[PICK] Every Popular Seasonal K-Drama Has “THIS”?!

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

With the development of the production system and extraordinary planning skills, the production of the seasonal dramas has become active. With the belief in the high perfection shown in the previous season and anticipations for the new story in the coming season, expectations for seasonal dramas are growing, and there is a “law” commonly found in works loved by many. Let’s take a look at four rules that can be seen in successful seasonal dramas.


Same Cast

Credit: SBS

Casting is the most essential key to the success of seasonal dramas. Due to the actors’ schedules and various circumstances, the same casting of the previous season often fail, and most of them received unsatisfactory results. On the other hand, some works successfully presented the same cast despite difficult conditions, and they achieved great success, satisfying the viewers.

The best example is Dr. Romantic. Though Yoo Yeon Sook and Seo Hyun Jin are missing, “Kim Sa Bu” Han Suk Kyu continued to appear and kept the balance. The second season of Partners for Justice, in which Jung Yoo Mi and Jung Jae Young continued their great chemistry, ended with an even higher viewership than the first season. In Korea’s longest-running seasonal drama Ugly Miss Young Ae, Kim Hyun Sook starred in every season, naturally unfolding the story. Stranger 2, scheduled to air in August, will also present the same actors, including Jo Seung Woo and Bae Doo Na.


Definite Concept

Credit: tvN

Even when the leading actors change, another factor can make the drama a success if it has a “definite concept.” If the subject, background, and theme are clear, the series can be continued with different actors.

The Reply series, which gained much reputation and set the highest viewership in tvN at the time, is the best example of a seasonal drama that showed great success with a clear concept. It continued the season by applying a consistent concept that boldly selected potential newcomers rather than famous actors to properly utilize nostalgic props, backgrounds, and music, and to add warm messages of reminding people of precious people around them. The School series, called the beginning of seasonal dramas, and the Nonstop series, the representative youth sitcoms, also received much love for maintaining the individuality of the series, although the casts were different from season to season.


Expanding the World View

Credit: Netflix

Successful seasonal dramas can build a solid world view thanks to their unique characters and attractive settings. As there are so many things to talk about, they make various attempts, such as challenging new platforms or expanding their worldviews in a spin-off-like method.

Bad Guys, which gained popularity with the story of criminals catching villains, even entered the big screen based on the drama’s success. With Kim Sang Joong and Ma Dong Seok at the center, the movie continued the fun of the series by adding new characters in the theater version, and as a result, it attracted 4.57 million viewers. Although it is yet to be confirmed, news of the production of the supplementary story featuring the behind-the-scenes story of Asin, who decorated the finale of Kingdom Season 2, which brought K-zombie craze on Netflix, has been reported.


Proper Use of “Baits”

Credit: tvN

The success of seasonal dramas depends on the continuity of the story. There should be something, so-called “baits,” that will complete a piece of work and make you wonder about the next story. Well-made seasonal dramas properly arrange and finish the device that evokes curiosity, raising expectations for the next season.

Voice, a sound-tracking thriller that focuses on defending the golden time at crime scenes, received enough love to be produced until season 3. Especially in the last episode of each season, it presented a shocking ending in which the main character dies or falls into a threat, raising questions about how it will be handled in the next season. Hospital Playlist, which was originally planned as a seasonal drama, ended with many questions. The main characters’ “twisted” love-relationship, which will continue in season 2, and the appearance of characters who were only briefly mentioned, drew curiosity.

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