Apple TV has just launched their first original Korean drama ‘Dr Brain’, but why could this series be a catalyst for a much-needed investment in the industry?

K-dramas had always been a niche genre of television with Western audiences that struggled to break into the mainstream entertainment industry.

However, that all started to change in 2019 when ‘Parasite’ defied all expectations to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards; opening up the world to Korean entertainment.

Fast forward to 2021 and ‘Squid Game’ is now the most-watched Netflix title in history with over 142 million households streaming the deadly tournament.

This week, a brand-new Korean series called ‘Dr Brain’ launches through Apple TV, but this show is more than just a drama… it’s potentially a catalyst for a K-revolution.

Dr. Brain | Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Dr. Brain | Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Dr Brain on Apple TV…

Apple TV has just launched their first ever Korean series, a science fiction thriller called ‘Dr Brain’ starring Parasite lead actor Lee Sun-Kyun and produced by Kim Jee-Won.

The series tells the story of a doctor who invents a way to see and experience the memories of a recently deceased person using brain waves. However, after his family falls victim to a mysterious tragedy, Doctor Sewan starts to hallucinate about the dead’s memories as he searches for clues about what really happened during the accident that took his son.

The six-episode series premiered in the US on November 3rd and launches for international viewers on November 4th – see more information here.

As the global excitement for Dr Brain continues to mount, fans need to realise the importance of this series; it’s not just about one K-drama, it’s about ALL K-dramas.

Competition breeds creativity…

Whilst it is a rather obvious statement, competition breeds creativity, it’s exactly what the Korean drama industry has been craving for the past several years.

If you were located outside Asia and wanted to watch the latest Korean dramas, the main go-to streaming platform was always Netflix – who invested an incredibly $500 million into K-dramas in 2021.  

Historically, the streaming giant has only produced a few original Korean titles themselves, instead focusing on licensing the series and simulcasting them in accordance with their television broadcast in Asia.

However, Apple TV investing a significant amount of resources in the production of Dr Brain demonstrates how major entertainment companies from around the world are now starting to see the full potential of bringing K-dramas to a global audience.

This is fantastic news, not only for the production studios in South Korea, but for fans of excellent Korean content…The more streaming platforms like Netflix and Apple TV that invest in Korean entertainment, the more series can be produced.

This is especially the case when you consider these are only two of the major platforms; with Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Hulu also having their own ridiculously deep pockets.

Yet this only tells half the story, as the actual quality of production would also see an improvement across the board as more money is invested. Whilst every fellow K-drama fan will berate you about how good the industry has become; we will also admit that there is a plethora of mediocre shows out there.

Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Apple TV are going to invest more in Korean dramas and whilst fans around the world are begging for more K-content anyway, companies are finally aware of how lucrative hitting the right mark can be.

If Dr Brain is a success for Apple TV, the streaming platform will continue to invest in original Korean titles and will undoubtedly become a rival to Netflix in the K-drama game. This, in turn, will encourage Netflix to invest more themselves in order to retain their own audience as well as inspiring other platforms to jump on the bandwagon.

In conclusion, Dr Brain is not just another Korean series to add to your watch-list, it could be the catalyst for other major streaming companies to finally invest in the industry, catapulting Korean dramas to further global domination.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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