Buoyed by the stupendous success of its shows, such as Kingdom and Squid Game, Netflix is now going all-in on Korean content this year. The long list of Korean shows and films on Netflix for 2022 is proof of that.
In a statement, Don Kang, Netflix’s vice president of content (Korea), said that viewing hours of the Korean shows of the streaming platform grew six-fold in 2021 compared to 2019. Clearly, demand for Korean films and show are increasing steadily worldwide.
Leading the pack, out of the several Korean films and shows streaming today, Squid Game was the most viewed Korean show in 94 countries and 95 percent of the viewership came from outside Korea.
Kang said that Hellbound, which followed Squid Game last year, recorded 43.48 million viewing hours for its premiere.
“Hellbound was among the Top 10 Netflix Shows in 93 countries and ranked number one in 34 countries. Sci-fi mystery The Silent Sea also made it to the number one spot on the weekly non-English Top 10 lists for its premiere,” Kang said.
“We believe this is a slate that showcases more of the inventive and gripping Korean storytelling that the world has come to love. To do that, we will continue to invest in Korea’s creative ecosystem and, together, we will keep on showing the world that ‘Made in Korea’ means ‘Well-Made’,” Kang said.
If you’re a fan of Korean films and shows, we’ve put together this guide for you so you always have something new on your watchlist.
A look at the upcoming Korean shows and films on Netflix in 2022
Netflix released over 130 Korean titles from 2016 to 2021. In 2022, the American streaming platform is bringing in a gamut of shows and movies, expanding is library of K-content.
First on the list is All of Us Are Dead, which will premiere on 28 January. The show’s teaser was released on 31 December 2021, and it is about a zombie outbreak in a high school.
Then there is Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, a remake of Netflix’s acclaimed Spanish series Money Heist. It is one of the most anticipated shows in Korean entertainment.
Among the upcoming Netflix Korean films are action blockbuster Seoul Vibe, which stars the brilliant Yoo Ah-in of Hellboy fame, and romantic drama 20th Century Girl, starring Kim You-jung — one of the finest actresses in South Korea.
All of Us Are Dead, 28 January
Directed by: Lee JQ, Kim Nam-su
Starring: Yoon Chan-young, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-mi, Lim Jae-hyeok
Overview: The series is about students trapped in a school amid a zombie virus outbreak who later join hands to fight for survival. All of Us Are Dead is based on a popular webtoon by Joo Dong-geun. The horrific visuals of students infected by the mysterious zombie virus and stunning action set in various parts of the school are a must-watch.
Twenty Five, Twenty One, 12 February
Directed by: Jung Jeehyun
Starring: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ji Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Lee Ju Myung
Overview: A drama of youths who lost their dream to the zeitgeist of 1998. It revolves around five friends and their love, friendships, hardships and growth.
Forecasting Love and Weather, 12 February
Directed by: Cha Young Hun
Starring: Park Min Young, Song Kang, Yoon Bak, Yura
Overview: A cheerful romance drama of people at the Korea Meteorological Administration who break, fall and get back on their feet every day. The story follows Jin Ha-kyung (Park Min Young), who decides never to commit to an office romance after a brutal break-up. But Jin again enters a relationship with a newcomer in the team, Lee Si-woo (Song Kang), who is different but attractive in his own way.
Thirty Nine, 16 February
Directed by: Kim Sang-ho
Starring: Son Ye-jin, Jeon Mi-do, Kim Ji-hyun
Overview: Thirty Nine is a down-to-earth life and romance drama that delves into the friendship, love and life of three friends who are about to turn 40. A coincidence in their high school years brought the three together to become BFFs. One fine day, when they are all 39, life takes a turn for the worse and they have to get ready for goodbye.
Directed by: Hong Jong-chan
Starring: Kim Hye-soo, Kim Moo-yeol, Lee Sung-min, Lee Jung-Eun.
Overview: Juvenile Justice deals with a judge who dislikes juvenile delinquents, to only later realise the troubles children face in society and how society is circumventing them to become better people. Kim Hye-soo (Hyena, Signal) plays Sim Eun-seok — the charismatic judge newly appointed to a district with the highest juvenile delinquency — who makes unorthodox decisions to existing judgments. She later tries to send a message that society is also responsible for juveniles’ immoral and illicit acts.
Directors: Kim Tae-Youn, Sung Chi-Wook
Starring: Kim Hee-seon, Rowoon, Lee Soo-hyuk
Overview: The grim reapers who used to escort the dead now save those who want to die. An afterlife fantasy drama, Tomorrow depicts how a long-time unemployed person accidentally bumps into grim reapers on a special mission and becomes a contract worker at their Crisis Management Team to help them on their mission.
The Sound of Magic
Directed by: Kim Sung-youn
Starring: Ji Chang-wook, Choi Sung-eun, Hwang In-youp
Overview: The Sound of Magic is based on the popular webtoon Annarasumanara. It is a touching drama about Yoon Ah-yi (Choi Sung-eun), a girl who had to grow up too fast, and Rieul (Ji Chang-wook), a mysterious magician who — although grown-up — wants to remain as a kid.
Remarriage and Desires
Directed by: Kim Jung-Min
Starring: Kim Hee-Seon, Lee Hyun-Wook, Jung Eugene, Park Hoon, Cha Ji-Yeon
Overview: Remarriage & Desires is a satire of Korean society governed by desire. Set at the exclusive matchmaking agency catering to the top echelons of society, ambitious souls hope to upgrade their status by marrying or remarrying into the ranks of the elite. They aspire to nab someone from the “Black” tier, the highest group, consisting of the top 0.001 percent of the population.
A Model Family
Directed by: Kim Jin-woo
Starring: Jung Woo, Park Hee-soon, Yoon Jin-seo, Park Ji-yeon
Overview: A Model Family is about a man who is on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce, stumbling upon a car loaded with cash. The incident has him crossing paths with the second-in-command of a drug organisation.
Directed by: Roh Deok
Starring: Jeon Yeo-been, NANA
Overview: Glitch tells the story of a girl who attempts to track down her missing boyfriend with the help of members of a UFO club. In the process, she comes face to face with a secret.
The Accidental Narco (WT)
Directed by: Yoon Jong-bin
Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok, Chang Chen
Overview: Based on real-life events, The Accidental Narco is about an ordinary entrepreneur who has no choice but to risk his life in joining the secret mission of government agents to capture a Korean drug lord. The Accidental Narco marks director Yoon Jong-bin’s first foray into series and collaboration with Netflix.
Directed by: Kim Jeong-hyeon
Starring: Chae Soo-bin, Choi Min-ho
Overview: A highly realistic romance that explores the dreams, love and friendship of young people who devote their lives to working in the fashion industry, where fashion often means passion.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area
Directed by: Kim Hong-sun
Starring: Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Yunjin, Park Hae-soo, Jun Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong, Park Myung-hoon, Kim Seung-o, Kim Ji-hun, Jang Yoon-ju, Lee Joobeen, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Ji-hoon, Lee Kyu-ho
Overview: Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area narrates a genius strategist and his talented crew composed of top-class thieves, attempting to pull off an unprecedented heist in the Korean Peninsula.
Love to Hate You
Directed by: Kim Jeong-kwon
Starring: Kim Ok-vin, Yoo Teo, Kim Ji-hun, Go Won-hee
Overview: Love to Hate You is about the warlike relationship between a woman who hates losing to men and a man frantically suspicious of women. Both later discover life remedies behind their opposite characteristics.
Directed by: Jung Ji-woo
Starring: Kim Young-kwang, Kang Hae-lim, Kim Yong-ji, Kim Su-yeon
Overview: A murder case around a social dating app entangles the developer of the app and her friends. This marks director Jung Ji-woo’s first venture into series and collaboration with Netflix.
Directed by: Cho Ui-seok
Starring: Kim woo-bin, Kang you-seok, Esom
Overview: The series is set in 2071, where people depend on respirator masks to breathe. Only one percent of the human race has survived, and a strict social stratification has been established in the deserted lands of the Korean Peninsula. Delivery drivers play a crucial role within this system. For refugees, becoming a delivery driver is their only hope for survival.
Business Proposal (tentative)
Director: Park Seon Ho
Starring: Ahn Hyo-Seop, Kim Se Jeong, Seol In A, Kim Min Gue, Lee Duck Hwa
Overview: An office romance drama, Business Proposal, is based on a globally famous web novel and webtoon of the same name. An average employee Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se Jeong) goes on a blind date in her friend’s stead as a sassy girl, only to find the date to be the CEO of her company, Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-Seop). Following their encounter, they struggle to keep their emotions in check at the office.
Love and Leashes, 11 February
Directed by: Park Hyun-jin
Starring: Seo Hyun, Lee Jun-Young, EL
Overview: A man with a unique taste and a woman who stumbles upon his secret get into a romantic relationship. This marks Seo Hyun’s first film.
Yaksha: Ruthless Operations
Directed by: Na Hyun
Starring: Sul Kyung-gu, Park Hae-soo, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Yang Dong-keun, EL, Song Jae-lim, Park Jin-young
Overview: A breathtaking spy action thriller, Yaksha: Ruthless Operations is a film about a merciless man known as “Yaksha” who crosses paths with a prosecutor on a special inspection mission in Shenyang, China.
Directed by: Jung Byung-gil
Starring: Joo Won
Overview: Carter is an original film about an agent suffering from memory loss who is thrown into the middle of a mysterious mission.
Directed by: Moon Hyun-sung
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Ko Kyung-Pyo, Lee kyoo-hyung, Park Ju-hyun, Ong Seong-wu
Overview: The action blockbuster movie Seoul Vibe revolves around a team known as Sangedong Supreme, which tries to unearth corruption while the world has its eyes on the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
20th Century Girl
Directed by: Bang Woo-ri
Starring: Kim You-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, Roh Yoon-seo
Overview: 20th Century Girl is a romantic film set in 1999. In the last year of the 20th century, a 17-year-old girl finds her first love — a sweet, pure but heartbreaking relationship. Years later, in the 21st century, news about her first love revives her teenage romance she thought she had forgotten.
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Kang Soo-youn, Kim Hyun-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo
Overview: A desolate Earth in the 22nd century that is no longer inhabitable due to climate change is the setting for this film. Amid the chaos, an internal war breaks out in the shelter built for human survival. Victory — meaning the end of the war — now hinges on finding a way to clone the legendary mercenary JUNG_E into a scalable robot. The film is one of the most anticipated because of director Yeon Sang-ho, whose works include Train to Busan, Peninsula and Hellbound.
Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain
Directed by: Kim Joo-hyung, Go Min-seok
Starring: Celeb Five (Kim Shin-young, Song Eun-i, Shin Bong-seon, An Young-mi)
Overview: A fake documentary, Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain takes a peek into how Celeb Five (Kim Shin-young, Song Eun-yi, Shin Bong-sun and Ahn Young-mi) goes on marathons of ideation meetings to plan an amazing stage after being offered a solo show on Netflix. Their behind-the-stage work, more ingenious and hilarious than the on-stage show itself, provides incessant laughter and fun.
(Main and Featured images: Netflix)