April marks the third consecutive month that Netflix got a new Korean original series to premiere on its service. My Holo Love and Kingdom Season 2 premiered in February and March, respectively. And next month, Extracurricular will follow suit as one of the six new Korean dramas we can all watch in April. It is a noteworthy show since it’s the latest addition to Netflix’s Korean dramas but the one that deserves the most special mention in this intro is The King: Eternal Monarch, Kim Eun-sook’s new work that features A-list actors Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun.
April 6: How to Buy A Friend (Mondays & Tuesdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Teen Drama
- Main Cast: Lee Shin-young, Shin Seung-ho, & Kim So-hye
- Predecessor: The Tale of Nokdu
After a four-month break, KBS2 will resume airing a prime-time drama every Monday and Tuesday, starting with How to Buy a Friend. It is an 8-episode or 4-hour series that revolves around the friendship and growth of youths, telling the story of an ordinary high school student (Lee Shin-young) who, because of a poem that contains an important secret, starts a “contractual friendship” with another student (Shin Seung-ho) known in the school as the “legendary fighter.” The new Korean drama also focuses on the friendship of these two characters with the most popular female student at school, played by I.O.I member Kim So-hye. Based on a webtoon, this show is directed by Yoo Young-eun whose past works include the 2017 dramas Manhole and Queen of Mystery.
April 17: The King: Eternal Monarch (Fridays & Saturdays on SBS)
- Genre: Fantasy Romance
- Main Cast: Lee Min-ho & Kim Go-eun
- Predecessor: Hyena
(Premiere date unconfirmed) The King: Eternal Monarch is probably the biggest Korean drama to premiere this year. And by biggest, I mean to say millions of people around the world are eagerly waiting for its release. That’s a given, considering the immense popularity of lead actors Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun, as well as writer Kim Eun-sook, who penned the record-breaking dramas Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, and Descendants of the Sun. The story seems promising, about the emperor (Lee Min-ho) of a modern monarchy Korea and a detective from a democratic Korea that is found in a parallel universe. The two set out on a mission to close a door between their two worlds that poses a threat to humankind. Woo Do-hwan and Jung Eun-chae play the secondary lead roles. See the first stills of the main cast here.
April 18: When My Love Blooms (Saturdays & Sundays on tvN)
- Genre: Romance
- Main Cast: Yoo Ji-tae & Lee Bo-young
- Predecessor: Hi Bye, Mama!
After her last lead role in the award-winning drama Mother, Lee Bo-young is back to deliver another amazing performance in When My Love Blooms. She takes on the role of a woman in her 40’s who reunites with her first love in college, played by Yoo Ji-tae. The drama follows the two characters as they rekindle some old feelings and enjoy romantic moments together as mature adults. It features a story that goes back and forth from the past and present, which is why GOT7’s Park Jin-young and Jeon So-nee also star in the series as the younger counterparts of Yoo Ji-tae’s and Lee Bo-young’s characters, respectively. This new Korean drama is at the helm of Son Jung-hyun, who directed Should We Kiss First, Yeah, That’s How It Is, and The Woman Who Married Three Times.
April 20: Born Again (Mondays & Tuesdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Romance, Melodrama
- Main Cast: Jang Ki-yong, Jin Se-yeon, & Lee Soo-hyuk
- Predecessor: How to Buy a Friend
As its title suggests, Born Again is a reincarnation drama about a lone wolf (Jang Ki-yong), a detective (Lee Soo-hyuk), and the detective’s lover (Jin Se-yeon). They have died 32 years ago and are reincarnated into new lives as a medical student, a prosecutor, and an archaeologist, respectively. These three characters cross paths with each other in the present by coincidence, which begs the question: Will they suffer from another tragic fate that may cost them their lives? This reminds me of Chicago Typewriter, where the past lives of the reincarnated characters witnessed the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930s. There are a few similarities between the two dramas, but I think the only fantasy element in Born Again is the premise that spirits can be reborn.
April 27: Good Casting (Mondays & Tuesdays on SBS)
- Genre: Action, Comedy
- Main Cast: Choi Kang-hee, Yoo In-young, Kim Ji-young, & Lee Sang-yeob
- Predecessor: Nobody Knows
I first heard about this drama in June last year, so I’m glad it has finally confirmed its premiere date! Good Casting tells the story of a legendary National Intelligence Service black ops agent (Choi Kang-hee) who gets demoted to the cybersecurity team after she commits a mistake that led to the death of one of her subordinates. She’s bored with her new trivial tasks, which include writing comments online. One day, she is tasked with going undercover to investigate an intellectual property theft case that involves one of Korea’s biggest companies. This is the third drama in a row where Choi Kang-hee plays a character who solves crimes and chases after criminal suspects, following Queen of Mystery Seasons 1 and 2.
April 29: Extracurricular (Netflix)
- Genre: Youth Drama, Crime
- Main Cast: Kim Dong-hee, Jung Da-bin, Park Joo-hyun, & Nam Yoon-soo
- Predecessor: Kingdom Season 2
Extracurricular (aka Human Class) serves as the latest proof of Netflix’s ever-increasing interest in “made in Korea” stories. It is the fifth Korean original series commissioned and produced by Netflix, following Kingdom, My First First Love, Love Alarm, and My Holo Love. The drama centers on a high schooler who commits a crime to earn money. Kim Dong-hee takes on that role while Jung Da-bin and Park Joo-hyun play characters who get caught up in his crimes. I’m not sure if there’s any romantic plot waiting for us but I know crime and violence will take center stage in the overall story development. Extracurricular is one of the six new Korean dramas that are confirmed to stream on Netflix within the year.
ONGOING KOREAN DRAMAS: 365: Repeat the Year | A Piece of Your Mind | Eccentric! Chef Moon (NEW) | Find Me in Your Memory | Hi, Bye Mama! (POPULAR) | Hospital Playlist (POPULAR) | Hyena | Memorist | Meow: The Secret Boy (NEW) | Nobody Knows | Once Again (NEW) | Rugal (NEW) | Somehow Family (NEW) | The World of the Married (POPULAR) | When the Weather is Fine
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