“Narco-Saints” and “Little Women”… Can they become the second “Squid Game”?

Netflix’s original series “Narco-Saints” and tvN’s Saturday-Sunday drama “Little Women” are showing their strength even in the early stages of their release. 

They are on a steep rise on OTT (online video service) popularity charts and in the topicality category. As the possibility of success through global OTT distribution networks increases, expectations are growing that it will be a new driving force for attracting overseas attention to K-content following “Squid Game“, “All of Us Are Dead” and “Extraordinary Attorney Woo“.

Squid Game season 2

● “Narco-Saints”: based on true story, ranks 8th worldwide

According to the OTT content ranking site FlixPatrol on Sep 12th, “Narco-Saints” ranked 8th in the world’s “most watched TV programs” as of the previous day. It entered the top 10 in 33 countries, including Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam (No.1), Taiwan, Thailand (No.3) and the United States (No.7). It ranked 21st on Sep 10th, the first day of counting since its release on Sep 9th, but it raised its ranking by 13 steps in one day. Therefore, it is predicted that its upward trend will continue for the time being.


Set in Suriname, a South American country, “Narco-Saints” tells the life-threatening journey of Kang In-gu (Ha Jung-woo), a civilian businessman who has no choice but to cooperate with the secret operation of the National Intelligence Service to catch Jeon Yo-hwan (Hwang Jung-min), the Korean drug lord who has taken control of Suriname. It was inspired by the true story of Jo Bong-haeng, who was notorious as the “drug king” in Suriname from the late 1990s to the 2000s. On the overseas review site IMDb, it received an average rating of 7.3 out of 10 with the response that “it is interesting because it is based on true events”. Factors familiar to overseas viewers, such as drugs, action and the genre fun of crime thrillers, are also cited as factors of favorable reviews.

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● “High quality -> possibility of global long run”

Little Women” is chasing after MBC’s “Big Mouth” (10.6%) as it recorded a viewership rating of 7.3% (Nielsen Korea) in episode 4 (Sep 11th). The series depicts the story of three poor sisters who are close, their involvement in the case of 70 billion won going missing, and how they bravely face Korea’s richest family. Thanks to favorable reviews that “it used the thriller element dramatically”, it ranked second in the topicality drama category of Good Data Corporation.

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In particular, not only domestic but also overseas viewers are showing interest in the fact that its writer is Chung Seo-kyung, who wrote the script for the film “Decision to Leave”, which won the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. On the Chinese review site Douban, it ranked 6th among popular dramas immediately after its release, with about 2,000 comments mentioning writer Chung and Kim Go-eun.

Little Women

The two dramas are distributed through OTT Netflix, which already has a global fandom of Korean content, raising expectations for global success. On Sep 12th, pop culture critic Jung Deok-hyun predicted, “These two works will show more strength on global charts with the power to tell stories that overseas viewers can relate to.”

Source: daum

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