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Premiere Watch: 20th Century, Witch’s Courtroom, This Life Is My First, Mad Dog, Revenge Club, Go Back Spouses, Package, Black, Revolutionary Love

Goodbye drought, hello flood! Chuseok week is nearing its end and all the broadcasters are lining up their October dramas, and of course they all happen to be premiering in the same week. When it rains in dramaland, it really, really pours—we have NINE new shows coming at us in the next seven days, so get your calendars ready, because your watch list is about to get long. Let’s hope there are some keepers among them.

 

20th Century Boy and Girl

Time slot: Monday & Tuesday
Broadcaster: MBC
Genre: Romantic comedy
Episode count: 32 (half-hour episodes, 16 hours in total)

Reasons to watch: This comes from a junior writer on the Answer Me franchise, and has a tight-knit group of childhood friends at the center. These friends have grown older but have not grown up, which just appeals to me on a personal level. Add in a pair of childhood sweethearts who reunite as adults, and we should be in for a sweet, down-to-earth romance that’s hopefully as funny and relatable as it looks. I’m especially looking forward to the friendships, which should have a different feel from the twentysomething gangs of Age of Youth or Fight My Way, with problems specific to 35-year-olds and their careers. Also, this is Kim Ji-suk’s first romantic leading role after scene-stealing performances in Oh Hae-young Again and Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, so I’ve got my eye on this one to see how he fares.

 

Witch’s Courtroom

Time slot: Monday & Tuesday
Broadcaster: KBS
Genre: Legal drama
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: I’m just banking on the cast for Witch’s Courtroom, because a legal drama about rape victims doesn’t exactly sound pleasant on paper… but Yoon Hyun-min and Jung Ryeo-won! It’s such a classic setup too, with two prosecutors of completely opposite personalities and values forced to team up on these cases and overcome their differences. Heads will butt, fireworks will fly—at least that’s what I hope for, anyway. I loved Yoon Hyun-min so much as the straitlaced, uppity detective who bickered with Choi Jin-hyuk in Tunnel, and I’m hoping his by-the-book prosecutor character will have a similar vibe. He’ll be the warmer character in this pair, however, to Jung Ryeo-won’s cynical, ambitious prosecutor—and there ought to be plenty of opportunities for him to thaw her heart as they work together to bring these criminals down.

 

This Life Is Our First

Time slot: Monday & Tuesday
Broadcaster: tvN
Genre: Cohabitation romantic comedy
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: This drama has an odd setup, but then again, what cohabitation rom-com doesn’t? Homeless Jung So-min somehow ends up roommates with house-poor Lee Min-ki without having met in person to do the actual rental agreement, which will lead to all sorts of hilarity when she discovers that he’s a man, and that she’s met him before. They both seem like quirky characters, and the casting seems to really highlight their oddness, so I’m excited by the potentially hilarious and awkward romantic pairing. This drama also comes from a PD and a writer that I like—Let’s Eat’s PD Park Joon-hwa and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop’s writer Yoon Nan-joong—which puts it pretty high up on my watch list.

 

Mad Dog

Time slot: Wednesday & Thursday
Broadcaster: KBS
Genre: Crime thriller
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: Woo Do-hwan! The breakout star of OCN’s Rescue Me isn’t even the main draw of crime thriller Mad Dog—Yoo Ji-tae is no chopped liver, and here he’s set to play a charismatic anti-hero who gathers a team of investigators to take down large-scale insurance scammers. It’s just that Woo Do-hwan is actually still sizzling from his star-making turn in a drama that just wrapped, so my excitement level is a little skewed in his direction. I really hope this drama is good, but I think we have reason to believe that it will be, with an ensemble caper feel that evokes Police Unit 38 and Lookout. With a team of con artists and expert double-crossers, I won’t be able to trust anything anyone says, but isn’t that the fun?

 

Buam-dong Revenge Club

Time slot: Wednesday & Thursday
Broadcaster: tvN
Genre: Revenge drama, black comedy
Episode count: 12

Reasons to watch: At first I found it difficult to get a read on this drama from the initial teasers, because it seemed very serious and very dramatic, but it’s looking more and more like a black comedy with an unexpected sense of humor. The story follows three ajummas from very different walks of life who get together to form a revenge club, but the revenge they carry out is often petty and hapless. I’m sure they’ll work their way up to actual revenge against the people who have wronged them in serious ways, but I think the main draw of this drama is really the oddball friendship that forms between Ra Mi-ran, Lee Yo-won, and Myung Se-bin. I also expect good things from PD Kwon Seok-jang of Ex-Girlfriend Club, Miss Korea, Golden Time, and Pasta, especially with that cast.

 

Go Back Spouses

Time slot: Friday & Saturday
Broadcaster: KBS
Genre: Time-travel romantic comedy
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: PD Ha Byung-hoon of the hit web series The Sound of Your Heart is returning with the do-over comedy Go Back Spouses, which is all about getting a second chance to go back in time to your youth. Jang Nara is pretty much at the top of a very short list of actresses you could believably cast in this role, of a thirtysomething ajumma who “miraculously” finds herself back in her college-age body (how much do you want to bet that it took more makeup to make her look like a haggard 39-year-old baby mama?). Sohn Ho-joon is her beleaguered salaryman husband, and the two of them get to relive their glory days with all the advantages of hindsight. I mean, it’s 17 Again in drama form—what’s not to love?

 

The Package

Time slot: Friday & Saturday
Broadcaster: JTBC
Genre: Travel
Episode count: 12

Reasons to watch: Of all the new dramas, The Package is the biggest question mark for me. Is it a travelogue? A mystery? A romance? It’s probably all of the above, but there’s something about the idea of a group of strangers brought together by a package tour that does lend itself to an air of mystery. The show is a bit of a departure for writer Chun Sung-il of Chuno, Runaway Plan B, and Level 7 Civil Servant, which makes it a little harder to pin down, and I will admit that I’m wary because this show was pre-produced and waited a good long while to finally get a time slot, which just makes me wonder why. But maybe it will look so beautiful and picturesque and romantic that none of that will matter?

 

Black

Time slot: Saturday & Sunday
Broadcaster: OCN
Genre: Supernatural thriller
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: The PD of Voice and Liar Game is teaming up with the writer of God’s Gift–14 Days to tell the story of a grim reaper, so it’s probably a given that I’m going to check this drama out. Whether or not I stay will depend on how Song Seung-heon does as the reaper. The odds are not in his favor, but I’ve seen more of his dramas than you’d think. The premise is very cool though—a woman who can see death and a reaper who’s supposed to protect death will go against the rule of heaven and fight to save people’s lives. Plus, we can expect stylish and scary visuals from this director, which will set it apart from the rom-com-heavy pack.

 

Revolutionary Love

Time slot: Saturday & Sunday
Broadcaster: tvN
Genre: Romantic comedy
Episode count: 16

Reasons to watch: I’m the most eager to check out Revolutionary Love among the new shows, because it’ll be the drama that tells us if Introverted Boss was a fluke for PD Song Hyun-wook, of Oh Hae-young Again and Marriage Not Dating fame, or if it was the beginning of a downward spiral. I do put most of the blame for Introverted Boss on the writer, because the directing was hilarious at times, but you can’t discount the fact that the production as a whole took a lot of missteps, including a sudden mid-show rewrite that did it no favors. But this is a new drama with a different writer, and it looks adorable. Siwon plays an undercover chaebol and Kang So-ra is basically a Candy heroine on steroids who works ALL of the part-time jobs, and I already can’t wait to watch him mess up her whole program with his immature antics.

 
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