New season and new dramas! We can never predict what is going to happen and the same thing goes with dramas. In my case, the excitement of watching the previews and teasers of upcoming dramas does not mean that I will love the dramas because it’s up to the drama itself to draw me in. The recent batch of new dramas is a mix of everything: from romantic comedies to melodrama, modern and historical. I am sure that there’s something for everyone and one of these might end your drama drought, if you’re having any.
High School King of Savvy (6/16)
I did not expect that I would love this drama to bits. I initially watched for Lee Soo-hyuk but Seo In-guk is stealing hearts left and right as Lee Min-suk, the 18 year-old high school student who is treading on thin ice, masquerading as his older brother Lee Hyung-suk, a newly appointed director at a big company. I have never thought that Seo In-guk could make faces, like this one:
..but yeah, he can. Min-suk is one nice boy with anger issues but he’s like a puppy who will attack if he feels intimidated. That’s the only draw in his personality, because Min-suk is respectful and loyal to the people around him. It’s not an everyday occasion to see a male lead without the attitude of a jerk, because he’s almost everything one can hope for, except that he’s still underage. Oops. I think this drama intentionally switched the character description between Min-suk and his rival at the company, Jin-woo.
Yoo Jin-woo, another director at the same company who has the things that usually describe the first lead: he’s the hidden son of the CEO, he’s ultra handsome, he’s struggling to be acknowledged by his father, and he’s polite saves for several times. It’s not only because he’s Lee Soo-hyuk, but Jin-woo himself has intriguing storyline on his own and I’m looking forward to how it will be fleshed later.
As for the ladies, Jung Soo-young (Lee Ha-na) might not be everyone’s favourite but as the time goes on, the drama digs deeper into the background of this hardworking contract worker who seems to be helpless most of the time. I find myself relating to her in several things (her crush, her family, and herself) but she, at least, can speak up for herself when the situation forces her to do so. Me? Not so much. I prefer to keep everything to myself. Her brave confession, although ended rather embarrassingly, deserves the credit because hey, at least she tried her luck.
Soo-young has a little sister Jung Yoo-ah (Lee Yeol-eum), who is Min-suk’s biggest fan and tries to stick to him like a gum. She does come off as a little annoying at first but I’m warming up to her. The recent episodes show that she’s not that dense and tries to ease off her sister’s burden after finding out that Soo-young has been fired. Another brownie point is when she finds out about Min-suk’s fake part-time jobs thanks to her constant pestering of Min-suk’s buddies. She feels really bad and probably planning to help him. I like it when a character grows like this!
Another reason that makes me like Yoo-ah? This extra clip. I like it so much that I squeed (a little too loud, I have to admit) when they met in episode 6.
I should stop shipping a high school girl with a man almost ten years older than her. Same goes for Min-suk and Soo-young. Ack! Maybe it will be better if they have a time jump? Wait, it’s still too early to talk about the ending..
tvn does wonders with the supporting characters and this time does not disappoint at all. Min-suk’s adopted family is adorable. His grandpa’s antics, together with his father’s constant nagging and Min-suk’s acting like a baby of the house (technically, he is), it’s a joy to watch them together. Let’s not forget Min-suk’s buddies cum partners in crime, Tae-suk and Duk-hwan. I don’t know how they thought of dressing up in suits just to meet Min-suk in front of the company building, but that was brilliant. Last but not least, the office mates of Min-suk, especially the Team Leader. He looks like he’s about to pass out each time Min-suk creates a trouble. Gotta give him the credit for staying sane with someone like Min-suk under his care.
There are so many things worth discussing about this drama but I’m liking the theme of adapting to the working life. It will be different for someone who is expecting to be hired and starting everything from the bottom, but it’s a wholly different case for Min-suk. He’s suddenly pushed into the seat of a director and he isn’t a bit ready for the shock. It’s fascinating to see him, who is used to the equality among the high school students, witnessing how different it is to be an ordinary worker and a director. It’s subtle, but he realizes that the other workers are treating him better than Soo-young because of his position. Even the higher-ups treat him better and spare him from a scolding. I can’t help but to wonder what will happen if he is to assume a lower position. It will be quite a pain to go through the day without being upset at someone, especially in a company where the positions determine your value to the company itself and to the workers.
Trot Lovers (Watched: 2 out of 4 aired)
I watched this while waiting for High School King‘s subs and I was not that into it. My top pick among the characters is the quirky Geun-woo, played by Shin Sung-rok. He’s that weird that it makes me wonder if he’s sick or anything, but it’s just his poker face and his queer timing for jokes. As for the leads, Ji Hyun-woo and Jung Eun-ji’s characters are likeable but not enough to pull me in. However, the scene in which Chun-hee was in the audition made me tear up. Maybe I’m not in the mood will be shelved for future viewing.
By the way, Son Ho-joon looks dashing although he’s mostly seen walking around in tracksuits in the drama.
Joseon Gunman (4/20)
Yes, I am happy that it exceeded my expectation. I’ve never seen Time Between Dog and Wolf before this so I can’t vouch for anything, but Lee Jun-ki and Nam Sang-mi’s chemistry here is crackling. With the drama coming from the PD of The Princess’ Man, it’s understandable to be reminded of the latter but man, it feels like a deja vu at times, especially the beautiful instrumentals as the background music. Lots of tears and gunshots (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) but the fluttering romance makes up for all the heartaches. Each character has their own strength: Yoon-kang’s agility and burning desire for revenge, Soo-in’s thirst for knowledge and new world, and Ho-kyung’s ambition for Joseon’s enlightement. I do wish to see more of Hye-won, the charismatic merchant’s daughter. Merchant Choi’s future contention with Yoon-kang is something that shouldn’t be missed but imagining all nerve-wrecking moment that are coming..uh, I think I can do this!
Fated to Love You (2/16)
Another surprising treat in the house. If High School King is like my happy pill, I think this one will be my cotton candy from now on. I’m somehow glad that I didn’t indulge myself with any of its promo materials, only knowing that it’s a remake of a 2008-Taiwanese drama of the same title. Of course, there will be endless comparison between the original and the remake and while I can’t give my opinion on that matter since I haven’t watched the original, I’m happy to say that the Korean version is on a good start.
It’s also the reunion drama for the lead pairing, Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara since 2002 in Successful Story of a Bright Girl (I watched it!! Finally, something that I have watched before this!) and after 12 years, they are reunited in another rom-com. Jang Hyuk in a rom-com might be a far-fetched idea to some people but he did it before..and he does it again, this time with more sass..and wrinkles (his character said it, not me!). Go watch the first two episodes and see it for yourself. Lee Geon is one sassy man with pompous laughter while Mi-young is one sweet post-it girl that’s easy to root for. How cute is that when she speaks to her mother using saturi? So adorable. He’s oozing with confidence and she really needs a confidence boost so I’m sure they will complement each other. Episode 1 had me giggling, episode 2 had me roaring with laughter..what will episode 3 do to me? Make me roll on the floor? Gaaahhh so excited!
It’s worth mentioning that this drama brings back the good memories of the early 2000s rom-coms. Is it just me? It’s probably related to seeing the two Jangs on my screen again, but that’s what I feel. Well, it;s about to resurrect dramas of that particular genre, and what’s better than having the same pairing that was one of the pioneer couples for rom-coms to do so?
Marriage, Not Dating(1/16)
Another rom-com, because why not? I’m loving the first episode: Han Groo’s character Jang Mi is definitely crazy to get married with someone she loves while Yeon Woo-jin’s Ki-tae hates marriage so much that he lost count on how many times he got doused with a variety of drinks during the meetings he attended with his potential marriage partners. It’s too early to say anything actually but both leads seem to enjoy playing their characters (see: Jang-mi’s singing along to Lee Seung-gi’s Will You Marry Me). I can’t wait to learn more about the other characters too, especially Yoon So-hee’s Hyun-hee. She’s like a chameleon, changing from one character to another! She was convincing as a school kid in Wild Chives and Soybean Soup and in here, she’s pulling off the look of a shopping mall’s staff effortlessly. Another reason to stick with this one? Ki-tae and Jang-mi’s families are made up of actors and actresses I really adore: Kim Young-ok (Se-ro’s grandma in Full Sun), Kim Gap-soo (Denkai in Age of Feeling), Kim Hae-sook (currently playing Baek Mi-nyeo in Hotel King), Park Hee-jin (Seol-nan’s aunt in King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang), Park Joon-gyu (Jade Emperor’s frenemy King of the Underworld in Arang and the Magistrate), and Im Ye-jin (Gil-ro’s mother in Level 7 Civil Servant).
Endless Love (Watched: 2 out of 4 aired)
As expected from a melodrama, the first two episodes are wrought in the sense that it will make the viewers in pain from the leads’ endless suffering. I’m not joking at all! Here’s what happened in one sentence: In-ae went into a minor detention center, Kwang-hoon was forced into going to army, and Kwang-chul went missing at the sea, all because of a help that snowballed into a huge problem they never imagined before. I want to love this drama because of the cast but at the same time, I’m wary about the writer. I’ll just follow it closely while praying that it won’t go crazy somewhere around the middle. I’m watching it slowly since I need a suitable time and mood to get into the story.
One reason that I want to stick with this drama is because of Hwang Jung-eum. Her character finally gets a decent hairstyle this time, but I’m afraid that the curse of the bad hair has been transferred temporarily to Jung Kyung-ho. No worries, that octopus on his head is slowly disappearing and we’ll get to see something better soon.
So, are you watching any of these dramas to keep your company through this summer?