In television and film, it is common for other countries to adapt or remake popular media. The United States has had many successful adaptations, ranging from horror films like “The Grudge (Ju-On)” and “The Ring (Ringu)” to dramas like “Jane the Virgin (Juana la Virgen)” and The “G”ood Doctor (The Good Doctor)”. However, many American original shows that have been popularized have been adapted to fit other cultural mediums.

Some countries such as South Korea, known for its writing style in K-dramas, have adapted some television shows and films from the United States, incorporating their own political values ​​and commentary that do not stray too far from the source material. This results in interesting takes and points of view through the lens of a different culture, creating an interesting conversation about the success of adaptations and the elements that make a film or TV show unique to its country original. Here are popular adaptations of American TV series and films that South Korea has successfully adapted into their own medium.

1- Vincenzo

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong-ki), formerly Park Joo-hyung, is adopted by a mafia family after the death of his adoptive Italian parents. Trained and raised by the Cassano mafia family, Vincenzo becomes the boss’s right-hand man and lawyer. However, after the death of Don Fabio, the leader, his biological son Paolo (Salvatore Alfano) becomes the new boss of the mafia and aims to kill Vincenzo out of jealousy. Vincenzo then flees to Seoul, where he finds himself mixed up with the Babel Group, a society he cannot take on alone with his own skills. Remembering what he learned in the mafia, Vincenzo uses his knowledge to gain intelligence and ultimately destroy the Babel Group.

Although it’s not technically a full adaptation, “Vincenzo” takes very clear inspiration from the original “The Godfather” trilogy. However, while “The Godfather” focuses on the dons and the mafia, “Vincenzo” offers an outsider’s view; specifically, it takes the perspective of a consigliere, played by the talented Song Joong-ki, whose acting really brings the character and story to life. Additionally, the humor of “Vincenzo” blends well with serious moments and tense scenes, and the main character’s rich background provides an emotional journey that viewers don’t expect to find in this K-drama criminal. “Vincenzo” is full of heart, and it’s a successful adaptation of “The Godfather” trilogy.

2- 18 Again

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

Most viewers will probably remember Zac Efron’s cinematic success in “17 Again.” Dae-young (played by Yoon Sang-hyun or Lee Do-hyun) was once a high school basketball prodigy. But one day he fell in love with Da-jung (Kim Ha-neul), and soon after, an unexpected pregnancy surprises both Dae-young and Da-jung. Dae-young decides to give up his basketball career to be a responsible parent.

However, many years later, Dae-young finds himself in a miserable situation: his wife wants a divorce, his teenage children want nothing to do with him, and he has been fired. As his life has taken a turn for the worse, Dae-young wants to make things right with his family, and he finds himself in the body of his 18-year-old self while maintaining his current state of mind.

Viewers who loved “17 Again” will be very happy with the Korean adaptation. With each episode almost equivalent to a film, the original story is developed into a thoughtful and emotional masterpiece that will bring viewers to tears every time. It’s a heartwarming show about family and family love. “18 Again” is one of the best Korean adaptations of an American film, and it’s a show that viewers will remember.

3- Designated Survivor: 60 Days

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

After being fired as South Korea’s environment minister, Mu-jin (Ji Jin-hee) suddenly finds himself acting president when the national assembly building is bombed. Everyone running for president was killed in the explosion except for Mu-jin, who has officially been acting president for 60 days. During these 60 days, Mu-jin tries to uncover those responsible for the attack, and he must survive so that a new president can be elected. Although he harbors no political ambitions, Mu-jin has no choice but to continue ruling South Korea.

Much like many other films and TV series adapted in South Korean media, “Designated Survivor: 60 Days” closely follows the American plot, with the most obvious differences having to do with the culture itself. Although it is a political drama, the plot is very exciting and gripping, and viewers will be on the edge of their seats as they follow Mu-jin in his attempts to uncover the truth behind the bombing while surviving as the only successor to the presidency. For those who enjoy political commentary, this political thriller is by far one of the best.

4- Little Women

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

“Little Women” follows the journey of three sisters: In-joo (Kim Go-eun), In-kyung (Nam Ji-hun) and In-hye (Park Ji-hu), confronted with the poverty that strikes their family. However, a family friend left money for the sisters, sparking a fight between these women and Korea’s richest family for the money.

Another K-drama based on an American film, “Little Women”, is quite different in terms of setting and characters. While the American series is set in the 19th century, the Korean adaptation is more modern. Both adaptations of the novel focus on the central theme of poverty, but in different cultural contexts between Korea and America. Those who enjoyed the original will enjoy this new adaptation as it tells its own story while still being loosely related to the original content. Korea’s “Little Women” will captivate viewers from the first episode, and its gripping plot will keep them entertained. A wonderful adaptation that truly moves away from its American roots to tell its own story.

5- The Good Wife

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

“The Good Wife” follows Hye-kyung (Jeon Do-yeon), a lawyer who returns to her career after a ten-year hiatus when her husband, prosecutor Tae-joon (Yoo Ji-tae), betrays her by having affairs with another woman. However, the situation worsens when he is also accused of accepting sexual favors and bribes, thus finding himself embroiled in a political scandal.

“The Good Wife” is a great K-drama to watch, a successful adaptation of the original American drama. It maintains similar cases to those of the original, with some twists and cultural changes of its own. However, being a much shorter series, the pacing is fast and some characters don’t get as much spotlight as in the American show. Nevertheless, with an interesting premise, the Korean adaptation makes “The Good Wife” a unique experience not found in the American version, which satisfies viewers of both versions.

6- Woori the Virgin

Woori the Virgin

“Woori the Virgin” follows Woori (Im Soo-hyang), a young woman who took a vow of chastity at a young age. Because of this, she has difficulty finding love and keeping it. Although she has been dating a man for two years, Kang Jae (Shin Dong Wook), it is difficult for them to avoid the topic of sex and take the next step. However, after an accidental insemination, she finds herself pregnant with CEO Raphael’s (Sung Hoon) child. This creates tension in Woori’s love life as she is torn between two men who she develops feelings for. It’s just a matter of who she decides to be with and marry.

“Woori the Virgin” is an adaptation of the very popular series “Jane the Virgin”. Although it’s shorter, it’s still an enjoyable remake that gets to the point in 14 episodes. It relies heavily on subtle humor and innuendo, and does so successfully. “Woori the Virgin” is a perfect adaptation, retaining the narrative devices of the original and adapting them to Korean culture while maintaining its own identity in a subtle way. The only major differences are some subplots and the timeline in which everything takes place.

7- Suits

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

Go Yeon-woo (Park Hyung-sik) is a genius with an excellent photographic memory. Pressed for money, Yeon-woo finds himself trapped in a drug deal that goes wrong, and he is followed by detectives. Yeon-woo manages to escape the police by being mistaken for a candidate at Kang & Ham, a law firm. Fortunately, although he doesn’t have a law degree, he has memorized the entire lawyer’s manual. So when Kang-seok (Jang Dong-won) gives him the opportunity to defend himself against the detectives during an interview, Yeon-woo does so successfully.

After successfully avoiding arrest, Yeon-woo is crowned the new lawyer at Kang & Ham. With this new opportunity to grow as a lawyer, Yeon-woo gets rid of drugs and begins studying to become a great lawyer and change his life.

“Suits” plays out similarly to its American adaptation on which it is based. Dong-won and Hyung-sik convincingly play the lead roles, with strong chemistry from the start. The Korean adaptation of “Suits” is captivating, drawing viewers in with the familiar and popular face of Hyung-sik while providing twists and turns at every turn. Viewers interested in this series will be on the edge of their seats for each hour-long episode.

8- Surroundings

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

Young-bin (Seo Kang-joon) is a rising star known for his remarkably perfect appearance. However, fame and recognition bring their share of challenges. This pushes Young-bin to rely on his three close friends, Lee Ho-jin (Park Jeong-min), Turtle (Lee Dong-hwi), Cha Joon (Lee Kwang-soo), and agent Kim Eun-gab ( Cho Jin-woong), and the K-drama follows this comedy group as they spend time together.

“Entourage,” while hilarious and entertaining, features a bunch of cameos from different Korean actors, actresses, and artists, including Song Ji-hyo, Mamamoo, Kang Ha-neul, and others. “Entourage” offers a refreshing take on the American adaptation, combined with realistic challenges related to Korean culture, making it a unique K-drama that doesn’t focus on saccharine romances or cheesy clichés that K-dramas tend to focus on. dramas usually resort to. The focus is entirely on the friendship between the characters, which is a refreshing approach for a K-drama as they navigate the life of fame and stick together.

9- Criminal Minds: Korea

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

Within the National Criminal Investigation Team (NCI) is a group of profilers whose task is to track down criminals in ongoing investigations. This group consists of Ki-hyung (Son Hyun-joo), Hyun-jun (Lee Joon-gi), Min-young (Lee Sun-bin), and other various profilers working within the unit. Team leader Ki-hyung is still traumatized after a hospital bomb blast killed members of the SWAT team, but he resumes his role after a particular murder case attracts his attention. attention.

This K-drama is a remake of the American show of the same name. Although the American version is popular in its own way, what initially attracted audiences to “Criminal Minds: Korea” was the casting. Lee Joon-gi, having starred in popular K-dramas such as “Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” and “Scholar Who Walks the Night”, plays the lead role successfully, capturing the viewer’s attention. Not to mention, for those who loved heartbreaking episodes that moved them, this adaptation of “Criminal Minds” is the one for them. “Criminal Minds: Korea” proves to be a masterful and emotional adaptation.

10- Marrying a Millionaire

The Top 10 best adaptations of American series and films into K-dramas K-Selection

“Marrying a Millionaire” follows Eun-young (Kim Hyun-joo) as she is invited to participate in a reality TV show called “Marrying a Millionaire,” which features an ordinary man who can act and look like a rich man. That man is Young-hoon (Go Soo), a hardworking citizen who is his family’s main financial earner.

When invited, Eun-young already knows Young-hoon, who was her first love when she was younger. Participating in this show rekindles his old feelings for his old school friend.

“Marrying a Millionaire” is a fun adaptation of “Joe Millionaire.” Although “Joe Millionaire” is a reality TV show, this Korean adaptation is partially inspired by it, resulting in a creative but funny drama. Although it’s aged and clearly rooted in its era, “Marrying a Millionaire” offers a nostalgic taste of romantic dramas from the early 2000s, when cutesy plots and laughable clichés were K-dramas’ strong points. “Marrying a Millionaire” is worth watching, if only for its take on the American reality TV show, or for its saccharine romanticism.