It's that time of the year! Time to leave the dramas of the past year behind us, with their hits, misses, disappointments and delights, and look ahead to a new year in Drama-land. The line-up for the first half of 2011 is pretty bare thus far, especially compared to last year's rich line-up, but I have a feeling many more will be announced as time goes on (and there are quite a few dramas currently in limbo with no air date). This is a look at the scheduled and/or interesting 2011 dramas.


My Princess (Jan 5) - this looks suspiciously like it's trying to bring back the Hallyu classics, those motherlodes of pretty people, gorgeous settings, absurdly rich people, and cliched plots (Stairway to Heaven, Summer Scent, etc). The scriptwriter is Jang Young Shil of Lovers and it stars Song Seung Hun and Kim Tae Hee. The director did Pasta and What's Up Fox? which were both enjoyable but flawed. I suspect this will be fun in a ridiculous trainwreck kind of way. Sign (Jan 5) - Park Shin Yang and Kim Ah Joong play forensic doctors. The scriptwriter has a speckled track record (the classic Winter Sonata, the flawed Snow Queen, the awful Take Care of the Lady) which makes me wary. Paradise Ranch (Jan 29)- Lee Yeon Hee and Shim Chang Min star in a drama about a couple who married at 19 and then divorced. They return to their old house and old sparks are rekindled. I'm a sucker for husband-and-wife love stories, and adore Lee Yeon Hee, so bring it on.


The Duo (Feb 7) - Chun Jung Myung and Yang Mi Kyung star in a tale about two men who switch identities


Midas - (this was rumoured to be premiering in February, but the last I heard it had been moved to March). The cast, the cast. Jang Hyuk and Lee Min Jung . I'm a little afraid that his intense screen presence will drown out her lighter, more bubbly style, but other than that it sounds perfect. The writer is the same one behind All In and Jumong, neither of which I've seen but both of which were wildly popular. The plot is something about business and I suspect Jang Hyuk will play a cutthroat chaebol (business leader and heir to a company). Lee Min Jung's character is a nurse at a large general hospital.


City Hunter (May 25)- Lee Min Ho stars. I had zero interest in this drama until I realized it was directed by the PD behind Prosecutor Princess and Brilliant Legacy, which were both wonderfully solid dramas. It's adapted from a Japanese manga by Tsukasa Hojo, and is is about a private detective who fights crime in Tokyo in the late 80s (the setting has been changed to Seoul as far as I know). Poseidon - will premiere after Midas. Stars Eric, Kim Kang Woo, Kim Ok Bin, U-know Yunho, and Kim Gab Soo. Oh dear Lord. Didn't Yunho/the universe at large learn anything from the travesty that was Heading to the Ground. Usually I'm pretty patient with idol-actor crossovers - Kim Hyun Joong and Eugene will never  be great but they've improved to where they're passable - but watching Yunho in Heading to the Ground was liking watching a monkey try to emote (or a cardboard box), and worse, he has a stiff, awkward screen presence. But I digress. Eric and Kim Kang-woo are maritime policemen who are chosen to be part of an elite countterterrorism squad called Poseidon.  Kim Ok-bin of Thirst and Jeon Hye-bin bring the female quotient.

Further out:

Other dramas without specific airdates include Faith (Kim Hee Sun, Philip Lee), Could it be Fruit Candy? (Go Ah Ra, Kim Tae Hyun), What's Up?Love Song (Yoon Eun Hye, Jo Hyun Jae), and The Musical (Goo Hye Sun, Daniel Choi)