Following in the footsteps of Netflix’s breakout South Korean hit Squid Game, Apple has released its first Korean-language original series to coincide with the launch of its Apple TV+ streaming service in South Korea. Dr. Brain is a six-episode sci-fi thriller based on a Korean Webcomic of the same name about a cold-hearted neurologist Koh Sewon who tries to find clues to a mysterious family accident through brain experiments.
Apple’s move into original Korean content comes at a time when the country’s entertainment industry is gaining new global traction, thanks to k-pop superstars like BTS, the Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite, and now Squid Game, Netflix’s biggest original series launch.
Following the consistent success of such Korean content, director Kim Jee-Woon found that the global audiences began to understand Korean culture through artistic works and that he had gone to great lengths to ensure that the translations were accurate. Lee Sun-Kyun, who played Koh in Parasite, said his character is pulled into “strong emotions” whose ties to other people’s minds caused him to reflect on his flaws.
Dr. Brain debuted on November 4 as Apple TV+ launched in South Korea, along with other original content available dubbed or with Korean subtitles. For the time being, it lags far behind South Korean rival Netflix, which has been offering licensed and original Korean content for several years. The launch of Apple’s TV service in South Korea comes as the company is one of several American tech titans facing new regulations in the country that require people to open their app stores to third-party payments.
According to Lee, the growing popularity of over-the-top media service (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney Plus in the pandemic era has allowed actors to explore roles they might not have been able to on more traditional broadcasters. He went on to say that the COVID-19 era has heralded a new era in drama production.