I wanted to keep track of all the different things that I watch this year. I don’t know about you but sometimes people will ask me, “what have you seen lately that was really good?” Even if I KNOW I’ve seen some great stuff, sometimes I will draw a total blank. So I am going to note all the 2022 K-Dramas, Movies, and Other Shows watched this year.
Admittedly this may only be of real interest to me, but maybe it will help you decide what to watch next if you need some ideas. Most of what I watch is on Netflix, but if it’s not I will indicate where I saw it. Please note I can not guarantee every title is available in all countries. It’s also possible that it may not remain on the streaming service indefinitely, this is just as of the time I note it.
2022 K-Dramas, Movies, and Other Shows
I mostly watch K-Dramas these days (besides being entertainment, I consider them a great way to study Korean) but I am not opposed to other media, so you will find a mix of things. Aside from dramas, I enjoy horror, sci-fi, dystopian, and action/disaster films. For obvious reasons, I am not a big fan of virus/pandemic type media – zombies are good, plagues not so much.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (고향 차차차) – K-Drama (On Netflix)
Oh my gosh. I loved this show so much. By the end of 2021 I had watched a lot of shows that were dark and/or violent one after the other. This included Squid Game (which I watched twice in a row; once alone and once with my daughter), Vincenzo (my fave ever but definitely violent), My Name, and Hellbound.
Once I had seen all of those back to back I really felt like I needed something light. Something vibrant. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha was the perfect choice. The cinematography is beautiful and often saturated. The scenery of a small coastal town in Korea was delightful. The story had minimal actual drama despite being a K-Drama. The characters were fun and multi-dimensional. The acting was wonderful. I cried on occasion because I’m a crier by nature, but the storyline was not emotionally draining. The end was everything I could have hoped for. My only disappointment is I can’t be friends with the two main characters since they’re not real people.
This is definitely going to be a show that I re-visit. Since it isn’t fast-paced action (don’t confuse this with boring – it’s not slow and NOT boring!) I can put it on and have it play while I do other things. I think this may be one of my comfort shows, the way The Office was in early 2020.
The Silent Sea (고요의 바 다) – Korean Sci-Fi series (On Netflix)
The Silent Sea takes place in the undefined but not-too-distant future. Earth has suffered from extreme drought to the point that people have to line up for water – and how much water depends on your status and the water access card you own. A team of space soldiers are recruited to travel to a lunar research station in order to retrieve samples from a failed scientific mission. They find something they never could have imagined.
This show stars a familiar face, Gong Yoo. You’ll recognize him from Train to Busan and as the much-loved Salesman in Squid Game (the fact that so many people loved him speaks volumes to Gong Yoo’s charisma. Because let’s be honest, the Salesman was NOT a good person!).
I have a soft spot for a good space story and this was exactly that – a VERY good space story. As a bonus, if you’re looking for something easy to binge this may be what you want. There are only 8 episodes and they’re each under an hour long. Perfect for a one or two day Netflix session.
Snowball (죄선의 삶) – Korean drama film (seen free via the Korean Culture Centre of Canada)
Snowball follows three high school girls who are best friends. Tired and fed up of what feels like a meaningless existence, they decide to run away to Seoul. Presumably they are seeking fun and adventure. What they find, though, is misery, desperation, and run-down survival. When they give up and decide to return home, their friendships have changed forever – and not for the best.
The storyline was interesting but in all honesty I found this movie to feel much longer than it was. It was fairly slow-paced and definitely not a pick-you-up film. The acting was very good so I’m glad I watched it but I would not recommend it if you are in any kind of a negative mood because it will not help.
(Note – not to be confused with the controversial K-drama Snowdrop which I have not seen yet)
Don’t Look Up – satire disaster movie (on Netflix)
I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Don’t Look Up is a brilliant satirical movie. It follows two scientists who try to warn the public that a comet is on a crash collision course with earth. Most reactions are lukewarm at best. The US government blows off the urgency because dealing with it will conflict with the midterm elections, and eventually those in power try to determine how to monetize this catastrophe. At the same time, as the public learns of our global date with death, part of the population decides it’s all a hoax.
It’s not a hoax.
On the other hand, it was also vaguely unsettling to see how perfectly this film mirrors our world today. Between people choosing to believe anything science-based is a hoax to the depiction of a certain political party, it all felt just a little too real.
I decided to root for the comet. I don’t know what that says about my mental health. Regardless, great movie, I enjoyed it despite the discomfort, and the acting was fantastic. It clocks in at over two hours but doesn’t actually feel that long.
All Of Us Are Dead (지금 우리 학교는) – Zombie series (on Netflix)
I’m going to do my very best to sum up my reaction to this incredibly, amazingly, well done show.
I watched this show as quickly as I could, although I wish I had started it on a Friday night – because I absolutely would have binged all 12-ish hours of it in one weekend. Back when I watched The Walking Dead for the very first time, I thought, “WOW, I have never seen anything like this.” That’s the exact reaction I had to All Of Us Are Dead as well. I have never seen anything like this on TV ever.
The first 45 minutes of episode one have a bit of zombie* background information but most of it is introducing us to the main characters. The final 15 minutes covers the start of the outbreak. The show does not slow down at all for the remaining 11 episodes. I can best describe this series as a 12-hour panic attack. It was incredible. I loved this show so very much.
I don’t even want to say much else because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Just know that it’s a wild ride, the main characters are wonderful (and imperfect which makes them believable), and the show is scary as hell. Also, they way they wrapped it up before rolling the final credits was perfect. They CAN leave it there and it’s a totally satisfactory ending; they can also do a season two in a very natural way without making it seem like they’re just trying to cash in.
I will probably watch this show again some day.
*Zombie is probably a good catch-all term but in all honesty these non-human creatures are more similar to those in 28 Days Later, which is technically more rage than zombie, but to-may-to, to-mah-to, either way it was top quality.
The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window – thriller/whodunit (on Netflix)
Super-long title aside, this was an enjoyable little binge-fest for me.
The season is only 8 episodes, and they are all well under half an hour each, so you can watch the entire series in less than four hours of your time. It’s pretty fast-paced too, so it feels even shorter. I don’t watch or read a lot of this genre but it does have one of my favourite plot-lines for the times that I do: The Unreliable Narrator.
If you’ve ever read (or watched, though I did not see the movie) The Girl on the Train it is very similar in the sense that Anna, the main character is not a reliable narrator. She is a heavy drinker, on medication that can cause hallucinations, and she has a hyperactive imagination compounded by grief. Every time to see something through her eyes, you are left wondering if it really happened, if she thinks it happened, or if she just imagined it altogether.
One thing to keep in mind – it’s not meant to be a serious mystery thriller. It’s got a lot of “wtf” humour in it and it’s actually a bit of a parody of the thriller genre. That being said, the final episode was a bit on the silly side (I’d use the old expression “jumped the shark” to be honest) but it was a fun show. As a bonus, it stars Kristen Bell, and I absolutely love her. Not sure there will be a season two, this would work well as a one-and-done limited series.
Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰) – K-Drama (on Netflix)
It took me an episode or two, and then I was all in on this one.
I had heard good things about Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰) so I knew to hang on even when I wasn’t fully convinced at the beginning. It’s the story of Sae-ro-yi, an ex-con who doesn’t even have a high school education, and his pursuit of his dream to open a pub. There’s so much more to it than that though. It’s also a story of the revenge he seeks against the people who destroyed his life and put him in prison in the first place. For me the best part was watching a character who had started off as very standoff-ish change into someone with a tight circle of friends and confidants. I rooted for him all the way through this show and was sad to see it end.
Everglow (빛나는 순간) – Korean drama film (not currently streaming)
Sadly, Everglow is not currently streaming on any of the major platforms. I was fortunate to have a free screening at home courtesy of the Korean Culture Centre of Canada. Hopefully it will be available on some streaming services soon because this was a delightful film.
This movie shows Kyung-hoon arriving in Jeju, heart set on filming a documentary about the area’s best female free diver, Jin-ok (Ko Doo-sim). Too bad she is dead-set against being involved in any way. We get to see him working his magic to convince her, and over the days and weeks that follow, they develop a charming friendship.
Escape Room – Suspense film (Netflix)
Escape Room was listed on Netflix as a horror movie, but really it’s more horror-adjacent. It’s much more of a scary suspense or thriller film. We meet six strangers who all receive an invitation to challenge themselves to a fully immersive escape room experience with a $10,000 prize on the table. They soon realize that the escape rooms aren’t immersive – they’re real and not escaping means death.
Who will make it out alive?
It was definitely an exciting movie. I’ve done one escape room before and I loved it, but I definitely won’t be accepting any random invitations to participate in one any time soon.
Mad For Each Other (이 구역의 미친) – K-drama (Netflix)
Stay tuned for more updates on my list of 2022 K-Dramas, Movies, and other shows