I can’t believe nine months have already passed and we’re now entering into the last quarter of 2019. The first three quarters have seen at least 69 drama premieres, and with 6 new Korean dramas that will grace our screens in October, the new total stands at 75. October is full of thrilling stories and lacking in pure rom-coms or romances, with the first week being welcomed by a TV adaptation of the webtoon July Found By Chance starring Kim Hye-yoon and SF9’s Rowoon, a historical drama set during the transition period between the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties, and an office mystery about department store employees who serve VIP clients. The second week, meanwhile, has three thrillers (separately) starring Lee Min-ki, Lee Dong-gun, and Kim Sun-ho.
October 2: EXTRAORDINARY YOU (Wednesdays & Thursdays on MBC)
- Genre: Fantasy Romance
- Main Cast: Kim Hye-yoon & Rowoon
- Predecessor: Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung
Extraordinary You is headlined by the award-winning Kim Hye-yoon in her first-ever lead role in a drama. There are some similarities between her previous role in the hit satirical drama SKY Castle and the one she’s playing in this series, who is a high-schooler and daughter of a wealthy family. But this time her character is described as a “lovely and lively female high school student with lots of cuteness.” The story centers on her realizing that she’s a character in a manhwa (Korean comic) and changing her already predetermined life. SF9’s Rowoon (Where Stars Land) plays the male lead, an extra character called Number 13 who falls in love with her. The series is based on the fantasy school romance webtoon July Found By Chance and comes from the PD of The King Loves and Dong Yi.
October 4: MY COUNTRY: THE NEW AGE (Fridays & Saturdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Sageuk
- Main Cast: Yang Se-jong, Woo Do-hwan, & Seolhyun
- Predecessor: Be Melodramatic
In addition to Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, JTBC will soon broadcast a new historical drama for its weekend timeslot. From the poster alone, it’s clear that My Country: The New Age is a real sageuk, NOT a fusion saeguk like Flower Crew, with a story taking place between the end of the Goryeo Dynasty and the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty. Political conflicts and people’s desire for power take center stage in this entire series headlined by Yang Se-jong (Thirty But Seventeen) and Woo Do-hwan (Great Seducer). Yang Se-jong plays the son of a famous general who calls him an incompetent person while Woo Do-hwan takes on the role of an aspiring military officer who is highly capable but often looked down upon due to his status as the illegitimate son of a high-ranking government official. Meanwhile, Seolhyun (Orange Marmalade) is also starring as a smart and progressive woman who fights for her principles. The series comes from the PD of The Package and writer of The Master Of Revenge.
October 7: VIP (Mondays & Tuesdays on SBS)
- Genre: Office Mystery
- Main Cast: Jang Na-ra & Lee Sang-yoon
- Predecessor: The Secret Life Of My Secretary
While MBC has already suspended its Monday-Tuesday drama following the conclusion of Welcome 2 Life (KBS2 will follow suit in November), SBS is about to get a similar suspension lifted with the premiere of VIP. It’s been three months since the TV channel aired its last Monday-Tuesday drama (The Secret Life Of My Secretary), so we should thank the drama gods for not letting the network totally remove its Monday-Tuesday series time slot. VIP revolves around a special team of a department store which caters to its VIP customers, with Jang Na-ra (The Last Empress) playing one of the team members. She grew up in a wealthy family and graduated from an elite university but despite looking strong and bright, she is suffering from many setbacks in life. She is married to Lee Sang-yoong’s (About Time) character, who is also her boss and the leader of the VIP management team. The couple’s lives start to fall apart when she receives an anonymous text and discovers a series of secrets.
October 12: THE LIES WITHIN (Saturdays & Sundays on OCN)
- Genre: Thriller
- Main Cast: Lee Min-ki and Lee Yoo-young
- Predecessor: Strangers From Hell
Coming from the PD of Coffee Prince and Cheese In The Trap, The Lies Within tells the story of a woman who enters the National Assembly and teams up with a detective to find the truth behind her husband’s disappearance and father’s death. Lee Yoo-young (My Fellow Citizens) plays the youngest daughter of a highly respected congressman whose death drives her to become a lawmaker herself. The car accident case involving her father is assigned to a detective played by Lee Min-ki (The Beauty Inside), who lives a quiet life working at the police station of a peaceful town in the countryside and ends up returning back to catching criminals day and night because of the case.
October 13: LEVERAGE (Sundays on TV Chosun)
- Genre: Thriller
- Main Cast: Lee Dong-gun & Jeon Hye-bin
- Predecessor: Joseon Survival
TV Chosun’s latest drama is the Korean adaptation of the American series Leverage whose five seasons aired from 2008 to 2012. This is the network’s third drama this year, following Joseon Survival (starring the scandal-hit Kang Ji-hwan) and Babel. Lee Dong-gun (Angel’s Last Mission: Love) is taking on the role of a former insurance fraud investigator who forms a team with con artists to fight injustice and swindle money out of the corrupt and wealthy people. Joining him are Jeon Hye-bin (Liver Or Die) as an actress who has zero talent except when committing fraud, Kim Sae-ron (Secret Healer) as a thief, Kim Kwon (He Is Psychometric) as a security specialist and fighter, and Yeo Hoi-hyun (Marry Me Now) as a hacker. The premise isn’t new to K-dramaland (something similar to this like The Player was broadcast just last year), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the series will succeed and motivate TV Chosun to broadcast more Korean dramas in the future.
October 21: CATCH THE GHOST (Mondays & Tuesdays on tvN)
- Genre: Investigative Comedy
- Main Cast: Kim Sun-ho & Moon Geun-young
- Predecessor: The Great Show
The last Korean drama that will premiere in October is Catch The Ghost, whose title refers to a serial killer known as “The Ghost.” Kim Sun-ho (Welcome To Waikiki 2) stars as a subway police team leader who does everything by the book, a personality that clashes with that of Moon Geun-young’s (The Village: Achiara’s Secret) role, a rookie police officer who goes headfirst into action and often makes her partner clean up after her mess. Together, they investigate serial murder cases to capture the culprit. The series was originally scheduled to premiere in August but tvN decided to push back its premiere this month. It comes from the PD of Come Back Mister and Rooftop Prince.