SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Netflix's latest K-drama, All Of Us Are Dead, which has been touted as the next Squid Game, soared to No. 1 on the streaming platform's top 10 list for non-English language TV shows, it said on Wednesday (Feb 2).
The coming-of-age zombie thriller, set in a high school, debuted last Friday (Jan 28) and topped the chart for the week of Jan 24 to 30 with 124.79 million hours viewed.
According to streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol, the 12-parter reached the top spot in 58 countries as of Wednesday (Feb 2), including South Korea, Australia, Japan, Kuwait, Germany, Canada and Singapore.
The series came in second in 22 countries, including the United States, Britain, Jamaica and Romania.
Directed by Lee Jae-kyoo, the mastermind behind mega hit TV drama Beethoven Virus (2008), All Of Us Are Dead became the fourth Korean-language series to top Netflix's weekly official chart for non-English TV series following Squid Game, Hellbound and The Silent Sea last year.
Squid Game holds the all-time record of 1.65 billion hours viewed in its first 28 weeks, but its first week record was 63.2 million hours.
All Of Us Are Dead, an adaptation of a zombie webtoon of the same title by author Joo Dong-geun, presents Hyosan High School students' heart-pounding tale of survival amid a zombie apocalypse.
A virus, originating from the high school's science lab, engulfs the whole school and the fast-paced story brings viewers on an emotional roller-coaster ride.
The storyline resonated especially with South Korean viewers, many of whom saw parallels to being stuck in the Covid-19 pandemic and the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014, where many students lost their lives when they were instructed to remain inside the ship.
“Splendid use and presentation of space is the biggest factor that electrifies many fans about Korean zombie series,” culture critic Jung Duk-hyun told The Korea Herald on Thursday, making a comparison to the renowned zombie films of American director George A. Romero, several of which are limited to spaces such as a mall or underground military base.
Much like how hit zombie movie Train To Busan (2016) utilised the high-speed train and Netflix series Kingdom (2019 to present) took place in a Joseon-era palace, the school setting breathed new life into the zombie genre.