ENTERTAINMENT

Dramas on way with four new channels

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 1, 2011 - 19:30
  • Updated : Dec 5, 2011 - 16:41
jTBC, TV Chosun, MBN, Channel A’s initial line-up unveiled


Four new general programming channels ― jTBC, TV Chosun, MBN and Channel A ― were launched Thursday, and their upcoming dramas are not far behind.

Since the cable-satellite-IPTV channels ― headed by JoongAng Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo, Maeil Business Newspaper and Dong-A Ilbo ― nabbed much-coveted licenses late last year there has been much speculation as to who will put out the most-watched series.

Because its company racked up experience in television over 30 years ago with its now-defunct channel TBC, jTBC may initially appear to have a certain advantages over its rivals.

Then, again, TBC happened before cable and the Internet sprang onto the scene. In short, it happened before Korean audiences were given easy access to a diverse selection of series, before the Korean Wave turned Asia and beyond into potential viewing territory.

This is a different game, with a new set of popular genres.

Recently, crime procedurals, action blockbusters and unabashed explorations of the single woman’s psyche have multiplied across the board, signaling a trend toward bolder and more forthcoming fare.

However, instead of putting out bigger and more-in-your face series, the four look like they are going to stick to the less gory, less racy genres for now and focus on enlisting high profile talent.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come. 
Veteran actor Choi Bul-am (left) and actress Yoo Ho-jung (far right) star in Channel A’s family drama “Gombaeryung, Heaven’s Garden.” (Channel A)

Grub

It is hard to pinpoint when gastronomic-heavy dramas first sprang on the scene, but among the most iconic is MBC’s “Coffee Prince.”

“Coffee Prince” demonstrated how gastronomy can set the stage for a gaggle of male eye candy, and Channel A looks ready to do something to a similar effect with its upcoming “Chonggaknae Vegetables Store.”

Drawing inspiration from the real-life grocery chain of the same name, the series revolves around the story of protagonist Han Tae-yang and his produce venture. A clutch of good-looking boys will be joining in on the fun.

Meanwhile, jTBC is spinning out a tale of those emotionally invested in a Korean restaurant famed for its kimchi. “Prince of the Legend” star Song Il-gook and “Giant” actress Park Jin-hee are starring as the leads in the upcoming “Balhyo Family.”

Romance

High profile “Worlds Within” scriptwriter Noh Hee-kyung weaves a melodramatic romance with upcoming jTBC series “Padam Padam.”

“ATHENA: Goddess of War” actor Jung Woo-sung and “Detective K” actress Han Ji-min are playing the leads who become unlikely lovers.

In contrast, Channel A’s “Color of Woman” will explore two female prototypes ― the alpha girl (played by “Goodbye Solo” actress Yoon So-yi) and the femme fatale (played by “Daemul” actress Lee Soo-kyung) ― in a decidedly feminine romance set in a cosmetics firm.

Family Saga

Veteran actor Choi Bul-am fronts Channel A’s “Gombaeryung, Heaven’s Garden” as a father living in the countryside who takes in his daughter, played by “Lady Next Door” actress Yoo Ho-jung, and her children after her husband’s business fails and she is forced to leave him. 
High profile stars Hwang Jung-min (left) and Kim Jung-eun attend a script reading for the upcoming TV Chosun series “Hanbando.” (TV Chosun)
The cast of MBN’s musical-heavy collegiate series “What’s Up” strikes a pose. (MBN)

Idols

MBN is taking a youthful tack with two upcoming series: “What’s Up” and “Vampire Idol.”

Ever since “What’s Up” started filming last July, viewers may have been wondering when the musical-based collegiate series would hit the small screen. The drama, which was written by “Hourglass” scriptwriter Song Ji-na and features boy band Big Bang member Dae-sung, will finally be unveiled.

In addition to “What’s Up,” MBN is also airing a sitcom about a boy band of vampires (seriously). Z:EA member Kwang Hee and Girl’s Day member Minah will be starring in “Vampire Idol.”

The Epic

TV Chosun is tackling the blockbuster genre with “Hanbando,” a politically-charged romance featuring veteran actor Hwang Jung-min as the South Korean scientist who falls for actress Kim Jung-eun’s North Korean protagonist.

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)