This series flew under the radar last year because of the plethora of star-studded k-dramas in rotation. However, Zombie Detective has its own charming and unique vibe that makes it a worthy weekend binge.
Run date: Sept. 21, 2020 – Oct. 27, 2020
Run time & episodes: 24 episodes, 32 minutes each
Where to watch: Viu
The story starts when Kang Min-ho (Choi Jin-hyuk) wakes up in a landfill, utterly confused and insanely hungry. He realizes that—as we can expect from the title—he is now a zombie, but he has no recollection of how or why he became one. He walks aimlessly until it dawns on him that the only way to survive is to train himself to act and talk like a human—which means obsessing over BB creams, eating raw chicken, and assuming the identity of a dead private detective named Kim Moo-young.
As Kang Min-ho slowly puts pieces of his memory together, he is aided by a former investigative journalist, Gong Sun-ji (Park Ju-hyun), whose cheerful and nosy personality lands her a position as his secretary/sidekick. Together, they solve crimes and start connecting both their pasts, and figure out their feelings for each other along the way.
There are many things about this k-drama that make it worth 12 hours of your time. If you watched the trailer and expect an action-mystery-horror k-drama, you might be surprised at how different the actual vibe of the show is. Majority of the series can better be described as a comedy-mystery. It's even a bit similar to the rom-com Extraordinary You (2019), since they both make fun of the stereotypes and tropes of their respective genres. Zombie shows tend to stick to heavy and serious topics (i.e. zombie infection rates, humans trying to survive, etc.) but this series goes to the other end and hilariously asks: "Don't zombies have feelings too? Why are humans so gung ho about killing zombies?!" And the answers the producers and writers come up with are pure comedic gold!
If that wasn't enough reason for you to give this series a try, perhaps the leading actors can convince you. Choi Jin-hyuk (Rugal, Last Empress) and Park Ju-hyun (Extracurricular) act amazingly well as a crime-solving duo! While their romantic chemistry isn't that strong, their comedic one makes up for it. You'll be surprised at how different these two are in this series when compared to their more recent works (Case in point: Park Ju-hyun as Bae Gyu-ri in Extracurricular is ridiculously the polar opposite of her character here). For those looking for romance, there are a number of sweet scenes between the two to feed your hunger (get it? feed...haha).
But this is by no means a perfect series. While the leading actors are amazing, the supporting characters feel a bit flat and sometimes unnecessary. Also, there are definitely loopholes in the plot, so consider yourself warned. Despite these, Zombie Detective is a hilarious take on an over-used genre and plot. That alone is reason enough to binge this series over a weekend (...and maybe Choi Jin-hyuk's zombified arms and chest).
STREAM: If you liked the western series iZombie and movie Warm Bodies. If you appreciate dark humor, you may also find Zombie Detective entertaining.
SKIP: If you’re sensitive to gore of any kind, or if you’re looking for a more serious series.