December is just hours away, which means we’re into the last 31 days of 2017 and a brand new year is waiting for all of us. In Kdramaland, there’s really nothing special in that month other than the year-end awarding ceremonies of the three big networks (they hold it usually on December 30 or 31) and the premiere of the last batch of Kdramas this year. The latter is particularly special for me because the new shows in December are the ones that will bid farewell to this amazing (I thought so) year for dramas and welcome 2018 while they are still broadcasting.
8 Korean dramas will start this month, bringing the total number of premieres this year to 69 (or roughly 6 dramas per month; excluding weekend and daily dramas from the free-to-air networks). Of these eight, there are 2 melodramas, 2 fantasy romances, 2 rom-coms, 1 thriller, and 1 office comedy. I have them listed below as your guide with the synopsis and your likely reasons to watch. I wonder if there is one among them who will end up reaping a Goblin-level success (Goblin premiered in December as well, and so did another certified hit My Love From The Star).
1. Office Romantic Comedy starting on December 4: KBS2’s Jugglers. A self-sacrificing and multi-tasking office secretary has to juggle many tasks at once for her cold, stoic boss but their roles become somewhat reversed when he ends up moving into her house as a new tenant. (Starring Choi Daniel and Baek Jin-hee)
Reason(s) To Watch: You love office romances or you’re a hardcore fan of Choi Daniel whose last drama aired about 3 years ago. Or you’ve gotten tired of crime Mon-Tue dramas which air over at MBC (Two Cops) and SBS (Doubtful Victory). Curious about the writer-director pair? Nah, they don’t have strong dramas on their resumes because they’re relative newbies.
2. Office Comedy starting on December 4: tvN’s Rude Miss Young-ae Season 16. Lee Young-ae’s story as a female office worker continues for the 16th time. I know—that’s a lame about-the-series intro but I could really hardly find a synopsis somewhere else that is quite detailed and satisfactory (plus I’m not a fan of the series). Anyways, it is essentially about the office life of the unmarried titular character who might have to tie the knot this season. (Starring: Kim Hyun-sook)
Reason(s) To Watch: You’re one of those loyal fans of this 10-year old series or you’re curious to see a perfect and interesting example of the very few multi-seasonal Kdramas featuring the same character and a similar story.
3. Melodrama starting on December 11: JTBC’s Just Between Lovers. Two young individuals emotionally scarred by their past carry on living their lives while still in pain and learn to find hope and solace in each other’s company. (Starring: Lee Joon-ho and Won Jin-ah | From PD Kim Jin-won of The Innocent Man and writer Yoo Bo-ra of Secret Love)
Reason(s) To Watch: JTBC opened up a new drama time slot (11 pm) just for this series, so you might as well check if the cable network didn’t go crazy or something given the highly strong rivalry of shows these days especially for cable dramas. Maybe you’re a fan of the two promising actors who are starring in their first ever lead roles in a TV drama, or melos is just really your cup of tea.
4. Fantasy Romance starting on December 6: KBS2’s Black Knight. A mysterious man with an assistant who has somehow lived for 200 years is more than willing to do everything and battle a dangerous fate for the woman she loves and wants to protect. (Starring: Kim Rae-won and Shin Se-kyung | From PD Han Sang-woo of Man From the Equator and writer Kim In-young of Unkind Ladies)
Reason(s) To Watch: This looks 100 % romance to you and you’re interested to know why the drama spans two centuries. Is Kim Rae-won the “black knight” an immortal or a reincarnated soul? In any case, the gothic mystery and scenes in Slovenia appeal so much to you and you just want to forget that Shin Se-kyung ever played a bride to a Water God.
5. Sci-fi Romantic Comedy starting on December 6: MBC’s I’m Not A Robot. A man who has a severe “allergy to humans” that keeps him from developing any close relationship with anyone falls in love with a female humanoid robot, which is actually a real human who impersonates the machine. (Starring Yoo Seung-hoo and Chae Soo-bin | From PD Jung Dae-yoon of W-Two Worlds and writer Kim Seon-mi of Shine or Go Crazy)
Reason(s) To Watch: You’ve been waiting so much for this to happen, that actor Yoo Seung-hoo will be playing the lead in a romantic comedy because you think its just a waste to watch him only in melodramas. Or you just really want more of Chae Soo-bin despite seeing her twice already this year in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People and Strongest Deliveryman.
6. Family Melodrama starting on December 9: tvN’s The Most Beautiful Goodbye In The World. A dedicated mother learns one day that she has terminal cancer, so her ungrateful family gathers in support of her during the remaining days of her life. (Starring Won Mi-kyung and Choi Ji-woo | From PD Hong Jong-chan and writer No Hee-kyung of Dear My Friends)
Reason(s) To Watch: No Hee-kyung is that one writer you endlessly admire and you can’t just wait to see the drama remake of her own award-winning series in the 1990s. Plus, she’s teaming up again with the director who helmed Dear My Friends, which won Best Drama in this year’s Baeksang Arts Awards.
7. Action Crime Thriller starting on December 16: OCN’s Bad Guys: City of Evil. Two genius prosecutors and one hotheaded detective form a team with a convicted gangster and a framed, revenge-seeking criminal to catch even worse criminals. (Starring Park Joong-hoon, Kim Moo-yul, Yang Ik-joon, Joo Jin-mo , and Ji Soo | From PD Han Dong-hwa of Police Unit 38 and writer Han Jung-hoon of the original Bad Guys)
Reason(s) To Watch: This is a spin-off of a drama you’ve loved so much or you’ve heard so many positive reviews about the original but haven’t gotten the time to watch it. You also think that Police Unit 38, aka Squad 38, was cleverly written and you expect this series could end up having a clever script, too. Or maybe you’re just really a sucker for OCN crime dramas.
8. Fantasy Romance starting on December 23: tvN’s Hwayugi. In a world where dark spirits are roaming around, a human with the ability to see them team up with the great Monkey King and the Bull Demon King to battle the bad ones and search for “the light.” (Starring Lee Seung-gi and Oh Yeon-seo | From PD Park hong-kyun of Queen Seon-deok and Hong sisters of Master’s Sun)
Reason(s) To Watch: Any Hong Sisters-drama would always end up in your to-watch list, plus you miss Lee Seung-gi so much and want to see him right away on TV. It’s also a modern retelling of a classic Chinese novel Journey to the West and you’re hyped up at the thought of watching the Kdrama adaptation.