For Korea’s drama fans, the arrival of 2013 can mean only one thing: the new year’s new series cannot be far behind. This season promises to be an exciting one, with a big-budget 10 billion won ($8.7 million) blockbuster and the return of A-list actors and actresses after years away from the small screen. Here is a list of some of the dramas due to hit the airwaves in the near future.
“That Winter, the Wind Blows” (SBS)
Premiere: Feb. 13
Cast: Jo In-sung, Song Hye-kyo, Kim Beom, Jeong Eun-jee
Song Hye-kyo and Jo In-sung pair up as a couple in “That Winter, the Wind Blows” and these two actors are enough of a reason for many viewers to stay tuned.
It is the first drama series for Song in six years. Jo has not made a drama in eight years, and “That Winter, the Wind Blows” will be his first since being discharged from the military.
And there are other reasons to tune in. It is written by Noh Hee-kyung, who is known for her sophisticated portrayals of human relationships and poetic lines in her previous works, such as “Padam Padam: The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats” (2011-2012) and “The World That They Live In” (2008).
“That Winter, the Wind Blows” is adapted from the Japanese drama “Forget Love,” where a lonely man and woman find true love.
The man lives like there is no tomorrow after he was abandoned by his parents and failed at his first love. The woman is the heiress of a conglomerate who lives in loneliness after her family falls apart. She also suffers from sudden blindness.
These two, who used to isolate themselves from the outer world, begin to understand the meaning of life together.
“King of Ambition / Night King” (SBS)
Premiere: March 14
Cast: Kwon Sang-woo, Soo Ae and U-know Yunho
“King of Ambition” describes how desire affects one’s life, love and relationship.
The ambitious Da-hae strives to overcome dire poverty. Right next to her, there is a devoted man, Ha-ryu, who sacrifices everything for her.
The drama is based on the third installment of the “The Big Thing” comics written and drawn by Park In-kwon.
In fact, Kwon appeared in the drama version of “The Big Thing” in 2010 based on the second part of Park’s comics. Kwon played a male lead along with actress Ko Hyun-jung three years ago.
Kwon played a prosecutor who becomes a kingmaker for his love interest. He eventually helps Ko become president. If the drama version of “The Big Thing” centered upon politics and power struggle, “King of Ambition” is focused more on human desire.
Industry insiders say Kwon should offer more than what he did for “The Big Thing” and Soo Ae should show more of her charismatic sides if the new drama series is to equal the success of “The Big Thing.”
Another interesting way to watch the drama series is to pay attention to Soo Ae. She has played feminine and fragile characters, and this is her first attempt to portray a power-thirsty woman.
“Jang Ok Jung, Live for Love” (SBS)
Cast: Kim Tae-hee, Yoo Ah-in
Kim Tae-hee’s first-ever period drama will be broadcast on SBS. Kim will play Jang Ok-jung, the real name of Lady Jang Hui-bin, one of the best known concubines of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
She entered the palace as a court lady and later became the mother of the state using all imaginable conspiracies.
The new drama series “Jang Ok Jung,” however, is fiction. Other than the character Lady Jang Hui-bin, the rest portrays her not as a power-thirsty woman, but as a gifted fashion designer who started her career at the palace as a seamstress.
The drama centers around the life, love and power of Jang, who finds her way bravely despite a rigid caste system.
“Book of the House of Gu” (MBC)
Premiere: Not decided
Cast: Lee Seung-gi and Suzy
“Book of the House of Gu” (a working title) is the first historical drama for singer-actor Lee Seung-gi.
Main character Choi Gang-chi, a son of Mount Jiri’s god, is half-man and half-beast. Choi struggles to lead a human life after he falls in love with a girl. Attention is on how Lee will interpret this complex character.
“Iris 2” (KBS2)
Premiere: Feb. 13
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Lee Da-hae
Blockbuster “Iris 2” is the sequel to the popular drama “Iris” (2009).
“Iris” was the story of national agents performing their duties to prevent the second Korean War in a triangular dynamic with Iris, the National Security Service and a secret organization of North Korea. Iris is the name of a secret organization related to the international military-industrial complex, which hinders the unification of Korea.
“Iris 2” begins three years after the death of Hyeon-jun, a main character in the original “Iris.” The drama deals with the mystery surrounding the death of Hyeon-jun. It also tells the story of former general manager of NSS Baek San, who was arrested for collusion with the Iris. The identity of the mastermind of Iris is expected to be revealed.
The sequel was produced with a budget of 10 billion won.