Do you love K-pop or are curious about the hype surrounding TV series from South Korea? Maybe this time, you can try something new, like a romance series. Or maybe you’d prefer another survival drama like Squid Game? Well, you’re in luck because Netflix has a full slate of K-content in 2023.
Here’s what a Netflix exec recently said about the new K-content available:
“The global popularity of K-content has continued apace over 2022, with Netflix bringing a wider variety of stories and genres to fans around the world. Over the last year, Korean series and films have regularly featured in our Global Top 10 list in more than 90 countries, and three of Netflix’s most-watched shows ever are from Korea. This year, we’re pushing the envelope even further with the stories we tell and how we tell them. With this lineup of Korean titles, Netflix will continue to be the ultimate destination for compelling, diverse, and must-watch Korean storytelling.”Don Kang, VP of Content (Korea)
So, where did all of this type of content come from? K-content usually refers to South Korean web content like webtoons, some of which are turned into TV series.
One such webtoon-turned-series is Hellbound.
Hellbound is a beloved dark fantasy series directed by Yeon Sang-ho. To give a sense of this series’ popularity, consider this: Hellbound was released on Netflix on November 19, 2021, and became the world’s most-watched Netflix series the next day, even surpassing Squid Game.
Hellbound takes place in 2022-27 in South Korea. In the six-episode story, otherworldly creatures suddenly show up to deliver prophecies that condemn certain people to Hell at specific future times, which could be either moments or years away. Pretty intriguing, right? Three imposing monsters appear to thrash and burn the poor person’s body.
But wait — it gets worse! Two organizations work together to gain power by playing on people’s fears: the fanatical New Truth Society and the gangster Arrowhead group. The first episodes (1-3) follow a detective who is investigating the supernatural happenings, the New Truth religious order, and a moralistic attorney. Save the attorney, the main characters change in the next crop of episodes (4-6), which follow a television producer and his wife who must cope with the news that their newborn child is bound for Hell. This series has similarities to Squid Game, so if you enjoyed that series, you’ll probably love this one.
But what if you haven’t seen Squid Game yet? That means you have so far ignored all of the hype surrounding it and told your coworkers, friends, and family to stop bugging you to see it… until now. You are finally ready to give in and see what all the buzz has been about.
Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama television series created by Hwang Dong-hyuk for Netflix. The show is about a secret contest in which over 400 players, all of whom are struggling financially, risk their lives to play a deadly version of children’s games to try to win $35 million.
Creator Hwang came up with the concept because of his own financial struggles. He was also inspired by class struggles in South Korea and the issues that derive from capitalism in general. The series’ popularity is due in part to so many viewers relating to having money troubles and their consequent feelings of desperation.
Phew — now that is some dark stuff! So, what if you feel like engrossing yourself in something more down-to-earth and romantic?
Crash Course in Romance
Crash Course in Romance is a 2023 series directed by Yoo Je-won. It was a commercial hit in South Korea and even one of the very highest-rated dramatic series in South Korean cable television history!
This romance series focuses on the bittersweet relationship between a college student who is the daughter of a small restaurant owner and a top private prep or “cram school” instructor who prepares students for highly competitive college entrance exams.
Crash Course in Romance contains 16 episodes, with each episode’s title referring to a math problem. While most parents do anything they can to get their children into the school to study with this coveted instructor, the single mother and small restaurant owner Haeng-seon has never taken part in cram schools. She believes her daughter doesn’t need the extra help because she taught her daughter to be a hard-working, self-taught student. However, her daughter rebels against her and insists on taking the class. What follows is a high-stakes drama that includes a romance scandal with many twists and turns!
Here’s a conundrum: what if you love reality TV but are bored with the usual themes? In that case, Netflix has the series for you.
Zombieverse is a reality show in which the premise is that a virus has broken out in Seoul, South Korea, and the contestants must outwit the undead in a series of quests to survive.
At first, contestants work together to survive the virus outbreak and escape the zombies. But soon loyalties falter as contestants begin to get bitten. Zombieverse was created because of the popularity of another K series, All of Us Are Dead.
All of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead is a coming-of-age zombie horror series based on the webtoon by Joo Dong-geun. This story takes place at a local high school after a failed science experiment leads to a zombie virus outbreak. The school is invaded by zombies, and the trapped students must protect themselves from becoming infected and somehow survive without food or water. This series is such a crowd-pleaser that it was watched for over 474.26 million hours in its first 30 days on Netflix.
So, you may have noticed several themes among these series, even though they span different genres like reality TV, horror, and romance. K-content has found a lot of success in exploring themes of survival, class struggle, and horror, and those themes can be found in many of K-content creators’ latest offerings. You can certainly find something to suit your taste among Netflix’s latest K-content shows, whether you choose a dramatic series, a film, or a reality TV series!