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Korean Netflix Shows to Watch If You Enjoyed Squid Game

With all of the hype surrounding Squid Game, it’s difficult to go anywhere without encountering conversations, comments, and memes about this show. From heated debates on the accuracy of the subtitles to interpretations of the plot, it seems as though there is an endless number of Squid Game-related topics to discuss. But for those who have already finished the entire show and analyzed it in a thousand different ways, it might be getting a little repetitive. The question of what to watch next might be lingering. Also, with Squid Game being a Korean show, the spotlight is on Korean Netflix shows. 

While K-Dramas remain the most well-known genre of Korean shows, Squid Game has redirected viewers’ attention to action and thriller shows. There are quite a few Korean Netflix shows within this genre that have been popular internationally, although none have come close to achieving sudden stardom like Squid Game. However, even if they aren’t able to replace the hollowness that you’re left with after finishing the show, these are a few Korean Netflix shows that are guaranteed to get your palms sweaty and adrenaline pumping: 

1. Kingdom 

This one is a favorite for many thriller and horror show enthusiasts. It has received critical acclaim for the way it seamlessly blends elements of the horror genre with historical fiction and political commentary. The plot is absurd but somehow works — the show centers around the Crown Prince of Korea’s Joseon dynasty as he investigates a mysterious epidemic that turns out to be a zombie apocalypse. The zombies are the main issue the prince must contend with, but he is also involved in a political struggle between himself and the manipulative queen consort’s family. The connection between the politics and the zombie aspect of the show is genius, and the later episodes gradually unveil the long-awaited truth. The only problem is that much like Squid Game, there are a lot of cliffhangers, so saving this show for a long weekend of binging might be a good idea. 

2. Signal 

Another critically acclaimed show, Signal is a thriller/mystery show about two detectives, one in the past and one in the present, communicating through a supernatural walkie-talkie that transcends time in order to solve cold cases. The cast is a superstar ensemble composed of Jo Jin-woong, Kim Hye-soo, and Lee Je-hoon, which naturally led to much praise for the acting. The intensity and emotional weight of the acting engages viewers almost immediately. It’s hard not to get sucked into the events that happen to the characters, who struggle to solve chilling cases such as a string of serial murders and the kidnapping of an elementary school student. Like Squid Game, Signal boasts plenty of action and scary scenes, as well as including character development and each individual character’s complex storyline. 

3. Vincenzo 

If you’ve watched your fair share of K-Dramas, you’re probably familiar with the name Song Joong-ki. In this show, he plays a former mafia lawyer who returns to Korea to secure his fortune from a corrupt conglomerate. Although this show is decidedly less of a thriller than Squid Game, it still has a fair share of spine-tingling scenes. It also features a well-developed villain that the protagonists must join forces to fight against: Jang Jun-woo, the chairman of the conglomerate, pretends to be naive but reveals himself to be a cruel, ruthless antagonist. Secrets emerge and characters reveal their true intentions over the course of the story, so if you were a fan of the plot twists within Squid Game, there’s a good chance you’ll get sucked into Vincenzo as well. 

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Fiona Cho

Columbia Barnard '24

Fiona is a sophomore at Barnard College still undecided about her major. She is passionate about education, social justice, and finding the best restaurants and cafes in New York City. In her free time, she enjoys film photography and watching cooking shows.
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