Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated Yu Jin Kim
Despite the success of The Glory, Netflix’s Korean originals faced some challenges in 2023. Big-budget productions failed to live up to expectations, leading to growing skepticism about “Netflix-made” Korean dramas. Will the streaming giant be able to bounce back in 2024? With new shows like Sweet Home Season 3 and Gyeongseong Creature Season 2 slated to drop every month, here’s a look at 11 must-watch dramas that are ready to captivate audiences this year.
Chicken Nugget (Q1)
Chicken Nugget is based on a webtoon of the same name which received huge love for its quirky and original theme, sharp humor and suspenseful storyline. A father and a young man with a crush on his daughter embark on a desperate search after a mysterious machine transforms her into a chicken nugget. Comedy maestro Lee Byung Hun directs the film, starring Ryu Seung Bum and Ahn Jae Hong, with a special appearance by Kim Yoo Jung.
Parasyte: The Grey (Q2)
Parasyte: The Grey is a live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It follows a group of humans waging war against unidentified parasitic life forms that take control of their hosts. Jeon So Nee takes the lead as a girl infected by one such parasite, and Yeon Sang Ho of Train to Busan directs and co-writes the series.
The 8 Show (Q2)
The 8 Show is a story about eight people trapped in a mysterious eight-story space who participate in a dangerous show, going through cooperation, confrontation, repetition, and betrayal. Based on a webtoon of the same name, the show is directed by Han Jae Rim of The Face Reader and Emergency Declaration, and stars Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee, and Park Jung Min.
Hierarchy is a teen drama set at an elite private high school attended by the children of the wealthy, similar to the popular Spanish series Elite. It follows a transfer student with a secret who shakes up the prestigious Ju Shin High, igniting a whirlwind of love, friendship, and revenge. The drama stars young actors Roh Jeong Eui, Lee Chae Min, Kim Jae Won, Ji Hye Won, and Lee Won Jung, and we can expect to see the rise of new stars in the entertainment industry.
The Frog (Q3)
Veteran actor Kim Yoon Seok is making a long-awaited return to television series, collaborating with director Mo Wan Il of The World of the Married. The Frog tells a mysterious story about an enigmatic woman who appears at a vacation cottage in the deep woods. Kim Yoon Seok, Yoon Kye Sang, Lee Jung Eun, and Go Min Si will star in the series.
The Whirlwind (Q3)
Kim Hee Ae takes the lead in another political drama following her successful TV comeback in Queenmaker last year. The Whirlwind depicts a clash between a Prime Minister determined to eradicate corruption and the Economy Minister who opposes her. Sol Kyung Gu, known primarily for his film works since his early career, makes a highly anticipated return to the drama scene. It remains to be seen whether this series will help him rebound from his recent film performances.
The Trunk (Q4)
The Trunk is a highly anticipated drama starring Gong Yoo and Seo Hyun Jin. Based on the novel of the same name by Kim Ryeo Ryeong, the drama tells the story of two men and women who are involved in a secret marriage service. The novel is known for its realistic portrayal of marriage and love, and viewers are excited to see how Gong Yoo and Seo Hyun Jin will bring the story to life in 2024.
Hellbound 2 (Q4)
Hellbound, the hit Netflix drama that took the world by storm in 2021, is returning for a second season. The first season ended with a major cliffhanger, with Park Jung Ja (Kim Shin Rok) being resurrected after being condemned to hell. Fans are eager to see what happens next, and the addition of Kim Sung Chul to the cast has only heightened the anticipation. Kim Seong Chul will replace Yoo Ah In, who left the drama due to drug controversy. Hellbound Season 2 will be availbale in the second half of 2023.
Mr. Plankton (Q4)
Woo Do Hwan, Lee Yoo Mi, Oh Jung Se and Kim Hae Sook will star in new Netflix series Mr. Plankton. The upcoming drama revolves around a man named Hae Jo, who was mistakenly born into the world. His path crosses with Jae Mi, the unluckiest woman in the world. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay writer Jo Yong pens the script, and Juvenile Justice director Hong Jong Chan helms the series.
When Life Gives You Tangerines (TBA)
When Life Gives You Tangerines is the new project by When the Camellia Blooms writer Lim Sang Cun, starring IU, and Park Bo Gum. Set in the 1950s, it tells the story of the adventurous life of Ae Soon, a “spirited rebel” born in Jeju, and Gwan Sik, a tough and unyielding guy like an old tree. In addition to IU and Park Bo Gum, veteran actors Moon So Ri and Park Hae Joon will also star, with Kim Seon Ho making a special appearance.
Squid Game 2 (TBA)
Netflix’s mega-hit series, Squid Game is returning for a Season 2 in the second half of this year. The cast of Season 1, including Lee Jung Jae, Lee Byung Hun, Wi Ha Joon, and Gong Yoo, will be joined by new cast members Yim Si Wan, Park Gyu Young, Kang Ha Neul, Lee Jin Wook and Park Sung Hoon. However, the casting of T.O.P., a former member of BIGBANG, has been met with some controversy as he has announced his retirement from the entertainment industry in 2017. The production cost of Squid Game season 2 is estimated to be in the 100 billion won range, excluding appearance fees. Netflix Korea released photos of the set late last year.
All of Us Are Dead 2 (TBA)
Is this the year we finally get to see the next chapter of All of Us Are Dead? Fans have been eagerly awaiting the next season since news broke in June 2022 about its production. The show captivated audiences with its thrilling story of students trapped in their school during a zombie apocalypse, desperately fighting for survival. Season 1’s beloved cast, including Yoon Chan Young, Park Ji Hoo, Cho Yi Hyun (Romon), are all confirmed to return. Adding to the intrigue, director Lee Jae Kyu has hinted that Season 2 will shift the focus from human survival to the struggle for survival on the zombie side.
Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.