The 5 best Korean dramas to stream on Netflix this spring

Two men look very silly in office equipment as body armor, holding racquets as weapons, in Chicken Nugget
Photo: Garage Lab/Netflix

Netflix’s spring K-drama slate is packed

Have we finally entered the Netflix K-drama era where everything is a sequel or a spinoff? No — there are still quite a few original K-dramas making their way to our Netflix queues this coming spring, from the wacky comedy of Chicken Nugget to an all-new romance from the writer of Hallyu classic Crash Landing on You.

However, I’ve definitely started to notice quite a few upcoming series are connected to existing hits. From a Hospital Playlist spinoff to the upcoming third season of Sweet Home, Netflix K-dramas aren’t feeling quite as fresh as they once were. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — after all, we’re also getting a new season of sports reality hit Physical: 100 on March 19 — but it definitely feels like the end of an era. With that in mind, here are the five most promising upcoming Korean dramas, both gloriously new and wonderfully connected to beloved hits, that you can anticipate on Netflix this spring.

Queen of Tears

Release date: March 9
Episode count: 16 (two episodes weekly)
Recommended for fans of: Crash Landing on You, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, My Liberation Notes

Most romance dramas — Korean or otherwise — follow a tried-and-true path that mostly spans the beginning of a relationship. We start with a meet-cute, the two fall in love, and maybe we get a wedding or period of bliss before the curtain closes. Queen of Tears is unique because its story is mainly concerned with everything that comes after that sequence of events.

Queen of Tears centers the fairy-tale romance between legal director Baek Hyun-woo (It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’s Kim Soo-hyun), who grew up in the middle of nowhere, and Queen Department Store director Hong Hae-in (My Liberation Notes’ Kim Ji-won), a chaebol heiress. The two married across social classes for love, but have since become anything but a fairy tale. They have fallen out of love, or so it seems, and the K-drama will follow the story of how they find their way back to one another.

The show comes from celebrated Hallyu scribe Park Ji-eun, the pen behind hits like Crash Landing on You and My Love from the Star, so Queen of Tears has all the makings of a future K-drama classic.

Chicken Nugget

Release date: March 15
Episode count: 10
Recommended for fans of: Dirk Gently, Moving, fried chicken

I’m not going to pretend the setup isn’t strange: When a mysterious cabinet turns company manager Choi Sun-man’s daughter into a chunk of gangjeong fried chicken, Choi and intern Go Baek-joong do everything they can to restore her to human form. This is being touted as a “black comedy,” and I get where that comes from — having a family member turned into something tasty is horrifying — but tonally, from the looks of the trailer, this show is going to be pure-hearted fun.

With a premise so wacky, this K-drama could fall anywhere between the best series of 2024 and the worst. Its spot on that spectrum lies in the execution, and with Choi Sun-man — who also played a fried chicken-adjacent dad in 2023 K-drama breakout Moving — as a lead, we’re in good hands. Mask Girl’s Ahn Jae-hong also stars as the intern, with shorter appearances from My Demon’s Kim You-jung as the pre-chickenified daughter and Squid Game’s Jung Ho-yeon in a cameo.

The series is adapted from a Webtoon of the same Korean name, and original writer Park Ji-dok is also penning the Netflix adaptation. Past that, every trailer instance of Ryu Seung-ryong as Choi Sun-man trying to protect the orange-y chicken nug that he assumes to be his beloved daughter made me laugh. And that’s not nothing.

The 8 Show

A man reads a book at a table in drab white clothing in The 8 Show Image: Netflix

Release date: TBD this spring
Episode count: TBA
Recommended for fans of: Squid Game, Alice in Borderland, that one episode of Doctor Who

Counting down the days to the second season of Squid Game? The 8 Show might help. The K-drama tells the fictional story of eight people who are invited to appear on a reality variety TV show called Money Game. If the eight people can stand to live in an eight-story concrete fortress for 100 days, they get to split the winnings equally. The prize money starts at 44.8 billion won (around $33.6 million), and of course, there’s a catch. They can choose to spend the money on necessities such as food, water, and electricity, but it comes out of the winnings — and the necessities cost 1,000 times their normal price. Good luck, guys!

The series is adapted from a Webtoon story called Money Game (I guess that was too close to Squid Game), and is helmed by film writer-director Han Jae-rim (The Face Reader, Emergency Declaration). Ryoo Joon-yeol, who starred in 2022 period hit The Night Owl, will lead the cast. Honestly, if Netflix was going to shamelessly go after a Squid Game-alike, they could have been so much lazier than this. This cast and creative team are top-notch. The 8 Show could be terribly great, just like the show that presumably inspired its greenlighting.

Resident Playbook

A group of doctors, led by Go Youn-jung, surround a patient in Resident Playbook Image: Netflix

Release date: TBD this spring
Episode count: TBA
Recommended for fans of: Hospital Playlist, Grey’s Anatomy, Call the Midwife

Hospital Playlist follows a dynamic group of doctor friends who all work at one Seoul hospital — um, and they have a band together. It’s one of the more successful and consistently entertaining K-dramas of the last few years, earning it two seasons and counting. Now, it also has a spinoff…

Resident Playbook is set in the same fictional universe as Hospital Playlist, but will follow a different group of doctor friends at a different Seoul hospital. Interestingly, Resident Playbook will follow residents training to become OB-GYNs. Obstetrics and gynecology are the branches of medicine that focus on pregnancy and childbirth care, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the relevant reproductive organs, which honestly opens up a whole host of interesting storylines related to the lives of women in South Korea.

The series is led by young actress Go Youn-jung, who has given memorable performances in Sweet Home, Alchemy of Souls, and Moving. I am excited to see what she can do with this role.


Two men wear school uniforms in Hierarchy. One puts his arm on the other’s shoulder, who is standing against a wall. Image: Netflix

Release date: TBD this spring
Episode count: TBA
Recommended for fans of: Elite, Badland Hunters, SKY Castle, The Glory

Who doesn’t love a teen drama? The format is part of what allowed K-dramas to pave the way as a global pop culture phenomenon, and we don’t get as many teen-centric K-dramas as we once did. Enter Hierarchy, an upcoming teen revenge romance about a group of students at Jooshin High, a Korean private school for the 1%. When Kang Ha arrives, he is the rare transfer student to an institution where registration is pretty much determined at birth. The series’ synopsis teases a secret hiding behind Ha’s innocent smile that may bring down the entire school. Hwaiting!

The series has a young cast, including Badland Hunters teen Roh Jeong-eui starring as Jung Jae-yi, the daughter of a chaebol, and Crash Course in Romance’s Lee Chae-min (also current Music Bank MC!), the son of a different chaebol. (Pretty much everyone is the offspring of a chaebol.) Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow director Bae Hyun-jin is behind the camera. This series could technically come in early summer, as it is simply listed as “Q2” in Netflix promotional materials. Whenever it graces our eyeballs, we will be ready.

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