The genre that has been gaining momentum in Korean television industry in recent years is none other than scientific fiction or sci-fi.
With bigger budgets as well as huge support from giant companies such as Netflix, advanced computer-generated imagery is no longer only be found in Hollywood.
These Korean sci-fi television series proved that everything is possible in TV production as long as fans are continuing to watch and money is continuing to be pumped in.
Here are eight South Korean sci-fi dramas you cannot miss out:
1.Circle: Two Worlds Connected (2017)
While sci-fi is already a rare genre in Korean dramas, this K-drama is even rare since it is a dystopian fiction story.
Circle: Two Worlds Connected (2017) is a Korean sci-fi television series starring Yeo Jin-goo, Kim Kang-woo, Gong Seung-yeon and Lee Gi-kwang.
It follows the story of two parallel plots set in the years 2017 and 2037.
The drama begins in 2007 when two fraternal twin brothers Kim Woo-jin and Kim Bum-gyun along with their neuroscientist father Dr Kim Kyu-chul (Kim Joong-ki) witness the arrival of a humanoid alien (Gong Seung-yeon).
The family brings the alien to live with them and the twins become attached to her, calling her ‘Byul’.
In the meantime, Dr Kim is secretly working on Byul, calling it the Beta Project.
One day, Dr Kim and Byul go missing, Bum-gyun believes Byul has taken their father captive while Woo-jin thinks their father has abandoned them.
In 2017, Woo-jin (Yeo Jin-goo) is a college student studying in neuroscience.
When a series of suicides takes place in his campus, Woo-jin believes it somehow linked to his twin Bum-gyun (An Woo-yeon).
As he investigates the case, Woo-jin comes across Han Jung-yeon who looks exactly like Byul.
Jung-yeon, who is a computer science student, is also investigating the multiple suicides.
In 2037, South Korea is now divided into Normal Earth and Smart Earth.
Normal Earth is where crimes are rampant and heavily polluted while Smart Earth is where the city is clean and free of crimes.
A crime detective in Normal Earth Kim Joon-hyuk (Kim Kang-woo) is investigating a pair of twin brothers who went missing in 2017.
2.My Holo Love (2020)
Go Nan-do (Yoon Hyun-min) is a genius inventor and the owner of an IT research company.
However, nobody knows that he is the real owner and all the projects were created by him except for his stepsister and the official CEO.
Meanwhile, Han So-yeon (Ko Sung-hee) is an assistant manager at a glasses company.
Due to her face blindness disorder, she decides to live a reclusive life.
Her lonesome life starts to get exciting when she starts to form a connection with a human-like hologram who looks exactly like his prickly creator Go Nan-do.
As many fiction stories are inspired by real-life events, the scriptwriter Ryu Yong-jae was inspired to write the script after watching the Google DeepMind Challenge Match in 2016.
It was a five-game Go match between 18-time world champion Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo, a computer Go program developed by Google DeepMind played in Seoul, South Korea.
In the historical match, AlphaGo won all but the fourth game.
3.Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
Speaking of gaining inspiration from real-life events, here is a Korean sci-fi drama that is inspired by Pokemon Go and tech mogul Elon Musk.
Memories of the Alhambra (2018) centers around on a company CEO Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin) who get entangled in a series of mysterious incidents surrounding a new and intricate augmented reality game inspired by the stories of the real-life Alhambra Palace.
Together with Jung Hee-joo (Park Shin-hye) the sister of the creator of the game, the border between the real world and the AR world of the game becomes blur.
Today, it is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history known gaining praises for its creative plot and its unexpected twists.
Moreover, this Korean sci-fi series is the first drama based on AR gaming.
4.Are you Human? (2018)
Laura Oh (Kim Sung-ryung) is a scientist who is one of South Korea’s leading names in robotic and artificial intelligence.
She is also married into one of the richest families and her son Nam Shin (Seo Kang-joon) is expected to inherit the family business.
Things take a different turn when Nam Shin gets into accident and slips into coma.
To secure his position as the heir, Laura sends one of her creations Nam Shin III pose as Nam Shin.
The family also hires former mixed martial arts fighter Kang So-bong (Gong Seung-yeon) as his bodyguard.
So-bong, unknowingly falls in love with the lifelike robot.
Like many Korean sci-fi dramas that circle around artificial intelligence, the series highlights the main question, ‘Can an AI replaces human intelligence?’
In 2050, the organisation Alice is formed to send clients back through time to see deceased loved ones to find peace and closure.
In the same time, they also work as police time incursions.
Alice agents Yoon Tae-yi (Kim Hee-sun) and Yoo Min-hyuk (Kwak Si-yang) travelled to the year 1992 Seoul to search for The Book of Prophecy.
It is a book that predicts the fates of certain people and end of time travel.
However, a rogue group called Teacher that manipulates time found young Tae-yi and murdered her father for the book.
Right before he passed away, the father gives the final page to young Tae-yi before her adult counterpart arrived.
Later, Tae-yi find out that she is pregnant with Min-hyuk’s child. Min-hyuk asks her to abort the baby because the radiation caused by time traveling can cause serious defects to the child.
Tae-yi then disappears with her child. Under a new identity as Park Sun-young, she raises her son Park Jin-gyeom (Joo Won) as a single mother.
In 2010, the young Jin-gyeom find his mother murdered and vows to find her killer.
As an adult, he becomes a detective and slowly learns about time travelling, Alice, Teacher and the truth about his mother’s death.
This drama follows the story of Kang Gi-beom (Choi Jin-hyuk).
He is an elite police officer who is trying to bring down one of South Korea’s largest criminal organisations, Argos.
Argos, instead sends a hitman to kill Gi-beom’s wife, blinds him and even frames him for the murder.
Later, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) recruit Gi-beom to join a special task force called Rugal.
This special team consists of members who are equipped with biotechnology which give them superhuman abilities.
Gi-beom for instance, receives two artificial eyeballs to regain and enhance his sight.
Using his new identity, Gi-beom is set to clear his name and gains his revenge.
7.L.U.C.A The Beginning (2021)
Here is another Korean sci-fi drama circles around biotechnology.
Ji-oh (Kim Rae-won) has a secret. He has extraordinary power and fighting skills but he does not know who he really is and how he got his power.
While looking for answers about his identity, he is chased by mysterious figures.
He later learns about a mysterious group of scientists at an institution named Human Tech.
The group conducts a secretive genetics and biotech project codenamed L.U.C.A.
Ji-oh’s only ally is Ha Neul-ae-goo-reum. She is a police detective who is searching for her missing parents.
8.Sisyphus: The Myth (2021)
This time travel story centers around a genius engineer Han Tae-sul (Cho Seung-woo) and his saviour from the future Gang Seo-Hae (Park Shin-hye).
Tae-sul is the CEO of Quantum and Time Company. After his older brother dies, he tries to uncover the truth behind his death.
His journey leads him to come across a time-traveler Seo-hae.
Seo-hae, in the mean time is an elite warrior and skillful sharpshooter from the future.
Her mission to travel back to the past is to save Tae-sul and prevent him from inventing the Uploader, a time machine which is capable of sending both human and objects including a nuclear weapon to the past.
The Silent Sea (2021)
Here is an upcoming Korean sci-fi mystery thriller series that you need to watch out for.
It stars Gong Yoo, Bae Doona and Lee Joon.
It is an adaptation from the 2014 short film The Sea of Tranquility.
The story follows a special team sent to secure a mysterious sample from an abandoned research facility called Balhae Base which located on the moon.
Gong Yoo plays the role of Han Yoon-jae, the exploration team leader.
Bae Doona takes up the role of Dr Song Ji-an. She is an astrobiologist who wants to uncover the truth behind the accident that caused Balhae Base to be abandoned.
With only eight episodes, the series will air on Netflix in 2021.