Upcoming Kdramas in 2011
Since we didn't quite get through the end of the year in our August-October drama roundup, here are a look at the dramas premiering in the few short months left of the year (covering the second half of October also).
Man of Honor - this much-anticipated drama starring Chun Jung Myung and Park Min Young will finally premiere in mid-October. Chun Jung Myung is a second-string baseball player and Park Min Young is an upbeat nurse. Normally the plot would make me yawn but I love the casting and this is from the PD and screenwriter behind Baker King, so I have high hopes.
A Thousand Days' Promise-Oct 17- this was pretty much covered in the previous October post but: weepie starring Soo Ae and Kim Rae Won about a man who falls for a woman with Alzheimers. I wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole but you can expect audiences to flock.
Ten- Oct 23 - special 10-episode drama from OCN, starring Joo Sang Wook as the head of a special crime unit
Me Too, Flower! -Oct 26- This drama stars Lee Ji Ah and Seo Hyo Rim and - will premiere at the very end of October. Having recently lost leading man Kim Jae Wook (*tear*) to an injury, it's currently scrambling to replace him. The main character is the chaebol owner of a lingerie company who moonlights (or should it be "sunlights"?) as a parking lot attendant during the day. I've gotten the distinct impression that he does this to pick up girls, to which all I can say is - really? Parking lot attendant doesn't exactly smack of romance. Also, the man is young, hot, and wealthy - why does he have to work/pretend to work a minimum-wage job to pick up girls? Nonetheless, it sounds quirky and is from the writer of My Name is Kim Sam Soon, so it has promise.
If Tomorrow Comes-Oct 29- Weekend drama starring Seo Rim about the love and conflict between a mother and daughter. Seo Woo is kind-hearted college girl Eun-chae, who thinks respecting your parents brings you happiness, while her mother is played by Go Doo Shim (Sparkling). Number of episodes hasn't been announced yet, but it's a weekend family drama so it will be long. Ha Suk Jin, who was most recently seen as the hot bartender in Can't Lose will play what I assume will be Eun-chae's love interest. The writer and PD team did I'm Happy previously but the title of this one's oddly foreboding, we'll see..
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop - Oct 31- tvN, which is bringing us more and more succesful dramas, brings us a story about pretty boys. Specifically, pretty boys who work at a ramen shop and who fall into a love triangle with the older woman who also works there. Stars Jung Il Woo, Lee Chung Ah, Lee Ki Woo, and Kim Ye Won. Check out photos from the filming here.
Lights and Shadows - Stars Ahn Jae Wook, Nam Sang Mi, Kim Min Jong, and Son Dam Bi (so basically, a round-up of good acting talent and then...Son Dam Bi?). This 50-episode epic spans decades and follows the rise of a top entertainer, beginning in the mid-60s. Kang Ki Tae becomes the first "national" entertainer as he entertains soliders on the war fields, and becomes involved with two women who work at the same agency as him. Nam Sang Mi is one of these women, aspiring actress Lee Jung Hye who competes with young rising singer Yoon Chae Young (Son Dam Bi) for Ki Tae's affections. Jeon Gwang Ryul meanwhile plays one of the most powerful politician in the 1960's, who uses his influence to push the popular wave of entertainment and use it for his own advantage. From the directing/writing team behind Jumong.
Brain - Jung Jin Young is the only main actor confirmed, the rest of the cast TBA after some major reshuffling (frankly, I think Song Seung Hoon would have been perfect for the role so I'm sad he turned it down). Will follow Poseidon and centers around neurosurgeons at a Seoul hospital. Medical dramas are like Oreos and peanut butter - sounds like a terrible idea until you try it and once you do it's hard to look back.
Fermentation Family- Stars Song Il Gook and Park Jin Hee. Song Il Gook is a gangster who frequents a restaurant run by Park Jin Hee, a chef with big dreams who brings people together. I'm confused by this drama's signals - it stars Song Il Gook who's mostly done heavy-duty stuff and is written and directed by the team behind Mawang and Resurrection, so by all drama laws it should be dark and intense. Instead, however, the gangster stuff screams "serious! blood-shed! Park Jin Hee's life at risk!" while the chef/restaurant storyline sounds like a feel-good family drama i.e. "dreams come true! restaurant brings people together and inspires them! Song Il Gook takes one sniff of Park Jin Hee's cooking and retires from The Life forever!"
As if realizing their plot would create confusion, however, the producers provided this explanation of the drama's theme: "This drama deals with the alternative family that was the root of the revenge series Revenge and Devil. The people who gather at the restaurant 'Cheon Ji In' go through several stages of fermentation and maturation to create a real family". Song Il Gook's character is an orphan, so...perhaps family is the real theme after all.
Padam Padam: The Sound of His and Her Heartbeat -Stars Jung Woo Sung, Han Ji Min, and Kim Bum. Jung Woo Sung is a man wrongfully convicted who has just served 16 years in prison and finally been released. During his time, he had met and bonded with Kim Bum's character, and the two form a brotherhood with the younger Kim Bum looking out for the older man. They're both released at the same time and head to Seoul, where they meet Han Ji Min’s icy veterinarian character.
I'm excited for this (love both male leads though meh on Han Ji Min), I admit partially because it seems like the vehicle which may give Kim Bum his breakthrough role. This sounds like a dark premise to me, but it's been described as a "mellow drama" about one man's surpassing love for a woman, and stills released look upbeat. What confuses me is that it sounds like Jung Woo Sung's character will melt Han Ji Min's icy exterior - but shouldn't she be the one changing him? Doesn't the man just released from prison need someone warm to overcome the hardening and bitterness that one would think had happened in prison? Well, again, we'll see - it's written by revered screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung.
Next year, look for Love Rain with Jang Geun Suk and Im Yoon Ah, Strangers 6 with Oh Ji Ho, Kim Hyo Jin, and a high-profile international cast, as well as some sequel-spinoffs to blockbuster dramas, a.k.a. Dream High 2 and Full House 2.
The oft-rumored, oft-postponed Faith with Kee Hee Sun and What's Up? with Im Joo Eun remain, you guessed it, still postponed.