I’m glad to announce that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, nine new Korean dramas will premiere in May 2020. We’re lucky to have this many shows because a lot of reruns occupy the prime-time entertainment programming in many televisions around the globe. Park Shi-ho is back with his first sageuk in nine years while Park Hae-jin also returns with his second series this year. I think the first and last Korean dramas on the list are particularly interesting since they feature stories that we rarely see in K-dramaland. Read more to pick and choose the shows that match your taste!
May 6: Soul Mechanic (Wednesdays & Thursdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Medical Drama
- Main Cast: Shin Ha-kyun & Jung So-min
- Predecessor: Meow: The Secret Boy
Soul Mechanic is a medical drama that centers on a psychiatrist (Shin Ha-kyun)—who is passionate about helping his patients heal their emotional wounds—and a rising musical star (Jung So-min) who is trying to find her true self. It tells the stories of psychiatrists and their patients and aims to share a heartwarming message to everyone. Jung’s character seems to have contrasting personalities, which would make sense of her seeking medical help from Shin Ha-kyun’s. Most medical Korean dramas focus on surgeons, so I’m glad we have another series like It’s Okay, It’s Love where psychiatrists and mental health take center stage in the story.
May 6: Oh My Baby (Wednesdays & Thursdays on tvN)
- Genre: Romance, Comedy
- Main Cast: Jang Na-ra, Go Joon, Park Byung-eun & Jung Gun-joo
- Predecessor: Memorist
Playing a total opposite of her role in her last drama VIP, Jang Na-ra returns to the small screen as a 39-year-old career-oriented woman in Oh My Baby. She works for a parenting magazine who, upon giving up on love and marriage, yearns to have a child. As she finds her way to single parenthood, she gets involved with three men; a smart pediatrician (Park Byung-eun), an enthusiastic freelance photographer (Go Joon), and her optimistic employee (Jung Gun-joo). Filled with light-hearted conflicts, this feel-good series is perfect for the whole family to watch this season.
May 17: Wind and Cloud and Rain (Saturdays & Sundays on TV Chosun)
- Genre: Historical, Fantasy Romance
- Main Cast: Park Si-hoo & Go Sung-hee
- Predecessor: Selection: The War Between Women
The only historical series on the list, Wind and Cloud and Rain tells the story of a skillful fortuneteller (Park Si-hoo) who becomes one of the most powerful in Joseon. She becomes involved with a princess (Go Sung-hee) with an extraordinary ability to see the fate of people. Based on the novel Baramgwa Gooreumgwa Bi written by Lee Byung-joo, the series features both fictional and real characters. It is Go Sung-hee’s second drama this year, following the Netflix original series My Holo Love. Meanwhile, this marks Park Si-hoo’s first historical drama in nine years, following The Princess Man in 2011.
May 20: Mystic Pop-up Bar (Wednesdays & Thursdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
- Main Cast: Yook Sung-jae & Hwang Jung-eum
- Predecessor: This is JTBC’s first Wed-Thu series in almost eight years.
Mystic Pop-up Bar revolves around a mysterious pojangmacha—outdoor drinking establishment—run by a bad-tempered woman (Hwang Jung-eum), a part-timer (Yook Sung-jae), and a former afterlife detective (Choi Won-young). They appear in their customers’ dreams to help them resolve their problems. Based on the webtoon Ssanggabpocha written by Bae Hye-Soo, this new Korean drama is one of the highly anticipated productions in 2020, especially since JTBC’s last webtoon-based drama (Itaewon Class) became a success. It’s been almost eight years since JTBC aired a series on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it would maintain this time slot from now on.
May 20: Kkondae Intern (Wednesdays & Thursdays on MBC)
- Genre: Office Comedy
- Main Cast: Park Hae-jin & Kim Eung-Soo
- Predecessor: Find Me In Your Memory
Kkondae Intern tells the story of an office worker (Park Hae-jin) who quits his job because of his boss (Kim Eung-soo). He finds another work at a food company, where he works hard and becomes the head of the sales and marketing department. One day, he gets a senior intern who turns out to be his former boss at his previous job. The series comes from the PD who gave us 100 Days My Prince and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and is written by a rookie screenwriter who won MBC’s Drama Screenplay Contest in 2018.
May 23: Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation (Saturdays & Sundays on OCN)
- Genre: Comedy, Action
- Main Cast: Cha Tae-hyun & Lee Sun-bin
- Predecessor: Rugal
Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation centers on an enthusiastic detective (Cha Tae-hyun) who doesn’t get along with his colleagues but does whatever it takes to solve a case. He meets a director (Lee Sun-bin) of a TV investigative program that attempts to solve crimes and catch criminals. The two forms a team with a forensic expert turned funeral director (Jung Sang-hoon), an ex-gangster (Yoon Kyung-ho), and a former criminal profiler to investigate unsolved crimes. OCN initially announced Team Bulldog as a Saturday-Sunday series that would premiere in April, but the network push backed its broadcast to May in favor of Rugal.
May 25: Dinner Mate (Mondays & Tuesdays on MBC)
- Genre: Romance, Melodrama
- Main Cast: Song Seung-heon & Seo Ji-hye
- Predecessor: 365: Repeat The Year
A fan-favorite from her last role in the hit drama Crash Landing on You, Seo Ji-hye is back with a lead role in the new Korean drama Dinner Mate. She plays a heartbroken woman who finds an unusual friendship with a food psychologist (Song Seung-heon) she met at a restaurant, where they get mistaken as a couple. Over multiple dinners, the two both share their relationship dilemmas and form a closer bond. The series is directed by the same PD who helmed The Player, a 2018 OCN series that also featured Song Seung-heon.
May 25: Sweet Munchies (Mondays & Tuesdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Romance, Comedy
- Main Cast: Jung Il-woo, Kang Ji-young & Lee Hak-joo
- Predecessor: When the Weather is Fine
Model Detective, which was supposed to replace When the Weather is Fine, will not premiere in May as a result of production changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, JTBC will broadcast Sweet Munchies, which centers on a chef (Jung Il-woo) who runs a late-night snack restaurant. He gets involved in an unexpected love triangle with the producer (Kang Ji-young) of a cooking variety show and another man (Lee Hak-joo) who happens to like him. A lot of fans are intrigued by the possible man-to-man romantic scenes in the series.
May: Search (OCN)
- Genre: Thriller, Mystery
- Main Cast: Jang Dong-yoon & Krystal
(Unconfirmed Premiere Date) InternJang: Krystal is back in May as a soldier in OCN military drama Search. The story of this new Korean drama unfolds when an army dog handler (Jang Dong-yoon) is sent on a detached duty assignment to the search party in the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). With one month to go before his discharge, his team encounters monstrous creatures in the 9area. Meanwhile, Krystal takes on the role of a brilliant lieutenant from the army’s chemical, biological, and radiological warfare unit. The premise sounds so exciting, and with Krystal and Jang Dong-yoon portraying roles unlike anything they had played before, I think I’m going to watch this one!
ONGOING KOREAN DRAMAS: Backstreet Rookie | It’s Okay to Not Be Okay | King Maker: The Change of Destiny | Memorials | My Unfamiliar Family | Once Again
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