The 20 best Korean shows on Netflix to watch now (2024)

From Parasite winning the Oscar for Best Picture to BTS topping charts across the world, there's no doubt that South Korean culture is upping its global footprint. The influence of its movies and TV shows is apparent in directors making waves in Hollywood and the overwhelming popularity of juggernaut series like Squid Game. In addition to those pop culture cornerstones, there’s much more Korean media ready to stream now.

Below, Entertainment Weekly explores the best Korean shows on Netflix, including massive hits like Hellbound and Extraordinary Attorney Woo as well as hidden gems like D.P. and A Killer Paradox. This list has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for sweeping romances (Our Beloved Summer), teen dramas (Boys Over Flowers), or tense thrillers (Kingdom).

Here are the 20 best Korean shows on Netflix right now.

01of 20

Crash Landing on You (2019–2020)

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If you've ever been recommended a K-drama on Netflix, it was probably Crash Landing on You. The series stars Son Ye-jin as South Korean businesswoman Yoon Se-ri, who gets blown to the North Korean side of the DMZ by a tornado while paragliding. Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin), a North Korean military captain, discovers Se-ri and decides to hide her until he can figure out a way to get her back to her own country. This show is the perfect K-drama starter because it includes so many of the genre’s signatures: fantastical story elements (a tornado, while paragliding!), sweeping romance, and silly/sweet melodrama.

Where to watch Crash Landing on You: Netflix

Cast: Son Ye-jin, Hyun Bin, Seo Ji-hye, Kim Jung-hyun

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Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022–present)

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If the whimsy of Crash Landing on You catches your interest, you should take a look at Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Park Eun-bin stars as Woo Young-woo, an autistic attorney hired by a major law firm in Seoul. Young-woo’s experience on the spectrum gives her a unique perspective when preparing for cases, but her legal career gets complicated by emerging family secrets and even a chance at love. The show is in a similar vein to American series like Monk or The Good Doctor — which was itself a remake of a K-drama — in which a misunderstood protagonist’s specific disorder gives them a unique problem-solving genius.

Where to watch Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Netflix

Cast: Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, Kang Ki-young, Jeon Bae-soo, Jin Kyung, Ha Yoon-kyung, Joo Jong-hyuk, Joo Hyun-young

03of 20

Squid Game (2021–present)

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Maybe whimsy isn't your thing and you'd prefer something that’s more of a nail-biter — and one of Netflix's most-watched shows ever. Squid Game stars Lee Jung-jae as a divorced dad with a gambling problem who, along with hundreds of others in similarly dire financial straits, gets invited to compete in a series of challenges for a chance at a debt-erasing fortune. The catch: The winner is also the lone survivor. What follows is a darkly entertaining study of desperation, greed, and the human psyche, painting morality (and mortality) as a strategy game.

Where to watch Squid Game: Netflix

Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung

Related content: First look at Squid Game season 2 teases a deadly game of cat and mouse

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Kingdom (2019–2021)

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Set in the 17th century three years after the Japanese invasion of Korea, Kingdom is an epic period piece that’s equal parts political thriller and zombie horror. Crown Prince Lee Chang and his staff discover a mysterious plague is taking over the countryside as a conspiracy threatens his path to the throne. With the help of his loyal aides, the prince must find a way to stop the virus from spreading while also protecting their seats of power. Things get messy and deadly from there, as hordes of the undead descend on the land. At this point, it’s hard to make a zombie show that feels original, but Kingdom passes that test by throwing sword-fighting and royal intrigue into the mix (The Walking Dead could never).

Where to watch Kingdom: Netflix

Cast: Ju Ji-hoon, Bae Doona, Ryu Seung-ryong, Kim Sung-kyu, Jeon Seok-ho, Kim Hye-jun, Kim Sang-ho

Related content: The 10 best zombie movies on Netflix right now

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Hellbound (2021–present)

If you're here for creepy content, you need Hellbound on your list. One of EW's best horror series on Netflix, it "explores how the unwanted entry of the divine into everyday life can become not miraculous but horrifying." That unwelcome entity is an “angel” who lets certain people know they’re going to hell, followed by a trio of supernatural thugs making that fate a reality in a savage, bloody fashion. The show isn’t so much about higher power but human nature in the face of a higher power, unpacking belief, factionalism, and moral conflict while grappling with existential questions (plus plenty of gore, of course).

Where to watch Hellbound: Netflix

Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min, Won Jin-ah, Yang Ik-june

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Our Beloved Summer (2021–2022)

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Are you feeling a bit nostalgic for your first love? One show that might scratch that particular itch is Our Beloved Summer, about an estranged couple forced back into each other's lives when the documentary they made 10 years ago in high school suddenly goes viral. The wistful coming-of-age story features Parasite alum Choi Woo-shik and Kim Da-mi as the central couple. This is the show you put on when you're studying for your degree in yearnalism.

Where to watch Our Beloved Summer: Netflix

Cast: Choi Woo-shik, Kim Da-mi, Kim Sung-cheol, Roh Jeong-eui

07of 20

Boys Over Flowers (2009)

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Boys Over Flowers is a throwback, but it’s considered one of the most influential K-dramas of all time, making superstars out of its cast, including Pachinko star Lee Min-ho. It’s essentially the South Korean equivalent of The O.C. phenomenon in the United States. The series centers on Geum Jan-di (Koo Hye-sun), a spunky teen who saves a young man from taking his own life. When it's discovered that the boy in question was severely bullied by the heir to the Shinhwa Group fortune, Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), Jan-di is offered a scholarship to their high school to ease public outrage at the company. There, Jan-di soon becomes entangled with Jun-pyo and his friends, launching 25 episodes of drama, romance, and intrigue.

Where to watch Boys Over Flowers: Netflix

Cast: Koo Hye-sun, Lee Min-ho, Kim Hyun-joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon

08of 20

A Killer Paradox (2024–present)

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Parasite's Choi Woo-shik scores another show on this list with A Killer Paradox. He plays Lee Tang, a convenience store worker who discovers he has a knack for taking out bad guys after accidentally murdering a serial killer during a robbery gone wrong. Meanwhile, Son Suk-ku (D.P.) plays the dogged detective who is on to Tang's murderous game. This "well-constructed, devious little thriller" definitely gives Dexter vibes and shines because of its great writing — and because it isn’t afraid to hang out in the moral gray area.

Where to watch: A Killer Paradox: Netflix

Cast: Choi Woo-shik, Son Suk-ku, Lee Hee-joon, Hyun Bong-sik

Related content: The 15 best serial killer shows streaming on Netflix right now

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Parasyte: The Grey (2024–present)

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Things get gruesome in Parasyte: The Grey, which adapts Hitoshi Iwaaki's manga about a parasite that infects and kills humans before turning their heads into grotesque amalgamations. Jeong Su-in (Jeon So-nee) develops a "unique relationship" with the specimen who fails to control her. EW’s writer promises that this series should "certainly satisfy," fans of body horror, but there are other rewarding themes as well, namely humanity's ability to persevere in the face of crisis.

Where to watch Parasyte: The Grey: Netflix

Cast: Jeon So-nee, Koo Kyo-hwan, Lee Jung-hyun

Related content: The 18 best horror series on Netflix

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Business Proposal (2022)

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Business Proposal is not your average rom-com series. Employing the fake dating gone wrong trope, Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong) steps in for her best friend Jin Young-seo (Seol In-ah) on a blind date, only to find out the suitor is the CEO of her company, Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop). Tae-moo is on the hunt for a wife so he can stop being harassed by his grandfather, but marrying a subordinate isn't going to go over well with the board if Ha-ri doesn't come clean. Business Proposal's webtoon origins are obvious in the comic-style animations that accent the show and imbue the story with a distinct charm.

Where to watch Business Proposal: Netflix

Cast: Ahn Hyo-seop, Kim Se-jeong, Kim Min-kyu, Seol In-ah

Related content: The 20 best romantic comedy movies on Netflix

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All of Us Are Dead (2022–present)

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Would anyone from your high school homeroom be part of your zombie apocalypse team? The kids at Hyosan High have to battle a zombie outbreak and still navigate teenage politics in the webtoon-adapted Netflix series All of Us Are Dead. Having to fight the undead with your bully is rough, but these teens are smart, putting their heads together to create ingenious ways to evade and destroy the living corpses coming after them.This fast-paced horror series does not shy away from the gore, nor does it shrug off effective storytelling in favor of cheap thrills.

Where to watch All of Us Are Dead: Netflix

Cast: Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Yoon Chan-young, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee Yoo-Mi

Related content: Prepare the fire hose: All of Us Are Dead has been renewed for season 2 at Netflix

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D.P. (2021–2023)

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D.P. (Deserter Pursuit) is a pulse-quickening action series that takes a hard look at South Korea’s mandatory military service. Private Ahn Joon-ho (Jung Hae-in) and Corporal Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo-hwan) are tasked with finding deserters but end up discovering a lot more about the bullying and hazing that causes soldiers to abandon their duties. Season 2 transitions to the perspective of senior officers, turning an eye towards corruption, LGBTQ discrimination, and how much responsibility the military bears for unsanctioned violence within its ranks. It's a tough but riveting watch that asks thorny questions with complicated answers.

Where to watch D.P.: Netflix

Cast: Jung Hae-in, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Suk-ku

Related content: BTS to serve military duty in South Korea amid debates over exemption

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Physical: 100 (2023–present)

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Physical: 100 is for everyone who loves the strategy and gameplay in Squid Game but could do with less death and lower stakes. It's a reality show in which 100 bodybuilders and gym rats compete in physical challenges of balance, agility, endurance, strategy, and willpower. Players are eliminated after every challenge until only one person remains and wins the grand prize of around $240,000. Two seasons of the highly bingable competition are ready to stream on Netflix, and it’s a favorite among K-pop idols, including Jung Kook from BTS.

Where to watch Physical: 100: Netflix

Related content: The 22 best reality shows on Netflix

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Twenty-Five Twenty-One (2022)

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Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a multi-generational story that starts in 2021 when Kim Min-chae (Choi Myung-bin) quits ballet and runs away to her grandmother's house. There, she discovers her mother Na Hee-do’s (Kim Tae-ri) diary from her teenage years as an aspiring fencer, detailing the first love that changed her life. Twenty-Five Twenty-One has a lot of earmarks of a fun high school/college romance series, but it packs a heavier emotional punch than you'd expect (consider keeping tissues nearby as Hee-do and Yi-Jin's story unfolds). Bonus: The series also features XO, Kitty star Choi Min-young.

Where to watch Twenty-Five Twenty-One: Netflix

Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ji-yeon, Choi Hyun-wook, Lee Joo-myung, Choi Min-young

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It's Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)

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It's Okay to Not Be Okay earned an International Emmy nomination for Best TV Movie or Miniseries, thanks in part to its moving portrait of healthcare workers. It centers on Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji), a children’s book writer with antisocial personality disorder, as she moves back to her hometown to pursue a relationship with Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun), an employee at a psych ward and the sole caretaker of his autistic older brother. In simple terms, it’s a story about vulnerability and healing old wounds, but what makes it stand out is the way it destigmatizes the reality of mental illness.

Where to watch It's Okay to Not Be Okay: Netflix

Cast: Kim Soo-hyun, Seo Yea-ji, Oh Jung-se, Park Gyu-young

Related content: Korean dramas: A beginner's guide

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Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

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If you love the idea of an ambitious city girl finding small-town romance when her metropolitan life implodes, step right up for Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. This adorable romance spent 16 weeks in Netflix's global top 10 when it debuted, following a dentist Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a) to the seaside village of Gongjin after her life in the city falls apart. There, she sets up a new practice in the community and picks up a romance with local fisherman and handyman Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) while also embedding herself with the eccentric citizens. This is a feel-good small-town transplant rom-com for when you need a lighthearted pick-me-up.

Where to watch Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha: Netflix

Cast: Shin Min-a, Kim Seon-ho, Lee Sang-yi

17of 20

Little Women (2022)

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If you’re here for a South Korean take on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, you may be surprised when you tune in. This Little Women is still about sisterhood, but in the form of a dark thriller. Things turn deadly when the three Oh girls become entangled in a case of a missing 70 billion won ($72.5 million) that pits them against the wealthiest family in Korea. The sisters have to band together to stay alive, find out what happened to the money, and attempt to build a better life for themselves. There are clear thematic similarities to the series' namesake novel, but it’s a wild reinvention of the material. This is the K-drama for people who thought the original Alcott story could’ve used a bit more murder and corporate intrigue.

Where to watch Little Women: Netflix

Cast: Kim Go-eun, Nam Ji-hyun, Park Ji-hu

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Mr. Sunshine (2018)

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Mr. Sunshine follows Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-hun), who was born a slave during the Joseon dynasty and escaped to America in 1871. He returns to Korea years later as a Marine Corps officer and falls in love with Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-ri), a nobleman's granddaughter. Their romance is challenged by Ae-shin's grandfather and gets further complicated when Eugene discovers Japan's plans to colonize Korea. Now, he must pick up arms to defend the country that previously looked down upon him. Mr. Sunshine is one of the most ambitious K-dramas Netflix has to offer, a complicated study of identity that also takes its military intrigue — and its romance — seriously.

Where to watch Mr. Sunshine: Netflix

Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung, Byun Yo-han

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Sweet Home (2020–present)

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Based on the Naver webtoon of the same name, Sweet Home is a fantasy-adventure series centering on Cha Hyun-su (Song Kang), an orphan who takes refuge in a dilapidated apartment complex after his entire family is killed in a car accident. When terrifying monsters begin terrorizing the city, Hyun-su and his outcast neighbors must come together to protect the only home that they have left. Sweet Home maintains the comic book feel of its source material but carves out its own live-action identity as a story about chosen families and overcoming loss.

Where to watch Sweet Home: Netflix

Cast: Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young, Park Gyu-young, Go Min-si, Kim Hee-jung

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A Time Called You (2023)

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A Time Called You marries romance and time travel when Han Jun-hee (Jeon Yeo-been) accidentally goes from 2023 to 1998 and wakes up as a different person, Min-ju. Jun-hee is trying to figure out how the phenomenon happened — and get back to her own body — when she meets Si-heon (Ahn Hyo-seop), who bears an uncanny resemblance to her deceased boyfriend. Given all the body-swapping and actors in dual roles, this is not a show you can watch in the background, but that’s a strong point in its favor. A Time Called You also concocts fun twists on a handful of genres, playing with romance, sci-fi, and even murder mystery.

Where to watch A Time Called You: Netflix

Cast: Ahn Hyo-seop, Jeon Yeo-been, Kang Hoon

Related content: The 23 best time travel movies of all time

The 20 best Korean shows on Netflix to watch now (2024)
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