Despite the premiere of more than a dozen dramas in July, we have 9 new Korean dramas to watch in August 2019. That is still a lot, so unless you’re a god or something there’s almost no way for you to live-watch all of them (especially if your now-watching list is still full of ongoing series). The first week of August is welcomed by a parallel universe-themed fantasy romance series, an unusual mystery slash rom-com with orchestral members as the main characters, and a short teen drama about growing up and suffering from pain. In the second week, there’s a romantic comedy about a trio of girlfriends in their 30s and a hip hop music-themed drama (yeah, it’s really hip hop). A mystery romance series will grace our screen in the third week and finally, in the fourth week, we get another original Netflix Korean drama, a romantic investigative series about subway patrol police officers catching a certain “Ghost,” and a thriller headlined by Im Si-wan and Lee Dong-wook. I know that you’re most likely interested to at least check out the last one.
(Note: The stated premiere dates are already confirmed. But sometimes—just like what happened to the first two dramas below—they suddenly get changed by the broadcaster for some reason.)
August 5: WELCOME 2 LIFE (Mondays & Tuesdays on MBC)
- Genre: Fantasy Drama
- Main Cast: Rain & Lim Ji-yeon
- Predecessor: Investigation Couple 2
This show was supposed to be broadcast beginning July 29 but when MBC made some changes on its prime time programming on July 22, Investigation Couple 2‘s finale had to be aired on July 29, moving the premiere of Welcome 2 Life to the first week of August. Rain (Sketch) is back to the small screen with this drama about an excellent lawyer who serves the wrong people for money and power. The fantasy part of the story unfolds when he gets into an accident and suddenly transported to a parallel world where he’s known to be an upright lawyer who pursues nothing but justice. Even his relationships with the people around him are different in that world, as the woman (Lim Ji-yeon of Blow Breeze) he’d broken up with 10 years ago is now his loving wife. And they have a kid (look at the poster above)?
August 5: I WANNA HEAR YOUR SONG (Mondays & Tuesdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Mystery Rom-com
- Main Cast: Yeon Woo-jin & Kim Se-jeong
- Predecessor: Perfume
I Wanna Hear Your Song was also set to premiere next week but all of a sudden the newly released poster is now showing a different date. The series mixes the mystery-thriller genre with rom-com and has main characters that are all members of an orchestra. Kim Se-jeong (School 2017) is a timpanist who witnessed a murder and lost all of her memories related to the incident while Yeon Woo-jin (Priest) plays a tone-deaf pianist whose singing voice can put her to sleep. He helps her fight not only her insomnia, but also her struggle for regaining her memories. I don’t really understand where the show is headed based on that premise. But it’s still intriguing, especially since we also have a star violinist and a conductor in the story. And you know what? The PD of Cantabile’s Tomorrow—which is also related to music—is at the helm of this drama’s production.
August 5: SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD’S CONDITION (Mondays & Tuesdays on SBS)
- Genre: Teen Drama
- Main Cast: Park Si-eun & Yoon Chan-young
- Predecessor: The Secret Life Of My Secretary
Do you remember the news about SBS’s decision to replace its Monday-Tuesday dramas with variety shows? It’s happening now, which is why we’re not seeing a new series for this time slot since the end of The Secret Life Of My Secretary. Don’t worry though, because the replacement may just be limited to the summer season and we could see a new drama by early September. So what is Seventeen-Year-Old’s Condition? It is just a four-episode series starring Yoon Chan-young and Park Si-eun, about two 17-year-old high school students who are battling painful experiences as they grow up. The young lead actors previously worked together in Six Flying Dragons and Thirty But Seventeen.
August 9: BE MELODRAMATIC (Fridays & Saturdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Romantic Comedy
- Main Cast: Chun Woo-hee, Jeon Yeo-bin, Han Ji-eun, Ahn Jae-hong, & Gong Myung
- Predecessor: Chief of Staff
The seemingly melodramatic pink-colored poster is a perfect match for the drama’s title. Be Melodramatic follows the friendship, romances, career, and lifestyles of a trio of women in their 30s. Chun Woo-hee (Argon) is starring as a screenwriter with strange emotional issues, Jeon Yeo-bin (Save Me) as a documentary film director who’s struggling to start her own company, and Han Ji-eun (100 Days My Prince) as a single mom who works as a marketing team leader for a drama production company. The male lead actors are Ahn Jae-hong (Fight For My Way) and Gong Myung (Feel Good To Die). The drama’s production team is led by the director of the box office hit Extreme Job, which is currently the second most watched movie in South Korean film history. Fans of this certain director must be excited because Be Melodramatic marks his directorial debut on TV. And he’s also actively working on the drama’s script.
AUGUST 9: HIP HOP KING (Fridays on SBS)
- Genre: Youth Drama, Music-related
- Main Cast: Hoya, Shin Wonho, Naeun, & Han Hyu-min
- Predecessor: N/A
Aside from I Wanna Hear Your Song, we have another music-themed series in Hip Hop King, which explores the world of hip hop music and culture through the characters played by Hoya, Cross Gene’s Shin Wonho, APRIL’s Naeun, and model Han Hyun-min. It is a six-episode pre-produced drama from the director of the first season of Quiz From God. The production team began shooting last December and worked with hip hop producer Zizo and music director Nuol to make the series more realistic. SBS’s drama department must be experimenting these days not just on schedules, but also on genres.
AUGUST 21: GRACEFUL FAMILY (Wednesdays & Thursdays on MBN/ Dramax)
- Genre: Mystery, Romance
- Main Cast: Im Soo-hyang & Lee Jang-woo
- Predecessor: Level Up
Unlike on major cable networks tvN and JTBC, broadcasting Korean dramas is not a regular thing yet on the lesser-known cable channel MBN, so it’s good to know that it’d be airing two dramas consecutively this summer. The third series of MBN this year, Graceful Family is the comeback TV project of Im Soo-hyang, who starred in the popular 2018 rom-com My ID Is Gangnam Beauty opposite Cha Eun-woo. She’s playing the daughter of a family that runs South Korea’s top conglomerate and the story will focus on her trying to uncover a 15-year-old secret with the help of a lawyer played by Lee Jang-woo (My Only One). I am NOT complaining or belittling MBN dramas, but I’m just curious as to how Im Soo-hyang ended up taking this project when she could have chosen another one that could go on the air on a major broadcaster with a wider audience. On the other hand, Cha Eun-woo is now in Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung.
AUGUST 22: LOVE ALARM (Netflix)
- Genre: Teen Romance
- Main Cast: Kim So-hyun & Song Kang
The long wait is almost over because fans will finally get to see the live-action adaptation of the popular webtoon Love Alarm. It is a Netflix Korean series and when the streaming giant first announced it in January 2017, it described the adaptation as its “FIRST original Korean drama.” But in terms of release date, we know that it is not the case because we already have Kingdom and My First First Love. The drama’s title refers to a mobile application that alerts users when someone who likes them is very close (within 10 meters) to their location. The series focuses on a high school student played by Kim So-hyun (Radio Romance) and how her life is affected by the app when two of her classmates—played by Song Kang (The Liar And His Lover) and Jung Ga-ram (Mistress)—develop a crush on her. The drama is directed PD Lee Na-jeong of Fight For My Way.
AUGUST 26: CATCH THE GHOST (Mondays & Tuesdays on tvN)
- Genre: Crime
- Main Cast: Kim Sun-ho & Moon Geun-young
- Predecessor: Designated Survivor: 60 Days
The “Ghost” in the title is not a real ghost, but a serial killer that is testing the patience of the main characters. Catch The Ghost centers on subway patrol police officers who are tasked with capturing that killer. Kim Sun-ho (Welcome To Waikiki 2) stars as the head of a subway police team whose motto in life is something like strictly follow the rules all the time. Under his supervision is Moon Geun-young’s (The Village: Achiara’s Secret) character, a rookie police officer who believes that making immediate action comes before thinking and careful planning—which is giving me the idea that she’s gonna get into trouble with her boss. This new Korean drama is directed by the PD of Come Back Mister and Rooftop Prince.
UPDATE: tvN announced on August 1 to push back the premiere of Catch The Ghost to October 21. Instead, Song Seung-heon’s new drama The Great Show will premiere on August 26.
AUGUST 31: STRANGERS FROM HELL (Saturdays & Sundays on OCN)
- Genre: Thriller
- Main Cast: Im Si-wan, Lee Dong-wook, & Kim Ji-eun
- Predecessor: Watcher
The last Korean drama to premiere in August is Strangers From Hell, which is also based on a popular webtoon. It tells the story of a young man in his 20s, played by Im Si-wan (The King Loves), who moves to Seoul for a new job and decides to stay in an ominous dormitory. To be exact, it is the residents of the dormitory that would creep our hero out, and unless you have actually read the original source material there’s no way for you to find out what surprises await the protagonist. This is Im Si-wan’s first post-military drama, so many fans must be excited to know why he chose this particular project. He is joined by Lee Dong-wook as one of his neighbors who approaches strangers with ulterior motives, rookie actress Kim Ji-eun as his love interest, and award-winning actress Lee Jung-eun as his landlady. The series is directed by the movie director of The Vanished.