I can’t believe we’re now down to our last five drama premieres of 2019! These new Korean dramas in December are still varied in terms of genre and all of them will air their first episodes in a span of four days. At the end of the second week, we get a sports-themed drama about a baseball team’s preparation for the next season, followed by a romantic drama that was filmed in Switzerland and Mongolia and a historical series that revolves around the cutthroat competition in the selection of a Joseon Queen. The third week starts off with a legal drama about the everyday lives of local district prosecutors and a series where Seo Hyun-jin is at the center of the story.
December 4: WOMAN OF 9.9 BILLION (Wednesdays & Thursdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Mystery Thriller
- Main Cast: Cho Yeo-jeong & Kim Kang-woo
- Predecessor: When The Camellia Blooms
KBS2 pushed the premiere of Woman Of 9.9 Billion back to December 4. The series, which is originally scheduled to air its first episode on November 27, is headlined by Cho Yeo-jeong (Beautiful World) and Kim Kang-woo (Item). With this announcement, there are now a total of six (6) new Korean dramas that will premiere in December 2019. Cho Yeo-jeong plays the titular woman whose tragic life changes when she acquires 9.9 billion won ($8.5 million) in cash. Kim Kang-woo, meanwhile, takes on the role of an ex-cop who struggles to expose the truth behind his sibling’s death. The two team up to fight against the bad guys who want to take her money and deprive him of justice.
December 13: STOVE LEAGUE (Fridays & Saturdays on SBS)
- Genre: Sports-themed Drama
- Main Cast: Namgoong Min & Park Eun-bin
- Predecessor: Vagabond
Stove League reminds me of Prison Playbook because both dramas have something to do with baseball. The latter centers on a famous baseball player who ends up in jail while Stove League revolves around a baseball team’s general manager who aims to improve his team’s standing in the next season. Namgoong Min (Doctor Prisoner) plays the determined manager, who takes on the challenge to lead a bottom-ranked professional baseball team to victory with the help of Park Eun-bin’s (The Ghost Detective) character, the team’s dedicated and very supportive operations manager. Based on its first teaser, I think Stove League is the kind of series with an underdog story you can’t expect to attract a lot of viewers on day 1. But just like Prison Playbook, I hope it can deliver the story it wants to tell in the most satisfying way, with or without the impressive TV ratings.
December 14: CRASH LANDING ON YOU (Saturdays & Sundays on tvN)
- Genre: Romance
- Main Cast: Hyun Bin & Son Ye-jin
- Predecessor: Melting Me Softly
After starring in Memories Of The Alhambra in 2018, Hyun Bin is returning to the small screen this year with Crash Landing On You. The story of the series kicks off when a South Korean heiress, played by Son Ye-jin (Something In The Rain), gets into a paragliding accident and ends up landing on North Korean soil (hint: suspension of disbelief would come in handy). There, she meets Hyun Bin’s character, a North Korean military officer who befriends her. The rest of the drama will focus on their romance and bring them to Switzerland and Mongolia (as shown in this teaser). In addition to the expectedly superb performance of the leads and stunning cinematography, the drama also boasts of writer Park Ji-eun’s (My Love From The Star) and director Lee Jung-hyo’s (Life On Mars, Romance Is A Bonus Book) presence in its production team. Crash Landing On You will premiere almost a month after Melting Me Softly‘s finale, so I hope that gives the team enough time to enhance every aspect of the show.
December 14: SELECTION: THE WAR BETWEEN WOMEN (Saturdays & Sundays on TV Chosun)
- Genre: Historical Drama
- Main Cast: Jin Se-yeon & Kim Min-kyu
- Predecessor: Joseon Survival
The only historical series on this list, Selection: The War Between Women sheds light on the competitive process of selecting the new queen of Joseon. Jin Se-yeon (Item) takes on the role of a woman who wants to become the queen to uncover the truth behind her twin sister’s murder while Kim Min-kyu (Perfume) plays a handsome prince who is set to succeed to the throne as the only descendant from the direct line of the royal family. Selection: The War Between Women marks Kim Min-kyu’s first drama in a leading role and his foray into historical series. It is the fourth drama of TV Chosun this year—following Babel, Joseon Survival and Leverage—and comes from Kim Jung-min, the award-winning director of The Princess’ Man (2011) and Grand Prince (2018).
December 16: DIARY OF A PROSECUTOR (Mondays & Tuesdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Legal Drama
- Main Cast: Lee Sun-kyun & Jung Ryeo-won
- Predecessor: Chief Of Staff 2
The fourth Korean drama to premiere in December is Diary Of A Prosecutor, which is helmed by PD Lee Tae-gon of Age Of Youth and adapted from a novel written by a real-life prosecutor. The drama’s focus on the everyday life of prosecutors sets it apart from other series with a prosecutor as a protagonist. Its story does not involve solving high-profile cases or investigating a tangled web of corruption in the government. Rather, it explores the daily experiences and struggles of prosecutors working in small district offices. Lee Sun-kyun (My Mister) headlines the series as a prosecutor with no ambition while Jung Ryeo-won (Wok Of Love) plays an elite prosecutor who is on a roll at the Central District Prosecutor’s Office when she gets demoted and transferred to a local branch. The premise is akin to Miss Hammurabi‘s story, but the recently released teasers make Diary Of A Prosecutor the better choice between the two when you’re looking for a drama that offers more fun and hilarious moments.
December 16: BLACK DOG (Mondays & Tuesdays on tvN)
- Genre: Drama
- Main Cast: Seo Hyun-jin & Ra Mi-ran
- Predecessor: Catch The Ghost
The year 2019 will be capped off by Black Dog, a drama about a newly hired short-term private high school teacher, played by Seo Hyun-jin (The Beauty Inside), who struggles with her job as she deals with the most stressful workings of the school as well as her own shortcomings as a teacher. Ra Mi-ran (Melting Me Softly) is playing a workaholic and experienced teacher who is passionate about her work and becomes a mentor to Seo Hyun-jin’s character. Black Dog seems like a niche drama that has to rely on powerful storytelling and performances to attract more fans.
I’m not sure how the storytelling will go considering that the director and writer of the series don’t have an impressive track record yet. On the other hand, we all know that both Ra Mi-ran and Seo Hyun-jin can deliver awe-inspiring performances that always make us root for their roles, so I think we can confidently get our hopes up about Black Dog being an amazing show. Fingers crossed!