As Korean dramas gain explosive popularity all over the world, several over-the-top (OTT) platforms are jumping in to secure streaming rights. Netflix and Viki are the most common video streaming sites for K-drama fans. Another one that is slowly but steadily gaining popularity is iQIYI, the Chinese online video platform that is one of the biggest in the world.
Recently, several Korean dramas have begun streaming exclusively on iQIYI, leading to K-drama fans flocking to the website. The platform is also diving into producing original Korean dramas that fans can watch exclusively on the website. Let’s have a look at the K-dramas available on iQIYI in 2021, as well as some exciting upcoming titles.
This coming-of-age KBS2 drama is a campus story about an unlikely trio who form the sweetest of friendships. Yeo Jun (Park Ji-hoon) is a freshman who seems to have everything from wealth to good looks but hides an important part of his life from the world. Nam Soo-hyun (Bae In-hyuk) is a top student but struggles financially and doesn’t make friends. Kim So-bin (Kang Min-ah) is a hard-working student who struggles to stand out and has an unrequited crush. These three people, despite coming from varying social backgrounds, from a strange friendship. At a Distance, Spring Is Green depicts the highs and lows of the lives of people in their 20s. What might look like an idyllic and carefree existence from far away might be a harsh reality for those living their lives.
Another exciting Korean drama currently streaming on iQIYI is KBS2’s Imitation. The show is set amidst the glamour and fashion of the K-pop world, telling the stories of idols in various groups and different stages of their careers. Lee Ma-ha (Jung Ji-so) is a member of a rookie girl group struggling to win attention from the public. Kwon Ryok (Lee Jun-young) is the most popular member of a boy group at the top of its game. The two begin a dangerous relationship that might destroy their careers. La Ri-ma (Park Ji-yeon) is Kwon Ryok’s friend who becomes threatened by his budding romance with Ma-ha. Lee Yu-jin (Jeong Yun-ho) is Ma-ha’s best friend and a rival of Kwon Ryok, who becomes determined to take him and his boy group down. These four idols clash in the name of love.
Monthly Magazine Home is an offering by JTBC that features a hilarious and interesting romance. Yu Ja-seong (Kim Ji-seok) is the owner of the house that Na Young-won (Jung So-min) lives in. She is also the editor of a lifestyle magazine called “Monthly House.” The story unfolds through the perspectives of the various employees of the magazine, including Shin Gyeon (Jung Gun-joo), the photographer, Choi Go (Kim Won-hae), the editor-in-chief, and Yeo Eui-ju (Chae Jung-an), another editor. We also follow Ja-seong and Young-won as they go from two people with opposing views on almost everything to learning more about each other and eventually, developing feelings. This quirky drama is one of the most exciting K-dramas currently streaming on iQIYI, and we can’t wait to tune in.
Lee Hye-ri returned to the small screen as the effervescent university Lee Dam in My Roommate Is a Gumiho, iQIYI’s first original Korean drama. Jang Ki-yong joined her as a 999-year old male gumiho named Shin Woo-yeo. The two end up in an unlikely living arrangement when Lee Dam accidentally swallows Shin’s fox bead. As the unlikely duo spend time together, they learn not to judge a book by its cover. This webtoon adaptation serves peak college humor thanks to the collaboration between two famed directors—Nam Sung-woo (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo) and (as creator) Park Joon-hwa (What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?). Not only is Jang Ki-yong and Hye-ri’s chemistry worth watching, we’ve got another interesting secondary couple in gumiho-turned-human Yang Hye-sun (Kang Han-na) and unlucky-in-love college student Do Jae-jin (Kim Do-wan). To add to the angst, there is Gye Sun-woo (Bae In-hyuk) as the second lead.
If you are a fan of thrillers, this one’s for you. Voice 4 is currently the only thriller among K-dramas available on iQIYI. The story of the emergency 112 call center enters its fourth season with Kang Kwon-joo (Lee Ha-na) still leading the team. Joining her this time is Detective Derek Cho (Song Seung-heon), an Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer. While Kwon-joo deals with PTSD and Derek struggles to stick to his principles, they chase a notorious serial killer who uses his enhanced hearing ability to track people and murder them. Kwon-joo comes face-to-face with someone who shares the same ability as her but is using it to unleash death and destruction. The stakes are even higher this season as the two detectives face various hurdles as they try to nab this unusual serial killer before too many people fall prey.
Cliffhanger (also known as Mount Jiri and Jiri Mountain) is yet to premiere, but this list would be incomplete without a mention of one of the most highly anticipated K-dramas of 2021. Coming to iQIYI soon is this mystery offering starring two of South Korea’s biggest stars—Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon. The two will play mountain rangers at the Jirisan National Park. As they explore the rugged terrain of the mountainous region, they come across mysteries, lost trekkers, killers, and those who want to die. The drama will explore multiple stories in addition to presenting a stunning backdrop and a host of interesting cast members—ncluding Sung Dong-il and Oh Jung-se. Fans of Hallyu (Korean wave) megastar Jun Ji-hyun are waiting to see the actress’ transformation into one of the best-known mountain rangers, as well as her partnership with her confidante Ju Ji-hoon.
How many K-dramas from this list are you watching on iQIYI? Let us know in the comments below!
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