2021 was the year that saw many K-dramas win the hearts of viewers all over the world. We were all stuck at home, and streaming platforms like Netflix made the smart decision to flood the platform with K-drams, introducing the genre to a whole new audience. Whether it was Squid Game, Nevertheless or Vincenzo that won your heart, 2022 is set to be a year packed with more new dramas for you to binge on.
Here’s a look at K-dramas to look out for in the year ahead.
For K-drama fans who can’t get enough of Kingdom and Sweet Home, All Of Us Are Dead is likely to be right up your alley.
For those who are not in the know, the series is about a group of students who are trapped in a school amid a zombie virus outbreak, where they are forced to join hands and fight for survival. The show is based on a popular webtoon by Joo Dong-geun, and stars Yoon Chan-yeong, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo and many more.
After garnering lots of positive reviews, Netflix has just announced that the show will return for a second season. As part of the announcement, Netflix has released a video featuring some of the cast. “The students of Hyosan High School may have survived their first zombie outbreak, but the nightmare is far from over,” the announcement description reads.
The premiere date of the second season has yet to be released.
All of Us Are Dead is now on Netflix
Fans left drooling ravenously at the ending of Sweet Home will finally get their fill with this sequel to the hit horror-thriller released in 2020. In a recent announcement by Netflix, the drama series has just been renewed for not one but two more seasons!
Here, season one’s main cast members will be reuniting with director Lee Eung-bok to pick up where the story left off and continue the story of the survivors of the Green Home residency.
Heartthrobs Song Kang and Lee Jin-wook will return to lead the series as lonely high schooler Cha Hyun-soo and the mysterious Pyeon Sang-wook respectively. In addition, Lee Si-young resumes her role as firefighter Seo Yi-kyung, Go Min-si as Lee Eun-yoo and Park Gyu-young as Yoon Ji-soo.
Fans can also expect to see new faces added to the ensemble, including Yoo Oh-seong, Oh Jung-se, Kim Moo-yul and former boy band B1A4 member Jung Jin-young.
Sweet Home is now on Netflix
When a famous chef suddenly shares someone else’s emotions and breaks down into tears in front of a restaurant full of customers, he is driven to revisit his past and the mysterious disappearance of his sister. He then drops everything and finds himself returning back to his hometown. Unexpectedly, in the midst of it all, he also finds himself falling in love with a mysterious woman with a secret of her own.
Link: Eat, Love, Kill is now on Disney+
Based on the Spanish heist crime drama, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is now depicted in the same fictional universe as the original. Here, North Korea and South Korea have reached a unifying agreement to erase the border, and have also settled to create a single unified currency for the people to use. However, just when the people thought that the union between the two countries would benefit them financially, the rich only got richer, and the poor only got poorer.
The Professor played by Yoo Ji-tae, then approaches Tokyo played by Jun Jong-seo, with a plan to steal 4 trillion won from the Korea Unified Mint. After assembling a group of thieves to pull off the heist, chaos ensues as hostages are taken and a joint task force led by South Korean negotiation specialist Seon Woojin and former North Korean special agent Cha Moohyuk is formed to stop them.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area will air on Netflix from 24 June.
In a high-rise apartment building in South Korea, residents from diverse backgrounds are exposed to a new infectious disease that turns them into zombies. Starring Han Hyo-Joo who plays Yoon Sae-Bom as a member of a special police squad, and Park Hyung-Sik who plays Jung Yi-Hyunu, a detective, the two first met in high school where they ended up living in the same apartment together as a couple. However, because of the outbreak, the apartment was sealed off and the two worked for hand in hand, along with the other residents to fight off those who have turned into zombies and struggle to survive together over the next few weeks.
Happiness is now on Netflix
This fantasy action series tells the story of a group of grim reapers who perform the exact opposite of what conventional Grim Reapers (that we know) are supposed to do.
Instead of guiding souls to the afterlife, these grim reapers, ensure that the souls remain very much intact in their current lives. In this case, Choi Jun-Woong witnessed a man trying to end his life and decides to stop him. When this happened, he met grim reapers Koo Ryeon and Im Ryoog-Gu, who were said to belong to a crisis management team. Their main objective is to save suicidal people.
As the story unfolds, Cho Jun-Woong ends up in a coma and eventually becomes half-human and half-spirit, which led him to be part of the grim reapers as the newest member of the crisis management team.
Tomorrow is now on Netflix
Starring Bae Doona and Gong Yoo, the two lead a team of soldiers and scientists who undertake a space mission to an abandoned lunar base. When they crash land, the group embark on a new mission to retrieve a mysterious sample from an abandoned research station, while trying to survive.
The Silent Sea is now on Netflix
Starring Kang Daniel and Chae Soo-bin, Rookies Cops is a campus romance drama that follows the lives of a group of reckless freshmen at the Korean National Police Academy. Watch how they come together to pursue their dreams while learning what it takes to serve and protect the community as challenges loom ahead.
Rookie Cops is now on Disney+
A nostalgic drama about the days of youth, Twenty Five, Twenty One focuses on the lives of five youths who had to give up their dreams because of the 1998 financial crisis. Amid the struggles faced by these youths, a deep friendship begins to blossom between the two main characters, Na Hee-do (played by Kim Tae-ri) and Baek Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk).
Twenty Five, Twenty One will air on Netflix on Feb 12.
Touted as one of the most highly-anticipated romantic comedies in 2022, Forecasting Love and Weather takes place at the Korea Meteorological Administration. After a bad break-up, Jin Ha-kyung (Park Min-young), swears that she will never date a colleague ever again. However, her vow is soon broken when she meets newcomer Lee Si-woo (Song Kang).
Forecasting Love and Weather will air on Netflix on Feb 12.
This mystery-thriller stars Seo Kang-joon, Kim Ah-jung and Lee Si-young in a story that spans the past, present and future. A mysterious figure appears to complicate things, tying all three points in time together. From this, a question springs: Is this figure here to help or harm humanity?
Grid will air on Disney+ on Feb 16.
Thirty Nine is a slice-of-life drama rooted in reality and romance, with three high-school friends — who have been through thick and thin together — on the cusp of turning 40. Dermatologist Cha Mi-jo (Son Ye-jin), acting coach Jeong Chan-young (Jeon Mi-do) and cosmetic sales manager Jang Joo-hee (Kim Ji-hyun) must navigate their lives amid friendship and love, and prepare their farewells as life takes a depressing turn.
Thirty Nine will air on Netflix on Feb 16.
In the latest K-drama about the fierce and competitive world of home shopping, TV and movie veteran Kim Ha-neul stars as Woo Hyun, an exceedingly average and mundane home shopping host. Her stagnant working career causes her anxiety, especially when compared with the popular Ok-sun (Kim Sung-ryung), the highest paid celebrity host in the home shopping field.
Kill Heel will air on Viu on Feb 24.
Juvenile Justice features a charismatic judge Sim Eun-seok (Kim Hye-soo) who is newly appointed to a district with one of the highest juvenile delinquency rates. With a dislike for juvenile delinquents, she makes unusual decisions to existing judgements, while sending out the message that society is responsible for juveniles’ immoral and illicit acts.
Juvenile Justice will air on Netflix on Feb 25.
Pachinko — based on the novel by Korean-American writer Lee Min-jin — features Lee Min-ho in a historical drama that spans four generations of Korean immigrant families.
Told in Korean, Japanese and English, it begins with a forbidden love and crescendos into a saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America to tell a story of war and peace, love and loss, triumph and reckoning.
Pachinko will air on Apple TV+ on March 25.
Crazy Love marks the return of Kim Jae-wook after three years — and what better role to capture his likeness than No Go-jin, a perfect specimen of a human being, with exceptional intellect, good looks and a deep pocket. But not all is well as he loses his memory and receives a warning that he would soon be murdered. Lost, he has no one to turn to but his introverted and reclusive secretary Lee Shin-ah (Krystal Jung So-jung).
Crazy Love is expected to air in February.
A regular showman, Cha Cha-woong (Park Hae-jin) is no stranger to putting on a show for audiences. While he performs magic tricks to wow his audience, he also hides a strange talent of his: he can communicate with ghosts.
When a hot-blooded officer Go Seul-hae (Jin Ki-joo) approaches him for his assistance, he agrees. The two of them — plus guidance from supernatural sources — become an unstoppable force for criminals to contend with. But as justice is served, so too is romance between the two as they find themselves falling in love.
Showtime Begins! is expected to air in March on Viu.
Why must Oh Soo-jae (Seo Hyun-jin) face wrongful disgrace and demotion after working so hard to claw her way up?
After being discharged from the law firm, Soo-jae gains employment at a law school as she bides her time and tries to regain her previous glory. But she’s not alone in this struggle as a wrongfully imprisoned law student Gong Chan (Hwang In-youp) worms his way into her heart and becomes a key figure in her redemption arc.
Why Her is directed by Dr Romantic’s Park Soo-jin, so you can be certain that there will be romance afoot in this series.
Why Her is expected to air in March on Viu.
A judicial apprentice Kim Yo-han (Kang Ha-neul) follows his sense of justice and conducts an investigation into someone he believes to be a corrupt prosecutor. However, it’s not all smooth-sailing from there — he falls into a devious trap and must find a way out of his predicament.
Insider is expected to air in April.
After a medical dispute, Han Yi-han (So Ji-sub) has no choice but to switch professions from a medical professional to a lawyer specialising in medical litigation. He joins hands with Geum Seok-young (Im Soo-hyang) against those who abuse their wealth or standing, delivering justice for the wronged.
Dr Lawyer is expected to air in May.
While you can confidently expect some cafes to have strange customers, it is likely that none will have patrons quite as unique as those that frequent Minamdang. In this mystery-filled K-drama starring Oh Yeon-seo, Seo In-guk plays a retired profiler Nam Han-joon who visits the cafe, involving himself with the strange clients of Minamdang.
Minamdang: Case Note is expected to air in May.
A strange, fourth wall-breaking poetry exists in this K-drama starring Kim Young-dae and Lee Sung-kyung.
Almost like a behind-the-scenes look at the difficulties people within the entertainment industry face, Shooting Star follows the relationship between superstar Gong Tae-sung (Young-dae) and his public relations manager Oh Han-byul (Sung-kyung).
While the relationship between the two is the core of this K-drama, the series also covers the trials and tribulations of the staff working in the shadows of Tae-sung, making him shine. Shooting Star will likely give audiences a reality check — behind every superstar, there are multiple teams at work to ensure the show goes on.
Shooting Star is expected to air in June.
For K-drama fans with a penchant for cute romance stories without over-the-top magic or action scenes, Yumi’s Cells 2 could be the holy grail. As if the first wasn’t enough already, Yumi’s Cells 2 promises another dose of romance drama, injected straight into your veins.
While the premise of animated, adorably anthropomorphised cells remains present in this sequel, the story will pick up where the first season left off and develop on the juicy love triangle between the protagonist (Kim Go-eun), Yoo Ba-bi (Park Jin-young) and Ku Woong (Ahn Bo-hyun).
Yumi’s Cells 2 is expected to air in June.
Dong-ha (Jung Woo) finds his life falling apart, with bankruptcy and divorce on the horizon. In a stroke of luck, he discovers a car loaded with cash — but this comes with a twist.
Dong-ha’s family’s fate becomes intertwined with a drug cartel and its second-in-command Gwang-cheol (Park Hee-soon), all while detective Joo-hyun (Park Ji-yeon) investigates them.
A Model Family will air on Netflix.
While some might think of the masked vigilante movie by Christopher Nolan, this Knight is completely different. In the dystopian future of 2071 where the world suffers from ecological collapse, only one per cent of the human race remains and they struggle to survive in the uninhabitable landscape. Delivery driving has become a vital occupation with high skill requirements and the only means to success for refugees in the Korean Peninsula.
Based on the Delivery Knight webtoon, Knight 5-8 (Kim Woo-bin) fends off foes with legendary martial skills as he completes his missions and refugee Sa-wol (Kang You-seok) who desperately wishes to become a delivery driver.
Black Knight will air on Netflix.
Based on the wildly popular web novel and webtoon of the same name, Business Proposal is an office romance drama.
With perfect looks, smarts and a CEO position in the company, Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop) certainly seems a mismatch for the average employee-turned-blind-date Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong). As the two flounder between professional and personal, the drama gives us a stellar office romance to watch in 2022.
Business Proposal will air on Netflix.
It seems that the controversy surrounding Deserter Pursuit wasn’t sufficient — director Han Jun-hee and screenwriter Kim Bo-tong have returned with a sequel to the Netflix series that sparked a debate regarding the harshness of conscription in South Korea.
Deserter Pursuit 2 will air on Netflix.
From the mind of Extracurricular writer Gin Han-sai, Glitch is about Hong Ji-hyo (Jeon Yeo-bin) and her investigation into the whereabouts of her missing boyfriend. Finding assistance from a UFO club, she tackles mysteries and secrets along her path. Glitch is directed by Roh Deok and also features Nana (Heo Bo-ra) and Lee Dong-hwi (Lee Si-kook).
Glitch will air on Netflix.
Yeo Mi-ran (Kim Ok-bin), a woman who hates losing to men, and Nam Kang-ho (Teo Yoo), a man who can never trust a woman, flip their perspectives on life as they learn to accept the opposite sex. Emotions are bound to run high and sympathy is key in this story of bridging divides and mending mistrust.
Love to Hate You will air on Netflix.
The Korean adaptation of global hit La Casa de Papel, Money Heist: Korea — Joint Economic Area marries genius strategy with criminal activity as a group of highly-skilled thieves try their hand at the greatest heist in the Korean Peninsula. Be sure to catch this series as the gang encounters various problems and try their best to not be caught.
The drama stars Yoo Ji-tae (Professor), Kim Yun-jin (Seon Woo-jin), Park Hae-soo (Berlin), Jun Jong-seo (Tokyo) and Lee Won-jong (Moscow).
Money Heist: Korea — Joint Economic Area will air on Netflix.
While other dramas are based on webtoons and web novels, The Accidental Narco has roots in real-life events.
A run-of-the-mill entrepreneur at his wits’ end finds himself in a predicament and his only way out is in a dangerous government-organised covert operation to capture a drug lord. The Accidental Narco is directed by Yoon Jong-bin and includes many familiar faces, such as Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Joo Woo-jin and Yoo Yeon-seok. Additionally, Taiwanese actor Chang Chen will also be in this K-drama.
The Accidental Narco will air on Netflix.
This title says it all: Fabulous. This drama follows the very real passions of young aspirants in the fashion industry as they chase friendship, love and dreams, all while performing a delicate balancing act with their responsibilities.
The Fabulous will air on Netflix.
The popular webtoon Annarasumanara may be a mouthful to say, but this adaptation may just fill you up with magic.
The Sound of Magic follows Yoon Ah-yi (Choi Sung-eun), a girl overly matured for her age, and Rieul (Ji Chang-wook), an enigmatic magician who would rather become a kid again. The drama is also directed by Kim Sung-youn of Itaewon Class fame, with writing by Love in the Moonlight’s Kim Min-jeong. The drama will also feature Hwang In-youp as Ah-yi’s classmate Na Il-deung.
The Sound of Magic will air on Netflix.
In a surprising twist, grim reapers who used to escort the dead now wish to save lives. Choi Jun-woong (Rowoon), an individual plagued with perpetual unemployment, chances an encounter with grim reapers and finally finds contractual work. This afterlife fantasy drama follows his time with the Crisis Management Team as he assists the grim reapers with their missions.
Tomorrow will air on Netflix.
Elitism has been given a drama and its name is Remarriage and Desires. If you’ve ever wondered what a South Korean society where the pursuit of desire reigns supreme looks like, this satirical drama will answer that for you.
People try to utilise Rex — an exclusive matchmaking agency catering to the elite — to marry themselves into the upper echelons of society. Watch Seo Hye-seung (Kim Hee-seon), Lee Hyung-ju (Lee Hyun-wook) and Jin Yoo-hui (Jung Yoo-jin), as they explore a dystopian world of commercialised dating and marriage.
Remarriage and Desires will air on Netflix.
What happens when a social dating application becomes the platform for murder? In Somebody, the developer of the app must team up with her friends to investigate an enigmatic individual by the name of Yoon-oh (Kim Young-kwang).
In a story written by noteworthy thriller writer Han Ji-wan and directed by Jung Ji-woo, Somebody features new entries into the scene: Kang Hae-lim, Kim Yong-ji and Kim Su-yeon.
Somebody will air on Netflix.
Despite the modest name of this K-drama, Moving in fact has a rare action-hero element at the crux of the plot. In the drama, the main protagonists must hide their superpowers from the world as they face a crisis from the past — one that their parents have also fought and must continue fighting through the series.
Based on a webtoon of the same title, Moving stars Jo In-sung, Han Hyo-joo, Cha Tae-hyun and Ryu Seung-ryong.
Moving will air on Disney+.
Fans of Lawless Lawyer may have a sense of deja vu with this K-drama as Lee Joon-gi once again dons the mantle of a lawyer. There are some differences, however.
Instead of a rough childhood amid a lawless neighbourhood, Kim Hee-woo (Joon-gi) is your average underachieving student. Through sheer hard work and determination, he manages to turn his life around as he pursues law and becomes a prosecutor.
Unfortunately, he is cut down before his prime while attempting to take down a corrupt politician, but surprisingly wakes up the next day to find himself back in the past, a student once more.
Again My Life will air on Viu.
Big Mouse approaches the stand from a different perspective.
When an average lawyer finds himself entangled in a murder case that runs miles deep, he is forced to pick up the gift of the gab as he polishes his skills as a liar. While he practices perjury taking on the vices surrounding the murder case, Park Chang-ho (Lee Jong-suk) will sustain audiences with his acting skills alongside Ko Mi-ho (Im Yoon-ah).
Actress Seo Ye-ji pulled out of the main cast for Island after allegations of abuse and the gap she left behind was filled by Lee Da-hee.
In Island, Won Mi-ho (Da-hee), Ban (Kim Nam-gil) and Priest John (Cha Eun-woo) face off against the supernatural and struggle to survive on the Island.
Hopefully, this monster-filled horror-drama will have more spice than just the celebrity drama surrounding it.
Written by Dr Romantic’s Kang Eun-kyung and starring Park Seo-jun, Han So-hee and Wi Ha-jun, this stellar series is one not to be missed if you want to follow your favourite celebrities and their next steps in K-drama showbiz.
Directed by Vincenzo’s Kim Hee-won, Little Women tells of three sisters, Oh In-joo (Kim Go-eun), In-kyung (Nam Ji-hyun) and In-hye (Park Ji-hoo) and their dealings with a chaebol. As their lives become increasingly connected with the chaebol in question, their involvement becomes key in developing their understanding of the value of money and their lives.
Three couples on Jeju Island live their life to their fullest — all while giving off positive vibes and wholesome, heartwarming experiences for us all.
This simple, story-driven K-drama Our Blues will certainly cater to a wide audience with their representation of couples from many walks of life. As an added bonus, real-life couple Shin Min-ah and Kim Woo-bin will also be in this drama.
This series is a continuation of the first season and will feature the same actors Lee Dong-wook and Kim Bum.
However, Jo Bo-ah will not be reprising her role, and will instead make way for The Penthouse’s Kim So-yeon, who will be the main female lead this time around. With action, plot and romance intertwined in this series, it’s a good thing a third instalment is in the works.
Ji Chang-wook certainly isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to K-drama genres. Not only does he appear in the fictional fantasy drama The Sound of Magic, he also plays Yoon Gye-ree in Tell Me Your Wish, a K-drama taking place in a hospice ward.
Gye-ree will be part of the heart-warming stories surrounding patients and volunteers within the ward, alongside Seo Yeong-joo (played by Choi Soo-young) and Kang Tae-shik (Sung Dong-il).
South Korea is famous for their chaebols, or family-owned business conglomerates.
This K-drama follows the ultimate demise of a loyal and hardworking individual within a chaebol, who was framed for embezzlement and slaughtered in cold blood by the same family he served.
The now-dead Yoon Hyun-woo (Song Joong-ki) finds himself reincarnated into the body of the family’s youngest son, where he plans to exact revenge and take over the family.
In her younger days, Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo) yearned to become an architect but her ambitions were cut short when she was forced to drop out of school due to egregious bullying. Her dreams dashed and her credentials insufficient, she becomes a teacher instead.
Yet, this choice wasn’t one of resignation as she becomes the teacher of her antagonists’ children and slowly metes out punishment.
This article was first published in AsiaOne.