Following two blockbuster months for K-dramas internationally – there was Squid Game in September and the Han So-hee vehicle My Name in October – everyone’s on the lookout for the next big thing. Luckily, November is shaping up to be a particularly exciting month for Korean entertainment.
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Notably, both Apple TV+ and South Korean streaming service Coupang Play are set to launch their very first original series, Dr. Brain and One Ordinary Day, respectively. There’s also the much-anticipated Hellbound from Netflix, as well as the darkly Chimera starring Park Hae-soo of Squid Game fame.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the nine must-watch K-dramas to look forward to in November 2021.
Squid Game actor Park Hae-soo’s next project is the upcoming Chimera, a mystery thriller series revolving around a series of murders set off by a strange explosion. It will be helmed by director Kim Do-hoon (The Moon Embracing The Sun).
In Chimera, Park stars as violent crimes detective Jae-hwan, who is tasked with investigating the resurgence of the mysterious “chimera” killings after another explosion occurs 35 years later. The story follows Jae-hwan, criminal profiler Eugene (Claudia Kim) and surgeon Joong-yeob (Lee Hee-jun) as the chase the truth behind the peculiar crimes. – Gladys Yeo
Chimera will begin airing on Saturday and Sunday nights on cable network OCN starting from October 30.
Parasite star Lee Sun-kyun stars in Apple TV+’s first-ever Korean-language original as Lee Se-won, a neuroscientist with the ability to retain every memory in his life. This dark sci-fi series is helmed by acclaimed director Kim Jee-won (best known for his 2003 horror film A Tale Of Two Sisters), and is an adaptation of the webtoon Dr. Brain.
When tragedy befalls his family, the genius scientist desperately searches for a way to access the memories of the deceased. After a failed memory extraction from a man who took his own life, Se-won starts to witness horrific hallucinations as his mind descends into chaos. – GY
Dr. Brain will be available to stream exclusively on Apple TV+ from November 4.
Led by Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho, Hellbound is a dystopian series starring Yoo Ah-in (#Alive, Burning) as the enigmatic leader of a religious cult.
In the world of Hellbound, ordinary people deemed sinners begin receiving ominous messages declaring the time of their impending deaths. When the prophesied time arrives, horrific “executors of Hell” arrive to claim their stake, leaving behind nothing but the charred skeletons of their victims. This fantasy thriller follows a broadcasting director, lawyer and detective who are brought together by their investigation of the horrific supernatural phenomena plaguing the world. – GY
Hellbound premieres worldwide on Netflix on November 19.
Starring Lee Do-hyun (18 Again) and Im Soo-jung (Search: WWW), Melancholia revolves around the prestigious Ahseong private high school in Gang-nam, where corruption runs deep.
Im plays good-natured math teacher Ji Yoon-soo, who is fired from her job when she becomes the subject of a rumoured teacher-student sex scandal after paying extra attention to troubled math genius Baek Seung-yoo (played by Lee). The duo reunite four years later and begin working together to expose the corruption at the high school and restore Yoon-soo’s good name. – GY
Melancholia premieres on cable television network tvN on November 10, and will also be available to stream on iQiyi.
Wealthy homeowners on the upper floors of a high-rise apartment building come into conflict with renters on lower floors in this series by director Ahn Gil-ho (Record Of Youth, Memories Of The Alhambra). All-too-familiar issues of class discrimination play out in the world of Happiness, which is also set in a near future where an infectious disease begins turning people into bloodthirsty monsters.
Starring Han Hyo-joo (W: Two Worlds Apart) and Park Hyung-sik (Strong Woman Do Bong-soon) as policewoman Yoon Sae-bom and detective Jung Yi-hyun respectively, this action-thriller series follows the psychological and physical trials faced by Sae-bom and her neighbours as they struggle to survive the deadly epidemic. – GY
Happiness begins airing on tvN from November 5, and will also be available to stream on iQiyi.
The Red Sleeve
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Kang Mi-kang, 2PM singer Lee Jun-ho stars in MBC’s upcoming historical series. He plays crown prince Lee San –later King Jeongjo of the Joseon era – who falls deeply in love with court lady Sung Deok-im (played by Lee Se-young).
Lee San, who upon being crowned king will become King Jeongjo of the Joseon era, proposes Deok-im become his concubine. But she refuses in favour of freedom. – Carmen Chin
The Red Sleeve premieres on MBC from November 5 onwards.
Secret Royal Inspector Joy
Dumplings meet espionage in historical comedy series Secret Royal Inspector Joy, in which an aspiring gourmet (Ok Taecyeon) has his dreams of establishing a cozy restaurant dashed when he becomes an undercover secret agent for the government tasked with uncovering corruption in the local provinces.
Somewhere along the way, a recent divorcee (Kim Hye-yoon) joins forces with the reluctant inspector on a case while pursuing her own happiness. – CC
Secret Royal Inspector Joy is set to air its first episode on November 8 via tVN, and will also be available to stream on iQiyi.
Now, We’re Breaking Up
“I’ve lost everything because of love before. I said then that I would never go through that again,” laments Ha Young-eun, a pragmatic fashion designer played by veteran actress Song Hye-kyo, in the trailer for Now, We’re Breaking Up, SBS’s new romance drama set in the illustrious fashion world of Seoul.
Young-eun’s pessimistic sentiments about love slowly yet steadily erode, though, once she gets to know freelance photographer Yoon Jae-guk (Jang Ki-yong), who unwittingly proves to her that love can be written in their fates, too. – CC
Now, We’re Breaking Up premieres on SBS TV from November 12 onwards.
One Ordinary Day
This intense new show from Coupang Play based on the BBC mystery series Criminal Justice, stars Kim Soo-hyun as unassuming university student Kim Hyun-soo (yes, that’s really his name), whose life takes a turn for the worst after he becomes the prime suspect in a murder case.
Spearheaded by renowned director Lee Myung-woo, who was behind acclaimed shows such as Backstreet Rookie and The Fiery Priest, One Ordinary Day picks up its thrilling pace when the only person who comes to Hyun-soo’s aid is laidback lawyer Shin Joong-han (Cha Seung-won). – CC
One Ordinary Day is set to premiere on November 27 via South Korean streaming app Coupang Play.