The Hallyu wave continues to sweep over the world. And the latest institution to be swooned by the K-ent industry's vivid, stylized visuals and deep storylines—not to mention gorgeous stars—is the global entertainment company Walt Disney Studios.
If you're a fan of Korean pop culture, prepare to binge-watch to your heart's desire in the coming months, as the studio is bringing exclusive Korean content to Disney+ this December and beyond.
The diverse lineup, announced at the Disney Content Showcase 2022 attended by PhilSTAR L!fe, features new psycho-thrillers, action-adventure, romance dramas, and K-pop docuseries that'll give you a good ride right off your screen.
To get you started, here are all the shows that comprise Disney's 2023 K-drama offerings that are worth staying in and staying tuned for throughout the year,
Disney's 2023 K-drama slate is kicking off with the psycho-thriller Connect. The series stars Jung Haein as Ha Dongsoo, an immortal human otherwise known as "connect" or one who has the supernatural ability to reconnect or mend their body when damaged.
Dongsoo is kidnapped by a gang of organ harvesters and loses his right eye to them. He later discovers that he can still see through his missing eye, which is now owned by a serial killer causing mayhem in Seoul.
Japanese director Miike Takashi, Haein, and fellow cast members Ko Kyungpyo and Kim Hyejun were present at the 2022 Disney Content Showcase to share their experiences filming the suspenseful series and why it's a must-watch for K-drama and crime mystery fans alike.
According to Haein, Connect is different from all other shows he starred in as it challenged him to give his all, especially in shooting scenes that required the use of computer graphics. "I really had to work well because it was not an easy task. I tried to engage myself in endless imagination acting out those scenes," the Snowdrop and D.P. star said during the event.
While working on those scenes was "a little bit awkward" and "uncomfortable" for him, Haein admitted being able to pull it through as the ambiance on set was happy and fun. "The director and the crew and cast were all considerate," he added.
In addition to the show's complex plot, which further honed his acting skills, Haein found the character of Dongsoo as one he can resonate with and one worth looking out for.
"When I played the character of Dongsoo, I thought I had solitude for this character," the actor said. "He's a good-hearted man, but later this character sees the ability in him and once he uses it for the good and when he learns to do that, he constantly thinks to do that—to do good deed... He's something that wants to become a hero. And he wants bad things from happening."
Apart from its cunning and complex plot, Big Bet is a must-watch for Pinoy Hallyu fans as some of its scenes were shot in the Philippines. The show tells the story of how Cha Mu Sik (Choi Min Sik) rose to the top as a casino mogul but later hits rock bottom due to a chain of unfortunate events.
Big Bet is directed by Kang Yunsung and features Korean stars Lee Donghwi and Heo Sungtae alongside Choi. It was initially set for a November premiere but Disney announced during last week's showcase that the show is finally streaming on Dec. 21.
Call It Love
If you prefer romance—or are simply a fan of Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo star Lee Sungkyoung—then Call It Love should be on your marathon list.
Directed by Lee Kwangyoung, the romance drama follows Woojoo (Sungkyoung) as she seeks revenge on her father's mistress after his sudden death. Things get complicated when Woojoo finds herself falling in love with the son (played by Kim Youngkwang) of the woman who ruined her life.
While the drama is set to bring in some kilig, director Lee said that the story's slow and steady timeframe is what makes it worth checking out.
"It's not like you fall in love at first sight, and there's no episode where you inevitably fall in love, but it's like they permeate into each other. So it's like a love that's very slow. It's not like a fancy, exciting [series], but later on they (characters) just realize that 'Oh, that was love' and 'We were in love," Lee said.
Up for some action? You can get your fill by watching Moving when it drops on Disney+ in 2023. Starring Ryu Seungryong, Han Hyojoo, and Zo Insung, Moving is based on a popular webtoon by Kang Full, which tells the story of three teenagers who discover they’ve inherited unusual powers from their secret agent parents.
The Worst of Evil
Another action drama on Disney's 2023 Korean slate is The Worst of Evil. This crime series is set in the '90s and follows an investigative task force as they infiltrate drug cartels.
Actor Ji Chang Wook plays the role of a police officer who goes undercover for the investigation, while actress Im Se Mi plays a female police officer who joins him in the mission. Wi Ha Joon, on the other hand, will portray the task force's nemesis and drug lord Jung Ki Chul.
Buckle up for an adventure that crosses borders as the story will begin in Seoul and later extend throughout Korea, as well as China and Japan.
Missing 2020's Itaewon Class and 2021's Start-Up? 2023 will likewise inspire you to work hard and never give up on your career through Disney's upcoming K-drama RACE.
Written by acclaimed screenwriter Kim Roori, RACE focuses the spotlight on Park Yoon Jo (Lee Yunhee) who unleashes her potential after discovering she was hired at her top-tier publicity company because of her lack of academic background. But things won't go easy for the driven marketer as Yoon Jo will find herself embroiled in office politics with the smart yet lazy Ryu Jae Min (Hong Jonghyun).
BTS MONUMENTS: BEYOND THE STAR
2023 is your year to see more of Jin, Suga, J-hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, ARMYs! Walt Disney Studios has announced during its content showcase that BTS will be having a docuseries exclusive to Disney+.
BTS MONUMENTS: BEYOND THE STAR, as Disney said,will chronicle the incredible journey of BTS, with footage delving into the K-pop supergroup's "daily lives, thoughts, and plans as they prepare for their second chapter."
In the teaser the studio released during the showcase and on YouTube, Suga said that the series features stories of their growth and music from their debut in 2013 to today. Expect your purple hearts to flutter yet again, ARMY, as V said the show packs "candid stories that have never been told."
SUPER JUNIOR: THE LAST MAN STANDING
Hot on the heels of their 2022 comeback, Super Junior is out to delight Filo ELFs once again with the release of their new docuseries, SUPER JUNIOR: THE LAST MAN STANDING, on Disney+ in 2023.
The series will take viewers on a behind-the-scenes journey from their debut in November 2005 up until their success as the "King of Hallyu Wave" in addition to offering "new insights into the modern K-pop industry."
NCT 127 The Lost Boys
NCTzens, assemble! Apart from K-pop icons BTS and Super Junior, Disney is launching an exclusive docuseries for NCT 127 titled NCT 127 The Lost Boys.
The show, according to Disney, "will track the band's growth over the years" while chronicling Mark, Johnny, and Yuta's backstage moments during their 2022-2023 World Tour.
J-hope Solo Documentary (working title)
Last but not the least, here's another BTS content to liven up your binge-watch list, ARMYs! In 2023, Disney is dropping an exclusive docuseries following BTS' J-hope during his 2022 Lollapalooza performance, the development of his first solo album, Jack in the Box, and his listening party. It's a must-watch for ARMYs, especially with the "never-before-seen interviews" Disney will feature in the show.