Lee jung-jae in <i>Squid Game</i>; Lee You-mi in <i>Mr. Plankton</i>; Song Kang in <i>Sweet Home</i> Credit - Courtesy of Netflix
Dust off your tracksuits, Squid Game fans: 2024 is your year.
After more than three years, Netflix’s most watched non-English show of all time is scheduled to return with a new season—along with a bevy of other Korean dramas that are increasingly becoming global sensations.
Last year was already a strong one for Korean dramas, particularly after Netflix served up The Glory, a haunting limited series about revenge and justice that became one of the most popular non-English shows on the platform, with over 622 million hours viewed by the first half of 2023.
South Korean content continues to successfully hurdle the language barrier, with K-dramas consistently proving their stateside appeal. And in keeping with Netflix’s strategy of cashing in on this consistent global demand, 2024 has already brought binge-worthy new offerings. The Bequeathed, a thriller created by the minds behind the 2016 hit zombie film Train to Busan, dropped in January, as did the sunny yet thought-provoking medical rom-com Doctor Slump.
But the year has just begun, and there are plenty of other offerings from South Korea in the pipeline—including exciting new seasons for established fan-favorites as well as premieres for original series.
Here are the K-dramas to look forward to on Netflix in 2024:
A Killer Paradox
Adapted from Kkomabi’s webtoon, A Killer Paradox tells the story of everyday man Lee Tang (played by Choi Woo-shik of Parasite and Our Beloved Summer fame) who inadvertently kills a person. Just as Lee is about to turn himself in, he discovers that the man he’d killed was a serial killer. This prompts a 180-degree change in Lee’s character, as he decides to commit more murders, while being pursued by a tenacious police detective (played by Son Suk-ku). The show is set to hit Netflix on Feb. 9.
The 8 Show
Netflix breathes life into Naver webtoons once again, after the success of All of Us Are Dead and Sweet Home. The 8 Show takes from Money Game and Pie Game—webtoons created by Bae Jin-soo—and shares the spirit of Squid Game. Eight individuals are trapped in an eight-story building, and they can win big money by taking part in a dangerous game show.
The 8 Show is the first Netflix series project for director Han Jae-rim, who is known for his South Korean box-office films The Face Reader, The King, and Emergency Declaration. It is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2024.
Sweet Home (Season 3)
Fans of Korean matinee idol Song Kang can rejoice as a third season of the monster series is scheduled for a Netflix release in the summer of 2024. Sweet Home’s first season was one of the platform’s global favorites, telling the story of Song’s Cha Hyun-su and his fellow entrapped Green Home residents dealing with an apocalypse that threatens to turn humans into bizarre monsters. The second season ventures out into the wider world, raising questions about the humanity of the monstrous creatures, though critics felt it failed to deliver as tight a narrative as Season 1, with Hyun-su mostly MIA. But the third season offers promise, at the very least in following up on the shocking ending reveal of the second season.
Gyeongseong Creature (Season 2)
Another monster series is also making a return in 2024 after receiving a rare two-season order from South Korean TV. Gyeongseong Creature, which premiered in late 2023, brings back Park Seo-jun (The Marvels) and Han So-hee (The World of the Married and Jung Kook’s “Seven” music video). The new season jumps forward in time from 1945—during Japan’s occupation of Korea—to 2024. Park now plays Ho-jae, a man that looks strikingly similar to the 1945 pawnshop owner he played in Season 1, Jang Tae-sang. Han, on the other hand, reprises her role as Yoon Chae-ok, having survived the events seven decades ago after [spoiler alert] the parasite that once made her mother a monster has been transferred into her body.
The new season is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2024.
Actor Woo Do-hwan is everywhere on Netflix lately—he’s been in Bloodhounds, The King: Eternal Monarch, and My Country: The New Age. By the end of the year, Woo will also appear in the new romantic comedy series Mr. Plankton, for which he will partner up with Squid Game’s Lee You-mi—the first Asian actor to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. The upcoming series revolves around Hae-jo (Woo), a drifter in life who embarks on a journey to find his long-lost father. Jae-mi (Lee), an unhappy bride-to-be, ditches her wedding at the last minute to join Hae-jo in his quest.
This mystery series is adapted from the celebrated Korean novel of the same name by author Kim Ryeo-ryeong. In a country where divorce has become increasingly common, The Trunk explores the idea of short-term marriages, a matchmaking company’s premium service that allows clients to be contractually married to a new spouse within a fixed term. In-ji (played by Another Miss Oh’s Seo Hyun-jin), a matchmaker who works for that company, and Jeong-won (Train to Busan’s Gong Yoo), a music producer, find themselves in one such marriage. But as their contract nears its end, the couple’s life takes an unexpected turn when they discover a washed-up trunk in a lake. The show will be released in the year’s fourth quarter.
Squid Game (Season 2)
Following the runaway success of its first season in 2021, fans have been eagerly awaiting a second season of Emmy-winning director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s critically-acclaimed survival drama. At the start of February, Netflix teased viewers with a 17-second clip which picks up right where the first season left off: with a red-haired Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun a.k.a Player 456, abandoning his plans to leave South Korea for the U.S. in an apparent decision to seek vengeance. "You're going to regret the choice you made," a voice on the phone tells Gi-hun, and he answers, ominously: "I will find you. No matter what it takes."
Though several characters were [spoiler alert] offed in the first season, fresh faces will join the sequel, while Lee will reprise his role—as will Lee Byung-Hun as the Frontman, Wi Ha-joon as the officer Hwang Jun-ho, and Gong Yoo as the Recruiter. When exactly in 2024 the new episodes will come out has yet to be announced.
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