One of the biggest Netflix series in the US this week is the new Michelle Yeoh-led crime drama The Brothers Sun — an eight-episode saga about a Taiwanese crime family that’s jam-packed with great fight scenes and also sprinkled with universal family dynamics. Yeoh is, of course, simply fantastic in everything she appears in (note to Disney+, how dare you cancel her American Born Chinese??), and here she gives a great turn as the matriarch of said family.
Eileen, Yeoh’s character, is living in Los Angeles, as is one of her sons, the naive Bruce. He has no idea about the truth of the family’s criminal dealings and has been sheltered from everything — until now. After the head of the family is shot by a mysterious assassin, his eldest son (who’s also a legendary killer) decamps to Los Angeles to protect his mother and brother. Created by Brad Falchuk and Byron Wu, the series explores “what it means to be a son, what it means to be a brother, and also what it means to try and keep a family together,” Falchuk said in a Netflix interview.
“We do an extreme version of it because they’re a crime family and there are people shooting at them and trying to kill them. But the conflicts they’re having — the problems they’re having internally, the emotional problems — are very, very universal.”
The Brothers Sun is currently one of the most-watched series in the US, based on the streaming giant’s latest weekly Top 10 data broken out by countries. Viewers across social media have already begun clamoring for a second season, which the show certainly deserves. In the meantime, though, here are three more Netflix series we recommend watching once you’ve finished The Brothers Sun, in no particular order:
This first Netflix series is so popular that it’s earned itself a rare distinction. Almost no K-drama ever gets a second season — it’s just the way these things go, I suppose because the seasons are extra-long (or at least they feel extra-long), meaning there’s already so much that’s packed in that a second season is often unnecessary. But Gyeongseong Creature, starring two K-drama heavy-hitters, has proven so popular that a season two is officially in the works.
“Set in early 1945 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule,” Netflix’s official summary for the show explains, “the series centers around two young adults who encounter strange creatures born from greed, and then must battle for survival in the city of Gyeongseong — now known as Seoul. But it turns out, there may be something even more dangerous out there than the creatures themselves.”
The stars include Park Seo-jun and Han So-hee. Highly, highly recommended.
Speaking of Netflix series that are coming back for a second season, one of the best Netflix releases of 2023 slipped in just before the year ended. It’s Blue Eye Samurai, an anime series that gobsmacked so many viewers, myself included, with its gripping story, beautiful animation, and exciting action scenes.
As for what it’s about, the show is set in a 17th-century Japan with closed borders. Per Netflix, “Our hero, Mizu (Erskine), knows there were only four white men in Japan at the time of her birth and sets off to kill these men, one of whom might be her father, who made her a ‘creature of shame.’ But revenge is not an option for women, so Mizu must forge her revenge quest while hiding her gender as well as her blue eyes.”
She’s joined on her revenge quest by three companions: Ringo, a soba maker with dreams of greatness; Taigen, an arrogant samurai; and Princess Akemi, who’s betrothed to Taigen. The gang sets out across Edo-era Japan for a series that combines the edginess of live-action with jaw-dropping animation.
The final Netflix series we recommend for fans of The Brothers Sun is this eight-episode crime thriller starring … yes, once again, the incomparable Han So-hee.
She plays the daughter of a father who’s murdered right before her eyes. Her father, we come to understand, was part of a drug gang. And while she and her father didn’t see much of each other as she grew up, they began to reconnect as she matured.
One day, on the way to her apartment, someone guns him down. The daughter sees it all, helpless, through the keyhole of her front door. So what does she decide to do? She joins the criminal gang. Asks them to train her. Subjects herself to a brutal regimen on the road to breaking bad. All so that she can be ready, fully ready, to hunt down her father’s killer and take revenge.
Whenever Han So-hee is on the screen, you don’t want to take your eyes off her. I know this is the nature of the job for an actor, but in her case, you really feel like you are staring at an angry, vulnerable, fragile, broken, and extremely deadly young woman. Even when she’s saying nothing at all, she wears all of that on her face and in the way she carries herself. Overall, the writing here is excellent, and the twists are a little predictable but handled well.
Put this one on your list for no other reason than to be wowed by a singular acting talent.