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One of the best Korean shows on Netflix is about to be ruined by an American remake

Updated Nov 6th, 2022 6:17PM EST
crash landing on you
Image: Lim Hyo Seon/Netflix

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As far as K-dramas on Netflix go, you’d really be hard-pressed to find anything more utterly magnificent than the 16-episode series Crash Landing on You. It debuted on the streamer at the end of 2019, and I discovered it during the pandemic, which probably explains part of my affection for it.

If you haven’t seen it, this one-season show is basically about a South Korean heiress (Yoon Se-ri) who goes hang gliding and gets blown across the border to North Korea during a nasty storm. She ends up in a tangled mess, stuck in a tree. A handsome, elite North Korean soldier discovers her, and it’s at that moment that she falls (literally crash-landing) into his arms.

This was actually the first K-drama I’d ever watched all the way through, and each roughly 70- to 80-minute episode felt like watching a movie. The creative team also reportedly used input from actual North Korean defectors to imbue the show with a degree of realism. Which was a good decision, since the series is split about half-and-half between starting out briefly in South Korea, then following Se-ri’s adventures in the North, before the show then moves back to South Korea.

Crash Landing on You American remake rumor

crash landing on you netflix series
The characters of Captain Ri, right, and Yoon Se-ri in Netflix’s “Crash Landing on You.” Image source: Lim Hyo Seon/Netflix

There’s so much to praise about this show, that as soon as you’ve ticked one thing off the list you think of several more. Captain Ri and Se-ri comprise one of the most memorable romantic couples you’ll ever see portrayed on a TV show, full stop. The North Korean soldiers under Captain Ri’s command are ridiculously likable. And that’s another great thing about this show — whereas media coverage can be pretty reductive in its treatment of the geopolitical dynamic on the Korean peninsula, Crash Landing on You goes to great lengths to portray the North Koreans with a welcome degree of humanity.

This romantic drama was “a cultural phenomenon” in its native South Korea, The Daily Beast has very correctly noted. And then the fandom around it went global, once the show got added to Netflix.

The show is so good, in fact, that we now have a problem.

An American remake of this sublimely perfect, one-of-a-kind show is reportedly in the works at Netflix. Moreover, it sounds like this is slightly more than simply rumor-stage gossip.

Why can’t you just give fans a season 2, Netflix?

crash landing on you netflix series
Netflix is reportedly preparing an American remake of “Crash Landing on You,” a Korean series from 2019. Image source: Netflix

As reported by the Korea-based newspaper Edaily, a studio executive revealed just a few days ago that an American remake of the show is “in the final stages of planning and development” with Netflix. That executive is Kang Chul-ku, the CEO of Studio Dragon (the production company for Crash Landing on You).

This is problematic for so many reasons.

One of the biggest is that … the mind boggles at trying to work out exactly how an Americanization of this wholly Korean story can even work before the show just becomes a whole different thing.

Also, fans of the show have been begging for almost two years now for a second season. The first season ended on a somewhat unsatisfyingly ambiguous note, even though it did give fans a decent conclusion. Confession: I actually ordered the DVD box set of the show from Korea, just in case the series ever leaves Netflix. It’s that good.

Crash Landing on You trailer

In case you haven’t checked out the series yet, by the way, the trailer is embedded right here. There are a few variants of trailers and teasers you can find on YouTube. This one below mostly includes snippets of footage from early on in the series, like when Yoon Se-ri crashes into Ri Jeong Hyeok for the first time.

All in all, this show had more unforgettable scenes and moments than anything I’ve watched in quite a long time. The scene with Captain Ri holding the candle so Se-ri can find him in the crowded bazaar. The fight scenes. The hilarious banter among Captain Ri’s men. And oh my god, the heartbreaking border crossing scene toward the end of the series.

The whole story unfolds thanks to the fact that Captain Ri is actually a good man. Being an upper-tier North Korean soldier, he doesn’t want to turn over Se-ri to the authorities, because he assumes something bad will happen to her. The longer he keeps her hidden, trying to figure out what to do with her, the impossibly good-looking couple slowly turns their love dial all the way up to 11.

“They always have to ruin good things”

All that said, I suppose … maybe … there’s a universe, somewhere, in which this remake idea could maybe work out. Maybe.

Just because this is an American remake, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to take place in America. Maybe it’s an American service member or even a spy in Korea, who somehow winds up across the border and gets entangled with a North Korean. Fans who’ve weighed in on this, though, have almost universally panned the idea of this remake. And I can’t say I blame them.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.