The 5 best Korean dramas to watch on Netflix this summer

Two young people, one wearing a white uniform that has the number two on it, and the other wearing a black dress, talk in The 8 Show
Photo: Lee Jae-hyuk/Netflix

Netflix has a rich slate of teen revenge, family dramas, and suspense thrillers from Korea on offer.

Korean dramas continue to be some of the most popular (and best!) pop culture in the world. And, now that Netflix is in the K-drama game, the streamer is investing lots of money in producing and distributing some of the most beloved East Asian dramas globally. The age of Peak TV means not only sorting through an immense amount of domestic, English-language TV options, but also a consistent flurry of foreign-language drama, including from Korea.

We’ve worked hard to find a variety of K-dramas to highlight below. While this means a diversity of genre — including a superhero family series, a Squid Game-esque dark comedy, and a teen revenge drama poised to follow in the Netflix tradition of Élite — it also means a diversity of release format. Some of the dramas listed below have already premiered but are releasing new episodes weekly, while others are yet to come but will release all of their episodes in one go. Whether you’re looking for a marathon watch or the weekly release experience of yesteryear, we have something for you…

The Atypical Family

Release date: May 4th-June 9th
Episode count: 8
Recommended for fans of: Moving, My Roommate is a Gumiho

Last year, the Hulu K-drama Moving proved that some of the best superhero storytelling is happening outside of the United States. This year, Netflix is getting in on the action, offering up a story about a family of superpowered individuals who are struggling to stay superpowered in a modern world that triggers conditions like depression, insomnia, bulimia, and smartphone addiction.

Jang Ki-yong (My Roommate is a Gumiho) stars as single father Bok Gwi-ju, a time traveler. When Gwi-ju begins to experience depression after the loss of his wife, he loses his power to travel through time. Meanwhile, the rest of his family are also struggling to hold onto their superpowers. When the mysterious Do Da-hee (The 8 Show’s Chun Woo-hee) enters Gwi-ju’s life, things begin to change in unexpected ways. Note: The Atypical Family has rightly been called out for its fatphobic handling of one character’s journey. If this is a deal breaker for you, then steer clear!

The Atypical Family began airing on May 4th, but is still in the middle of its season, with two episodes dropped on the streamer every weekend. The final episode is set to be released on June 9th.

The 8 Show

Release date: May 17th
Episode count: 8
Recommended for fans of: Squid Game, Alice in the Borderland, that one episode of Doctor Who

If you’ve caught the trailer or first episode of The 8 Show, you might think it is a complete rip-off of Squid Game. While the new Netflix K-drama has some direct visual echoes of the cultural phenomenon, such as the Escher-style stairs or the numbered uniforms, the series is actually adapted from an existing webtoon story called Money Game. (But you better believe it was the unprecedented success of Squid Game, which remains Netflix’s most-watched show of all time, that got this adaptation greenlit.)

While there may be some similarities between Squid Game and The 8 Show, there are also some fundamental differences. For one, the cast of The 8 Show is much smaller, which makes the interpersonal dynamics much more concentrated. In the series, eight people 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, which starts at 44.8 billion won (or around $33.6 million). To survive in the game, the group can decide to spend money on necessities such as food, water, and electricity—but it comes out of the winnings, and the cost is 1,000 times their normal price.

Another fundamental difference is in the respective tones of the shows. While Squid Game has its moments of comedy, for the most part it is played as a straight drama. From the looks of The 8 Show’s trailer, the series is much more of a black comedy, with the visual style playing up some of the absurdity of the situation in hyperbolic ways.


Release date: June 7th
Episode count: 7
Recommended for fans of: Elite, Gossip Girl, SKY Castle, The Heirs, The Glory

In the grand tradition of Elite — and Gossip Girl before it — comes the next era of rich kid teen drama. Hierarchy is a revenge romance following a group of students at Jooshin High, a Korean private school for the 1%. The series stars Lee Chae-min (Crash Course in Romance) as Kang Ha, a mysterious transfer student who doesn’t seem to come from the same uber-privileged background as the rest of the student body... but who may have an agenda of his own. Roh Jeong-eui (Badland Hunters) also stars as Jung Jae-yi, the first daughter of a powerful chaebol. Directed by Bae Hyun-jin (also director for my beloved Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow) and written by Chu Hye-mi (About Time), Hierarchy has the makings to be one of the biggest K-drama hits of the summer.

The Frog

Yoon Kye-sang looks distressed in The Frog Image: Netflix

Release date: TBA
Episode count: 8
Recommended for fans of: The Bequeathed, The World of the Married

Originally known as Alone in the Woods, The Frog is a dark, psychological drama set in two time periods in the same rural area of South Korea. Kim Yoon-seok (The Chaser, Another Child) stars as Jeon Young-ha, a man who is running a motel in the year 2000. Yoon Kye-sang (K-pop boy band g.o.d., Road Number One) stars as Koo Sang-joon, a man who is running a pension in the same region in 2021. When both men are faced with the same scenario, two decades apart, they make different choices. Sweet Home’s Go Min-so will also star as Yoo Seong-ha.

The story will unfold over the course of eight episodes, and seems poised to play up the suspense. The World of the Married director Mo Wan II is behind the camera for this one. The World of the Married is one of the most successful cable K-dramas of all time, and also relies on effectively maintaining complex psychological tension across a series run. In other words, this is probably going to be scary in the best ways.

Sweet Home Season 3

A woman in a green hoodie holds up a piece of paper in Sweet Home. Photo: Kim Jeong Won/Netflix

Release date: TBA
Episode count: TBA
Recommended for fans of: Parasyte: The Grey, Hellbound

When Sweet Home, an adaptation of the webtoon of the same name, was released in December 2020, it became the first K-drama to make it into the Netflix Top Ten. This led to back-to-back filming of Season 2 and 3, and a noticeable increase in budget for this horror about a monster apocalypse and the humans, monsters, and hybrids fighting to survive within it.

Song Kang stars as Cha Hyun-su, a teen orphan who has lost the will to live when the apocalypse breaks out. As he evolves into something new, he finds new purpose in protecting the found family he makes at Green Home Apartments.

Season 2 dropped in December 2023 and was not quite as popular as the first, early pandemic season, but with the ambitious story set to conclude in Season 3, more Song Kang (who is currently away performing mandatory military service), and the return of fan favorite Lee Do-hyun to the action, this conclusion has the opportunity to pull viewers back in. Let’s hope this beloved K-drama sticks the landing!

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