11 Cool Korean Shows We Want Netflix to Bring Over

first_img Netflix’s original shows get a lot of love, but just as good is the slate of foreign programming they’ve translated and brought over. From stylish noir Babylon Berlin to the utterly creepy Dark, they have a killer eye for overseas shows that will appeal to American audiences. The recent premiere of Kingdom (stream it here) is just another hit in the line. If you haven’t binged it yet, it’s a South Korean fantasy/horror/action joint where a young prince must deal with his dead father and the army of zombies he brought with him.Real heads know that Korea’s TV industry is thriving, so here are our picks for other shows that the streaming service can bring to our eyeballs.Are You Human?One of the most interesting things about South Korean sci-fi is how they use it as a storytelling tool in other genres of programming. Case in point: Are You Human?, which on the surface is a workplace drama involving a young man struggling to maintain his position as the leader of a business conglomerate. Here’s the twist, though: the young man is a humanoid android made by his mother, who takes his place after the real one slips into a coma. Dealing with issues of identity and humanity, it’s a compelling exploration of modern social issues with an interesting spin.My Love From The StarKorean TV has definitely established a foothold in the States with romance fans, so why not spotlight one of their more sci-fi flavored takes on the concept? The smash hit My Love From The Star features Kim Soo-hyun as an alien who made Earthfall 400 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty and has lived incognito among us ever since, taking a new identity every decade. But when his people finally show up to take him home, an unexpected romance with his next-door neighbor will test his resolve. Throw in a love-crazed stalker and you’ve got an irresistible mix of romance, science fiction and drama that was a smash hit.CircleKorean TV isn’t immune from high-concept ideas, and Circle is one that works. Each episode is split into two stories — one taking place in 2017 and the other two decades later. The present-day bits follow a pair of brothers who were the only witnesses to an alien landing when they were kids. The future bits are even more interesting, with South Korea divided once more into two nations — “General Earth,” a polluted hellhole, and “Smart Earth,” a well-scrubbed, crime-free utopia. The twins have vanished, and a detective must cross between Earths to investigate where they’ve gone. It’s beautifully filmed and remarkably clever.City HunterBased on a Japanese comic that also inspired a Jackie Chan film, City Hunter is one of the best Korean action shows. It follows a a team of soldiers who undertake a covert mission in North Korea but are ambushed. One survives, but when he returns home he finds that all of his records have been erased. He kidnaps a child and raises him for revenge on the officials that sent him to die. It’s a taut and violent thriller with some fun performances and great set pieces. The show’s been licensed in a dozen countries but has yet to show up on American streaming services.HwayugiIf you want to talk influential fiction, Journey To The West might top the list. The 16th century Chinese novel has inspired hundreds of homages, adaptations and spin-offs from Dragon Ball to this 2017 series. Hwayugi, also known as A Korean Odyssey, takes a lot of liberties with the source material, transplanting the quartet of animal heroes to the modern era. Instead of being tasked with bringing Buddhist wisdom from India, they’re protecting a young woman who could lead to the end of the world. This is a charming, visually kicky series that was a big success in Korea. Netflix has even bought the rights to this one in other countries, but so far it hasn’t shown up on their American lineup.Blade ManOne cool thing about science fiction is that it lets storytellers use new and different visual metaphors for emotions we all experience. 2014 series Blade Man is a prime example. Lee Dong-wook stars as a wealthy businessman who is afflicted by a strange condition – when he’s upset or angry, metal knives sprout all over his body. This isolates him from the world until a young woman learns his secret and tries to help him contend with both his inner feelings and their outer expression. This one benefits from a great lead performance, with Dong-wook really plumbing the unusual nature of the Blade Man.Save MeWhen a group of unemployed slackers find a young woman in an alley whispering “save me,” it kicks off a twisty psychological series that’s unlike any other K-drama out there. The woman, Im Sang Mi, has seen her entire family brainwashed into a religious cult and she’s struggling to get herself free after three years of relentless brainwashing. Struggling to hold on to her perceptions of what a “normal life” looks like, she turns to the odd group of friends to bring down the cult and rescue her parents, who have gone over completely to the other side.BloodHere’s another example of how fluidly Korean TV blends supernatural and sci-fi premises into existing genres. At first glance, Blood seems like an everyday medical procedural along the lines of House, with a gifted surgeon who has trouble getting along with his colleagues or showing his emotions. But here’s the twist: specialist doctor Park Ji Sang isn’t just a jerk, he’s a vampire. Suppressing his desire to feed on humans, he’s a remarkably interesting, tragic hero, and when he comes into conflict with the hospital director who is human but more of a monster than Ji Sang could ever be, things really get interesting.Joseon X-FilesHistorical dramas are big business on Korean TV, and some of the more interesting ones give supernatural spins to real-life events. Joseon X-Files takes the odd couple dynamic of the 90s FOX franchise and transplants it back to the Joseon dynasty of the 17th century. Two investigators — one a believer in the supernatural and one a more grounded scientist — are tasked with uncovering the truth behind a variety of tall tales and legends. Tackling things like UFOs through the eyes of people living centuries ago is a daunting flex, but the show pulls it off with aplomb and it’s very worth a watch.DuelThe one-sentence concept for Duel could go a bunch of different ways: a cop’s daughter is kidnapped, and the only clue is that two men with the same face were spotted at the crime scene. When they bring in the suspect, he has no memory of the incident because he’s a clone, and his malevolent copy is out there with the girl. Actor Yang Se Jong shines in the dual role, really making both characters seem distinct and individual while never letting us forget that they’re clones. There’s bits where one impersonates the other that are particularly compelling. It’s a fast-paced series that suffers from a little shoddy plotting but is a fun ride despite that.GoblinOne of the most critically acclaimed Korean dramas of recent years, Goblin set viewership records with its oddball fusion of mythology and romance. Gong Yoo (from Train to Busan) stars as the titular character, an immortal protector of souls who has lived on this planet for nearly a thousand years. The only thing that can free him is having a mystical sword pulled from his chest by the love of his life. He meets a young woman with the power to see ghosts and it kicks off an oddball fusion of supernatural intrigue and romance that’s compelling to the end.More on Geek.com:Here’s Everything Coming to Netflix in February 2019Zack Snyder Is Directing Netflix’s ‘Army of the Dead’ Zombie ThrillerSteve Carell to Lead New Netflix Series Inspired By Trump’s Space Force What to Stream on Netflix This Weekend11 Other Old-School Nick Shows That Should Get Netflix Movies Stay on targetlast_img read more