South Korean dramas have always been very popular, but just when you think it can’t get any better, Netflix breaks new grounds for the industry. Not only has the streaming platform provided an avenue for K-dramas to reach more audiences around the world. It also brought a lot to the table, with many Netflix Originals shaking up the internet.
Wonder if you missed any great Netflix-original K-dramas? Here’s a ranking of the best ones you can stream only on Netflix.
1. Sweet Home
It’s quite rare for a South Korean drama like Sweet Home to grace the screen—a full-blown monster thriller with world-class visual effects. That’s why it’s no surprise that it immediately climbed streaming charts in several countries.
Based on a webtoon, Sweet Home is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a group of tenants is stuck in an apartment building while battling monsters trying to get in. A timid, suicidal teenager emerges as the unlikely hero.
Kingdom reawakened South Korea’s flair for zombie horror after Train to Busan and gave it a fresh treatment. Before Kingdom, we’d only seen ghosts in historical dramas. Who knew zombies could also exist in the Joseon era? Instead of guns and rifles, there are lots of sword-slinging and flying arrows, which is a very refreshing thing to see in a zombie drama. Beyond that, the storyline is also gripping, laden with conspiracies and secrets revolving around the crown prince’s family.
3. Move to Heaven
Move to Heaven is a new K-drama that has caused a huge stir in our emotions, and thus making it one of the best Netflix Originals to date. The story follows a boy with Asperger syndrome and his uncle as they take over his recently departed father’s trauma-cleaning business. While on the job of crime scene cleanup, they help us get to know the deceased and celebrate the life they lived. Each episode is a beautiful contemplation on life, loss, and death.
4. Itaewon Class
Park Saeroyi is a young ex-convict who starts a bar-restaurant in Itaewon to beat the heavyweight corporation owned by the man who caused his father’s death. It was primarily a story of revenge. But surprisingly, it touched our hearts deeper than that. Itaewon Class is a heartwarming social commentary against stereotypes, racism, discrimination. Not to mention, the performance and visuals gave us goosebumps.
5. Crash Landing on You
A South Korean heiress crash-lands with her paraglider onto North Korean soil, where she’s found by good-hearted Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok. Then we watch a love story unfold in the most unlikely, foreign place.
Crash Landing on You is one of, if not the most addictive rom-com you’d ever watch—the chemistry between Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin is so perfect that, well, the reel got real. And it doesn’t just make you laugh and giggle, but it also touches your heart in all the right places.
6. Hospital Playlist
You don’t have to be a fan of medical dramas to enjoy this Netflix Original. Hospital Playlist takes us into the lives of five friends-for-life doctors who’ve been together for 20 years. The show is easy to digest, and very satiating at that—with a nice blend of drama, romance, humor, and precious life lessons. Not only that but there’s also a flavorful sprinkle of musical, where we see a different side of the doctors, playing songs you’d want on your own playlist.
Here’s a love story we all need: the bond between a senior and a young man who are both passionate about ballet. Navillera is a story about following your dreams, and—if you’re feeling too old at 30—this show is a wake-up call. You’re never too old to chase your dream. Just look at grandpa Shim Deok-chul, who bravely steps into a ballet academy at age 70. Song Kang is stunning and all, but Park In-hwan as grandpa has really won over our hearts.
Start-Up is the first K-drama to bring us into the world of start-ups, and it has been a wild ride! It follows the entrepreneurial endeavor of Nam Do-san and Seo Dal-mi at Sandbox (akin to Silicon Valley). Han Ji-pyeong becomes their mentor, and now the love triangle is complete, which is also its most compelling subplot.
Start-Up teaches a lot of lessons about life and ambition, as well as family and friendship. There are enough scenes to keep us on the edge of our seats, but there are also those that make us shed a few tears or more.
9. Designated Survivor: 60 Days
If you’re like us and had previously watched the original Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland, you’d think you would know what’s coming in this K-drama adaptation. However, things unfold differently and there are plot twists you’d not expect. 60 Days is perfectly adapted to South Korean politics and social climate, which is also enlightening and very engaging.
Vincenzo has such an odd taste for a K-drama, and we love it for that. Song Joong-ki plays a mafia consigliere who returns to South Korea on a personal mission but finds himself entangled in a war against the Babel Group conglomerate. The plot itself is not very tight, but there’s a satisfying resolution in every episode. In addition, what really makes you glued to the show is the fun ensemble of characters and the dark humor that actually works.
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*Featured image via Netflix