ji-an catches wind of the affair and hopes the information will be her ticket out of debt.

4. Stranger

Back in 2017, K-dramas were still looked down upon by many Western viewers, but that began to change with the success of acclaimed crime drama Stranger, one of the first K-dramas to seduce an international audience on Netflix.

Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doona team up as a brilliant prosecutor who lacks empathy and a gutsy detective in the hit procedural series, which has so far spawned two seasons. In the first season, they unravel a murder mystery together, which puts them in the sights of corrupt prosecutors and conglomerate executives.

5. D.P.

Every man in South Korea has to serve in the military, but until now, few mainstream tales have explored this difficult and often traumatic part of their youth.

Netflix scored a critical darling with D.P. The drama debut of Coin Locker Girl director Han Jun-hee, the series features superlative performances from Jung Hae-in and Koo Kyo-hwan as recruits whose job it is to chase down deserters. Filled with comedy, drama and tension, the series builds to a climax both devastating and cathartic. Read the full review

6. Secret Garden

This classic Korean romcom stars Hyun Bin as an aloof department store CEO who crosses paths with Ha Ji-won’s spunky stuntwoman. The pair initially lock horns, but opposites attract as their relationship swerves between high comedy and tender affection.

Secret Garden doesn’t stop there – the budding lovebirds face a new challenge when the story takes on a magical body-swapping turn.

7. Misaeng: Incomplete Life

The ultimate office drama, Misaeng: Incomplete Life is based on the webtoon of the same name and features Im Si-wan as a washed up player of baduk (a strategy board game) who enters a trading company as an intern. The show follows him as he tries to navigate the complicated corporate culture with baduk mantras as his guide.

In a country with a strict office culture and where corporate jobs are highly sought after, Misaeng struck a chord with viewers and featured an ace line-up of co-stars, including Lee Sung-min, Kang Ha-neul and Kang So-ra.

8. Reply 1988

Reply 1994 or 1997 could easily have filled this slot, but the most enduring entry in this run of slice-of-life anthology series is surely Reply 1988. The last, most successful entry in the series, it focuses on the turbulent lives of five teenagers in northern Seoul, South Korea, on the eve of the Seoul Olympics of 1988.

The show turned actors Ryu Jun-yeol, Lee Hye-ri, Park Bo-gum, Lee Dong-hwi and Go Kyung-pyo into household names.

9. Navillera

A small show that turned out to be a big surprise, Navillera gave young actor Song Kang his most convincing showcase to date as a dashing ballet dancer – but it’s his senior co-star, veteran actor Park In-hwan, who steals the show as a retiree who wants to realise his dream of performing ballet on the stage before it’s too late.

A simple story builds to a cathartic climax with just the right dose of heartfelt melodrama in this unassuming delight. Read the full review

10. Extracurricular

Netflix raised the bar for K-dramas last year with Extracurricular, a slick and dark high school crime drama focusing on the theme of underage prostitution.

Kim Dong-hee plays the top student in his class, who also runs an illegal escort service. His classmate, played by Park Ju-hyun, catches wind of his scheme and muscles in. Things things go smoothly until one of their escorts is caught. Extracurricular explores the secret desires of teenagers and has style to burn.

11. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

Perhaps the ultimate Korean fantasy romance, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, also known as Goblin, stars Gong Yoo as a general who dies branded as a traitor and is later revived and cursed to immortality as a “goblin” who helps people, but must forever outlive his loved ones.

In the present – nearly 1,000 years later – he is summoned by Kim Go-eun’s bubbly high school student and, over time, they discover that their meeting was no random encounter.

12. Mr. Sunshine

One of the most sumptuous dramas ever brought to the screen, Mr. Sunshine was seen as the big-budget small-screen comeback of star Lee Byung-hun, nine years after espionage K-drama Iris.

Lee plays a military officer born into slavery who returns to the Korean Joseon kingdom (1392-1910) and falls for an aristocrat’s granddaughter. He shares the screen with actress Kim Tae-ri, who had a breakout role in The Handmaiden, in this epic and lush tale of Korean independence fighters set in the early 1900s before the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula.

13. Kingdom

Handsomely produced, chill-inducing period drama-horror Kingdom piggybacked on the global success of the zombie smash Train to Busan by transplanting the undead to the Joseon era.

The show comes from the mind of Signal writer Kim Eun-hee and stars Netflix favourite Bae Doona and Ju Ji-hoon as a nurse and crown prince respectively who team up to fight zombie hordes. The franchise has already spawned two seasons, with a third likely on the way, and a pair of feature-length specials. Read the review of Kingdom: Ashin of the North

14. Crash Landing on You

The romantic comedy that took the world by storm in 2020, Crash Landing on You reunites Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, after thriller Negotiation, as an heiress who accidentally paraglides into North Korea and the officer who finds her behind enemy lines.

Among other things, the show was praised for its depiction of life in North Korea. The popular screen romance famously developed into an off-screen one, with Son and Hyun revealing their real-life relationship earlier this year.

15. Itaewon Class

Starting with the familiar premise of a young man seeking revenge following the death of his father, Itaewon Class shows its varied colours when that man, played by Park Seo-joon – who would go on to star in The Marvels – opens in a bar in Seoul’s multicultural Itaewon district after a stint in jail.

The show broke ground for its diverse roster of characters, which included a transgender woman and a Guinean-Korean in its main cast. Read the full review

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


China's regulator soothes nervous markets over Chinese stocks' delisting woes after global sell-off

China’s securities regulator said it maintains an open attitude to where companies seek to raise funds and respects their choices, denying reports of any imminent restrictions on overseas listings as ... Read more »

Why binding treaty on pandemic response is not best way forward

We were up in Big Sky, Montana, close to Yellowstone Park. It was May 2011 and 400 or so of us came together for the second of Apec’s major meetings ... Read more »

The K-pop groups featuring Korean traditions – hanbok dress, lion dancers, music – in their videos, from BTS and Blackpink to Stray Kids and Exo's Kai

On November 30, K-pop star Kai released Peaches, the title track of his second EP. In the music video for the song, which had been viewed over 16 million times ... Read more »

China to issue regulations on futures to encourage leading firms to raise funds through listing

China will help leading futures companies to speed up their development and encourage qualified firms to be listed, the China Futures Association said in a statement, citing an official from ... Read more »

Green finance: Hong Kong agency to offer net-zero certification for firms under pressure to disclose carbon footprint and climate ambitions

The Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA), a food-to-sustainable finance products certification provider, will launch a net-zero certification programme by March for financial and listed firms facing rising pressure to ... Read more »

Hong Kong digital insurers such as OneDegree, Bowtie Life expand offering to tap tech-savvy clients, but yet to challenge traditional firms

Hong Kong’s digital insurers are expanding their product ranges to tap tech-savvy customers who buy their policies online, but are years away from mounting a challenge to the city’s traditional ... Read more »

(LEAD) BTS song 'Butter' picked as Record of the Year by Variety magazine

(ATTN: UPDATES with sales from LA concerts in last two paras; ADDS photo) SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) — K-pop superstar BTS’ mega-hit single “Butter” has been selected as the Record ... Read more »

NFT in Hong Kong: Bored Ape Yacht Club owners seek merchandise deals, art exhibitions for cartoon primates

When 27-year-old Raye Chung from Hong Kong bought herself a non-fungible token (NFT) from the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) project in July, she had little inkling that this portrait ... Read more »

Hong Kong, other Asian cities shut out of world's top 10 tourist destinations amid tough travel restrictions

The stringent approach of many Asian cities to shutting out Covid-19 may have kept case numbers in check and taken some pressure off local economies. But it has done nothing ... Read more »

BTS song 'Butter' picked as Record of the Year by Variety magazine

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) — K-pop superstar BTS’ mega-hit single “Butter” has been selected as the Record of the Year by U.S. magazine Variety, the label behind the group said ... Read more »

How to improve your mental and physical health in eight weeks: expert-led free course from Asics works on your fitness, breathwork and mindfulness

Are you looking to boost your physical and mental health as the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic draws to a close? Movement for Mind, an eight-week audio course from ... Read more »

K-pop girl group StayC, Gen Z hitmakers, talk freedom, equality and working hard for their dreams

Girl group StayC debuted in November 2020 with their single So Bad. This year, they’re one of the biggest K-pop successes around, winning fans and topping South Korean music charts. ... Read more »

How fashion has been influenced by literature, from Virginia Woolf's gender-fluid Orlando to Truman Capote's Holly Golightly and the little black dress

The modernist English author Virginia Woolf wrote “my love of clothes interests me profoundly. Only it is not love and what it is I must discover”. Woolf’s love of clothes, ... Read more »

BTS opens LA stop of 2021 Jingle Ball Tour

K-pop superband BTS performs at the Los Angeles stop of this year’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour at the Forum Theater in the U.S. city, Dec. 3, in this photo provided ... Read more »

BTS opens L.A. stop of 2021 Jingle Ball Tour

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) — South Korean superband BTS has taken the opening stage for the Los Angeles stop of this year’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, the largest year-end radio ... Read more »

Bitcoin and other tokens plunge as worldwide capital market jitters spill over to cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin plunged along with other cryptocurrencies on Saturday, in another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets. The largest digital token fell to as low as US$42,296 before ... Read more »

From Tesla to Nvidia, Wall Street's favourites keep tumbling

The highest flying of Wall Street’s stock-market darlings are now taking a major beating. Tesla, Netflix, Nvidia and Facebook-owner Meta Platforms have all lost over 10 per cent in the ... Read more »

As Didi exits New York, will a listing by Chinese ride-hailing firm be welcomed in Hong Kong?

The US delisting of Didi Chuxing could offer a test case for whether Chinese companies being investigated by Beijing would be welcomed in Hong Kong, which is ramping up stock ... Read more »

China's population to peak in 2021 as demographic turning point has already arrived, threatening to disrupt Beijing's economic ambitions

China’s population is expected to peak in 2021 and fall steadily in the foreseeable future in a turning point for the country’s population trajectory, according to James Liang, executive chairman ... Read more »

Strategic Vision fund bets on solar after calling China's private tutoring crackdown

One of the few funds to predict Beijing’s clampdown on education companies is doubling down on its bets on China’s solar companies. Ken Xu, Hong Kong-based chief investment officer at ... Read more »

Pandas – how the condition can drastically change a child's behaviour. A Hong Kong family shares their story

On a family trip to Singapore in October 2018, Katy and Ben Chandler witnessed a stunning change in their eight-year-old son Sam’s behaviour. Katy had been watching over Sam and ... Read more »

BTS share holiday remix of 'Butter'

BTS / Courtesy of Big Hit Music South Korean boy band BTS has released new version of its hit single “Butter.” The K-pop group shared the “Butter (Holiday Remix)” on ... Read more »

Micro loans are Asia's hottest fintech products as Gen Z and millennial online shoppers prefer to buy now, pay later

For Marcus Khoo, perfumes and oil diffusers were never high on his shopping list. They would have sat idling in his online shopping cart, were it not for a hire-purchase ... Read more »

Why Hong Kong's rich environment is part of its competitive advantage

No Hong Kong minister worth their salt will let a speech pass without recounting our distinct competitive advantages. We know them all by heart: rule of law, financial, legal and ... Read more »

Tesla recalls one in every four Model Ys it has made in the first 1o months of the year to fix faulty steering

Tesla will recall more than 20,000 of its bestselling made-in-China Model Y sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) to fix a steering issue. The US electric vehicle (EV) giant will recall 21,599 Model ... Read more »

China wants to turn Macau from a casino den into a tech base for the Greater Bay Area

China is forging a new identity for Macau, the world’s largest casino den, as a regional technology hub, according to Chinese technology industry executives and officials. As the former Portuguese ... Read more »

Hong Kong audit regulator, professionals deny claims of non-cooperation made by SEC's Gary Gensler

Hong Kong’s audit regulator and professionals have hit back against claims by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the city along with China does not cooperate with regulators ... Read more »

(LEAD) BTS to hold live concert in Seoul in March

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) — K-pop supergroup BTS will continue its latest live concert series in Seoul in March, its management agency said Friday, after the group successfully finished its ... Read more »

China Tourism Duty Free postpones Hong Kong listing amid sluggish capital market conditions

China Tourism Group Duty Free has postponed its multibillion initial public offering in Hong Kong with the world’s largest travel retailer by sales blaming sluggish market conditions for the decision. ... Read more »

BTS dominate Spotify and Apple Music in 2021, with Blackpink, Twice, Exo, Stray Kids and NCT also among the most streamed K-pop acts

BTS are undeniably one of the biggest music acts of 2021, and Apple Music and Spotify data have confirmed it: this week, the two streaming giants revealed the South Korean ... Read more »

BTS releases new 'Butter' remix

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) — South Korean superband BTS dropped a “holiday remix” of its megahit single “Butter” on Friday in time for the Christmas and New Year season, the ... Read more »

Former HKEX executive and consultant acquitted of corruption charges

A former Hong Kong stock exchange executive and a consultant were acquitted on Friday of corruption charges, dealing a blow to the financial regulator’s attempt to crack down on white-collar ... Read more »

BTS to hold live concert in Seoul in March

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) — K-pop supergroup BTS will continue its latest live concert series in Seoul in March, its management agency said Friday, after the group successfully finished its ... Read more »

For luxury brands such as Dior, Chanel and Armani Dubai shows its importance, having reopened early after the Covid-19 pandemic

It’s noon on a Wednesday and the Manolo Blahnik boutique at Dubai Mall, in the United Arab Emirates, is full of women dressed to the nines and trying on shoes ... Read more »

Didi delisting: A chronicle of the ride hailing giant's troubles since its New York IPO five months ago

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said on Friday that it will start the process of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and move forward with plans for a Hong ... Read more »

'K-Music Matters' conference sheds light on K-pop stars' publicity rights

The attendees of the “K-Music Matters” conference pose during the event on Friday at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas. Courtesy of Korea Music Content Association (KMCA) By Dong Sun-hwaLast year, ... Read more »

Federal Reserve hawks will push for faster tapering, interest rate rises despite Omicron

Up until two weeks ago, the biggest fear for markets was runaway inflation and how aggressive central banks may become in containing it. However, news of a new Covid-19 variant ... Read more »

New Hong Kong restaurant review: Moon Bay Chinese Cuisine – some good dishes, one expensive mistake and one rip-off

We were excited when we heard about Moon Bay Chinese Cuisine. It was, we were told, opened by some staff who had worked at one of our favourite Cantonese restaurants, ... Read more »

Chinese language-learning app operator LingoAce raises US$105 million from funding round led by Sequoia Capital

Mandarin-learning app operator LingoAce raised US$105 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital India to fuel its growth after pandemic-related lockdowns boosted demand for its service. Owl Ventures, ... Read more »

[Video] Why you should watch this if you went to (or wanted to go to!!) BTS PTD ON STAGE

Korea HeraldWatch this video if you’ve been to (or wanted to go to!!!) BTS Permission To Dance On Stage concert! BTS held its first offline concert in two years at the ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic