“Will cable channel dramas continue to perform well in the second half of the year?”

Cable dramas, considered a ‘niche market’ even till just a few years ago, have reached beyond the boundaries of broadcast network dramas, and is now leading the trend in TV shows with strong plots and refreshing production techniques.

Backed by the noticeably strong performance of cable dramas in the first half of 2013 in particular, a number of projects in various genres and new subject matter will be released in the latter half as well. Here are a few that will be worth looking forward to.



The script reading session for "Reply 1994." [CJ E&M]

The script reading session for “Reply 1994.” [CJ E&M]

tvN’s “Reply 1994”

Last summer, “Reply 1997” brought about a syndrome regarding the Korean pop culture of the 1990s. “Reply 1994,” the second version of the show, will look closer at the year 1994. It is set to premiere in October.

“Reply 1994” will be set at a boarding house in Seoul where students from all over the country have traveled to with the dream of getting into a college in Korea’s capital city. While the fantasy the boarders have of Seoul and the incidents they experience will provide viewers with laughter, it will also show the loneliness they feel and friendships they form while living alone far away from home.

The drama will also provide viewers with memories of the mid-1990s by dealing with the social and cultural issues of 1994, including the college basketball games and Seotaiji & Boys while depicting on the school life of students who enter college in 1994. It seems that the life of college students, who at the time were the so-called ‘X generation’ that fully exhibited their individualistic sensitivities, will be core to the show.

Actors Sung Dong-il and Lee Il-hwa will appear in “Reply 1994,” playing a married couple that runs the boarding house, and actress Go Ara will play the couple’s daughter who is a huge fan of basketball star Lee Sang-min and reenact the style from 1994 with her bob hair and overalls.




Director Kim Byung-wook [tvN]

Director Kim Byung-wook [tvN]

tvN’s “A Potato Star that Looks Like a Sweet Potato 2013QR3″ (tentative title)

Director Kim Byung-wook, the master of sitcoms, is set to produce a 120-episode daily sitcom tentatively titled “A Potato Star that Looks LIke a Sweet Potato 2013QR3.” The show will make its premiere on September 23.

The sitcom will tell the story of the Noh family under the guidance of not just director Kim, but also a number of writers and crew members from the popular “High Kick” series. Regarding the unique title of the show, Kim explained, “‘2013QR3’ is an expression we used just like how serial numbers are given to new planets that are discovered. The show itself will include an interesting setup related to astronomy.”

So far, actors Lee Soon-jae, Noh Joo-hyun, Keum Bo-ra, Yeo Jin-goo, Ha Yeon-soo, Ko Kyung-pyo, and Seo Ye-ji have been cast in the sitcom, and Lee Soon-jae will play the eldest member of the Noh family. Noh Joo-hyun will play his son and the husband of Keum Bo-ra’s wife, so it will be worth looking forward to the dynamics they will bring to the show as a married couple.

There will also be a number of new faces. Ko Kyung-pyo, who made his name known to viewers through “SNL Korea,” will play the couple’s oldest son. And Ha Yeon-soo, who has received attention as the main female character to tvN’s drama “Monstar,” will play the breadwinner of a poor household. She and Hong Hye-sung, a computer programmer to be taken on by Yeo Jin-goo, will become involved with the Noh family.





Poster for tvN series "Basketball" (translated title) [tvN]

Poster for tvN series “Basketball” (translated title) [tvN]

“Basketball” (translated title)

“The Slave Hunters” and “Fugitive: Plan B” producer Kwak Jung-hwan’s new drama “Basketball” will tell of the love, conflicts, harmony, and victory that youths experience with basketball as their light and hope under Japanese colonial rule up till when the country was divided into two after gaining independence. The show is set to premiere sometime in September.

The drama’s motif is the true story of how in 1948, before North and South Korea became divided, they competed in the Olympics for the first and last time ever as ‘Korea’ and the basketball team got to the quarter finals.

The series will shoe the process of how Kang San (Do Ji-han), who grew up in a mud hut, and top basketball star Min Chi-ho (Jung Dong-hyun), become rivals on the court, and the romance that will be created by both men loving main female character Choi Shin-young (Lee Eliyah).

The bold casting of Wonder Girls member Park Yenny for the role of a maid and Jung In-sun for the role of a beggar, stands out as well. On top of this, actors such as Gong Hyung-jin, Kim Eung-soo, and Lee Han-wee, who were in “The Slave Hunters,” will play out the story with the distinctive characters they take on.

Reporter. Jang Seo Yoon ciel@tenasia.co.kr
Translator. Jessica Kim

Courtesy of tvN