Netflix Reveals 13 Original Korean Shows For 2021
Netflix unveiled a lineup of upcoming original Korean content at the See What’s Next Korea 2021 virtual event this morning. The titles revealed at the event consist of a variety of genres and stories, from series and movies to sitcoms and stand-up comedies, and are expected to further raise the expectations of fans waiting for unique Korean content. So hold on to your TV snacks because you're in for a wild ride.
1/13 The Silent Sea
Starring: Bae Doo-na, Gong Yoo, and Lee Joon.
Directed by: Choi Hang-yong.
Set in a future where water and food have almost run out on Earth due to global desertification, The Silent Sea follows the story of the members of a special team that set out to a research base on the Moon. A story with unexpected twists and turns, The Silent Sea is a series based on director Choi Hang-yong’s short film that was given a major spotlight at the 13th Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival in 2014. Director Choi took the lead again for the series, teaming up with writer Park Eun-kyo, who won Best Screenplay for the film Mother at the 29th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
The series has garnered much attention as actor Jung Woo-sung joined the project as an executive producer. Actors Bae Doo-na, Gong Yoo, and Lee Joon play members of the team on a life-risking mission to the Moon, often dubbed “the silent sea,” promising to deliver intense suspense to the viewers.
Starring: Jung Hae-in, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, and Son Seok-koo.
Directed by: Han Jun-hee.
D.P. is follows the story of army private Joon-ho, one of many soldiers serving in the Korean military, who suddenly ends up becoming a member of the “Deserter Pursuit” unit that tracks down military deserters and encounters the realities of confused young soldiers. The series is based on a webtoon by Kim Bo-tong that garnered over 10 million views for its realistic portrayal of the brutal violence and human rights violations committed in the military with the refreshing theme of Deserter Pursuit (D.P.), a military police unit in charge of arresting soldiers who deserted their posts.
The series is expected to balance the tension and thrill of chasing down deserters from the perspective of “soldiers catching soldiers” while shedding light on the mental torment and hurt of young people who chose to escape. Actors Jung Hae-in, Koo Kyo-hwan, and Kim Sung-kyun play members of D.P., while Son Seok-koo plays a military official that disapproves of them to represent the trouble-ridden daily life in the deserter arrest unit.
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3/13 My Name
Starring: Han So-hee, Park Hee-soon, Ahn Bo-hyun, Kim Sang-ho, Lee Hak-ju, and Jang Yull.
Directed by: Kim Jin-min.
My Name follows the story of Ji-u, who joins the police force as an undercover for a crime organisation in order to find the truth about her father’s death and presents fist-clenching suspense of Ji-u’s revenge and the harsh truths uncovered in the process. Director Kim Jin-min, whose previous work Extracurricular received much attention for the dark and twisted realities of teenagers and Korean society it portrayed, took the helm again for this upcoming series, promising a story of cold revenge and adrenaline-pumping action.
Actor Han So-hee, who impressed audiences with her unparalleled presence in The World of the Married, transforms herself as Ji-u, showcasing her limitless range again. Veteran actors, including Park Hee-soon, Kim Sang-ho, Lee Hak-ju, and Jang Yull, and up-and-coming fresh faces have been cast for an amazing ensemble performance along with stunning noir action.
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4/13 Move To Heaven
Starring: Lee Je-hoon and Tang Jun-sang.
Directed by: Kim Sung-ho.
Move to Heaven is about a young man named Geu-ru with Asperger’s syndrome and Sang-gu, who becomes Geu-ru’s guardian, as they start a trauma cleaning business and uncover the stories that are left behind by the deceased. Directed by Kim Sung-ho of How to Steal a Dog and written by Yoon Ji-ryun of Angel Eyes, the series centres around a unique theme of “trauma cleaners” to pass on the messages from the deceased and tell the moving stories of those who are left behind.
Lee Je-hoon, beloved by audiences for his persuasive and nuanced performances, plays the role of Sang-gu, and rising star Tang Jun-sang plays the role of Geu-ru to relay the last words of those who passed.
Move to Heaven is expected to be released in the first half of 2021.
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5/13 Squid Game
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo.
Directed by: Hwang Dong-hyuk.
Squid Game centres around people who participate in a mysterious survival game with a 40-million-dollar prize at stake. Viewers will find themselves glued to the screen by the tension and suspense from various players desperate enough to participate in a game that could risk their lives and the choices made by people who are pushed to extreme situations.
It’s the first TV series by director Hwang Dong-hyuk, whose previous works such as Silenced, Miss Granny, and The Fortress have offered insightful and poignant messages about society. Lee Jung-jae plays Ki-hun, who lost his job and hit the rock bottom, while Park Hae-soo plays Sang-woo, who gets into trouble after embezzling his company’s funds, to capture the raw realities of those who risk their lives through a survival game.
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6/13 Love Alarm Season 2
Starring: Kim So-hyun, Jung Ga-ram, Song Kang, Ko Min-si, and Kim Si-eun.
Directed by: Kim Jin-woo.
Set in a world where a notification on an app called 'Love Alarm' becomes the only indicator of love, Love Alarm season two is a Netflix original series about a girl who cannot trigger the Love Alarm and two guys with an unabashed love for her trying to figure out how she feels.
Season two picks up from the end of season one, which became a huge sensation for its original concept of Love Alarm—which signals the user when someone with a crush on them is within the radius of 10m—and the perfect chemistry among its gorgeous cast, Kim So Hyun, Jung Ga-ram, and Song Kang, to tell their unfinished story. The new season will explore the unresolved feelings of first love of Jojo, Sun-oh, and Hye Yeong and capture various aspects of a society where the number of hearts on the Love Alarm becomes so valuable that it affects a person’s social status.
Season two of Love Alarm premieres on March 12, 2021.
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Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Park Jeong-min, Kim Hyun-ju, Won Jin-ah, and Yang Ik-june.
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho.
Hellbound depicts supernatural phenomena experienced by people who are condemned to hell after their unexpected encounters with angels of death. The intense series will depict supernatural events that are neither a miracle nor a curse, the rise of a new religious group that interprets the events as the will of the divine, and people trying to survive in the chaotic society.
Hell, the widely popular original webtoon published on Naver, created a lot of buzz from the beginning as it was co-created by illustrator Choi Gyu-seok of Awl and director Yeon Sang-ho, taking charge of the storyline.
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8/13 All of Us are Dead
Starring: Yoon Chan-yeong, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, and Yoo In-soo.
Directed by: Lee JQ and Enes Kim.
All of Us Are Dead is a story about people who are trapped in a high school where a zombie virus is spreading and those who are trying to save them as extreme situations riddled with surprises unfold. The original webtoon, Now at Our School, topped the chart among Wednesday webtoon series on Naver as soon as it was published in 2009 and became so wildly popular that each weekly episode topped the portal’s trending keyword list.
The Netflix series is directed by Lee JQ, whose refreshing, sensational works include TV series Beethoven Virus and Damo: The Legendary Police Woman, and the film Intimate Strangers.
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9/13 Kingdom: Ashin of the North
Starring: Gianna Jun Ji-hyun and Park Byung-eu.
Directed by: Kim Seong-hun.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a sidequel to the global K-zombie sensation Kingdom and tells the story of Ashin, the heiress to a northern Jurchen town, and the secret behind the resurrection plant. Created as a special episode, it is spun off from the story of Kingdom season two and depicts what happened in the past to the mysterious character Ashin, who encountered Lee Chang’s group on their northbound mission to uncover the truth behind the resurrection plant.
Gianna Jun Ji-hyun, whose appearance at the end of season two created much buzz, plays Ashin to unfold the story that everyone has been waiting for. Actor Park Byung-eun, who made a lasting impression on the viewers as the head of the Royal Commandery Min Chi-rok, makes another appearance in this special episode.
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10/13 Night in Paradise
Starring: Um Tae-goo, Jeon Yeo-been, and Cha Seoung-won.
Directed by: Park Hoon-jung.
Night in Paradise is a film about a man targeted by a criminal gang and a woman cornered to a dead end in life. Director Park Hoon-jung, whose works such as New World, V.I.P., and The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion have established him as a genre master for their compelling stories and brilliant action scenes, returns with yet another noir film that is quintessentially Korean.
Night in Paradise was the only Korean film to be screened out of competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival, where the film earned critical acclaim early on. Anticipation is high for the film as it promises to deliver an enthralling performance by the cast, including Um Tae-goo, who made his unique presence known in The Age of Shadows and The Great Battle; Jeon Yeo-been, who garnered unanimous praise for her performance in After My Death; and Cha Seoung-won, who transformed himself as an unforgettable villain in Believer.
Night in Paradise will premiere in April 9, 2021.
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11/13 Lee Su-geun: The Sense Coach
Lee Su-geun: The Sense Coach is a Netflix original stand-up special packed with gratifying ad-lib jokes that Lee Su-geun improvises as he coaches, with his acute sixth sense (or nunchi in Korean), members of the audience who often get pushed around and constantly worry about what others think. Having entertained Korean audiences through a myriad of variety shows including Men on a Mission, Ask Us Anything Fortune Teller, New Journey to the West, and The Fishermen and the City 2, Lee Su-geun is now reaching out to viewers around the world with his first stand-up special since his debut 25 years ago.
Created with interactive live communication with the audience at its heart, Lee Su-geun: The Sense Coach is anticipated to draw viewers in with Lee’s masterful command of live performance and his impromptu jokes that strike a chord with the audience.
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12/13 So Not Worth It
Starring: Park Se-wan, Shin Hyeon-seung, Choi Young-jae (of GOT7), Minnie (of (G)I-DLE), and Han Hyun-min.
Directed by: Kwon Ik-joon and Kim Jung-sik.
So Not Worth It is a sitcom about students of diverse nationalities living in the international dormitory of a university in Seoul and portrays their love, friendship, and life adventures. Kwon Ik-joon, who has created some of the most beloved Korean sitcoms including Korea’s first iconic sitcom series, Three Guys and Three Girls, and Nonstop, is the creator and director of this upcoming project, while Kim Jung-sik, who co-directed High Kick!, Potato Star 2013QR3, and Shut Up and Smash, joined the project as the co-director. It is co-written by Seo Eun-jung of New Nonstop and Baek Ji-hyun of Nonstop season one, two, and three as well as Ugly Miss Young-ae season 15, 16, and 17.
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13/13 Paik’s Spirit
Directed by: Park Hee-yeon, Lee Eun-kyung, Kwak Chung-a, and Lee Jong-hyuk.
Paik Jong-won sits down for a drink with top Korean celebrities and professionals in various fields to have a conversation about drinking and life. Netflix partnered with Paik to create its first reality series, where the restaurateur introduces Korean alcoholic beverages, food, and culture. Viewers around the world will be able to enjoy Paik’s gift of the gab and charming presence that have won the hearts of Korean audiences.
Featuring various alcoholic beverages ranging from soju—whose characteristic green bottle stands at the centre of Korean drinking culture—to beer, Korean traditional liquors, rice wine, and even craft beer, the series promises to bring stories of 'the most uniquely Korean' drinks to intrigue the senses of viewers around the globe.
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