If you are feeling hot in Singapore of late, it’s probably because the K-drama fever has not died down. It never has.
Here are the five latest productions in the K-drama realm. And why you should watch, or skip them, for that matter.
1. King The Land
King The Land is pretty much your typical rich-guy-poor-girl rom-com, a theme that’s been widely explored in K-drama land.
It’s a predictable plot made refreshing comedic, fun and relatable by the leads. Im Yoona plays the diligent, bright hotel employee Cheon Sa-rang. And Lee Jun-ho plays Gu Won, a charming chaebol (family-controlled companies) heir to King Group.
Their paths cross and a romantic relationship blossoms amid Gu Won dealing with the usual chaebol problems – tense inheritance fights, and Sa-Rang facing obstacles at work.
Verdict — Stream or skip: The rich-guy-poor-girl K-drama concept is a genre that existed way before streaming platforms did. Dashing Korean chaebol heirs are the staples of such romcoms, but King the Land takes it a notch higher as Gu Won resides in a majestic Gothic palace in London with his British butler.
The first few episodes develop slowly but its pace picks up thereafter. If you enjoy something light-hearted and fun, then this rom-com is for you.
Think celebrity dramas, scandals and murder mysteries. Netflix’s new K-drama, Celebrity, is a satirical series on influencer culture – the glitz and glamour. As well as the vain and vapid culture of these self-marketing geniuses.
Seo A-Ri (Park Gyu-young) was born rich but now makes a living selling cheap cosmetics after her father’s business failure. A chance encounter with her high-school friend Oh Min-Hye (Jun Hyo-seong), now a famous influencer, takes her life on a 180 degree turn.
Verdict — Stream or skip: The series boasts impressive performances from capable young actors and it delves deep into the turbulent present-day culture of social media stars.
Park’s performance as Seo A-Ri is both fire and ice. She brings enough innocence needed for Seo, while displaying her feistiness. It is satisfying to watch Park put haters and obnoxious influencers in place.
Celebrity also allows you to revel in the realness of the digital world without dragging. Stream this one for sure.
Revenant is a feast for horror fans. Gu San-yeong (Kim Tae-ri) learns of the enigma behind her doomed existence after her father’s mysterious death. She is possessed by a demon when a door to a different world opens.
Yeom Hae-sang (Oh Jung-se) has the ability to perceive evil spirits and can see the entity that took over Gu San-yeong’s body. The pair work together to find answers behind strange deaths that surround five sacred objects and to end the curse that ruined both their families.
Verdict — Stream or skip: The crux of this drama’s spine-chilling factor is the shroud of mystery around Kim’s character, Gu San-young. This occult series kicked off slowly but it’s well-positioned to scare as it progresses.
For seasoned K-drama audiences and fans, we will finally see Oh Jung-se challenge a lead character role instead of a supporting one. You should definitely stream this, but perhaps do it with your eyes half-open.
4. Lies Hidden in My Garden
Lies Hidden in My Garden is a gripping thriller inspired by a best-selling novel of the same name.
The story tells of two women whose lives are in stark contrast to each other. Joo Ran (Kim Tae-hee) has a seemingly flawless husband and an academically talented and well-mannered son. Her life appears blessed while Sang Eun (Lim Ji-yeon)’s life has been nothing but hardships and abuse.
Their paths inevitably cross when what seems like a potent odour emanates from a dead body in Kim’s backyard.
Verdict — Stream or skip: Lies Hidden in My Garden does not rush into piecing the story’s puzzle together. Instead, it lingers on the characters’ expressions and emphasises crafting the tone of the scene rather than revealing the plot.
We still don’t know what the story is, much less where we are headed. It is a comfortably paced thriller, which keeps you interested in what lies ahead. Or what is buried in the garden? Worth a stream.
5. D.P 2
An Jun-ho (Jung Hae-in) and Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo-hwan) are back to catch deserters in the new season of D.P (Deserter Pursuit).
The first season saw this unlikely duo team up to catch military deserters. The series also underscores bullying and hazing within the Korean military.
Through the lens of Jo Seok-bong (Cho Hyun-chul), the plankton of this food chain, viewers witnessed the survival of the fittest mindset. Those deemed the “weakest link” are trampled upon or tossed to the bottom of the pile.
Verdict — Stream or skip: D.P. 2 will tackle the impact of the terrible ramifications at the end of the previous season. Where will An Jun-ho run to? Will the culture of bullying or hazing change with the next season?
The show sheds light on an issue that plagues different societies – bullying. Its first season approached this concept with a heavy and intense plot drizzled with some humour – to relieve the tension and weight of the drama.
But if you are uncomfortable with violence or bullying, this show might not be a great fit for you.