8 Netflix Shows and Movies Headlined By Asians
1/8 Kim’s Convenience
Praised for the show’s realistic portrayal of an Asian immigrant family, Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience is a gem full of heartfelt moments, funny family disputes, complicated reconciliations and awkward romances. The show follows a Korean-Canadian family as they run a beloved neighbourhood convenience store called, what else but, Kim's Convenience in downtown Toronto. The store is run by Mr Kim and Mrs Kim, lovingly known as “Appa” and “Umma”—Korean for dad and mom—by their two children, Janet, a photography student, and Jung, the estranged son who is played by incoming Marvel superhero, Simu Liu.
All four seasons are currently available to watch on Netflix, however, the show will end after the fifth season as two co-creators have announced their departure.
2/8 Always Be My Maybe
Always Be My Maybe is a rom-com starring comedian, Ali Wong—well-known for her Netflix stand-up specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife—and actor Randall Park, who is best known for playing Louis Huang in popular sitcom Fresh Off The Boat. While Fresh Off the Boat is not streamable on Netflix, Huang’s good-natured on-screen personality is still prevalent in Always Be My Maybe, only this time, it’s paired with Wong’s bold character.
The two actors play Sasha Tran and Marcus Kim, childhood friends that uncovered a romantic spark during their teenage years. However, the two lose contact after an argument and only reunites sixteen years later when Sasha visits their hometown in San Francisco to open her latest restaurant as a celebrity chef. Marcus, who never left town, bumps into Sasha during her visit and the two become friends once again. If you need more convincing to watch the movie, Keanu Reeves also makes a few hilarious and over-the-top appearances in the movie.
3/8 Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians has been talked about so many times it really needs no introduction. Based on Kevin Kwan’s romantic novel, the movie centres around Rachel Chu, an economics professor from New York City, and her partner Nick Young as they travel to Singapore for the wedding of Nick’s best friend. It was only during the trip when Rachel learns that Nick’s family are amongst the richest in Singapore. The movie follows her as she navigates through Nick’s family expectations, gossip and traditions.
Nick Young is played by Malaysian-British presenter and actor, Henry Golding, while the role of Rachel Chu is played by Fresh Off The Boat star, Constance Wu. Other notable names are also in the movie including Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh. While sequels to the successful movie have been confirmed, no set dates have been released.
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4/8 Bling Empire
Released in January 2021, Bling Empire was the talk of the town for weeks and with season two finally confirmed, we’re all excited to see more. Following real-life crazy rich Asians living in LA, Bling Empire is a reality TV show that gives us a glimpse into the lives of wealthy Asians and Asian Americans who have millions and billions to their name. From outrageous at-home Dior shopping trips, to grand parties and Paris shopping trips, you’d be pining after the show’s couture fashion pieces after watching this show.
Filmed in 2018, which feels almost like a decade ago when Covid-19 and masks weren’t the norm yet, viewers not only get to see the fun, glamorous side of being rich, but also learn all about their real-life relationship problems, family conflicts, under-the-table rivalries and headaches. Hey, billionaires are just like us, right?
See also: Bling Empire: Who Is Kane Lim On The Netflix Show?
5/8 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a sweet teenage romance film and the first of the To All The Boys trilogy. The plot follows high school junior Lara Jean as she tries to navigate through the messy consequences of having her five secret love letters to her former crushes mailed out by her younger sister. As all her crushes receive her letters, she teams up with one of her former crushes, Peter Kavinsky to act like a couple in order to avoid humiliating rejection from her other crushes.
While Lara Jean is played by Vietnamese American actress Lana Condor, the character is actually Korean. If your childhood drink was Yakult growing up, you’d find a new sense of connection with Lara Jean. After the movie was released, fans around the world began to look for the referenced “Korean yogurt smoothie” in their own Asian supermarkets, hoping to get a taste of the drink to feel closer to the characters.
See also: Netflix Reveals 13 Original Korean Shows For 2021
6/8 Never Have I Ever
Created by The Office star, Mindy Kaling and screenwriter Lang Fisher, Never Have I Ever is a coming of age drama partially based on Kaling’s own childhood. The series revolves around Indian-American teenager, Devi Vishwakumar, who wants to change her social status at school, while also trying to deal with her Indian identity, her relationship with her mom, her crush and friends.
After it was released in April 2020, the show has been praised for breaking Asian stereotypes and has since been renewed for a second season.
7/8 The Half of It
The Half of It is a 2020 coming-of-age film written and directed by Alice Wu and has received the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. The movie has been celebrated for not only opening up LGBTQ conversations within the Asian community, but also breaking teenage movie stereotypes where the main character usually falls in love with their male friend.
The movie takes place in the remote, sleepy town of Squahamish where Chinese-American student, Ellie Chu makes extra money by doing her classmates’ homework. When football player, Paul Minsky approaches her to write love letters to Aster Flores, a girl at their school, she reluctantly agrees to help pay for her home’s electricity bills. After a series of letters and text messages, Ellie and Aster eventually develop a genuine connection, complicating the arrangement and friendship Ellie has with Paul.
8/8 Singapore Social
Previously known as the Crazy Rich Asians reality TV show before Bling Empire was released, Singapore Social follows several young, successful Singaporeans as they navigate career, romance and family in Singapore.
Known as the first global docuseries filmed in Asia with an all-Asian cast, the show stars a few Tatler friends and Gen T honourees including singer Tabitha Nauser, fashion influencer Mae Tan and Sukki Singapore, a burlesque performer and activist. While the show has been widely criticised by local Singaporeans for under-representing all income groups in the country, the show has been applauded for representing a more diverse cast of Asians.
See also: Oscars 2021: 11 Nominated Films To Watch On Netflix