The beginning of the fall season will see the premiere of new shows ranging from fusion sageuk to office comedies. Fans will have 10 new Korean dramas to watch in September 2019, which brings the total no. of primetime drama premieres so far this year to at least 69. The first half of September will welcome only two series—a “Netflix Original” and a fantasy romance from which I’m getting W-Two Worlds vibes. In the third week, six dramas are scheduled to air their first episodes, including the action thriller starring Lee Seung-gi and Suzy. Scroll down the page to check out the complete list!
Note: The premiere date is confirmed unless otherwise stated.
September 7: ARTHDAL CHRONICLES (Saturdays & Sundays on tvN)
- Genre: Historical Fantasy
- Main Cast: Song Joong-ki, Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ji-won, & Kim Ok-bin
- Predecessor: Hotel del Luna
In a departure from the norm, the last six episodes (part 3) of Arthdal Chronicles—which premiered on June 1—will be broadcast two months after episode 12. Filming had been completed even before the first episode was released, so this setup is kind of harsh for the fans who loved the series. Headlined by Song Joong-ki and Jang Dong-gun, the drama is set in an ancient land called Arth where civilization continues to flourish and tribes fight against each other for survival and power. Arthdal Chronicles was the second-highest-rated Korean drama in the first half of 2019, thanks to its star-studded cast, unique storyline, and acclaimed writer-director team (My Mister, Tree With Deep Roots). So many twists were dropped in the first two parts of the series, and as if that weren’t enough, you can expect more surprising developments in the last part especially because it will focus on the turning points of the main characters.
September 16: FLOWER CREW: JOSEON MARRIAGE AGENCY (Mondays & Tuesdays on JTBC)
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Main Cast: Kim Min-jae, Gong Seung-yeon, Seo Ji-hoon, & Park Ji-hoon
- Predecessor: Moment At Eighteen
Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency is a fusion saeguk about a Joseon King (Seo Ji-hoon, Mama Fairy And The Woodcutter) who seeks help from a dating agency in taking care of and pursuing his first love, played by Gong Seung-heon (Are You Human Too?). Based on the drama’s teaser, he’s just an ordinary person who has fallen in love with a lowly woman and disappeared on the day of their wedding. It turns out his life makes a U-turn when he suddenly becomes the King, which prompts him to hire the dating agency to transform her into a noblewoman and give their romance a second chance. The problem is, things are more complicated now that the head matchmaker (Kim Min-jae, The Great Seducer) seems to have formed a love triangle with the two. The series is based on a 2014 novel of the same title.
September 18: WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS (Wednesdays & Thursdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Romantic Comedy
- Main Cast: Gong Hyo-jin & Kang Ha-neul
- Predecessor: Justice
Gong Hyo-jin (Jealousy Incarnate) hasn’t been seen in dramaland for almost three years, and now she is finally back with a new Korean drama! When The Camellia Blooms centers on the character she is portraying, Dong Baek (which means “Camellia flower” in Korean), who runs a bar called “Camellia.” Previous character descriptions claim that she’s an orphan and a single mom who has had lousy relationships in the past (I’m not so sure about the single mom part because based on my experience in reading casting news from different websites, some reported details of the character turn out to be false when you watch the episode). The sure thing is, her character will develop an attraction to a policeman played by Kang Ha-neul (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo). Gong Hyo-jin accepted the project because she “didn’t want to give the character to anyone else,” and knowing that the drama is penned by Fight For My Way’s writer Im Sang-choon, we can expect this show to offer us something we would be thankful for.
September 18: SECRET BOUTIQUE (Wednesdays & Thursdays on SBS)
- Genre: Thriller
- Main Cast: Kim Sun-ah & Kim Jae-young
- Predecessor: Doctor Detective
Secret Boutique is a “female-centric” drama about Jenny Jang (Kim Sun-ah, Children of Nobody), a poor woman who has run errands at a bathhouse when she was a child but worked her way up to become a powerful lobbyist involved in secret activities. She’s the owner of a store called J-Boutique, which looks like a normal store from the outside but serves as a law firm that solves cases for the upper class. As an influential person in political and business circles, she attempts to take over a company. It sounds like we have a cold-hearted heroine here who will do anything to survive and succeed. As far as TV rating or critical acclaim is concerned, Kim Sun-ah’s last three projects (Children Of Nobody, Should We Kiss First, Woman of Dignity) were a success. Will Secret Boutique become her fourth successful drama in a row?
September 18: THE RUNNING MATES: HUMAN RIGHTS (Wednesdays & Thursdays on OCN)
- Genre: Social Justice Drama
- Main Cast: Lee Yo-won, Choi Gwi-hwa, & Jang Hyun-sung
- Predecessor: Class Of Lies
OCN’s latest Wednesday-Thursday drama The Running Mates: Human Rights follows two human rights investigators played by Lee Yo-won (Different Dreams) and Choi Gwi-ha (Suits) as they look into the different cases involving human rights violations. There are no high-profile cases whatsoever. Instead, the drama focuses on common day-to-day situations where the victims are most vulnerable to abuse. Social justice dramas are common in K-dramaland, but one centering on human rights investigators from the Korean Human Rights Commission is hard to come by. Lee Yo-won plays an ace investigator whose strict and neutral approach to investigations makes her appear less empathetic towards the victims. Choi Gwi-ha, on the other hand, is a former prosecutor who shows a lot of empathy for the weak and always sides with them. The Running Mates: Human Rights is based on a 2015 novel and directed by the PD of Blade Man.
September 20: VAGABOND (Fridays & Saturdays on SBS)
- Genre: Action Thriller
- Main Cast: Lee Seung-gi & Bae Suzy
- Predecessor: Doctor John
Among the 11 new Korean dramas to watch in September, Vagabond is perhaps the most highly-anticipated because of its popular leads Lee Seung-gi (A Korean Odyssey) and Bae Suzy (While You Were Sleeping). It is a spy action melodrama about Lee’s character, a stuntman, who sets out to uncover a huge corruption following a suspicious plane crash that has killed his nephew. Suzy plays a civil servant who ends up working as a covert operative for the National Intelligence Service and crossing paths with Lee’s character. Dedicated fans of both Lee Seung-gi and Suzy are particularly excited about the drama’s premiere since the two already starred together in the 2013 fantasy series Gu Family Book. The budget for the series is estimated to be around US$22 million, which is twice as big as Descendants Of The Sun‘s US$10.7 million. With Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim‘s PD at the helm of its production, Vagabond might surprise us all.
September 20: PEGASUS MARKET (Fridays on tvN)
- Genre: Office Comedy
- Main Cast: Lee Dong-hwi & Kim Byung-chul
- Predecessor: Rude Miss Young-ae Season 17
The poster alone tells you that you need to watch Pegasus Market if you want to burst out laughing while watching a drama. Based on the popular webtoonCheap Cheonlima Mart, the series tells the story of the employees of a mart called Pegasus Market that is struggling to make a profit due to lack of customers. Lee Dong-hwi (Designated Survivor: 60 Days) is starring as the mart’s foolhardy manager who aims to make it number one in the retail industry. On the flip side, Kim Byung-chul (Doctor Prisoner) plays a character who wants the mart to go bankrupt after he loses his board director position in Pegasus’ parent company and is demoted to manage the mart. He goes as far as to hire incompetent people who are unlikely to be hired by anyone else but his actions end up bringing more customers to Pegasus.
September 25: MISS LEE (Wednesdays & Thursdays on tvN)
- Genre: Office Comedy
- Main Cast: Hyeri & Kim Sang-kyung
- Predecessor: When The Devil Calls Your Name
Miss Lee is another office comedy where the company is also facing the imminent danger of going out of business. Hyeri (Two Cops) takes on the titular role of Lee Seon-shim, an ordinary employee who is suddenly promoted to become the CEO of a small electronics company called Chungil Electronics. Despite lacking in credentials and experience, she takes on the challenge to protect her coworkers from losing their jobs and save the company. Helping her out with the task is Kim Sang-kyung’s (The Crowned Clown) character, one of Chungil’s directors who reluctantly takes Miss Lee under his wing. He is notorious for being a terror manager but his attitude starts to change after working closely with her. Miss Lee comes from the PD of Bad Guys: City of Evil and Squad 38.
September 28: Love is Beautiful, Life is Wonderful (Saturdays & Sundays on KBS2)
- Genre: Romantic Comedy
- Main Cast: Jo Yoon-hee & Park Yoon
- Predecessor: Mother Of Mine
(Unconfirmed premiere date). With the 108-episode Mother Of Mine nearing its finale, KBS2 is set to replace it with Love is Beautiful, Life is Wonderful, about a romance that starts to blossom between a young chef (Yoon Park, Legal High) who doesn’t believe in marriage and a former announcer (Jo Yoon-hee, Laurel Tree Tailors) who has given up on dating while studying for the civil service exam. This show marks Jo Yoon-hee’s first drama since marrying Lee Dong-gun in 2017. It’s interesting to note that although KBS2’s serial dramas are not as popular as the miniseries among international K-drama fans, they pull in very high ratings (around 30 percent) for the network. And since they are relatively cheaper to produce than the miniseries, their future in the industry remains bright amid the rising competition that has already forced the major broadcasters to cut back on drama programmings and introduce new time slots.
September 30: THE TALE OF NOKDU (Mondays & Tuesdays on KBS2)
- Genre: Historical Rom-com
- Main Cast: Jang Dong-yoon & Kim So-hyun
- Predecessor: I Wanna Hear Your Song
The last Korean drama to premiere in September is The Tale Of Nokdu (a.k.a. Mung Bean Chronicles). Jang Dong-yoon (Dance Sports Girls) stars as the titular Jeon Nokdu, a young man who despises marriage and wants to avoid it at all cost. When he sneaks into a widows’ village and disguises himself as a woman to hide there, he meets a hot-tempered trainee gisaeng (Kim So-hyun, Love Alarm) who doesn’t want to become a gisaeng. The two develop feelings for each other and begin a romance. Adapted from a popular webtoon of the same name, The Tale Of Nokducomes from the PD of Fight For My Way and screenwriter of Moonlight Drawn By Clouds. It might become the last Monday-Tuesday drama of KBS2 this year if the network finalizes its plan to suspend the broadcast of dramas on the said time slot from December 2019 to February 2020.