2020 is shaping up to be another stellar year for K-Dramas. Early this year, we've witnessed hits like Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim 2 and Crash Landing On You spectacularly conclude. Yet, even so, K-Drama fans have a lot of interesting shows on their plate right now, there was Itaewon Class and Hi Bye, Mama! Since we're halfway through the year and we're being spoilt with all these good shows, it's only normal to worry that the upcoming ones won't live up to this bunch. But you know what? Fret not because we're here to assure you that there are still a lot of promising shows lined up for all of us. Here are a few other 2020 K-Dramas you might want to look forward to this year.
Enjoy slice-of-life dramas the most? From the creators of Prison Playbook and the Reply series comes Hospital Playlist. The tvN medical drama focuses on five doctors as they go through every day, witnessing the cycle of life as their patients come and go. Where does the playlist come in, you ask? Well, the five colleagues, who have remained good friends since their undergrad years way back in 1999, share a love for music, resulting in them starting a band together. Definitely make sure to have a box of tissues at hand when you watch, as this will surely be another heartfelt tearjerker.
Cast: are Jo Jung Suk, Kim Dae Myeong, Jung Kyung Ho, Yoo Yeon Seok, and Jeon Mi Do
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Slice of Life, Medical
Air Date: 12 March
A Piece of Your Mind
Another tvN title this year that promises to give us light-hearted warmth is A Piece of Your Mind. The drama follows a gentle AI programmer dealing with unrequited love for years. In this free-spirited tale, he unexpectedly crosses paths with a classical recording engineer and the fates of their two lonely souls intertwine.
Cast: Jung Hae In, Chae Soo Bin
Genre: Romance, Drama
Air Date: 23 March
The World Of The Married
For a suspenseful watch that will leave you hanging for more at the end of each episode, there's JTBC's The World Of The Married. Full of intrigue, this 2020 K-drama based on BBC One's Doctor Foster revolves around Ji Sun Woo, a family medicine doctor, whose seemingly perfect life falls into pieces when she discovers her husband's affair.
Cast: Kim Hee Ae, Park Hae Joon, Han So Hee
Genre: Family, Melodrama
Air Date: 27 March
The King: Eternal Monarch
This April, SBS TV will finally air the historical fantasy entitled The King: Eternal Monarch. Written by Kim Eun Sook, the brain behind the hits Descendants of the Sun, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, and more, the 2020 K-Drama has got everyone's attention. Not to mention, it will be Lee Min Ho's first drama since he finished his military service. We can't wait to witness his acting chops once again as he plays emperor Lee Gon of the fictional kingdom of Corea, who crosses the portal to a parallel world to unravel the truth behind his tragic past.
Cast: Lee Min Ho, Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan, Kim Kyung Nam, Jung Eun Chae
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Air Date: 17 April
When My Love Blooms
When My Love Blooms follows single mum Ji Soo, who, now in her 40s, is struggling to make ends meet. After so many years, she crosses path once again with her first love, Han Jae Hyun, now a successful lawyer. With so much history between them, can the two rekindle the love they had a long time ago?
Cast: Yoo Ji Tae, Lee Bo Young, Park Jin Young, Jeon So Nee
Genre: Romance, Drama, Family
Air Date: 25 April
Mystic Pop-up Bar
Based on a popular webtoon series of the same name, Mystic Pop-Up Bar reveals the mystery behind a pojangmacha or a small street-side establishment that opens only late at night. Run by a short-tempered lady, the pop-up bar caters to guests — both dead and alive — seeking to solve their problems and heal their wounds.
Cast: Yook Sung Jae, Hwang Jung Eum, Choi Won Young
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Drama
Air Date: 20 May
Another must-watch 2020 K-drama airing on SBS is Dinner Mate. Following two acquaintances who suffered in love, the drama chronicles the two as they grow closer to each other as they bond over their shared love of food.
Cast: Song Seung Heon, Seo Ji Hye, Lee Ji Hoon, Son Na Eun
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
Air Date: 25 May
The upcoming South Korean drama tells the story of Jung Saet Byul, a 22-year-old university student who takes up part-time work in a convenience store. Working with her is Choi Dae Hyun, who quit his job at a large company to run the small store. Together, they navigate the ups and downs of adulthood sharing laughter and love.
Cast: Ji Chang Wook, Kim Yoo Jung
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy
Air Date: 19 June
It's Okay To Not Be Okay
Next on the most-awaited series tvN (via Netflix) will be rolling out this June is It's Okay To Not Be Okay, where a caretaker of a psychiatric ward crosses paths with a popular children's book writer. They couldn't be more opposite — he's selfless, carrying a huge burden as he devotes himself to care for his disabled older brother, while she's very anti-social and indifferent to others. Yet somehow, with each other, they find themselves healing each of their own emotional scars.
Cast: Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji, Oh Jung Se
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy, Psychological
Air Date: 20 June
Was It Love?
JTBC, in partnership with Netflix, is also airing another rom-com to look forward to this year. Was It Love? tells the tale of movie producer and single mum Noh Ae Jung. Having been living alone for 14 years, she has already given up on romance. But fate seems to have other things in mind for her as it leads four men to bring newfound love into her life.
Cast: Song Ji Hyo, Son Ho Jun, Song Jong Ho, Koo Ja Sung, Kim Min Jun, Kim Da Som
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Air Date: 8 July
In OCN's sci-fi drama coming this July, a detective finds his life changing completely after the woman he loves falls victim to a serial killer. As he tries to track down the killer, he discovers a parallel universe, where he finds a completely different version of the life he's been leading. He must travel back and forth these two worlds to uncover the truth behind the mysteries that surround him.
Cast: Yoon Shi Yoon, Kyung Soo Jin
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Romance
Air Date: 11 July
Flower Of Evil
Those who enjoy suspenseful crime dramas should watch out for Flower of Evil slated for tvN's lineup for the second half of the year. It follows Baek Sung Hee — the ideal man. He's a hard-working and successful craftsman, providing a perfectly happy life to his wife and daughter. Everything is as good as it can be, but behind this perfection, he hides dark and cruel secrets that his homicide detective wife might just uncover.
Cast: Lee Joon Gi, Moon Chae Won, Jang Hee Jin, Seo Hyun Woo
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Air Date: 29 July
Taking over It's Okay To Not Be Okay's time slot on tvN when it ends this August is the second season of the 2017 series, Stranger. Here, rational yet cold prosecutor Hwang Shi Mok returns with detective Han Yeo Jin. Amidst the political clashes between the prosecutor's office and the police, they work together once again to solve a hidden case.
Cast: Cho Seung Woo, Bae Doo Na, Yoo Jae Myung, Lee Joon Hyuk, Shin Hye Sun
Genre: Crime, Investigation, Mystery
Air Date: 15 August
Aside from The King: Eternal Monarch, SBS also has another promising sci-fi romance drama slated for this year. Alice stars Joo Won (My Sassy Girl) in his first role since he was discharged from the military. He plays a detective who discovers time travel, crossing paths with a physicist who looks exactly like his mother. Together, they unravel the secret of time travel and prevent tragic things from occurring.
Cast: Joo Won, Kim Hee Sun
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Romance
Air Date: 28 August
Of course, let's not forget Youth Record, also known as The Moment, featuring Park Bo Gum and Park So Dam — a K-drama couple we're looking forward to seeing on-screen this year. Respectively taking on the role of a model-turned-actor with lost confidence and a struggling makeup artist, the 2020 K-drama airing on tvN will revolve around the stories of these young professionals trying to make it in the fashion industry.
Cast: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byun Woo Seok
Genre: Youth, Drama, Romance
Air Date: 7 September
From the director of the touching 2017 drama Go Back Couple comes another series exploring the fleeting beauty of youth and enduring love. Based on the American film 17 Again starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, JTBC's 18 Again follows 37-year-old divorcee Hong Dae Yong who returns to his 18-year-old self and has a second chance in life.
Cast: Kim Ha Neul, Yoon Sang Hyun, Lee Do Hyun
Genre: Youth, Comedy, Drama, Romance
Air Date: 21 September
Tale of the Nine-Tailed
It seems that we'd be spending October filled with high spirits as the much-awaited 2020 K-drama starring Lee Dong Wook and Kim Bum airs on tvN. Entitled the Tale of the Nine-Tailed, the urban fantasy series will tell the mythical story of a male gumiho (a nine-tailed fox). Having settled into a life in the city, he's hunted down by a TV producing director working on a show about urban legends.
Cast: Lee Dong Wook, Jo Bo Ah, Kim Bum
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Air Date: 7 October
Catch JTBC's Private Life this September and witness SNSD's Seo Hyun transform into the brazen con artist, Cha Joo Eun. While impersonating the Development Team Leader of a huge electronics company, she unknowingly gets caught up in privacy issues on a national scale. Across her is Reply 1988's Go Kyun Pyo in his first role after his military hiatus. The former Reply 1988 cast member now plays the mysterious Lee Jung Hwan, the team manager of another major company who appears to harbour many secrets.
Cast: Seo Hyun, Go Kyung Pyo, Kim Hyo Jin, Kim Young Min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Air Date: 7 October
Eugene will finally make her much-awaited comeback to the small screen in SBS' Penthouse. Coming later this year, the drama tells the story of a mother putting everything in on the line to achieve her ambition of getting her hands on a luxurious penthouse in the centre of Gangnam district. Clawing her way into the high society, she finds herself turning into a cruel woman ready to step on anyone and anything to get her way.
Cast: Eugene, Kim So Yeon, Lee Ji Ah, Uhm Ki Joon, Park Eun Seok, Yoon Jong Hoon
Air Date: 23 October
Later this year, we can expect to fall into bingeing mode with MBC's upcoming Kairos. A romantic fantasy, the drama centres on the story of a successful businessman. Though he had everything one could ask for, including a loving wife and a kid, he suddenly loses all he has. In an attempt to change his past, he communicates with a student across time to rescue their loved ones who were suddenly kidnapped.
Cast: Shin Sung Rok, Lee Se Young, Ahn Bo Hyun, Nam Gyu Ri
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Thriller, Romance
Air Date: 26 October
For suspenseful excitement this October 2020, tune in to The Search, the fourth series under OCN's Dramatic Cinema project, which combines the cinematic production level of films with the well-fleshed out story formats of TV dramas. With 10 episodes, the survival drama focuses on the bond between military search party members as they investigate the mysterious disappearances in Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Cast: Jang Dong Yoon, Krystal, Moon Jung Hee, Moon Jung Hee, Yoon Park
Genre: Military, Thriller, Mystery
Air Date: TBA
Miss A's Suzy teams up with Nam Joo Hyuk in tvN's upcoming business drama airing later this year. Also called Sandbox, Start-Up revolves around Seo Dal Mi, a conglomerate heiress who rejects the money and life ahead of her to make a name for herself. Aiming to be the Steve Jobs of South Korea, she takes up numerous part-time jobs to put up her very own tech company. After becoming friends with Nam Joo Hyuk's Nam Do San, a founder of a failed start-up, the two work together and support each other as they struggle towards success.
Cast: Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Air Date: TBA
Night and Day
Mystery seems to be one of tvN's major themes this 2020. Coming next up this November is Night and Day. In this series, a group of people investigate an event that took place in a village 26 years ago that seemed to have kickstarted a series of mysterious events occurring in the present. As they have exchanged their ability to feel emotions to gain superhuman capabilities, they work together to take down the people who used them as tools, finding and recovering their identities in the process.
Cast: Nam Goong Min, Lee Chung Ah, Seolhyun
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Drama
Air Date: TBA
Sageuk drama fans rejoice! This November, tvN will be airing a historical rom-com for you to binge on. Entitled Queen Cheorin, the drama follows Jang Bong Hwan, a chef in the modern age, who suddenly finds his spirit transported to the body of Queen Kim So Yong in the Joseon era. Trapped, he, as the queen, must navigate his way through the political tensions surrounding the royal family.
Cast: Shin Hye Sun, Kim Jung Hyun, Bae Jong Ok, Kim Tae Woo, Seol In Ah
Genre: Historical, Romantic, Comedy
Air Date: TBA
Other 2020 K-dramas Airing Later This Year
Of course, there’s also the highly anticipated South Korean drama by No Hee Kyung, writer of masterpieces such as That Winter, The Wind Blows, and It's Okay, This is Love. Since the series with the working title of HERE is still currently filming, not many details have been revealed. But according to Soompi, it will revolve around people working in an international NGO. Despite that, lots of fans are looking forward to the release of the 2020 K-Drama as it has quite the star-studded lineup, led by Lee Byung Hun from Mr. Sunshine and IRIS. Who would want to miss their performance, right?
Cast: Lee Byung Hun, Han Ji Min, Shin Min A, Bae Sung Woo, and Nam Joo Hyuk.
Air Date: TBA
(Cover photo from: @tvndrama.official)