‘Romantic Doctor,’ ‘Kingdom,’ ‘Playbook/Playlist’ – The Golden Age of Seasonal Dramas

A seasonal drama craze is sweeping the country. SBS drama, Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim 2 ended with the ratings of 23% on February 25, following the Season 1, which recorded the ratings of 27.6% (Nielson Korea) back in 2016. In March, Netflix’s Kingdom 2 and tvN’s Hospital Playlist will air. Experts forecast that the success of these dramas will continue as both viewers and producers pursue the “familiarity.“

Credit: SBS, tvN, Netflix

The success of Korean seasonal dramas began with MBC’s Partners for Justice 2 last year. While the ratings for both season 1 and 2 remained around 9%, they are well-received by viewers and are considered an exemplary case for seasonal dramas. Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim 2 which aired its finale on February 25, is a major success story for a seasonal drama. The success was attributed by emphasizing the main character, Kim Sa Bu, played by Han Seok Kyu, who is the center of both Season 1 and 2. The story is also said to be meaningful as it reminded Professor Lee Kuk Jong, who recently left the office for Head of the Gyeonggi Nambu Station Foreign Affairs Center after a conflict with Ajou University Hospital.

Credit: tvN

There are also cases in which the Season 2 is planned from the beginning. The upcoming drama of tvN, Hospital Playlist, which will premiere on March 12, is a new type of seasonal drama. If Prison Playbook, which was aired in 2017, dealt with the prison story, this time the drama moves its stage to the hospital and was considered to be a seasonal drama even from the planning stage. On February 19, an official from the drama told Newsen, “It is true that we designed the drama to be a seasonal drama from the start. But everything is based on what the viewers want, so we are working hard to produce a drama that will be loved by the viewers.”

Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s Kingdom 2, which will premiere on March 13, was planned as a seasonal drama from the start as well and has finished filming last summer. Written by Kim Eun Hee, a writer of Signal, Kingdom gained its popularity for its unique material of ‘zombies in Joseon dynasty’ and detailed developments, and eventually topped the list of “The Drama Most Viewed by Koreans” on Netflix last year. Netflix’s Love Alarm and tvN’s Stranger began their productions for Season 2 with the same actors from Season 1. Also tvN’s Arthdal Chronicles are in the process of discussing director, actors, and schedules to start filming in the second half of the year.

There are also dramas which the viewers are requesting for a sequel, such as SBS’s The Fiery Priest and Stove League. Lee Shin Hwa, a writer of Stove League, recently said, “If I were to write the season 2 now, I can probably write the first two episodes at the spot. But I really don’t want to hear ‘You shouldn’t have come back.’ So I will come back when I have enough story,” expressing her cautious position.

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