Finally! We are now entering a new year, and that only means we are days closer to new Korean drama releases! 2020 may be a tough act to follow with all the top-notch dramas that have grown close to our hearts, but it was also a challenging year when it comes to production. This means that there are several projects that may have been delayed, and some networks may have to adjust their line-ups.
With January rolling in, here are 6 K-dramas that are scheduled for release. Some of these already have definite dates, but some are still subject to changes—but we’re keeping our fingers crossed!
1. Be a Meal
Set for release on January 11, 2021, this feel-good drama stars Jung Woo-yeon (Grand Prince, Golden Pouch) as Young-shin and Jae Hee (The Vampire Detective, Voice 2) as Kyung-soo.
Young Shin is a talented cook in her 20s with a talent for Korean traditional royal cuisine. She is bound to meet people who will soon leave a huge impact on her life and career, but nothing more special than what Kyung-soo can bring to the table. This series touches on love, friendship, and good food.
This drama also stars Kwon Hyuk (Park Jung-hoon), Kang Da-hyun (Lee Da-jung), Jo Han-joon (Jang O-bok), and Choi Soo-rin (Min-kyeong).
You can enjoy this drama at full length as it airs from Monday to Friday at 7:15 P.M. on MBC. It will take the time slot previously occupied by ‘My Wonderful Life’.
2. She Would Never Know/ Sunbae, Don’t Put On That Lipstick
Premiering on January 18, 2021, this JTBC drama chronicles the world of a marketing team as it features stories of cosmetic company product promoters. To spice things up, it also shows the pull-and-push romance of a lovely sunbae and a handsome, sexy, serious, and straightforward hoobae. It stars SF9’s RoWoon and Won Jin-ah (Melting Me Softly, Life), along with Lee Hyun-wook (Search, Hell Is Other People) and Lee Joo-bin (Find Me In Your Memory, Tale of Nokdu).
The story is about Won Jin-ah, a sharp and successful marketer for a cosmetic brand with a strong personality. She enjoys her job and with her signature pink lipstick, she faces the challenges of her work with vigor. Song-ah even dreams of starting her own cosmetic brand. Chase Hyun-seung (Roowoon) is a younger colleague who develops feelings for her and is determined to pursue her. Unfortunately for him, Song-ah rebuffs his advances because she doesn’t see younger men as her kind of dating partner. As his resolve wears down her defenses, will she focus on her dreams or give love a chance?
This drama is actually based on a popular 2017 web novel of the same title, which was well-received for its heartwarming story. Starting January 18, ‘She Would Never Know’ will air new episodes every Monday and Tuesday at 9:30 P.M. on JTBC, and it will take over the time slot previously held by ‘Live On’
3. Hello? It’s Me!
“Hello? It’s Me!” is a fantasy romantic comedy about a 37-year-old woman, played by Choi Kang-hee (Good Casting, Queen of Mystery) who meets her 17-year-old self. Filming may have been interrupted in October 2020 by a COVID-19 scare among the staff, but everything is now in the clear and ready for a January 2021 premiere.
The story revolves around Ban Ha-ni, a 37-year old woman who once lived a happy and vibrant youth that is full of life, laughter, and dreams. However, reality hits hard and 20 years later, she leads a timid life – an exact opposite of her feisty and promising young self. Things shake up when she meets her 17-year-old self, played by actress Lee Re (Start-Up, Memories of Alhambra), which turns out to be a stark reminder of how she is now a far cry from her vibrant personality. With two Ha-nis living as two separate persons in one space and time, this makes a fun and exciting drama to look forward to.
Of course, any rom-com wouldn’t be complete without a dashing love interest and that is Han Yoo-Hyun, a free-spirited, second-generation chaebol played by Kim Young-kwang (The Secret Life Of My Secretary, Room No. 9)
Based on the 2011 novel “Fantastic Girl” by Kim Hye-Jung, Hello? It’s Me! is made to be a thought-provoking drama targeted at women in their 30s and 40s. It serves a healing message that allows audiences to look back in the past while reflecting on current life.
‘Hello? It’s Me!’ will air on KBS2 this coming January 2021 with no exact time slot as of this writing.
4. Marriage Lyrics and Divorce Music
This story revolves around three female protagonists who are in different age groups. It reveals the struggles they have to face while balancing career and home life. This is another story from makjang (over-exaggerated plotlines) queen screenwriter, Im Jung Han.
First, there is Bu Hye-ryeong (Lee Ga-ryeong, ‘Iron Lady Cha’, ‘Apgujeong Midnight Sun’), a woman in her 30s who works as a radio DJ. She has been married to a judge named Pan Sa-hyun (Sung Hoon, ‘Level Up’, ‘The Sound of Your Heart: Reboot Season 2) for three years without any plans of having children.
In her 40s, Sa Pi-young (Park Joo-mi, ‘The Great King’s Dream’, ‘My ID Is Gangnam Beauty’) is a successful radio program producer, but is also a hands-on mom and wife at home. She is married to Shin Yoo-shin (Lee Tae-gon, ‘One Well-Raised Daughter’, ‘Gwanggaeto The Great Conqueror’), a romantic husband who is also a neuropsychiatrist with a private practice.
The eldest among the three is Lee Shi-eun (Jeon Soo-kyung, ‘She Knows Everything’, ‘Melting Me Softly’), a woman in her 50s, who is the main writer of a radio program. She has been married for 30 years and has endured several difficulties with her career and private life. She is married to Park Hae-ryun (Jeon No-min, ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’, ‘Itaewon Class’), who became the dean of the Department of Theater and Film at Sun Jin University and a professor. His career goals have been grounded on the love, support, and understanding given by Shi-eun.
Things start to unravel when trouble plagues their seemingly happy marriages. The story explores the different facets of married life, and how each of these women deal with their own marriage and family problems. But the poster gives us a clue that some of these troubles may just be big enough to create a permanent wedge in their marriage.
While there is still no exact schedule for this drama, it is slated for a January release on TV Chosun.
Replay is a romance web drama about a group of inexperienced 18-year-olds as they chase love and dreams during the most awkward and uncertain point in their lives. It stars (G)I-DLE’s Miyeon, Kim Min Chul (“Single and Ready to Mingle’, ‘Record of Youth’), SF9’s Hwiyoung, Choi Ji Soo (‘Hanging On’, ‘Farming Academy Season 2’), and Hot Blood Youth’s Marco.
While it is slated for a January premier, we have to wait for more specifics on this high-school drama.
6. Are You Leaving
‘Are You Leaving’ is SKY Channel’s upcoming musical fantasy romance series that is based on a webtoon of the same name. It follows the love and dreams of young adults in their 20s.
SF9’s Chani, who rose to fame with his role in the hit drama, ‘SKY Castle’, will be playing the role of Park Yeon. He is a good-natured musician known as one of three musical geniuses along with U Reuk and Wang San-ak. Rookie actress Park Jung Yeon will play Min Yoo-jung whose family was separated after going bankrupt, and she was left to fend for herself since then. Meanwhile, N.Flying’s Lee Seung Hyub will play the role of Lee Won, a musician in the past and popular idol in the present.
“Are You Leaving” is set against the backdrop of court music halls of the Joseon era and the entertainment agencies of present times. It’s the first web drama series that tells a story across time periods while incorporating fantasy, music, and romance. It will be pre-released on the OTT platform Seezn in January 2021 before officially airing on SKY Channel.
While it may be likely that most of us have to stay indoors, it’s good to have a good series to keep us company. With invisible health threats still looming around us, we can only hope that our monthly dose of new releases will come out as planned. 2021 is going to be an interesting year filled with hope that we will be able to enjoy a wealth of good k-drama line-ups for the months to come. For now, let’s enjoy what January has to offer!