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K-Drama on Netflix: here’s a review of our recent favorites

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Over the past few years, Netflix has become a benchmark in the production of Korean series, having a huge buffet of dramas in its catalog. However, how did a platform that wasn’t relevant in Korea become the largest producer of its national series? 

The company began engaging with Korean entertainment in 2016 but, at first, it did not have a good local acceptance. The large and structured presence of the national television media and a poor catalog of non-western content were the main challenges for the establishment of the platform in the country. Because of this, Netflix had to rethink its content and began to aim for the production of series and films that portrayed the country’s culture more profoundly.

The first initiative of the American company was the film Okja, released in 2017. After the production joined the catalog, there was a very significant increase in the number of registrants. In 2018 and 2019, the Korean cultural industry came to be recognized throughout the globe, with K-pop groups expanding their success rate. This wave allowed and encouraged the entry of national series, not only purchased, but also original Netflix productions (such as Kingdom, Love Alarm, and Crash Landing on You), all helping the platform be more successful.

Nowadays, after years of investment, the platform has a huge list of films and series focused solely on South Korean culture. Netflix may as well be considered the largest producer of Korean audiovisual content, with world-famous productions such as Squid Game – a series that broke several audience records and views.

With that, take a look at our recent favorites that are winning the fan’s hearts:

Queen of Tears (2024)

One of the most recent series in Netflix’s huge catalog is Queen of Tears. The drama was released on March 9, 2024, and is a partnership with Studio Dragon. The drama has already reached notorious positions in the ranking of the global top 10 of the platform, having occupied the first position on April 3, for example. 

Throughout 16 episodes, the series tells the story of a couple, Hong Hae-in and Baek Hyun-woo, who go through a major crisis in their marriage. Hae-in is an important businesswoman, very self-assured, independent, and owner of the largest department stores in Korea. On the other hand, Hyun-woo is a sensitive, lovely man, a director, and a very competent lawyer.

Early in the relationship, they were a cute and adorable duo who liked to do things together. Then, one could say that their love would overcome all the difficulties. Currently, married for 3 years, they face several problems, having conflicts at home, sleeping separately, rarely talking, and always discussing at work.

It seems that everything is about to end between them, right? Hyun-woo was reluctant to ask for a divorce. He was tired of the distance from his wife and having to put up with her family’s problems, which he always had to take care of. However, Hae-in discovers a rare disease, and when she gives this notice to her husband, he has to recalculate his rote. After a long time of being strangers, Hyun-woo sees the necessity of trying in various ways to win his wife back – which brings moments that warm the hearts of those who are watching and make the couple approach once again. 

The series is ongoing, so the ending is still uncertain for the two lovebirds, but surely you can expect lots of romance, family conflicts, power struggles, and mysterious villains. All of that in many cute moments and other very sad ones, which will surely make you get even more involved with the story and create a huge empathy for the main couple, hoping that nothing intervenes, so they can stay together until the end.

The bequeathed (2024)

Launched on January 19, 2024, the suspense series The Bequeathed is a family drama that causes a feeling of “something is about to happen” all the time. The drama is a 6-episode miniseries that tells the story of Yoon Seo-ha, a girl who receives a call warning about the death of her uncle.

However, she didn’t even know this relative. Intrigued by the story and curious about the inheritance she received, Seo-ha decides to make preparations for her uncle’s wake. During the ceremony, another unknown relative appears, Kim Yeong-ho, a strange-looking man who claims to be Seo-ha’s half-brother. The man was interested in his uncle’s inheritance and did not intend to leave it to his sister.

After the wake, things got even stranger. Seo-ha begins to go through several devastating and traumatic situations, which brings the viewer closer to the character and allows us to understand her suffering, hoping that she continues well throughout the episodes. 

On the other side, we have the half-brother of the main character, Yeong-ho. The man is interpreted in a very good way, seeming really disturbed. The reason for this takes time to be revealed, which allows the mystery around his story to continue and makes us suspect the character at various times.

Parallel to the events of the main plot, we also meet the detectives who are helping Seo-ha in the investigations to find out who is to blame for making her life crazy. Choi Seong-joo and Park Sang-mi are side characters that have a very interesting background, which helps us understand the way they behave and brings even more drama to the overall story.  

In my opinion, the series is very engaging and leaves the viewer always thoughtful and uncertain about what can still happen. It’s a great series for those who like totally unexpected twists, which will make their jaws drop. 

Doctor Slump (2024)

Another fan favorite that is in the Netflix catalog is Doctor Slump, a drama that premiered in January 2024 and is already very successful, spending five consecutive weeks in the Top 10 non-English TV section. The show is a romantic comedy mixed with hospital drama, telling the story of Nam Ha-neul and Yeo Jeong-woo, two doctors who face delicate moments in their lives.

Ha-Neul is a woman who has always worked hard to achieve her goals. Since her adolescence, she wanted to have a successful career that would help and make her family proud, because of this, the girl worked hard and charged herself a lot in her studies, being completely addicted to books to become a doctor one day.

During her journey, Ha-neul moves to the capital, Seoul, to study at a renowned school. There, she meets Jeong-woo, the best student in the class who has always achieved what he wanted. From this meeting, a rivalry arises between the high school classmates, who begin to compete to know who is the smartest in the class. However, the dispute comes to an end with the end of high school, a moment that separates the two and leads them to different paths.

At present, both are trained in medicine, but in different positions. Ha-neul became a medical anesthesiologist, and, now, her addiction to studies has become a work addiction. She struggles beyond her ability to meet her boss’s requests and receives no recognition. Unfortunately, the exhausting workday did not allow her to have a moment of rest or leisure, and so she developed depression. 

On the contrary, Jeong-woo became a famous and renowned plastic surgeon, owning several clinics and leading a comfortable life. Until an unsuccessful surgery leads to the death of his patient. After the event, Jeong-woo had to sell his assets to respond to various lawsuits, ending his career demoralized and without much money.

In the midst of all this confusion, the old classmates find themselves at the worst time of their lives. The two of them end up going through it together, with the old rivalry and now with the emergence of a new passion.

Addressing topics such as depression, burnout, and reality shock, the drama opens up a good discussion on these topics. Doctor Slump puts the viewer to reflect how these problems are treated in society and how they tend to be hidden and belittled by those who suffer. It is certainly worth watching! 

A Killer Paradox (2024)

With a rating of 4.4 stars on Google, the Korean drama A Killer Paradox debuted in the Netflix catalog on February 9 and brought the promise of a series that puts the viewer to reflect. The story has as its main characters Lee Tang a high school student who works in a convenience store and detective Jang Nan-gam

Tang is a teen guy tired of life, who is careless with school and always works with his face closed. One day, a customer of the convenience store starts to get into trouble and, in the middle of a fight, Tang ends up killing the man. That man ends up being a highly wanted criminal in Korea and his death arouses the curiosity of Detective Jang Nan-gam, who begins to investigate the case.

Throughout eight episodes, the drama brings many visual aspects that hold the viewer’s attention. Various transitions to flashbacks are used, which might leave you a little lost in the beginning, trying to understand the change of time and space that occurs all so suddenly. But, as soon as you get used to the rhythm of the show, it becomes something fantastic that helps you understand even more of the story of the characters and what led them to the position they’re currently in.

It is also interesting to highlight the growth of the character Lee Tang, who after committing the murder, amid the shock, discovers a “gift” to intended criminals and seeks to do justice in his way. He just needed a notebook to become Light Yagami from the anime/manga Death Note, right? 

Jokes aside, the series brings a whirlwind of information in each episode and knows how to develop the characters and their stories in a coherent way, but not always linear. It’s definitely worth the experience of watching, and it’s a great marathon option for those who like mystery mixed with acid humor. 


The article above was edited by Clara Rocha.

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Maria Alice Primo

Casper Libero '27

Journalism student at Casper Líbero College. I like reading and writing about politics, culture and entertainment.