In the States, we have to wait for September for that feeling of possibility you get when a bunch of shows start at once.
In K-dramas, any month can see the stars align. The luck of the network schedules brings us a number of premieres all at once this May. The competition may prove hard on the shows themselves. But it’s a treat for the viewers after going through April with virtually nothing new.
This week sees three hip-looking dramas premiering on KBS and MBC: Orange Marmalade, Warm and Cozy (aka Jeju Island Gatsby) and Producers. But tvN started off the boom-let, with Ex-Girlfriend’s Club on Friday. And Masked Prosecutor with Kim Sun-Ah may start as soon as May 20, which is right around the corner. And we’re one month from the start of True Romance, formerly known as Chaebol’s Daughter.
Given the fact that K-dramas have really goofy plot descriptions, it’s hard to know which, if any, of these shows will be good. But we get excited when we hear a show has a star we love, or a producer we admire, or a writer who hit one out of the ballpark last time.
Here are my own short descriptions of upcoming shows. Click on the survey at the bottom to let readers know which shows you’re anticipating!
Started Friday, May 8, on tvN. A cable show about a webtoon writer trying to get permission from his ex-girlfriends to make a movie based on his life (and hence, their lives).
I’ve heard almost nothing about this one, except that it stars Song Ji-Hyo, who we last saw on television in Emergency Couple. She’s also an accomplished movie actress (yes, that was her playing the queen in A Frozen Flower). The male lead is Byun Yo-Han, with a much shorter list of credits, though he was recently in Misaeng. From the director of Miss Korea and Pasta.
Warm and Cozy
Starts Wednesday, May 13, on MBC. Written by the well-known hit-makers the Hong sisters. Originally titled Jeju Island Gatsby, this romance focuses on people who move to Jeju to get away from the stress of the mainland. Although apparently one of them now runs a restaurant on Jeju, which doesn’t sound very relaxing to me. Starring Kang So-Ra (Misaeng) and Yoo Yun Suk (Answer Me 1994).
Starts Friday, May 15, on KBS. This fictional narrative about producers of variety television shows stars Cha Tae-Hyun, who has recently been a cast member on 1 Night 2 Days. And the postmodern games don’t end there. The script will refer to real shows and celebrities, according to producers. Along with the Cha Tae-Hyun, also stars total powerhouses Gong Hyo-Jin (She-Ra of the K-Drama Universe), Kim Soo-Hyun (My Love from Another Star) and IU (Dream High, You’re the Best, Lee Soon-Shin!). From Park Ji-Eun, the writer of My Love from Another Star.
Starts Friday, May 15, on KBS, in the time slot after Producers. A high school vampire drama that got its secret code-name from the British jam beloved by Paddington Bear. (Who comes up with these titles?) This time the girl is the vamp and the boy is the human. It’s surprising that for all the vampire shows out there, so few of them center on female vampires. Is this feminism? Only if she’s getting paid as much as a male vampire.
Stars Yeo Jin-Gu and tons of idols. Well, at least two idols: AOA’s Seolhyun and CN Blue’s Jonghyun. From the director of classic K-drama romances Winter Sonata and Sangdoo, Let’s Go to School!.
Starts in Unkind Women‘s time-slot after that show concludes, possibly as early as May 20. Also known as Masked Investigator and The Man in the Mask. Billed as a “comedy crime caper” about a prosecutor with a secret superhero identity. And when did a giggle-inducing premise harm a K-drama?
Stars Kim Sun-Ah (the Other She-Ra of the K-Drama Universe) and Joo Sang-Wook (Birth of a Beauty, Cunning Single Lady). Great stars, but the writer’s last project was Big Man, so I’m keeping my hopes modest.
A full month away, but I like Sung Joon so I’m already looking forward to it. Starting on SBS when Heard it on the Grapevine concludes; earliest possible start date June 15. Formerly known as Chaebol’s Daughter but changed its title in puzzling attempt to be mistaken for a nineties Quentin Tarentino movie. (Update: A day after I posted this, it changed titles again, to High Society. Thank goodness. A title that reminds me of Bing Crosby and Princess Grace seems more appropriate for a K-drama rom com than a Quentin Tarentino title.)
Romantic comedy starring Sung Joon (Hyde Jekyll Me, Shut Up Flower Boy Band), Uee (Hogu’s Love), Lim Ji-Yeon and Park Hyung-Sik (Persevere Goo Hae-Ra, Heirs). From the writer of A Word for Warm Heart. ♥