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One Well-Intentioned Kidnapping This Week

I’m delighted to have Lee Bo-young back on my screen in this 2010 remake of the jdrama Mother. Here’s hoping it goes well! As of the moment I’m writing this, I don’t know who officially has the license. Viki still had a fan page as of Saturday, but DramaFever had a  page with a “Coming Soon” banner on it. Guess we’ll find out. Will you be watching it?

Mother
tvN
16 episodes
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on DramaFever.com (as Call Me Mother)

While Soo-jin is working as a temporary teacher at an elementary school, she notices Hye-na, one of her students. Hye-na stands out because of her odd behavior and unkempt appearance, and Soo-jin finds out that Hye-na is being abused by her mother, Ja-young. So when Soo-jin finds Hye-na alone outside, she decides to kidnap Hye-na in order to protect her and become her new mother.

This show is a remake of the 2010 Japanese drama of the same name.

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One fantasy romance to start 2018

There’s one short time-travel romantic comedy for you to kick off 2018. Personally, I think the older version of Shin-woo should focus on helping his younger self woo Ji-soo, but that’s just my adult self trying to make this setup less creepy. Will this make it on your watch list?

Longing Heart
OCN
8 episodes
Monday/Tuesday
Available on DramaFever.com

Math teacher Kang Shin-woo still regrets never confessing his feelings to his first love, Han Ji-soo, from high school. So when strange circumstances throw him back ten years into the past, he finds himself with a second chance at resolving his feelings. However, the one thing Shin-woo didn’t expect was to run into any competition—much less competition from his own, younger self.

This drama is based on the webtoon Aeganjang by Kim Hee-ran and Kim Byung-gwan.

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One Monkey King, just for you

There’s just one release for you this week, but it is the highly anticipated A Korean Odyssey, by the Hong sisters. I’m tempted by the drama, but since Netflix has the license and I don’t have Netflix, I’ll have to pass. Is it on your watch list?

Edit: Many thanks to esun for pointing out that Viki also has the license.

A Korean Odyssey
16 episodes
tvN
Saturday/Sunday
Available on Viki.com and Netflix (eventually)

Based on the classic Chinese classic novel Journey to the West, this drama is a modern-day fantasy adaptation by the Hong sisters.

Son Oh-gong, the Monkey King, was exiled to the human world and had his powers sealed. In the moral world, he runs into Woo Hwi-chul, the Bull Demon King, who is now the CEO of an entertainment company. Jin Sun-mi is a real estate CEO and descendant of monks, and she has the ability to rid the world of demons and unseal Oh-gong’s powers. The three of them will clash as they fight to get rid of evil in Seoul—and try to obtain godhood and ascend to the immortal world.

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It’s time for a lot of muted and dark colors

Our two debuts this week definitely have a winter-ish color palette, what with all the muted colors and grays and blacks. I find myself surprisingly interested in Just Between Lovers–I blame my winter mood–so we’ll see where that goes. I’m going to pass on Bad Guys: City of Evil, partly because I adored the original cast and partly because they seem to care even less about female characters than the first season. (You can’t even bother pretending there’s one in the main cast? Meh.) Are either of these on your watch list?

Just Between Lovers
JTBC
16 episodes
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

Lee Kang-doo dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, but his dreams were ruined when he broke his leg and his father was killed in a car accident. After his mother’s death from cancer, Kang-doo’s once rosy, wealthy life evaporates, leaving him drowning under medical debt and living in rundown motels. Ha Moon-soo discovers a beaten Kang-doo in an alley one day, and the two of them connect. Moon-soo has survivor’s guilt thanks to a car accident that killed her younger sibling, and running into Kang-doo gives her something else to focus on. Will their chance meeting offer them both the opportunity to heal?

Bad Guys: City of Evil
OCN
16 episodes
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

In this spin-off series of the 2014 Bad Guys, Woo Je-moon leads a team dedicated to using criminals to track down other criminals. Beside him is Noh Jin-pyung, a brilliant rookie prosecutor, and Jang Sun-chul, a disreputable detective. The two criminals assisting them are Heo Il-hoo, a “reformed” gangster turned fishmonger, and Han Gang-joo, who claims to have been framed but now seeks revenge. Together this team of five will go after the criminals that the regular methods of justice cannot reach.

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Five dramas to kickstart December

I hope you have plenty of free time this week, because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to watch all of the dramas that premier this week. Are any of these on your watch list?

Jugglers
16 episodes, KBS2
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

Jwa Yoon-yi is a phenomenal secretary with a reputation for getting things done, has a supportive personality, and is involved in an online community for secretaries. Unfortunately for her, Nam Chi-won is her new boss at HB Company, and he has a reputation for not wanting to interact with others and doing all of his work himself. Yoon-yi has to come to his rescue despite his prickliness, and things only get more awkward when it turns out that Chi-won is Yoon-yi’s newest tenant. Will Yoon-yi—and the other secretaries—be able to save their bosses from themselves?

 

Rude Miss Young-ae (Season 16)
16 episodes, tvN
Monday/Tuesday
Availability unknown

Lee Young-ae is back for a sixteenth season. Once again she and her friends will have to fight to survive the workplace and their thirty-something lives. But this time she has a new battle to fight: marriage.

 

 

 

Black Knight
16 episodes, KBS2
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Businessman Moon Soo-ho has a pure heart—so pure, in fact, that he chooses to face a terrible fate for the woman he loves. His 200-year love for Jung Hae-ra, now a travel agent in the modern world, may put them both in danger when they reconnect abroad. Hae-ra is a hardworking woman who maintains an optimistic attitude on life when everything seems to be going wrong for her. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman who has survived two hundred years entangles herself with Soo-ho and Hae-ra.

 

I’m Not a Robot
32 (mini) episodes, MBC
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Kim Min-gyu is the largest shareholder of KM Financials, and he is as isolated as he is wealthy due to his “allergy” to other humans. Hong Baek-gyun is one of the top robotics engineers in the world, but when it comes to romance and relationships, he is clueless. Baek-gyun doesn’t know why Jo Ji-ah dumped him, but he used his ex-girlfriend’s face for his most recent robot model. Ji-ah is an entrepreneur who is developing a proxy shipping service, but she ends up taking Baek-gyun’s part-time job offer: pretending to be the newest version of the robot at Min-gyu’s estate, without Min-gyu catching on to the fact that she is human.

 

The Most Beautiful Goodbye in the World
4 episodes, tvN
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

Kim In-hee is living an ordinary life, until the day she is diagnosed with late-stage, terminal cancer. In-hee prepares to say goodbye to the family she has been devoted to: Jung-chul, her husband; Yun-soo, her daughter; and Jung-soo, her immature son. This is a remake of the 1996 drama of the same name.

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Two dramas to wrap up November

We have two new Monday/Tuesday dramas, both of them center on cops/detectives, and they’re both in the annoying mini episode format. Will you be watching either one? I’m a little tempted by Two Cops, but we’ll see how that goes.

Doubtful Victory
40 (mini) episodes, SBS
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com (as “Oh, the Mysterious”)

After spending ten years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit, Oh Il-seung breaks out of prison and passes himself off as a detective in order to chase down real criminals. He is soon offered a new, permanent identity—provided he can find a hidden cache of 100 billion won in three days. Il-seung quickly becomes entangled with Detective Jin Jin-young, who is trying to find out who really killed her father.

 

 

Two Cops
32 (mini) episodes, MBC
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Cha Dong-tak is a detective in the Violent Crimes Unit. During one of his investigations, he crosses paths with Gong Soo-chang, a con artist, who ends up “possessing” Dong-tak’s body. While they try to figure out how to cohabitate in one body, Dong-tak encounters rookie reporter Song Ji-ahn. Her determination and feisty spirit causes her to butt heads with the straitlaced Dong-tak, but they also end up developing feelings for one another.

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Three new dramas for a holiday week

(If you’re in the U.S., that is. If not, well, I guess it’s just three dramas in a regular old week.)

I don’t know if I’ll check any of these out, though they all have elements that intrigue me. Will any of these make it on your watch list?

Nothing to Lose
32 (mini) episodes, SBS
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on Viki.com (as Judge vs. Judge)–and presumably KoCoWa.com as well

Judge Lee Jung-joo has something of a reputation at the Seoul District Court, where she has been known to tear into smug and shameless defendants. Her fierce personality will help her reveal the truth behind her older brother’s tragic story: he was framed for murder and then was killed in order to protect powerful people. In court, Jung-joo quickly clashes with her new bench partner, Judge Sa Ui-hyun, whose cool-headed and exacting reputation is at sharp odds with her. While Jung-joo works to uncover the corruption that lead to her brother’s death, she and Ui-hyun are drawn to each other.

 

Smart Prison Living
16 episodes, tvN
Wednesday/Thursday
Availability unknown

Kim Je-hyuk is a famous baseball player at the top of his game, but his dreams of Major League stardom head straight for the dumpster when he winds up in prison. Even though he has some dedicated fans as fellow inmates, Je-hyuk struggles to adjust to life in prison. In the meantime, Lee Joon-ho, a prison guard, takes a special interest in facility’s newest arrival. Along with the other inmates and guards, Je-hyuk and Joon-ho will all have to figure out how to survive prison life.

 

Untouchable
16 episodes, jTBC
Friday/Saturday
Available on Viki.com

For the last three generations, the Jang crime family has controlled Bukcheon. Jang Beom-ho is the current family head, and his oldest son, Jang Ki-seo, wants to inherit the family’s corrupt and bloody legacy of power. But the favored second son, Jang Joon-seo, wanted a cleaner life and became a police officer—though that didn’t protect his wife. After Joon-seo vows to uncover the truth behind his wife’s murder, the clues take him right back home, where Ki-seo has turned into a ruthless crime boss. But Joon-seo isn’t the only threat to the Jang family: Ki-seo’s wife, Goo Ja-kyung, is a former president’s daughter who hides her rage at her thwarted ambitions, and Prosecutor Seo Yi-ra is a junior prosecutor investigating Joon-seo’s wife’s death. Will the Jang family’s legacy survive to the fourth generation?

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Two dramas that I missed

Because who needs queues and I totally needed a week to recover from my vacation. Last week there were two new dramas, and while neither is my cup of tea, one of them might be yours. Have you started watching either?

Meloholic
10 episodes, OCN
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

When Yoo Eun-ho touches someone, he can read that person’s mind. That power has made him suspicious of others since he can tell whenever they are lying, and that mistrust has spilled over into his romantic life. But Eun-ho is in for a surprise when he meets Han Ye-ri, a woman whose mind and words always match up—and who also happens to have two personalities.

Meloholic is based on the 2010­–2013 webtoon of the same name by 팀겟네임/Team Get-Name.

 

Money Flower
24 episodes, MBC
Saturday
Available on Viki.com

The rich have few moral limits when it comes to protecting the wealth they have hoarded, and others will do anything to rise to their ranks—or tear them down. Kang Pil-joo had a difficult childhood growing up in an orphanage, but as an adult he is the managing director of a corporate legal team. Na Mo-hyun lives a very different life as a middle school science teacher and environmental activist. Will Mo-hyun’s dreams of a fateful love be dashed by greed?

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One behind-the-scenes weekender for you

Don’t let the ridiculous episode count fool you–this one’s really only clocking in at sixty. (How long until you think broadcast rules can be changed so we don’t have to deal with this ridiculousness?) Will you be watching it?

Bravo My Life
120 (mini) episodes, SBS
Saturday
Available on KOCOWA.com/Viki.com

Ha Do-na is an assistant PD and is frustrated by the fact that she is the only one of her peers still stuck at the assistant level, never having been able to take charge of a show of her own. To make matters worse, her mother’s unexpected return results in the end of her current relationship. While she tries to pick up the pieces of her heart, Do-na gets caught up in two other people’s lives: haughty PD Shin Dong-woo, and the seven-years-without-a-debut actor Kim Bum-woo. Meanwhile, veteran actress and chaebol wife Song Mi-ja finds her fantasy life crumbling to the point that she can’t even get minor roles.

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Couldn’t you have staggered your schedules a little?

I’m a little overwhelmed by just how many dramas are starting this week. There are a couple I have my eye on–Witch’s Court, Avengers Social Club, maybe Black–but we’ll see what I actually end up trying out. There are just so many to choose from. Have any of these caught your eye?

20th Century Boy and Girl
32 (mini) episodes, MBC
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

Sa Jin-jin is a former idol who has since become an actress. She reconnects with her childhood friend, Gong Ji-won, now a successful businessman. At the age of thirty-five, Jin-jin and her two best girlfriends have to navigate their familial ties, friendships, and romantic relationships while sorting out what they want from this period of their lives.

 

 

Witch’s Court
16 episodes, KBS2
Monday/Tuesday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Prosecutor Ma Yi-deum has been in the courtroom for seven years, and she has built a reputation for playing dirty (and even illegally) in order to win the case. After an incident derails her career plans, she gets transferred to a special team that investigates sex crimes and crimes against children. Yi-deum quickly grows to hate Prosecutor Yeo Jin-wook, a rookie prosecutor also on the team, but the two of them have to figure out how to work together if they’re going to get convictions on their cases.

 

Mad Dog
16 episodes, KBS2
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Former detective Choi Kang-woo switched career paths to being a top investigator of insurance fraud scams, particularly among the upper class. He forms a team of specialists—the Mad Dog Team—who do everything in their power to investigate and expose fraudulent claims. Together with Jang Ha-ri, Kim Min-joon, and the rest of their team, Kang-woo sets out to ensure that the rich don’t abuse the system and the poor get the compensation they deserve.

Avengers Social Club
16 episodes, tvN
Wednesday/Thursday
Availability unknown

Kim Jung-hye, a naïve chaebol daughter, had an arranged married to benefit both her and her husband’s families. Even though she has tried to be a good wife, her life gets upended when she discovers that her husband has betrayed her. In order to get revenge, she forms the “Bok Ja Club” with two other women she meets: Hong Do-hee, a fish seller at a traditional market whose son has serious problems at school; and Lee Mi-sook, a housewife who is struggling in an abusive marriage to a university professor. The final member of the club is Lee Soo-kyum, the bastard son of Jung-hye’s husband.

 

The Package
12 episodes, jTBC
Friday/Saturday
Availability unknown

Yoon So-so lives and works in France as a travel guide. Her new assignment is a group of Korean tourists who have all signed up for a package tour: San Ma-roo, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend; Kim Kyung-jae, who is in a ten-year relationship; Han So-ran, who can’t decide if being single or getting married is best; Jung Yeon-sung, who booked the tour with a partner but refuses to disclose their relationship; and four other people round out unconventional the group. While a mysterious man begins to follow So-so, the group slowly becomes entangled in each other’s personal lives.

 

Go Back Couple
16 episodes, KBS2
Friday/Saturday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Ma Jin-joo and Choi Ban-do are both thirty-eight, married, and miserable together. While they were both in love when they married at a young age, over the eighteen years they’ve known each other, they’ve grown to hate each other. Jin-joo feels stuck as a housewife, and Ban-do struggles under the burden of providing for the household on his own. When they both travel back in time to their twenty-year-old, university-attending selves, they have the opportunity to do things differently and escape from their unhappy future. It’s up to them to decide if they should choose other paths—or try it all again.

 

Black
16 episodes, OCN
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

A grim reaper called Black walks the world in the body of a police officer. While he is there, he meets Kang Ha-ram, a woman who can see the deaths of the people around her. The two of them form an unlikely team and break heaven’s rules to stop people from dying, and in the process, the two of them fall in love.

 

 

Revolutionary Love
16 episodes, tvN
Saturday/Sunday
Available on DramaFever.com

Even though Baek Joon graduated from a good university, she hasn’t been able to find a stable, full-time job. Her strict budget and part-time work means that she lives in a poor area while she continues to search for something better. Byun Hyuk is the last person who would be expected to move into her neighborhood as a somewhat naive and friendly third-generation chaebol son, but he ends up trying to live entirely on his own in a tiny studio apartment. Hyuk hides his background while he struggles to find work as a normal person, thanks to his lack of ordinary life experience.