As the world battles a deadly pandemic, one must also remember that 2020 started as a defining year for the South Korean entertainment industry when Bong Joon-Ho's film Parasite became the first Korean and non-American film to win the Best Picture Oscar award. While we celebrate the diverse and vibrant films from the country, one must not forget the most popular form of visual entertainment there, K-Dramas.
These dramas can be of very different genres ranging from romance to mystery and horror to magic realism. Before the advent of streaming sites, these shows would be televised in Korea and exported to countries like India via CDs. Now, some of them are available on OTTS.
We had previously mentioned the critically acclaimed Kingdom, in our foreign language series recommendations, but there exist many other great shows.
Here are some of the best K-Dramas that one can stream on Netflix to get a virtual tour of South Korea.
Descendants Of The Sun
Ever since it first aired in 2016, Descendants of the Sun shot to fame and won awards due to its unique storyline. Considered the "absolute best" by many Indian K-Drama fans, it’s a story of a soldier who falls in love with a surgeon in war-torn country. The show authentically depicts the effects of war and touches hearts, especially since military service is compulsory for every adult male there.
No list of K Drama recommendations can be complete without a mention of The Heirs. Starring Korean superstars Lee Min-ho and Park Shin-hye, the show brings out the class struggles of Korea's seemingly perfect society.
This one deals with the repercussions of fake news. A young boy loses his parents and is presumed dead after a reporter's story falsely implicates his father for a murder. He then takes up a new identity and grows up with another family, but his quest for revenge against the reporter makes him infiltrate her news channel as a journalist. The show uses a made up condition called Pinocchio syndrome, which makes a person incapable of lying, (like Ana de Armas' character in Rian Johnson's Knives Out) which plays an interesting plot point in the show. Bonus, it has an amazing romantic subplot.
This 2016 thriller tells the story of a cold-case profiler in 2015 and a detective in 1989 who can talk to each other via a mysterious walkie-talkie. This unlikely team not only has to solve a string of crime spanning three decades, but also have to prevent them at the first place. The show will be coming back for a second season in 2020.
Those who enjoyed the dark comedy in Parasite will definitely enjoy Prison Playbook. A star baseball pitcher finds himself behind bars after he attacks the man who tries to sexually assault his sister, just days before his big league debut. The show also focuses on the lives of other inmates and the officers at the correctional facility and makes strong observations about the condition of prison systems in the country.
The Reply series is an anthology television series spanning three seasons. It revolves around a group of friends and depicts the events of their life as the timeline moves back and forth. With every season focusing on different characters, this refreshing coming of age story will make you nostalgic enough to call your old friends.
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