South Korean Remakes of Popular Western Films and Series


Film and series adaptations have been a thing for many years now in the industry. Well, while there are varying opinions on whether adaptati...
Film and series adaptations have been a thing for many years now in the industry. Well, while there are varying opinions on whether adaptations are better than the original ones or vice versa, we can agree that both adapted and original movies have the power to reach the spotlight and be loved by many through amazing, quality production. Several movies and dramas originating from the U.S and Europe took Asia by storm, like South Korea, which resulted in an inspiration to adapt western movies and transform them into something of their own.

If you’re a movie-goer, you’ll definitely love and be intrigued by this list of five Western films and series remade in South Korea.

1. Original: Doctor Foster (U.K)
    Remake: The World of Married (2020)


Doctor Foster is a mystery-drama series that ran for two seasons from 2015 until 2017 under the creation and writing of Mark Bartlett. Starring Suranne Jones, Bertie Carvel and Tom Taylor, the story revolves around a doctor who suspects her husband of having an affair where a striking turn of events followed including violence after a series of unraveled truths.

The drama won and has been nominated for various prestigious film and TV awards such as the BAFTA Awards, Bafta TV craft, British Screenwriters’ Awards, Broadcast Awards UK, National TV Awards and many more. Truly, it marks how impactful the drama was not just in the UK, but also worldwide.


Following the success of Doctor Foster, The World of Married was then produced based on the original UK drama under the direction of Mo Wan-il and Kim Sung-jin and written by Joo Hyun. Starring Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-joon and Han So-hee, the adaptation became a smash-hit and a record-breaking drama series which led to winning and being nominated for numerous major awards like the Asian Television Awards, Baek Sang Awards and Busan International Film Festival.

2. Original: 17 Again (US)
    Remake: 18 Again (2020)


17 Again is a 2009 fantasy comedy (with a bit of romance) that Burr Steers directed, and Jason Filardi wrote. Starring Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, and Leslie Mann, the movie is about the main character, Mike O'Donnell, who is ungrateful about how his life has turned out. One day, he gets a chance to turn around his life when he tried to save a janitor near a bridge and jumped after him into a time vortex.

In 2020, the movie was remade into a K-drama we know of, which is 18 Again. The adaptation was directed by Ha Byung Hoon and starred Kim Ha Neul, Yoon Sang Hyun and Lee Do Hyun. Many fans adored the stunning performances of the cast and in fact, Lee Do Hyun was the most recognized since he won the Baeksang Arts Award for Best New Actor in TV in 2021. Story-wise, as expected with movie adaptations, there were some twists and turns in the series that weren't present in the original, which made 18 Again more intriguing and exciting for fans. Though the series is already finished, fans can still watch it on Netflix, iQIYI and Viu.

3. Original: Criminal Minds (US)
    Remake: Criminal Minds (2017)


Criminal Minds is an action, crime, and police procedural TV series that ran for 15 years from 2005 to 2020. Jeff Davis was the director and Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness, and A.J. Crook starred in it. As of date, the series has a total of 324 episodes for the entire 15 seasons. The story is about the cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation's most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.

The show was such a hit that many fans continuously binge-watch the series and even have a myriad of fan fiction dedicated to the casts of the show. Criminal Minds was nominated and has also won various prestigious awards, such as Primetime Emmy Awards, ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, BMI Film and TV Awards, California on Location Awards, and so much more.


In 2017, the original series was remade in South Korea broadcasted on tvN, written by Hong Seung-Hyun, directed by Yang Yun-Ho and Lee Jung-Hyo. The adaptation had a total of 20 episodes starring Lee Joon-gi, Son Hyun-joo, Moon Chae-won, Yoo Sun, Lee Sun-bin with Go Yoon and Kim Yeong-cheol.

4. Original: Money Heist / La Casa De Papel (Spain)
    Remake: Money Heist: Joint Economic Area (2022)


Money Heist, created by Alex Pina, is a Spanish heist crime drama series that revolves around a series of long-prepared heists led by the Professor: one on the Royal Mint of Spain, and one on the Bank of Spain, told from the perspective of one of the robbers, Tokyo. The series ran from 2017 to 2021 for five seasons. Money Heist became a worldwide phenomenon where fans all over the world swoon over the cast, dominated social media by storm, and fans jive with the series’ theme song, Bella Ciao. The series became such a hit that a documentary was created, Money Heist: The Phenomenon.

Money Heist stars Álvaro Morte, Úrsula Corberó, Pedro Alonso, Itziar Ituño, Jaime Lorente, Miguel Herrán, Alba Flores, Esther Acebo, Darko Perić and Najwa Nimri. The show was awarded and was recognized by many awards shows such as the International Emmy Awards, Spanish Actors Union, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Camille Awards, Fotogramas de Plata, and many more.


This year, an adaptation of the series was announced in South Korea, which is Money Heist: Joint Economic Area. According to Netflix, “The special teaser ignites curiosity and hype about how the global hit series, La Casa de Papel, will translate into Korean context. Money Heist: Korea-Joint Economic Area will air in 2022, only on Netflix.” The teaser captures the story of a strategist and his group of thieves attempting to pull off a heist in the Korean peninsula. It also shows the Professor, played by Yoo Ji-tae, in front of a wall lined with masks – traditional Korean masks, and the Salvador Dali mask from the original series (Business Today, 2022).

5. Original: Designated Survivor (US)
    Remake: Designated Survivor: 60 Days (2017)


Designated Survivor, created by David Guggenheim, is a political thriller drama television series that aired for three seasons from 2016 to 2019, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto and Italia Ricci. The story is about a low-level Cabinet member who becomes the President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the line of succession. Primarily, the series was first broadcast on ABC and then exclusively on Netflix for the third and final season.


In 2019, Designated Survivor: 60 Days was remade based on the original series directed by Yoo Jong-sun and written by Kim Tae-hee. Starring Jin-hee Ji, Joon-ho Huh, and Kang Han-na, the K-drama aired on tvN and Netflix from July 1 to August 20, 2019.

This article is written by Cathrine Grace S. Alcachupas, a Digital Marketing Department Intern of PS Media Enterprise and an AB Communication student in De La Salle University-Dasmarinas.



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item South Korean Remakes of Popular Western Films and Series
South Korean Remakes of Popular Western Films and Series
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