K-dramas are usually written off as fluffy, feel-good romances, but some of these are gripping tales with a twist of science fiction. If you are one with a penchant for mind-bending realities with your K-drama binge, here are 10 that should be on your watchlist!
Life on Mars
This 2018 OCN drama is a remake of the BBC series of the same name. It’s a story about a modern-day detective and forensics expert, Han Tae-joo (Jung Kyung-ho), who gets involved in a dangerous case where he ends up getting shot. This knocked him unconscious, and when he finally came to his senses, he found out that he traveled back in time all the way to 1988. However, it’s also possible that he’s in a coma fighting for his life and everything and everyone around him are just delusions produced by his troubled mind. He’s not really sure what’s going on, but the only way to stay alive is to adapt to these unusual circumstances. But along the way, he also ends up unwinding a mystery in his own past.
A Cyborg in Love
Kim Joo-Sung (Choi Kyu-hyun) is a brilliant, young scientist and computer programmer who is in love with Oh Bong-soon (Yoon So-hee), his beautiful, kind and intelligent co-worker. She’s the perfect woman, except she’s not really a woman, and Bong-soon is unaware that she is actually a cyborg. Bong Soon is the cyborg Joo-Sung created, the prototype of the BS Project funded by his friend. She was designed to shut down if she begins to fall in love, therefore overriding her own cyborg feelings. When Bong-soon falls for Joo-sung he has the heart-breaking choice to either allow her to love him to death or remove himself from her life so she can continue to “live”.
This 2017 sci-fi mystery thriller is about twin brothers, Kim Woo Jin (Yeo Jin Goo) and Kim Bum Gyun (Ahn Woo Yeon), who get embroiled in a conspiracy about a piece of alien technology. They learned that the recent suicides at Woo Jin’s school may be linked to their past and to an alien that appeared in front of them when they were children. While Woo Jin and Han Jeon Yeon (Gong Seung Yeon) are the central characters who are out to solve the mystery in Part 1: Beta Project; Detective Kim Joon Hyuk (Kim Kang Woo) and Lee Ho Soo (Lee Gi Kwang) are the main focus of Part 2: The Brave New World. In this part of the story, the pair investigates a murder in what was supposed to be a crimeless city in 2037. Turns out that the crime has deep connections to the events that happened in 2017.
Choi Go-bong (Yang Dong-geun) became a widower when his wife died of childbirth seven years ago. As an expert in artificial intelligence and robotics, he develops a humanoid Borg Mom, as a surrogate mother to his young son, Choi Yool. When the young boy enters a prestigious kindergarten, the borg mom meets other mothers who are vain and pretentious. Go-bong had to go to great lengths to make sure that nobody finds out about his creation. So, he had to develop a better program for the borg mom. Things sure were tense and interesting as Go-bong tries to keep up the act.
I’m Not a Robot
This story is about Kim Min-kyu (Yoo Seung-ho), a man who is allergic to human contact. For so long, he has learned to keep a safe distance because close interactions can potentially be a life-and-death situation for him. This led him to live like a hermit. When a humanoid robot was brought to his house for him to review as a potential investor, he didn’t know that this was actually a real woman named Jo Ji-ah (Chae Soo-bin). The team behind it had to make the drastic switch after their actual robot, which was modeled after Ji-ah, got broken by accident. As Ji-ah stays cooped up in the house with him, she starts to fall in love with Min-kyu after knowing the person behind the quirks. On one hand, Ji-ah’s company led Min-kyu to slowly break out of his shell and even find love.
Are You Human Too?
Oh Laura (Kim Sung-ryung) is a brilliant scientist who specializes in AI and robotics. This turned out to be very helpful expertise when her son, Nam Shin (Seo Kang Joon), was brutally assaulted and left in a coma. As the heir to one of the nation’s richest families, Nam Shin stands to inherit the family’s business empire. Worried that Nam Shin might get overlooked as the heir while in a vegetative state, Laura takes the risky decision to create an android replacement for her son. Now with this apparent return, the family hires Kang So Bong (Gong Seung-yeon), a mixed martial arts expert to be his bodyguard. Unfortunately, things get complicated when So Bong falls for this lifelike android replacement.
Memories of Alhambra
Tagged as one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable TV history, Memories of Alhambra offers a creative plot about a new and intricate augmented reality game. It all started when Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin) received an e-mail about a groundbreaking AR game about medieval battles in Alhambra. As the CEO of an investment company that specializes in optical devices, he was drawn to this project which brought him all the way to Granada, Spain to meet the creator Jung Se-joo (Park Chan-yeol). But Se-joo went missing and he only met his sister Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin-hye), the owner of the hostel he stays in and a former guitarist. Both of them got caught up in mysterious incidents that blurred the lines between the real world and the virtual reality created by Se-joo.
My Absolute Boyfriend
This 2019 sci-fi / rom-com drama is based on a Japanese manga series. It centers around Um Da Da (Bang Min-ah), a special effects make-up artist who has been secretly dating the up-and-coming actor, Ma Wang Joon (Hong Jong-hyun), for 7 years. However, after several incidents, Da Da’s belief in love crumbled which pushed her to break up with Wang Joon. Barely moving on from her breakup, she ends up meeting Yeong Gu (Yeo Jin-goo), a humanoid robot programmed to be a perfect boyfriend. Interestingly enough, Yeong Gu begins to develop human emotions and gets involved in a love triangle with Wang Joon and Da Da.
This time-warping drama takes place in the year 2015. Lee Jin-Woo (Lee Seo-Jin) works as a reporter, who dedicated his life to pursue only the truth. His life takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious phone call connects him with Seo Jung In (Lee Joo Young), a woman who claims to be living five years in the future. They were able to connect via a phone call, through which they try to prevent the death of South Korea President Seo Ki-Tae (Kim Young-Chul), who is also Seo Jung-In’s father. As they run after the masterminds behind this evil plot, Lee Jin-Woo and Seo Jung-In are in for a shocking revelation. .
SF8 is a science fiction anthology series of eight dramas created by MBC, the Directors Guild of Korea, and the OTT platform WAVVE. It tells the stories of people living in a utopian world marked by augmented reality and artificial intelligence. These thought-provoking stories hide under the guise of comedy while addressing virtual reality, horror, and fantasy. Each episode is directed by a different director tasked with bringing each story to life with their own take of how humanity interacts with technology.