From K-pop to K-dramas and all things Korean, there’s no denying that Hallyu (Korean Wave) has taken the world by storm. Thanks to the rapidly growing interest in Korean content, we are now spoiled for choices when it comes to the best of Korean content via streaming services.
Given that their audience is predominantly Asia, many streaming platforms have been building up their Korean content library, and we’ve noticed Disney+ ramping up their K-drama offering, actively partnering with major Korean broadcasters including SBS and JTBC, to bring the widest and latest Korean content to audiences around the world.
Here are our 2023 top picks for Korean dramas on Disney+ :
#1 Dr Romantic Season 3 (April 2023)
We love a good medical series. The highly anticipated third season of Dr Romantic follows the story of a genius doctor who works at a rural hospital, Doldam Hospital. This time the 16-episode series is a lot more intense as it revolves around the hospital’s new department Regional Trauma Center, where the doctors spend more time dealing with critical injuries, emergencies and accidents.
Fans of the first two series will rejoice the return of a few familiar main characters, like Dr. Teacher Kim or Kim Sa-bu (Han Suk-kyu, Recipe for Farewell and The Prison), Seo Woo-jin (Ahn Hyo-seop, Business Proposal and Lovers of the Red Sky), and Cha Eun-jae (Lee Sung-kyung, Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and Call it Love). If you were cheering for Woo-jin and Eun-jae in the previous season, you’ll enjoy watching their relationship develop even further in this installment.
Although it’s not necessary to watch the previous seasons (both are available on Netflix), you might find some of the backstory helpful to piece together some of the scenes.
#2 Call it Love (February 2023)
As the name implies, Call it Love is a melodrama about a girl who started off seeking revenge, but falls in love with the intended target instead. If you jump to this right after Dr Romantic Season 3, you find a familiar face in Lee Sung-kyung (Dr Romantic 2 & 3 and Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo), who plays series lead Sim Woo-joo, whose life is changed when her father’s mistress kicks her whole family out of their home. This triggers Woo-joo to take revenge on the mistress’s son, Han Dong-jin (Kim Young-kwang, On Your Wedding Day and The Secret Life of My Secretary) and well, you can guess what happens next.
The 16-episode series reveals the harsh realities of life, compelling both characters to become more understanding individuals who end up changing for the better. Overall Call it Love has a slow pace and melancholic tone, but the series has been praised for its thoughtful details, realistic storyline and rich characters who resonate well with audiences.
#3 Revenant (June 2023)
Revenant is a 20-episode occult mystery thriller series of a woman who is possessed by an evil spirit, and starts noticing mysterious deaths around her. Kim Tae-ri, well-known for her work in Twenty-Five Twenty-One and The Handmaiden, takes on her first leading role in a thriller drama as Go San-young, who attempts to get rid of the evil spirit by teaming up with a Korean folklore professor, Yeom Hae-sang (played by Oh Jung Se, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay and Hot Stove League). This series is written by popular screenwriter Kim Eun-hee, whose previous work includes hit thriller dramas like Signal and Kingdom.
#4 Shadow Detective Season 2 (July 2023)
We know, it’s not here yet but we cannot wait. The second installment of Shadow Detective continues to follow the journey of veteran detective Kim Taek-rok, who is on a mission to clear his name. Lee Sung-min, the most recent winner of the Baeksang Arts Award for Best Leading Actor in Reborn Rich, has been praised for his performance in the first season, which is also on the streaming service.
The eight episode first season sees Taek-rok respond to an anonymous threat for a murder he did not commit, and to figure out who the actual murderer is, Taek-rok is forced to review his past cases and join forces with a younger peer who recently joined his precinct, Kook Jin-han (Jin Goo, Descendents of the Sun and A Superior Day).
#5 Moving (August 2023)
This upcoming fantasy action thriller series is adapted from a webtoon series written by Kang Full, whose previous works have been made into movies including Hello, Schoolgirl and The Neighbor. The 20-episode series, directed by Park In-je, who also directed Kingdom Season 2 and The Mayor, follows a group of teenagers and their parents with superpowers. While the teens try to hide their powers from others, their parents try to shield them from people who want to use the teens for their powers. This webtoon will also shed light on how these adolescents navigate their growing pains and relationship with their parents.
Moving features a star-studded cast from Jo In-sung (Unexpected Business and It’s Okay, That’s Love), Han Hyo-joo (W and 20th Century Girl), Ryu Seung-ryong (Life is Beautiful and Miracle in Cell No. 7) to Go Youn-jung (Alchemy of Souls and Sweet Home).