Age of Youth is back, albeit minus two of the original cast and characters who have taken residence in many viewers’ hearts. Ryu Hwa-young will still be seen in the new season but only as a guest while Park Hye-soo is completely out, forcing another actress to play her role. I’m a big fan of slice-of-life dramas, particularly those with an ensemble cast like this one, but until now I have yet to find the time when I can comfortably watch this series. And now that another season is about to begin, my dramas-to-watch list just got another entry.
Age of Youth, which aired from July 22 to August 27 last year, centers on five women in their 20s who share a house (called Belle Epoque) and stories of them growing up and experiencing both the joy and pain of youth. The new season is no different except for the fact that a new housemate will come knocking the house’s door and be occupying the room vacated by Ryu Hwa-young’s character. So this is one of the main new things to expect from the sequel which is, to be honest, an unexpected development in the series for me. Korean dramas rarely get a follow-up season, especially among those that performed poorly as far as TV rating goes. The 12-episode first season recorded an average nationwide rating of 1.33 % which falls below the combined average ratings (1.97 %) of 2016 JTBC dramas. In the complete ranking of cable dramas last year, Age of Youth comes in 19th on the list of 21. Despite this, an actual sequel (not a spinoff) was confirmed in February 2017. I heard the drama was a critically acclaimed sleeper hit so that must be one of the reasons why.
Another thing that led way to the sequel is to conclude the Park Eun-bin‘s character named Song Ji-won. The screenwriter of the drama said that she began working for Age of Youth 2 when she realized that she had more of Song Ji-won’s story left to tell. She is described as the cheerful housemate who held all the girls together in the first season. Returning with her in the sequel are Yoon Jin-myung (played by Han Ye-ri), the eldest among the housemates who finally found a decent job in a company after returning from her trip to China and working several part-time jobs in the past; Jung Ye-eun (Han Seung-yeon), the one who took a year off from school after going through a painful experience with his abusive boyfriend; Yoo Eun-jae (Ji Woo), the girl who has a unique taste when it comes to men and could hardly move on from his first love; and lastly, Jo Eun, (Choi A-ra), the new housemate who has personal problems in her family and has found her way to Belle Epoque somehow for this reason.
I haven’t known the first four characters personally, but I think their amazing chemistry’s something to look forward to in Age of Youth 2, especially if the mysterious character of Choi A-ra is added into the picture. I’m on the fence about watching this drama as it airs considering that I haven’t watched the first season yet, but I know everyone can follow the sequel’s story easily even without knowing the basics in the first installment. I’m excited to find out how this drama will be received by the local audience, following the massive success of its predecessors Woman of Dignity and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.