Dr. Brain

In Features by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Thanks to the rise of streaming services, and a growing appetite for film and TV that breaks with the usual Western-Hollywood tropes, shows like Squid Game, Stranger, and Uncanny Counter are riding high in ratings.

This November, another sure-fire Korean hit—Dr. Brain—comes to Apple TV+ to coincide with the official launch of the streaming service in South Korea.

Dr Brain is the first Apple TV+ series filmed completely in Korean, and is based on the hugely popular Korean webtoon of the same name by Hongjacga. The six-episode adaptation is co-written, directed and produced by Kim Jee-woon, who is better known for The Good, The Bad And The Weird.

The series follows a brilliant brain scientist, Lee Se-won (played by Parasite’s Lee Sun-kyun) who suffers an horrific personal tragedy when his family falls victim to a series of mysterious accidents. Desperate to uncover what happened, he decides to ‘brain sync’ with the dead to access their memories for clues. Soon, it becomes clear that he’s unable to distinguish his own memories from those of the dead that he’s synched with—and his perception of reality is becoming increasingly fragile.

Dr Brain has some issues—not least in its depiction of the lead character as the stereotypical autistic ‘unemotional’ genius. There’s a plausible reason for that and, in fact, the growing impact of the synchs on Se-won’s own character and personality make fascinating viewing. However what Dr Brain occasionally lacks in character nuance, it more than makes up for in its storyline, visuals, and sheer chutzpah. 

This is a noir-cyberpunk-thriller mash-up that rewards the careful viewer with delightful plotting and surprising developments at every step.

Series 1 of Dr Brain premieres globally on Thursday, November 4 (Wednesday, November 3 in the U.S.) on Apple TV+. A new episode of Dr. Brain will hit Apple TV+ each week until the finale on December 10th.