After a relatively quiet few months, K-drama fans will be inundated with new shows to choose from in September as a crop of series seek to capitalise on viewers looking for new distractions during the Chuseok (autumn harvest) holiday in South Korea.
Fantasy, action, romance, prestige drama and much else besides guarantee there will be a debut to suit every taste.
JTBC is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the special event series Lost . The small-screen debut of melodrama master Hur Jin-ho, the director of Christmas in August and One Fine Spring Day , the series features movie stars Jeon Do-yeon and Ryu Jun-yeol as a 40-year-old ghost writer and a 27-year-old man who meet at a time when both are worried they will never achieve anything in their lives.
With Hur at the helm and Jeon on the screen, Lost promises to be a pensive romantic drama hearkening back to the heyday of Korean screen romance. (JTBC, September 4)
2. High Class
Following The Penthouse and Mine , the latest women-centric high-society drama expected to hit Korean screens is High Class . Cho Yeo-jeong, known for playing the rich housewife in Parasite , leads the cast as Song Yeo-ul, a former lawyer who loses everything when she’s framed for her husband’s murder.
Yeo-ul, along with CEO Nam Ji-seon (Kim Ji-soo) and actress Cha Do-yeong (Gong Hyun-joo), all begin to hover around Danny (Ha Jun), a former ice hocker player now teaching at their children’s school. (tvN, September 6)
3. One the Woman
Lee Ha-nee, star of Extreme Job and The Fiery Priest , gets to flex her comedy chops in the new series One the Woman . She plays Jo Yeon-joo, a corrupt prosecutor who loses her memory in the midst of a new case.
She starts living with Kang Mi-na, also played by Lee, the daughter-in-law of a family that runs a corporation who looks just like her. Yeon-joo starts to get involved with Han Seung-wook (Lee Sang-yoon), the son in the family who still hasn’t got over his first love. (SBS, September 17)
4. Squid Game
Netflix is presenting Squid Game , its biggest series so far this year, in time for the holiday. The drama debut of Silenced and The Fortress director Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show focuses on the contestants of a secret survival game, who each vie for a 45.6 billion won (US$39 million) prize.
Among the participants are Ki-hoon (Lee Jung-jae), who is living a miserable life after losing his job, and his friend Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), who went to a good university but is now facing an embezzlement crisis at work. (Netflix, September 17)
5. The Veil
Hot Stove League ’s Min Namkoong returns to screens this autumn in the series The Veil as Han Ji-hyuk, the top agent in the National Intelligence Service (NIS). He was admired by his peers until he threw the agency into chaos. He disappeared and now, one year later, returns to the fold to face the traitor who turned his life upside down.
Co-starring in the series with Min are Park Ha-sun (Birthcare Center ) and Kim Ji-eun (Strangers from Hell ). (MBC, September 17)
6. Yumi’s Cells
Fledgling streaming service Tving will present its biggest original series yet for the holidays, a screen adaptation of Lee Dong-gun’s hit webtoon Yumi’s Cells . From My Holo Love director Lee Sang-yeob, the show stars Kim Go-eun (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God ) as Yu-mi, an ordinary single working woman.
Yu-mi has trouble expressing her emotions but she steadily grows as a person through her work and romantic life. On the inside, she has cells which represent her different emotions and help her deal with her life and troubles. Yumi’s Cells is the first major K-drama to mix live-action footage and 3D animation. (Tving, September 17)
7. Dali and the Cocky Prince
Kim Min-jae and Park Gyu-young team up for new romance Dali and the Cocky Prince . Kim plays Jin Moo-hak, a cocky prince and the second son in a family that runs an international restaurant franchise which grew from a single small pork bone stew eatery. Though he lacks a formal education, he is skilled at making money.
Park plays Dali, an art gallery researcher from a prestigious family. She is a polyglot who knows seven different languages but has no talent for household chores. The two meet by chance and get along and later, when an art gallery faces bankruptcy, this mismatched couple meet again. (KBS2, September 22)
Minari actress Han Ye-ri, Uhm Tae-goo of Night in Paradise and Yoo Jae-myung, last seen in Vincenzo , lead the mystery-thriller Hometown , from Stranger season two director Park Hyun-suk.
The show takes place in a small town in 1999, where Choi Hyung-in (Yoo) is a detective who lost his wife to a terrorist attack 10 years earlier. He starts investigating a new case that seems connected to the attack in the past.
Uhm plays Jo Kyung-ho, the man responsible for the attack who has been behind bars for 10 years, while Han stars as Jo Jung-hyun, Kyung-ho’s younger sister whose life fell apart after the attack. (tvN, September 22)