Technology plays a big part in shaping our lives, and if you love imagining how things could turn out in the future, you’re probably already a fan of science fiction! Sci-fi is a broad genre that covers all sorts of concepts including dystopian worlds, bio-engineering, parallel universes, and more. There’s been an uptick in sci-fi K-dramas in recent years, so if you’re in the mood for a little SF for your next K-drama pick, check out the list below.
Must-Watch Sci-Fi K-Dramas
1. Duel (2017)
Who’s in it: Jung Jae Young, Yang Se Jong, Kim Jung Eun, Seo Eun Soo
This exciting crime drama tells the story of Detective Jang Deuk Cheon (Jae Young), whose world shatters when his ill daughter gets kidnapped. He finds his lead in seemingly innocent Lee Sung Joon (Se Jong), who was spotted at the crime scene—along with an unidentified man with the same face as him. But Sung Joon can’t remember anything, so Deuk Cheon works with him to get his memory back. As the story unfolds, a dastardly tale of two clones comes to light, and Deuk Cheon discovers his daughter’s kidnapping is just the tip of the iceberg.
2. Circle: Two Worlds Connected (2017)
Who’s in it: Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Kang Woo, An Woo Yeon, Gong Seung Yeon, Highlight's Lee Ki Kwang
This underrated sci-fi drama is set in two time periods: 2017 and 2037. In 2037, we see a dystopian world where Korea is divided into Normal Earth and Smart Earth. Thanks to groundbreaking technology that records everyone’s memories, Smart Earth is pristine and crime-free, but Detective Kim Joon Hyuk (Kang Woo) uncovers Smart Earth’s web of lies as he investigates an old case about twins disappearing in 2017. We find out what happens in 2017 as we follow the life of a younger twin, neuroscience student Woo Jin (Jin Goo), who can’t help linking a string of suicides at school to his alien-obsessed twin, Bum Gyun (Woo Yeon).
3. Memories Of The Alhambra (2018)
Memories Of The Alhambra is a sci-fi fantasy about augmented reality. It follows the story of Yoo Jin Woo (Hyun Bin), investment company CEO and game developer. He heads to Granada, Spain, to meet Jung Se Joo (Chanyeol), the creator of a breath-taking AR game he wants to invest in. But Se Joo disappears, and Jin Woo is left trying to convince his sister, Hae Joo (Shin Hye), to sell the game. Along the way, Jin Woo finds himself engrossed in playing the game, and the line between what’s real and what’s not starts to blur.
4. My Holo Love (2020)
We love a cute romance drama with a twist! My Holo Love introduces us to Han So Yeon (Sung Hee), a lonely woman who suffers from face blindness disorder but keeps it a secret. Her seeming aloofness makes her the center of office gossip, but all that changes when she meets Holo (Hyun Min), an AI program only she can see when she’s wearing special glasses. Holo is sweet, honest, and caring, helping So Yeon become much more confident than before. But what happens when Holo’s maker, Go Nan Do (Hyun Min), comes into the picture?
5. Train (2020)
Who’s in it: Yoon Shi Yoon, Kyung Soo Jin, Shin So Yul
Detective Seo Do Won (Shi Yoon) is dedicated to capturing criminals, but when the woman he’s loved since they were young, prosecutor Han Seo Kyung (Soo Jin), falls victim to a serial killer, he becomes desperate. On the trail of the killer, he rides a train and suddenly finds himself in a parallel universe where Seo Kyung is a hard-ass detective while he is a corrupt cop everyone despises. Do Won must now find a way to capture the serial killer and protect Seo Kyung while figuring out what one universe has to do with the other.
6. SF8 (2020)
This sci-fi anthology is reminiscent of the popular British series Black Mirror, which tackles similar themes. It features a different cast and story per episode. Gorgeous cinematography makes each ep completely immersive. Some concepts they tackle are nurse robots, AI fortune telling, fusing the human brain with AI, and superhumans. Most of the eps can get pretty dark and emotional, so be prepared because they’ll make you think! If you only have time to watch one drama, we recommend starting with this one.
7. Alice (2020)
Who’s in it: Kim Hee Sun, Joo Won, Kwak Si Yang, Lee Da In
After finishing his mandatory military service, Joo Won returned to the small screen with Alice. He and legendary actress Kim Hee Sun were both nominated for the Grand Prize (Daesang) for their roles in the drama. The story starts in 2050 where the agency Alice helps clients go back in time and get closure, accompanied by Alice agents who prevent transgressions. While agent couple Tae Yi (Hee Sun) and Min Hyuk (Si Yang) are in 1992 to find an important book, Tae Yi discovers she’s pregnant and decides not to go back to the future. She changes her name to Sun Young and raises her son, Jin Gyeom (Joo Won), but a tragedy occurs and he ends up alone. Jin Gyeom becomes a detective and finds himself drawn to the Tae Yi of his timeline, a physicist who looks just like his mother.
8. Sisyphus: The Myth (2021)
Who’s in it: Cho Seung Woo, Park Shin Hye, Chae Jong Hyeop, Sung Dong Il, Tae In Ho
This epic tale has one of the most unique premises we’ve seen in a while—and it’s got killer cinematography and an amazing soundtrack to match. Han Tae Seul (Seung Woo) is a genius engineer and inventor. Despite being the busy CEO of the company Quantum and Time, he is secretly still preoccupied with trying to solve his elder brother’s death. Kang Seo Hae (Shin Hye) is a warrior from the future, where Korea is already a post-war dystopian world. She goes back in time to save Tae Sul from dying and figure out how to prevent the world from turning upside-down. They end up going on the run together as they get chased by agents of the Control Bureau. But something more sinister is afoot, and Tae Sul learns just how big of a role he plays in the world’s destruction. Can he and Seo Hae still save it?
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