From 'Criminal Minds' to 'Woori The Virgin': 5 K-drama remakes to watch


(From left) The World Of The Married, Designated Survivor: 60 Days and Woori The Virgin. Photos: Handout

One of the highly anticipated K-dramas of 2022 is Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, which is the remake of the Spanish hit series La Case De Papel.

However, the response has been mixed since the K-drama premiered on Netflix on June 23.

Kim Hong-sun, the director of Money Heist: Korea said he was surprised that some viewers were disappointed with the remake as there were too many similarities to the original version.

"I believe the process of making a remake involves keeping the characteristics of the original, retelling the story of the previous production, but using a different cast and setting.

“If these elements are not involved, then the series cannot call itself a remake. It would be a completely different series,” Kim defended his drama in a recent online interview.

Filming remakes is indeed a tricky thing. While K-drama are fond of adapting webtoons to TV series, a few of them over the years are remakes of popular TV series from other countries.

While some have found success in translating the series to a Korean setting, others have fizzled.

We take a look at some notable K-drama remakes.

1. Designated Survivor: 60 Days

This 2019 release is based on the American TV show, Designated Survivor that starred Kiefer Sutherland and Maggie Q.

Actor Ji Jin-hee plays the role of the minister of environment who has to step up as acting president of South Korea for 60 days when the country's leader – as well as all of his successors – are killed in an explosion.

The show was a critical success as fans found the political drama to be engaging and packed with suspense. While the US series ran for three seasons, the Korean version wrapped it up in 16 episodes.

In 2019, the series won Best Adaptation Of An Existing Format at the Asian Academy Creative Awards. (Available on Netflix)

2. Criminal Minds: Korea

Just like Money Heist: Korea, the Korean version of Criminal Minds, aired in 2017, received criticism for following too closely to the original American series.

But that didn't stop viewers from tuning in to the procedural, largely because of the lead actor, heartthrob Lee Joon-gi who plays one of the members of the profilers in the National Criminal Investigation team. Their mission is to track down depraved criminals in Korea. (Viu)

3. Suits

A remake of the American legal drama, this 2018 Korean series stars Jang Dong-gun and Park Hyung-sik. Jang plays a talented lawyer who recruits a young go-getter with a brilliant memory but lacks one important thing – a law degree. Watch how these two navigate the cut-throat legal world.

Most reviews of the show state that the show does justice to the US version. While it sticks to the original framework, there are tweaks here and there to keep viewers who are familiar with the American version something new to watch out for.

And if you're curious as to which Korean actress stars in the role originally portrayed by Meghan Markle in the US version, it is Ko Sung-hee.

Most reviews of the K-drama 'Suits' state that the show does justice to the US version. Photo: HandoutMost reviews of the K-drama 'Suits' state that the show does justice to the US version. Photo: Handout

4. The World Of The Married

When The World Of The Married premiered in March of 2020 – at the beginning of the pandemic – it received huge ratings. In fact, it was the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.

It stars Kim Hee-ae as a doctor who has a seemingly perfect family life until she discovers her husband (played by Park Hae-joon) is having an affair behind her back. She spirals out of control as she seeks revenge.

The series, a remake of British hit series Doctor Foster (which ran for two seasons), was nominated for five awards at the Baeksang Arts Awards, winning two – Best Director and Best Actress for Kim. (Netflix and Viu)

'The World Of The Married' is a remake of BBC's psychological thriller, 'Doctor Foster'. Photo: Handout'The World Of The Married' is a remake of BBC's psychological thriller, 'Doctor Foster'. Photo: Handout

5. Woori The Virgin

This K-drama is a remake of the US comedy Jane The Virgin, which itself was a remake of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen.

While the South American telenovela has 153 episodes and the American version ran for five seasons (and 100 episodes), the Korean one stops at 16 episodes.

Which probably is a good thing as the review for the K-drama is mediocre.

"The Korean version of Jane The Virgin is an easy, light-hearted watch – even if it does get cringeworthy from time to time," says NME.

Actress Im Soo-hyang plays Woori, a 30-year-old virgin (in the US version, she's 23) who is accidentally artificially inseminated at the OB-GYN clinic. Now, she's carrying the child of the CEO of a cosmetics company ... Uh-oh. (Viu)

'Woori The Virgin' is the remake of the US comedy 'Jane The Virgin'. Photo: Handout 'Woori The Virgin' is the remake of the US comedy 'Jane The Virgin'. Photo: Handout

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