Entering the second half of 2021, let’s see how the K-dramas have been faring. SBS and tvN’s success is notable, but there are so many shows doing poorly.
As expected, SBS’s The Penthouse 2: War in Life was as big as many predicted. The series was a huge hit, even scoring its highest ratings of 29.2%. Taxi Driver had its own share of success, with its average ratings of roughly 15%. But the ambitious show Joseon Exorcist got canceled due to backlash surrounding historical distortions. Racket Boys got off to a good start with 5~6 % ratings.
On KBS, Sell Your Haunted House and Youth of May are doing quite well with average ratings of 5~6%. River Where the Moon Rises recorded the average ratings of 7~8% despite the upsetting incident. The airing of Dear M got postponed indefinitely due to accusations of school bullying against a cast member. Imitation is currently earning 1% in viewership.
MBC has the most to worry about. The network’s first series, Oh My Ladylord, ended in disappointment, scoring only 1% ratings. We’ll have to see if they will redeem themselves with No One But a Madman, Namgoong Min’s The Veil, or the period series The Red-Stained Sleeve Cuff.
tvN’s Vincenzo did very well as expected. Mouse and L.U.C.A.: The Beginning gained moderate success. Mine has gotten a lot of attention, and the show is doing better and better. But highly anticipated Doom at Your Service and My Roommate Is a Gumiho haven’t gathered enough attention.
OCN started this year great with The Uncanny Counter. But since then, the network hasn’t been thriving with TV series. Many shows, including Times and Dark Hole, didn’t do great. OCN’s popular series Voice 4 will switch networks and air on tnN.
JTBC also didn’t have any hit series. Beyond Evil and Sisyphus: The Myth did okay, and Law School is on the rise. But, the ratings of Undercover are remaining at 3%. She Would Never Know didn’t get much attention as well, even with Ro Woon as the lead role.
Im Sung Han’s new series Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) is expected to be a most dangerous rival against The Penthouse, but it never garnered more than 10% ratings. MBN’s historical series Bossam: Steal the Fate, which marks the channel’s 10th-anniversary, is becoming more popular.
So far, SBS and tvN have been butting heads for the seat of TV series King. However, JTBC will likely join that competition in the second half of this year.
Translator Na Young Gil: ZAPZEE is the best Korean pop culture community, and I’m happy to be part of it.