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2023 K-Dramas, Movies, and Other Shows watched this year

Last year I decided to keep a running tally of all the shows and movies that I watched. Most of them were K-dramas or Korean movies, but occasionally I watched media in English or Japanese as well. My reason for watching so much Korean content was partly because I can use it for listening practice; any time I learned new vocabulary or a new grammar point in my Korean classes, I would usually hear something I recognized in my shows. That was pretty rewarding!

Overall though, I just like a good story, something that is fun and entertaining to me, regardless of the language. Keeping a list was my way of remembering what I had seen throughout the year. That way if someone asked me for a recommendation, I had suggestions ready to go.

Here is my list for 2023!

Updated March 27th, 2023
K-dramas, movies, and other shows I watched in 2023

Expect a lot of Korean content, obviously (but not always!)

Peninsula (반도) – Korean zombie film (Amazon Prime with Shudder)

I had been meaning to see the sequel to the incredible zombie outbreak film Train to Busan for awhile but had never gotten around to it. We got a free trial for Shudder and this was the only thing I really wanted to watch! It did not disappoint.

Peninsula Korean Zombie movie

It takes place several years after the outbreak we see in Train to Busan with all new characters (none of the previous characters make an appearance in this one, not even in flashbacks, so the outbreak is the only common thread). The story follows a group of people trying to survive while the zombies still roam about. There are several exciting scenes. As a language learner, I enjoyed hearing one of the characters speaking politely to another up until she realized he had done something that upset her; at that point all respect was lost and she spoke to him informally from there on out. It’s fun to pick up on those things that I wouldn’t catch if I wasn’t studying Korean!

Overall, I’d say that I still love Train to Busan more (I’m slightly biased because I am a huge Gong Yoo fan, but I also preferred the storyline as well), but this was definitely a great movie and I am glad we kicked off the year with this.

Scorpion – English drama/action show (Paramount+)

Totally outside of my frequent K-dramas! George (my husband) started watching this after seeing a few clips on Facebook. He was curious enough that he got a temporary Paramount+ subscription just to see the whole thing.

Scorpion - TV Show

This show aired from 2014-2018. I had seen the first couple of episodes back when it first started, so I joined him in watching it by the time he hit season two; I’ll have to catch the ones I missed before we cancel Paramount+.

It follows a group of genius misfits who are contracted by the American government to solve what seems like un-solvable problems. It’s really over the top and I’m sure a lot of what they do would never actually work, but it was exciting and fun. The downside is that the final episode ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so they obviously weren’t expecting the show to be canceled. It’s too bad it wasn’t wrapped up neatly. Still, an entertaining series, and if someone ever brought it back, I would definitely watch.

Goblin / Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (

쓸쓸하고 찬란하神-도깨비) – K-Drama (Viki)

I watched this last year. It still stands as my all-time favourite K-drama that I have ever seen.

Goblin (or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-Wook are two of my #1 actors and they’re both in this show. I’m watching it again partly because my daughter wanted to see it and partly because it’s just a great comfort show to watch when I feel like getting lost in an amazing storyline. I wrote more about it in my previous media post for 2022.

Fall – Thriller/Survival film (Netflix)

I had heard some vague details about this movie but it wasn’t really on my radar at all. Then a co-worker mentioned she had watched it 3 times with various family members and that it was very intense. Since she recommended it, I suggested it for family movie night.

Fall - Movie

Intense is one word for it. Two other words for it would be holy shit. The movie is about two best friends, mountain climbers and adventurers, who decide to climb a de-commissioned radio tower in the desert. One friend does it to face the fears that have stopped her from climbing and the other does it to fuel her high-risk social media fanbase.

As you can imagine, things do not go well once they climb the 2000 feet (610 meters) that stretch between the ground and a small platform near the top. Most of the movie follows them trying to find a way to get back to the safety of the ground and it never slows down.

I am terrified of heights. When I was a teenager I helped my dad mark spots on my grandmother’s (flat) roof that needed sealing. I couldn’t climb back down the ladder because I was too scared to step out over nothing onto the rungs. That was a really controlled environment and only one floor up. I still couldn’t do it; he had to go in the house and open a window for me to climb through into the second floor landing lol. So watching this movie had me literally sweating, swearing, and clinging to the arm of the couch pretty much the entire time.

Highly recommended if you can deal with the fear factor!

Forgotten (기억의 밤) – Korean thriller/suspense film (Netflix)

This movie was such a brain twister that ended up really surprising me. I hesitate to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Forgotten - Korean thriller/suspense movie

The very basic synopsis is that a family moves in to a new house in Seoul. The younger brother is medicated for anxiety that appears to be triggered by the pressures of studying for Korea’s college entrance exams. One night he witnesses his older brother being abducted by a group of men. He returns home 19 days later with no memories of what has happened to him. However, as time passes, our main character begins to doubt that this man is really his brother.

Who is he? And what happened?

Oh, and as if that’s not enough, when they first move in, their father tells them they are not to go into one specific locked bedroom. The reason given is that the previous owner is storing some belongings in there until he can retrieve them. However, there are strange noises and shadows behind that door. What is going on in there?

I could tell you but that would ruin the story. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Not a horror movie, but definitely quite creepy!

The Glory (더 글로리) Part 1 – K-drama, revenge drama (Netflix)

I can not tell a lie – I love a good revenge storyline. It was part of the reason I loved both Vincenzo and Itaewon Class so much. I’m not sure I’m much of a revenge seeker myself in real life, but I enjoy watching it play out on screen a whole lot.

The Glory - K-Drama

I am currently watching this so I don’t know how it all ends, but our story begins with a poverty-stricken high school student, Dong-Eun who is ruthlessly bullied by a group of her fellow students. In fact, bullying is a mild term for it; it is full on violence. She is helpless to fight back and leaves the school.

She doesn’t forget them though, and she waits for her chance for payback. When she becomes the homeroom teacher for the bully leader’s child, she gets her chance to seek revenge on the people who tormented her so long ago.

I can’t wait to keep watching; the adult version of our main character is played by Song Hye-Kyo. I loved her in Descendants of the Sun and am excited to see her play a very different type of character. Counting down until the second half is released on March 10th – and I’m very grateful to be off for a week as of that day, so I can binge a bit!

Unlocked (스마트폰을 떨어뜨렸을 뿐인데) – Korean suspense film (Netflix)

Oh my god.

This is the perfect movie to watch if you ever wanted to have the intense urge to pitch your phone into the sea and never post on social media or use digital tools ever again.

Unlocked Movie

No but seriously, this movie was great. Na-Mi loses her phone on her way home one night and doesn’t realize until morning. Someone finds it and reaches out to return it to her, which would normally be great news – except the man who has found the phone is extremely dangerous. He manages to install spyware on it (I won’t spoil it by telling you how) and now that Na-Mi has her phone back in her hands, he can track her every move. He watches her on her phone cameras, can hear what she says, monitors her texts, and has access to her entire life.

It is an adrenaline rush for sure, but it definitely makes me feel far less paranoid about the fact that I have a piece of tape covering my laptop’s built-in camera; maybe I should do the same for my phone?

Somebody (썸바디) – K-drama, suspense/thriller (Netflix)

Oh boy, another creepy choice!

Korean Drama Somebody

I really need to start watching lighter shows again!

Somebody follows Kim Sum, a developer who creates the app “Somebody”. The algorithm matches you with the perfect person for you, like Tinder but better! Except humans are experts at learning to manipulate technology when they really want to. A killer uses the app to locate potential targets, turning himself into the perfect match for them.

This show… I don’t know. I wanted to like it, I really did. The concept sounded exciting. In reality, I found it was frequently dull and slow. When something exciting was happening it was great, but for a show about a serial killer there were a lot of really long drawn-out scenes with nothing happening and no one speaking. The acting was fantastic but the show just didn’t do it for me. Episode 6 was SUPER exciting but that was about it.

Also I found it interesting that I really loved two of the side characters (the cop and the shaman) but I found both main characters highly unlikable.

Overall, I was relieved when it was over.

(I should mention that typically K-dramas have a wonderfully slow build-up of romantic tension; sometimes you can wait 10 or 12 episodes before you even see a kiss. THIS show is much more typical of Western shows with some fairly explicit sex scenes. It’s neither good nor bad, but I did want to mention it since it’s quite unusual in Korean shows.)

The Glory (더 글로리) Part 2 – K-drama, revenge drama (Netflix)

I was so excited when the final 8 episodes of this show were released (I am not a fan of this trend of dropping half a show and then releasing the rest later!). I had wanted to binge them in a day or two but couldn’t quite manage it with other things I was doing. However, it only took me 4 days to get through them. How to sum up my thoughts?

The Glory - K-Drama

Oh my god.

I am such a sucker for a good revenge tale and The Glory delivered perfectly. I think this is honestly the best revenge story I have ever seen. Dong-Eun played the long game in this payback and I was here for every second of it. I can’t mention anything that she did to the adults who had been her childhood bullies because I don’t want to spoil a single thing, but suffice it to say, if you like this type of storyline as much as I do, you will love this and you will cheer throughout every one of these final episodes.

For me, The Glory will be filed in my list of top favourite dramas in general, and specifically my top favourite revenge dramas (alongside Vincenzo and Itaewon Class).

The Fabulous (더 패뷸러스) – Romantic Drama (Netflix)

I would call this a coming of age show if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re already into their 20s and have careers. This show follows 4 friends as they chase their fashion world dreams. One is a supermodel, one is a designer, one is a photographer, and one is a PR rep for a fashion agency.

I decided to watch this in a fit of “I need something light” after too many dark shows and movies in a row. Admittedly, part of me chose it because of Minho who happens to be a member of my favourite K-Pop group, Shinee. I honestly didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

This drama makes you believe in the power and strength of strong friendships (“ride or die!”), never giving up on your dreams, and of course true love.

I just wanted to lighten the mood after my recent viewing history, but this may actually be one of my favourite romance dramas that I’ve ever seen.

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