From Crash Landing On You to period zombie show Kingdom and thriller Parasite, Korean dramas and films have garnered legions of fans around the world.
And Netflix knows just that, announcing its plans to invest nearly US$500 million on Korean films and series in 2021 during media sharing session “See What’s Next Korea” yesterday. Along with various Korean show creators, it also shed light on its upcoming projects and dramas on the cards for the year.
Here’s what sparked out interest:
After season two ended with a parting shot of actress Gianna Jun, the smash hit K-zombie series has everyone eagerly (and us) waiting for season three to be out. But before that’s due, Netflix announced a spin-off episode back in November 2020 with a teaser, revealing that Gianna Jun plays the lead character of the special episode, Kingdom: Ashin of the North.
And who is Ashin really, and why is this coming before the third season? ? Writer Kim Eun-hee shared, “Ashin is one of the main characters of the Kingdom series. I was trying to tell a story of Ashin when I realised I had to touch on the important mystery of the resurrection plant. But I thought it would be more apt to capture that in a spin-off rather than writing that in the regular seasons to make it more interesting.”
“As you can tell from the garments, she’s from the Northern tribe, north of the Ablok River, she’s a descendant of the traditional tribe there. She’s the lead and the clue to the resurrection plant.”
“In my opinion, Kingdom season 1 laid the ground for the Kingdom universe, whereas the special episode is a building block that has been placed on that foundation, ” added director Kim Seong-hun.
Netflix will also be launching its first original Korean films:
In 50 Shades-style, Moral Sense (working title) is based on the webtoon of the same name by manhwa artist Winter, and follows a seemingly clean-cut office worker with a secret penchant for BDSM. That is, until his female co-worker unintentionally opens his mail and finds a leash. With his secret out, the two develop a male-sub and female-dominant relationship. The film will be directed by veteran romance director Park Hyun-jin (of Like for Likes, pictured above)
A man wakes up in a motel room with his memory wiped out. He has no recollection of who he is, but hears a voice in his ear that calls him ‘Carter.’ Following the voice’s orders, Carter goes on an exhilarating mission to save a kidnapped girl. This one-scene, one-cut action film is directed by Jung Byung-gil, best known for the action works, like stuntmen documentary Action Boys and The Villainess, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.
Apart from Kingdom: Ashin of the North, you can look forward to other Netflix originals to add to your binge-watch list.
There’s The Silent Sea, starring heavyweights Bae Doo-na, Gong Yoo, and Lee Joon. The sci-fi horror thriller shines the spotlight on members of a special team sent to an abandoned research facility on the moon to retrieve mysterious samples. It’s set on a future earth that has undergone desertification, is deforested and which faces a shortage of food and water.
But as Bae Doo-na, who was invited to the event, quipped, “Other projects may have stories about teams who leave for space because there’s a lack of food and water, but The Silent Sea has something that goes beyond that.”
For those into stories of the supernatural, tune in to Hellbound.
Starring Yoo Ah-in, Park Jung-min, Kim Hyun-joo and Won Jin-ah this upcoming release shares the experiences of people who are condemned to hell after their unexpected encounters with angels of death.
Look forward to watching the depiction of supernatural events, the rise of a new religious group that interprets the events as the will of the divine, and people trying to survive in the chaotic society.
Short for ‘Desert Pursuit”, D.P. is based on the webtoon by Kim Bo-tong and tells the story of army private Joon-ho who suddenly ends up becoming a member of the “Deserter Pursuit” unit, which tracks down military deserters and encounters the realities of confused young soldiers.
The series is directed by Han Jun-hee and stars Jung Hae-in, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Sung-kyun, and Son Seok-koo.
While we wait for Kingdom Season 3 and Ashin of the North, here’s another K-zombie series to whet your appetite for the undead.
In All of Us Are Dead, a group of students trapped in a high school find themselves in dire situations as they seek to be rescued from a zombie invasion of their school. Based on the webtoon named “Now at our School” by Joo DongKeun, you can expect to see actors Yoon Chan-yeong, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, and Yoo In-soo in this heart-pumping horror show.
Are you Team Hye-yeong or Team Sun-oh?
Hit series Love Alarm follows the story of Jo-jo, a highschool student who uses a mobile app that can tell if someone who likes her is within a 10-meter radius. As romance dramas would go, she gets caught between two guys, Hye-yeong, and Sun-oh, with season one ending in a cliffhanger.
The love triangle continues and will end in season two, and is slated to be released in March.
This article was first published in Singapore Women’s Weekly.