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Buoyed by the smash success of Squid Game, Hellhound and half a dozen other shows, Netflix is predictably doubling down on Korean content in 2022. The streamer said Wednesday that it will release 25 Korean films and series this year, its largest annual slate from the country to date.
In 2021, Netflix invested over half a billion dollars in Korean content, and this year’s slate will easily surpass that spending figure, although the company has not released a precise estimate.
The streaming giant did share a rash of numbers to explain its extreme bullishness on K-content. Netflix said global viewing hours for its Korean shows — it produced and released a total of 15 Korean originals last year — grew six-fold compared to 2019. Squid Game, of course, became Netflix’s most watched series ever, with 95 percent of its viewership coming from outside Korea. Crucially for the streamer’s strategy, the company noted that “many of these viewers went on to explore other Korean content.”
Hits that followed Squid Game’s lead included the dark fantasy series Hellbound, which ranked No. 1 on Netflix’s Top 10 in 34 countries. Sci-fi mystery The Silent Sea also made it to the number one spot on the weekly Top 10 lists for non-English content.
“We are excited to continue collaborating with Korean storytellers to bring the K-wave to new heights,” said Don Kang, Netflix’s vp content for Korea.
Some of the highlights of Netflix’s coming Korean slate include All of Us Are Dead, in which zombies invade a high school; Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, an adaptation of the hit Spanish genre series; and action film Seoul Vibe, about the adventures of a special-ops team set against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
Netflix has carved out a commanding lead as the go-to global platform for Korean content fans — the service has launched more than 130 Korean titles to date — but competition from international rivals is ramping up. Disney+ unveiled a slate of seven Korean originals when it went live in South Korea and other Asian territories last fall, and Warner Media’s HBO Max will undoubtedly invest heavily in the category when it eventually launches in East Asia sometime this year.
See below for Netflix’s full 2022 Korean slate.
All of Us Are Dead
Directed by: Lee JQ, Kim Nam-su
Writer: Chun Sung-il
Launch date: Jan 28th
Starring: Yoon Chan-yeong, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-mi, Lim Jae-hyeok
Overview: Netflix Series All of Us Are Dead is a story about students trapped in a school amid a zombie virus outbreak who later join hands to fight for survival. All of Us Are Dead is based on a popular webtoon by Webtoon creator Joo Dong-geun, touted as a ‘Korean-style zombie graphic novel’ with its wild imagination, gripping storyline, and meticulous details. The horrific visuals of students infected by the mysterious zombie virus and stunning action set in different parts of the school are a must-watch. The series highlights a number of rising stars including Yoon Chan-yeong, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-mi and Lim Jae-hyeok.
Directed by: Hong Jong-chan
Writer: Kim Min-suk
Starring: Kim Hye-soo, Kim Moo-yeol, Lee Sung-min, Lee Jung-Eun
Overview: Juvenile Justice deals with a judge who dislikes juvenile delinquents, later realizing the troubles children face in society and how society is circumventing them to become better people. Kim Hye-soo(Hyena, Signal) plays Sim Eun-seok, the charismatic judge newly appointed to a district with the highest juvenile delinquency and makes unorthodox decisions to existing judgments. She later tries to send a message that society is also responsible for juveniles’ immoral and illicit acts.
Twenty Five, Twenty One
Directed by: Jung Jeehyun Writer: Kwon Doe-un Launch date: February 12th Episodes: 16 episodes (Every Sat & Sun 2 episodes per week) Starring: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Ji Yeon, Choi Hyun Wook, Lee Ju Myung
Overview: Twenty Five, Twenty One is a drama of youths who lost their dream to the zeitgeist of 1998, a drama of their dilemma and growth. They called out each other’s names for the first time when they were twenty-two and eighteen. Now they’ve each become twenty-five and twenty-one. The fine line between a heart-fluttering first love and a heart-warming friendship gives them butterflies. Their sparkling love and growth, as well as the chemistry and hardships among the five friends, remind us of our intense yet beautiful youth.
Forecasting Love and Weather
Directed by: Cha Young Hun
Writer: Sun Young Launch date: February 12th
Episodes: 16 episodes (Every Sat & Sun 2 episodes per week)
Starring: Park Min Young, Song Kang, Yoon Bak, Yura
Overview: Forecasting Love and Weather is a cheerful romance drama of people at the Korea Meteorological Administration who break, fall and get back on their feet every day. Forecasting Love and Weather is a romantic comedy series ofpeople at the Korea Meteorological Administration who break, fall and get back on their feet every day. The story narrates Jin Ha-kyung, who decides never to commit to an office romance after a brutal break-up, again falling into a relationship with a newcomer in the team Lee Si-woo who is different but attractive in his own way. With a star-studded cast of Park Min Young and Song Kang, this is one of the most anticipated Romantic Comedies in the first half of 2022.
Directed by: Kim Sang-ho
Writer: Yu Young-a
Launch date: February 16th
Episodes: 12 episodes (Every Sat & Sun 2 episodes per week)
Starring: Son Ye-jin, Jeon Mi-do, Kim Ji-hyun
Overview: Thirty Nine is a down-to-earth life and romance drama that touches deep into the friendship, love and life of three friends who are about to turn forty. A coincidence in their high school years brought the three of them together to become BFFs. Cha Mi-jo (played by Son Ye-jin) Jeong Chan-young (played by Jeon Mi-do) and Jang Joo-hee (played by Kim Ji-hyun) are very close friends who have been through both the good and the worst times together. Mi-jo now works as a Dermatologist, Chan-young as an acting coach and Joo-hee as a cosmetics sales manager. One fine day, when they are all 39, life takes a turn for the worse and they have to get ready for goodbye.
Directed by: Kim Tae-Youn, Sung Chi-Wook
Writer: Park Rhan, Park Ja-kyung, Kim You-jin
Episodes: 16 episodes (Every 2 episodes per week)
Starring: Kim Hee-seon, Rowoon, Lee Soo-hyuk
Overview: The grim reapers who used to escort the dead now save those who want to die. An afterlife fantasy drama, Tomorrow depicts how a long-time unemployed Choi Jun-woong accidentally bumps into grim reapers on a special mission and becomes a contract worker at their Crisis Management Team to help them out on their mission.
Directed by: Park Seon Ho
Writer: Han Sul Hee
Episodes: 12 episodes (Every 2 episode per week)
Starring: Ahn Hyo-Seop, Kim Se Jeong, Seol In A, Kim Min Gue, Lee Duck Hwa
Overview: An office romance drama, Business Proposal, is based on a globally famous web novel and webtoon of the same name with a total 320 million views. An office romance of a perfect CEO who’s got both the looks and the brains and an average employee who becomes his blind date will certainly keep you away from quitting your job! An average employee Shin Ha-ri (played by Kim Se Jeong) goes on a blind date in her friend’s stead as a sassy girl, only to find her blind date to be the CEO of her company, Kang Tae-moo (played by Ahn Hyo-Seop). After the two run into each other on their blind date, they each struggle in their own way at the office as the CEO and the employee, which can sometimes be sweet, thrilling and even tense.
The Sound of Magic
Directed by: Kim Sung-youn
Writer: Kim Min Jeong
Starring: Ji Chang-wook, Choi Sung-eun, Hwang In-youp
Overview: The Sound of Magic, based on the popular webtoon Annarasumanara, is a touching drama about Yoon Ah-yi, a girl who had to grow up too fast, and Rieul, a mysterious magician who — although grown up — wants to remain as a kid. Ji Chang-wook plays Rieul, a mysterious magician who lives in an abandoned amusement park, Choi Sung-eun plays the role of Yoon Ah-yi and Hwang In-youp will play Yoon Ah-yi’s classmate Na Il-deung.The Sound of Magic will be directed by Kim Sung-youn whose impeccable storytelling skills were shown in the hit series, Itaewon Clas. He teams up again with writer Kim Min Jeong, who worked with him on Love in the Moonlight.
Remarriage and Desires
Directed by: Kim Jung-Min
Writer: Lee Geun-Young
Starring: Kim Hee-Seon, Lee Hyun-Wook, Jung Eugene, Park Hoon, Cha Ji-Yeon
Overview: Remarriage & Desires is a satire of Korean society governed by desire. Set at the exclusive matchmaking agency Rex catering to the top echelons of society, ambitious souls hope to upgrade their status by marrying or remarrying into the ranks of the elite. They aspire to nab someone from the “Black” tier, the highest group consisting of the top 0.001 percent of the population. With a star-studded cast of Kim Hee-Seon, Lee Hyun-Wook, and Jung Eungene, Remarriage and Desires shrewdly portrays the commercialized dating/marriage business and society’s perception in which we live.
A Model Family
Directed by: Kim Jin-woo
Launch date: Lee Jae-gon
Starring: Jung Woo, Park Hee-soon, Yoon Jin-seo, Park Ji-yeon
Overview: A Model Family is a story about a man on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce stumbling upon a car loaded with cash. The incident has him crossing paths with the second-in-command of a drug organization. Jung Woo, Park Hee-soon, Yoon Jin-seo and Park Ji-yeon lead this thrilling illustration of an ordinary family coincidently putting hands on illegal drug money. The scene-stealing synergy between acclaimed actors Jung Woo – who plays the man discovering the cash – and Park Hee-soon – who plays the second-in-command of Drug Cartel – is a must-watch ready to captivate the audience.
Directed by: Roh Deok
Writer: Gin Han-sai Producer: Yoon Shin-ae
Starring: Jeon Yeo-been, NANA
Overview: Glitch tells the story of Hong Jihyo, who attempts to track down her missing boyfriend with the help of members of a UFO club. In the process, she comes face to face with a mysterious secret. Writer Gin Han-sai who enthralled audiences and critics with the much-lauded Netflix series Extracurricular. The series will be directed by Roh Deok, known for her genre-crossing agility, and Jeon Yeo-been plays the lead role of Hong Jihyo, and NANA plays Bora.
The Accidental Narco (WT)
Directed by: Yoon Jong-bin
Writer: Yoon Jong-bin, Kwon Sung-Hui
Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin, Yoo Yeon-seok, Chang Chen
Overview: Based on real-life events, the story is about an ordinary entrepreneur who has no choice but to risk his life in joining the secret mission of government agents to capture a Korean drug lord operating in The Accidental Narco. The Accidental Narco marks Director Yoon Jong-bin’s first foray into series and first collaboration with Netflix. A star-studded cast including Ha Jung-woo, Hwang Jung-min, Park Hae-soo, Jo Woo-jin and Yoo Yeson-seok is on deck, along with mounting anticipation as The Accidental Narco is the first collaboration between Ha Jung-woo and Hwang Jung-min.
Directed by: Kim Jeong-hyeon
Writer: Kim Ji-hee, Im Jin-sun
Starring: Chae Soo-bin, Choi Min-ho
Overview: The Fabulous is a highly realistic romance that explores the dreams, love, and friendship of young people who devote their lives to working in the fashion industry, where fashion often means passion.
Love to Hate You
Directed by: Kim Jeong-kwon
Writer: Choi Soo-young
Starring: Kim Ok-vin, Yoo Teo, Kim Ji-hun, Go Won-hee
Overview: Love to Hate You is about the war-like relationship between a woman who hates losing to men and a man frantically suspicious of women who later discover life remedies behind their opposite characteristics. Starring Kim Ok-bin and Teo Yoo, Love to Hate You depicts the love and emotional sympathy that triumphs over the broader mistrust between the opposite sex.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area
Directed by: Kim Hong-sun
Writer: Ryu Yong-Jae, Kim Hwan-Chae, Choe Sung-Jun
Starring: Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Yunjin, Park Hae-soo, Jun Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong, Park Myung-hoon, Kim Seung-o, Kim Ji-hun, Jang Yoon-ju, Lee Joobeen, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Ji-hoon,, Lee Kyu-ho
Overview: Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area narrates a genius strategist and his talented crew – composed of top-class thieves – attempting to pull off an unprecedented heist in the Korean Peninsula. The story portrays unexpected twists and turns as the crew stage a hostage while facing inexplicable challenges. All eyes are focused on the background and definition behind the title Joint Economic Area.
Directed by: Jung Ji-woo
Writer: Jung Ji-woo, Han Ji-wan
Starring: Kim Young-kwang, Kang Hae-lim, Kim Yong-ji, Kim Su-yeon
Overview: A murder case revolves around the social dating app – Somebody, triggering a developer of the app, and her friends to entangle in inexplicable issues surrounding a mysterious figure named Yoon-oh. Prominent director Jung Ji-woo spearheads the production – marking his first foray into series and collaboration with Netflix – along with writer Han Ji-wan renown for his ability to write excellent thriller genre scripts. Star Kim Young-kwang leads the cast with a group of fresh new names – Kang Hae-lim, Kim Yong-ji and Kim Su-yeon.
Directed by: Cho Ui-seok
Writer: Cho Ui-seok Starring: Kim woo-bin, Esom, Kang you-seok etc
Overview: Starring Kim woo-bin, Black Knight illustrates an air polluted world in 2071, where people depend on respirator masks to breathe. Only one percent of the human race has survived, and a strict social stratification has been established in the deserted lands of the Korean Peninsula. Delivery drivers play a crucial role within this system, and for refugees, becoming a delivery driver is their only hope for survival. Amid desolation, Black Knight tells the story of a legendary delivery driver 5-8 with exceptional battle skills and refugee Sawol who dreams of following in his footsteps.
Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain
Directed by: Kim Joo-hyung, Go Min-seok
Starring: The Celeb Five (Kim Shin-young, Song Eun-i, Shin Bong-seon, An Young-mi)
Overview: Celeb Five on Netflix? A fake documentary Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain takes a peek into how Celeb Five (Kim Shin-young, Song Eun-yi, Shin Bong-sun, Ahn Young-mi) goes on marathons of ideation meetings to plan an amazing stage after being offered a solo show on Netflix. Their behind-the-stage work, more ingenious and hilarious than the on-stage show itself, provides incessant laughter and fun. Endless gut-busting stories, all-of-a-sudden pretend play, skits made on-the-fly and all the improvs… They’re definitely showing all they’ve got! This hilarious show is produced by Company SangSang, known for its great synergy with Netflix on shows like Busted, Twogether and New World, and co-directed by Celeb Five and Director Kim Joo-hyoung, praised for having laid the groundwork for Korean standing comedies with Park Na-rae: Glamour Warning and Lee Su-geun: The Sense Coach
Love and Leashes
Directed by: Park Hyun-jin
Writer: Park Hyeon-jin, Lee Da-hye
Launch date: Feb 11
Starring: Seo Hyun, Lee Jun-Young, EL
Overview: Love and Leashes is a film about a different kind of romance between a man with a unique taste and a woman who stumbles upon his secret. Seo Hyun, who recently played a shapeshifting swindler in Private Lives, will star in her first film, Love and Leashes. Jung Ji-woo, played by Seo Hyun in the film, is a woman who leads a racy romance by engaging in a “special” relationship with her co-worker after she accidentally learns about his secret peculiarities. Performing outstandingly across an array of genres like in the musical Swag Age: Shout, Chosun!, the drama Please Don’t Date Him, Imitation, rising star Lee Jun-young will play the role of Jung Ji-hoo, a man with unusual tastes. Lee Jun-young will add vibrancy and excitement in the role as his character’s charm and figure, adored by his female co-workers, hide his secret and unique taste.
Yaksha: Ruthless Operations
Directed by: Na Hyun
Writer: An Sang-hoon, Na Hyun
Starring: Sul Kyung-gu, Park Hae-soo, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Yang Dong-keun, EL, Song Jae-lim, Park Jin-young
Overview: A breathtaking spy action film Yaksha: Ruthless Operations unfolds as a merciless man known as “Yaksha” crosses paths with a prosecutor on a special inspection mission in Shenyang, a city in China notorious for espionage. Director Na Hyun makes his long-awaited comeback after directing Prison, which has swept audiences off their feet with stunning action scenes and a tightly wound plot, and adapting Inseparable Bros into a delicate and heartwarming story. Sul Kyung-gu plays the callous head of the overseas espionage team, also known as the man-eating Yaksha, who accomplishes his goals by hook or by crook. Park Hae-soo, a global star from Squid Game, plays the role of Ji-hoon, a prosecutor demoted to Shenyang for playing it by the book.
Directed by: Jung Byung-gil
Writer: Jung Byung-gil, Jung Byeong-sik Starring: Joo Won
Overview: Carter is a new original film about an agent suffering from memory loss who is thrown into the middle of a mysterious mission. At the helm of the series is director Jung Byung-gil, whose skilled hands have produced many unique action films. Joo Won, who played powerful roles in Good doctor, Yong-pal, transforms into an action hero in Director Jung Byung-gil’s new work. In the popular drama Alice, which involved car chases and hand-to-hand combat, Joo Won exhibited his great skill in performing action scenes. The role of Carter will challenge him with even more extreme and exciting action. In the series, Carter is a top agent who awakens one day with a complete loss of memory, but is then thrown into the mission of a lifetime. Joo Won will portray the character’s inner struggle as he deals with the uncertainties of his mission.
Directed by: Moon Hyun-sung
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Ko Kyung-Pyo, Lee kyoo-hyung, Park Ju-hyun, Ong Seong-wu
Overview: Action blockbuster Seoul Vibe narrates a talented crew of baby drivers – known as the Sangedong Supreme team. With the world’s eyes drained to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the illegal transactions of capital (funds) is a significant issue. A special operation driven by the Sangedong Supreme team initiates to unravel the corruption behind the slush funds. An all-star cast – Yoo Ah-in, Ko Kyung-pyo, Lee kyoo-hyung , Park Ju-hyun, Ong Seong-wu– portrays this incredible chase in the city of Seoul tightly packed with breathtaking action scenes.
20th Century Girl
Directed by: Bang Woo-ri
Starring: Kim You-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, Roh Yoon-seo
Overview: In 1999 – the last year of the 20th century – seventeen-year-old Bo-ra finds her first love: a sweet, pure but heartbreaking relationship. Years later in the 21st century, news about her first love revives her teenage romance that she once thought had forgotten. The 20th Century Girl narrates the lives of the youth in their 20s, filled with vivid moments of love and friendship. Starring the popular Kim You-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, and Roh Yoon-Seo, this pit-a-patting film will be directed by Bang Woo-ri, who won the Best Short Film award for Mrs.Young at the Blue Dragon Awards.
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Writer: Yeon Sang-ho Starring: Kang Soo-youn, Kim Hyun-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo
Overview: JUNG_E portrays a desolated Earth in the 22nd century that is no longer inhabitable due to climate change. Amid the chaos, an internal war breaks out in the shelter built for human survival. Victory – meaning the end of the war – now hinges on finding a way to clone the legendary mercenary JUNG_E into a scalable robot. Orchestrated by Director Yeon Sang-ho of Train to Busan, Peninsula, and Hellbound, and with a colorful cast – Kang Soo-youn, Kim Hyun-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo –, JUNG_E portrays a unique theme combined with dystopia, cloning, and technology.
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