pasta_poster_smallWith the end of 2009 and the beginning of a new year, we've got a whole new roster of dramas to look forward to in the coming months. First among them is two dramas which look to be lighter fare premiering on January 4th: the food-oriented Pasta and the single-mom romcom Pick the Stars. While there's higher-profile dramas approaching (and much anticipated medical sageuk Jejoongwon premiers on the same day), I wanted to highlight these two to make sure they get their proper share of attention in the swirl and bustle of an all-new year. Pasta, an MBC drama, is the story of a young woman who takes a job as assistant to a top-notch chef at an Italian restaurant. It is plainly hoping to repeat the success of other food-centered comedies such as Gourmet, though the twist is Italian food. (Also, does it remind anyone else of Taiwanese drama Sweet Relationship in its tale of a determined girl who takes a job under an acerbic chef upon which the two fall in love?). The female assistant is played by Gong Hyo Jin, who is a hugely talented actress but who has made her name mostly through heavier, more "serious" dramas, such as 2005's Hello My Teacher and 2007's Thank You. However, she has a steadiness about her which I think could play well opposite to the promised high-strung neuroticism of Lee Sun Gyun as a master chef. Lee Sun Gyun is still most beloved for his supporting role in Coffee Prince, which firmly imprinted the image of him as a gentle and sweet-natured character in everyone's mind, so it will be interesting to see him as a quick-tempered master chef. I have a feeling that he and Gong Hyo Jin will have excellent chemistry, and this could be the role that finally grants him solid leading-man status. I am also very excited for Honey Lee in a supporting role, since she absolutely shone in her role in little-watched Partner in 2009 (she's definitely one to keep an eye on). With a talented and charming cast and a series of promo pictures which look nothing if not fresh and adorable, this could turn out to be one of those delightful romantic comedies we all flock to. With all the buzz about higher-profile dramas like Jejoongwon and Chuno, it's easy for lower-key dramas like this to get lost in the crowd, but the more I think and hear about this drama, the more excited I am for it. Then there's Pick the Stars, also known as Stars Falling from the Sky, an SBS drama premiering on the same day. From Jung Ji Woo, writer of popular drama How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor, comes this story of inter-office romance between two employees of an insurance company. Kim Ji Hoon last played a lawyer in Love & Marriage, but whereas his previous roles have been mostly romantic, kind-hearted ones, in this one he is a cold, abrasive lawyer emotionally scarred by his birth mother's abandonment. Pick_the_Stars_poster Choi Jung Won, meanwhile, last seen in Kingdom of the Wind, plays the warm-hearted, forthright co-worker to Ji Hoon's sharp lawyer. As Jin Pal Kang, she is a naive and innocent 25-year-old who dreams of a Prince Charming until her parents' untimely death. Left in charge of her five younger siblings, she's forced to grow up rapidly.  I am also excited for Shin Dong Wook, whom I've loved ever since his excellent turn in 2006's Soulmate, as Kim Ji Hoon's brother. All told, while office romance tends to make me yawn, I am excited for the single-mom aspect, especially with the unique angle of siblings instead of children, and the drama has a cheerful, witty vibe which I find very appealing. Also, who doesn't like a story which combines the warm-hearted-girl-melts-icy-guy's-heart angle and the rich-guy-swoops-in-and-saves poor girl/single-mom tropes? Sign me up. Pick the Stars will air in the hour before Jejoongwon, while Pasta will compete with Jejoongwon by airing in the same hour. All three are Monday-Tuesday dramas.