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The Best Korean Dramas You Can Stream Right Now

Sae-Byeok in Squid Game.
(Image credit: Netflix)

While there are plenty of great shows to watch from the United States, from fantasy series like The Witcher, to the classic cop shows like NCIS, sometimes, I like to travel outside of my home country to explore some of the best shows that other locales have to offer. While there are plenty of awesome international shows to watch on Netflix, I decided to take a deeper look into South Korean media - and boy, do they have some amazing shows. 

From mega-hits like Squid Game, to smaller shows like Law School, there are so many great South Korean TV dramas that you can stream right now. If you’re looking for something new, check out these intriguing picks. 

An example of the gore in Kingdom.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Kingdom (Netflix) 

In this horror series on Netflix, Kingdom follows the journey of a crowned prince as he sets off on a crazy journey to investigate the source of a mysterious plague that is rippling through South Korea, causing people to turn into monsters similar to zombies. 

Look, as someone who grew up watching The Walking Dead, this show is the perfect combination of the gore of shows like that, mixed in with some exceptionally amazing set pieces, design, costumes, and so much more. The fact that this story is also set several hundreds of years ago makes it so much better and so entertaining, and the action scenes will keep you on your toes from beginning to end. 

Stream Kingdom on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Some of the main characters in Sky Castle.

(Image credit: JTBC)

Sky Castle (Viki) 

In this popular South Korean drama, Sky Castle follows the lives of four women who live in the luxurious Sky Castle neighborhood. Consistently, they try to make their husbands more successful, and raise their children like princes and princesses, all at the cost of not only their own happiness, but of their family’s as well. 

Watching this sort of reminded me of Desperate Housewives, except in South Korea. The drama will be enough to make you keep watching, and the cast all work together very well, creating memorable scenes that will resonate with you, or make you gasp at the television in shock.

Stream Sky Castle on Viki.

Vincenzo in Vincenzo.

(Image credit: tvN)

Vincenzo (Netflix) 

Vincenzo follows the story of Park Joo-hyung, who was adopted by an Italian family. Soon after, he joins the mafia, becomes a lawyer, and ends up becoming the leader’s right-hand man. 

While there are plenty of great gangster movies and television shows out there, there’s something about this television show that stands out amongst all the other series and films in this genre. . Not only does the lead, played by Song Joong-Ki, perform his role very well from the beginning, the action really captures my interest. It’s also such an interesting premise as well, with this South Korean kid getting adopted into an Italian family and then joining the Italian mafia? You can’t tell me that it doesn't at least peak your interest a bit. 

Stream Vincenzo on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Some of the main characters in Law School.

(Image credit: JTBC)

Law School (Netflix)

Moving onto another series, Law School follows the story of when a grim incident occurs at a prestigious university. Because of this, the law is put to the test by a law professor and his students, wanting to solve the case before they get accused of it, as well. 

If you were a fan of How To Get Away With Murder starring the talented Viola Davis, Law School is the perfect choice for you. It has a lot of the same dramatic moments, and really interesting characters throughout its episodes. Plus, the main star, Kim Myung-min, is amazing in his role as a prosecutor-turned-professor, and really helps to make his character's backstory especially intriguing.  

Stream Law School on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The two main characters in 100 Days, My Prince.

(Image credit: tvN)

100 Days, My Prince (Viki)

I told you, there’s something for everyone here, and 100 Days, My Prince is the romantic comedy you all need to watch. This tells the story of two noble people, Lee Yul and Yoon Yi-seo, who meet and end up falling in love, but while they are learning to love each other, there’s betrayal behind the scenes, and schemes coming from close family members. 

I know, this almost sounds like something out of Romeo and Juliet, and trust me, 100 Days, My Prince is actually a really entertaining show with so much love and a lot of great comedy. 

The love between Yul and Yi-seo really takes the cake, however, helping to turn this show into an exciting historical piece. There are plenty of twists and turns that will make anyone want to keep watching, so it’s certainly worth the time. 

Stream 100 Days, My Prince on Viki.

Two of the main stars of Stranger.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger (Netflix)

If you need a crime drama in your life, check out Stranger. Stranger follows a prosecutor and a police lieutenant who are looking to solve a murder, but as they dig deeper into the crime, they find that there are many more dark secrets out there and conspiracies that are at work to prevent the case from being properly investigated. 

What I like about Stranger the most is that its action sequences are some of the best ones I’ve seen in a South Korean show, and I’ve watched so many of them. They really took the time to choreograph amazing fight scenes, and it has interesting storylines, and so many twists and turns. But, another great part about this is the performances from the two leads, Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doona, who have some fantastic chemistry as a duo. 

Stream Stranger on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The two stars of It's Okay To Not Be Okay.

(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (Netflix)

Next up, we have the romantic drama, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. In this series, a caretaker at a psych ward meets a children’s book writer, and overtime, romance slowly starts to form between the two of them, as they begin to heal their wounds from the past and move forward with their lives. 

I’ll be honest, this show is one of those where if you want a good cry, this is the series to watch. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay has its dark moments, but above all else, it’s a show about trying to grow from trauma and what has happened in your life, and simply say, “it’s okay to not be okay,” even when you’re with the people you love. Sometimes, all you need is a loved one to help you get through your problems. 

Stream It’s Okay To Not Be Okay on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

One of the main characters of Navillera.

(Image credit: tvN)

In Navillera, we follow the story of Shim Deok-chul, a 70-year-old retired mailman who decides after years of debating and pushing it off that he is going to pursue his lifelong passion of learning ballet, which doesn’t please his family, and causes worlds of trouble. 

This, hands down, is one of my favorites on this list, for one specific reason - Deok-chul is one of those characters you will want to root for, and I rooted for him a lot. His commitment to wanting to pursue his dream and become a ballet dancer, despite his family and the world telling him no, is so inspiring that it made me tear up a little bit. It’s certainly a series that will make you smile or cry - but in a good way. 

Stream Navillera on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The two main stars of Crash Landing On You.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Crash Landing On You (Netflix)

Let’s get some forbidden love in here, shall we? Crash Landing on You is a South Korean drama that tells the story of a South Korean businesswoman who literally crash lands after accidentally paragliding into the North Korean Demilitarized Zone. There, she meets an army captain, who takes it upon himself to help her hide, but soon, feelings start to arise between the two of them, even though their countries are divided. 

With two seasons to watch, this show is such a fun time. Crash Landing On You definitely dives deep into drama territory with the way their love story is told and the ongoing dispute that is constantly between South and North Korea, but they don’t stray from telling funny stories as well, and diving head-first (pun intended) into romantic comedy territory, also. It’s a great show - and one that I think fans of romantic dramedies would love. 

Stream Crash Landing On You on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The main character of Sweet Home.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Sweet Home (Netflix) 

Did someone say “terrifying creatures”? Because that’s what the horror series Sweet Home can give you. This Netflix original series is about Cha Hyun-soo, who lives in an apartment building with many other residents when suddenly, monsters begin to attack and try to wipe out humanity. The building’s occupants shield themselves from within, trying to somehow stay alive, and find a way out of this hell.

Sweet Home is so much freaking fun. I binged all the episodes in a day, because it not only provides an excellent storyline, some really cool and scary-looking monsters, and great set pieces, but the relationships between the residents that slowly form over the episodes makes you want to root for them to get out and survive, despite everything else in the world wanting their lives to end. It’s a story about humanity in the worst of times. 

There are also some great supernatural moments as well, but I won’t get into too much detail - go watch it for yourself. 

Stream Sweet Home on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The two stars of Snowdrop.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Snowdrop (Disney+)

In another romantic drama, we take a look at Snowdrop. This South Korean series takes place in 1987, during a pivotal time for the countries of North and South Korea, following a North Korean spy who ends up falling in love with a university student, as tensions between the two countries are at an all time high. 

Snowdrop is a romance story that you’ve seen plenty of times before, a forbidden love taking place during a big historical event, like Titanic or even Casablanca, but Snowdrop does it in a way that’s still entertaining and adds the increased danger of the chances of uprisings that happen at the university at the same time. The main relationship between Lim Soo-ho and Eun Yeong-ro is also well-done, and paced well throughout the serious events of the show. While there has been some controversy regarding historical inaccuracy, according to Variety, for me, I've always just enjoyed the romance. 

Stream Snowdrop on Disney+. (opens in new tab)

Two of the characters in All Of Us Are Dead.

(Image credit: Netflix)

All Of Us Are Dead (Netflix)

Did somebody say zombies? Because that’s what All Of Us Are Dead is all about. In a high school in South Korea, several students are trapped inside when it becomes ground zero for a zombie apocalypse. Now, it’s up to them to somehow find a way out and not get eaten by all of their former classmates. 

In my personal opinion, All Of Us Are Dead is one of the best zombie shows out there right now, and deserved the hype that it got during its initial run on Netflix. It’s gritty, gory, and has a fantastic storyline from beginning to end. You’ll be screaming and jumping during this zombie series - and if you end up wanting to watch even more things like this, there are so many other great Korean horror films and TV shows out there for you to enjoy.  

Stream All Of Us Are Dead on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

One of the main characters of Tomorrow.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Tomorrow (Netflix)

If you’re looking for an interesting fantasy series, check out Tomorrow on Netflix. This Korean drama follows a young man who is down on his luck in life and having trouble finding a job, but soon after an accident, he ends up finding a job in death - by working for the literal grim reapers, and trying to prevent people from commiting suicide. 

I know, the premise itself sounds wacky as hell and very dark, but admittingly, I actually enjoyed this series a lot. I really liked its take on the afterlife and how it’s almost like a business rather than paradise, and the ways in which they create the fantasy aspects are very interesting. I also really loved the performances from the grim reapers themselves, Koo Ryeon (Kim Hee-Sun) and Lim Ryung Gu (Yoon Ji-on). They really made the series great and had some awesome chemistry.

Stream Tomorrow on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

One of the creatures in Hellbound.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Hellbound (Netflix)

Oh, did you want another fantasy series from Netflix? Let’s take a look at Hellbound. This South Korean drama series, which is actually originally based on a webtoon, is set in an alternate world where supernatural creatures suddenly appear out of nowhere, with their main mission being to condemn people to Hell. Now, it’s up to a group of survivors to, ya know, not get sent to Hell. 

Hellbound is another exceptional South Korean drama series, and it’s a shame that it was released on Netflix two months after Squid Game (which will get into later) as it got ignored in the hype for that. But Hellbound is a great fantasy drama, with compelling characters, some really sick special effects, and a truly terrifying world that will have you clicking through to the next episode until the end. 

Stream Hellbound on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Two of the main characters in Pachinko.

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Pachinko (Apple TV+)

While many of these choices have been based in a fantasy or horror world, let’s take a look at a more realistic drama, Pachinko. This Apple TV+ original, which is based on the novel of the same name, follows a South Korean family who wishes to get away from their painful life, so they leave their homeland in the hope of finding somewhere better as immigrants. 

In a world where immigration can be a hot-button topic, and even some actors have talked about their own immigration stories, Pachinko is the perfect series that really explains what immigration can be like across multiple generations of a family. While it is historical fiction, its episodes are based on real-life events and the difficulties of immigrating, and Pachinko is not afraid to talk about serious issues, such as stereotyping, discrimination and more.

Stream Pachinko on Apple TV+. (opens in new tab)

Two of the main characters in The Heirs.

(Image credit: SBS TV)

The Heirs (Viki)

In The Heirs, we follow a group of high school students, born into privilege and wealth, as they prepare to take on their family's business empires, showing their difficulties, personal problems, and the scandals they face on an everyday basis. 

If you were a fan of the CW show, Gossip Girl, or a fan of the Netflix original, Elite, this South Korean drama is perfect. As someone who is most certainly not a part of the wealthy lifestyle so many of these characters experience, it’s entertaining as all heck to see some of their scandals, as well as the moments where there is genuine growth in characters who have gone through some serious moments. The relationships are also fun to watch develop as well, creating a great dynamic between the pursuit of love and the duty of business. 

Stream The Heirs on Viki.

Two of the main characters in Twenty-Five Twenty-One.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Twenty-Five Twenty-One (Netflix)

Okay, let’s do something a little more romantic-dramedy and watch Twenty-Five Twenty-One. In this South Korean series, we follow two people who meet and become friends as they try to figure out their lives, and eventually, they fall in love at ages 25 and 21. Years later, their daughter finds their story in her mother’s diary, and tells it for us to hear. 

I won’t lie and say this series is groundbreaking. Twenty-Five Twenty-One is a romantic comedy with a bunch of cute storylines, cliché moments, and so much more that makes it a rom-com. What really makes it stand out among others, though, is the way in which the story is told, skipping back and forth between the 1990s and 2021, which adds a little bit more of a creative twist to it. 

Stream Twenty-Five Twenty-One on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The two main characters in The Legend of the Blue Sea.

(Image credit: SBS TV)

Legend of the Blue Sea (Hulu)

The fantasy series, Legend of the Blue Sea, focuses on the love story between Shim-Cheong, a mermaid and Heo Joon-jae, a witty con-artist, following their journey from strangers to lovers, showing everything in-between. 

When I first saw the premise of this show, I thought it was really just going to be another remake of The Little Mermaid, but oh boy was I wrong. Legend of the Blue Sea demonstrates a compelling and believable love story, from its origins to its end, mixed in with a journey into the past, showing that these two were always meant to be together regardless of what time period they were in. It’s honestly such a great love story and one more people should watch. 

Stream Legend of the Blue Sea on Hulu. (opens in new tab)

Some of the main characters in Chief of Staff.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Chief Of Staff (Netflix)

In this Netflix original series, Chief of Staff follows the story of politicians, and their aids who are trying to help them climb the political ladder, ending up in controversies, scandals, affairs and so much more. 

If you were into shows like House of Cards, this is the perfect way to continue that obsession. With a talented cast, a great story, and plenty of moments that will make your mouth drop in shock, Chief of Staff is a great political series that feels real and will entertain you even if you aren’t into politics. 

Stream Chief of Staff on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

The contestants in Squid Game.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Squid Game (Netflix)

Last but certainly not least, we take a look at Squid Game. This Netflix original series follows several contestants as they enter themselves into a game to win a cash prize to repay their debts. However, things take a deadly turn very quickly, leading many to question whether a life in poverty is better, because of risking their lives for this sum of money. 

Squid Game exploded on Netflix the moment it premiered, gaining hype off of social media and only growing in viewership since then. What makes it even better is that Season 2 has been confirmed, according to Variety, so it won’t be that long before we see the return of this awesome show. We can only wonder what Squid Game Season 2 is going to be about.

With characters that you’ll cry over losing, bloody terrifying children’s games with a murderous twist, and a story that’s genuinely suspenseful, Squid Game is one of the best South Korean shows on Netflix, and one of the best shows to binge on Netflix, overall.

Stream Squid Game on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Now you can see that there are so many awesome choices to pick from in whatever genre you prefer. If you end up watching one of these awesome shows, you better check the 2021 fall TV schedule and see if there might be another season coming out soon. God knows I hope Squid Game gets that Season 2, as well.