Racket Boys is a 16-episode sports drama which began airing on SBS TV and Netflix at the end of May 2021. It is a light, easy-to-watch series that centers on the lives of teenaged badminton players with dreams of making it to the South Korean Junior National Team.
It all begins with Yoon Hyeon-jong (Kim Sang-kyung), who was once a great badminton player in his youth. Now, as father of two, he has become a mediocre coach, who has lost his passion for the sport. Needing a financial boost for his family, he takes a job in Haenam, a countryside that is seemingly the opposite of Seoul in pace and lifestyle. His task? To revive a middle school badminton team that is on the verge of being cancelled by the school district. In tow are his surly teenaged son Hae-kang (Tang Joon-sang) and adorable daughter Hae-in (Ahn Se-bin). It definitely won’t be easy, but at least for the viewers, it’s incredibly entertaining.
What follows is an engaging series that touches on puberty (so many teenagers!), family dynamics, and personal challenges. Hyeon-jong rediscovering his love for badminton, while simultaneously trying to navigate the tricky waters of a relationship with his son, is enjoyable to watch. The badminton team itself, with their own back stories and issues, will remind you of what it was like to be a teen with hopes and dreams. And Hae-kang’s character development happens so seamlessly, it’s almost like watching a kid growing into a young man in fast-forward. The side plots concerning the adults in the village not only gives the main story additional flavor, but also adds depth to the characters on the show. Expect a few tears here and there because it wouldn’t be a k-drama without some crying, right?
Stream It: Is it fun to watch? Well, they managed to make badminton interesting. Seriously, if you like dramas with ensemble casts with quirky characters and lots of feel-good moments and a plot that doesn’t need a diagram to understand, then hit play.
Skip It: If you prefer more violence, betrayal, and spectacle in your weekend bingeing.
Streaming now on Netflix