Ones to Watch: Upcoming January 2015 Dramas

jan dramas

Ah, 2014, you’ve been good to us.

We bid you farewell with a sense of nostalgia that always comes with the end of the year, but just as we goodbye, we also say hello. The new year brings fresh starts, the prospect of something unexpected, and bold and daring pursuits. So rub that end-of-the-year-celebratory daze from your eyes because 2015 is just around the corner offering some of the most anticipated dramas to help us ring in the new year.


“Kill Me, Heal Me”
January 7 –  Wednesdays and Thursdays on MBC

For a while there it looked like “Kill Me, Heal Me” would never get made. Cast changes definitely put the breaks on production, which raised brows from not a few of us, but all seems to be in working order now, as we can see from the recently released stills of Park Seo Joon and Hwang Jung Eum, who play siblings “Orion” (Oh Ri Eon) and “Origin” (Oh Ri Jin),  respectively. The drama centers on Origin, a first-year resident, and her patient and love interest, Ji Sung‘s Cha Do Hyun, who has seven distinct personalities. While “Kill Me, Heal Me” hasn’t been without its issues, what it does have going for it is pretty compelling. The drama reunites Hwang Jun Eum and Ji Sung, who acted together in last year’s “Secret Love,” and its cast also includes Park Seo Joon (who made our list of rising actors you ought to know) and, closer to my heart, Oh Min Suk (Assistant Manager Kang from “Misaeng“) as Cha Do Hyun’s cousin and rival.

Check out the trailer for “Kill Me, Heal Me” below:

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Heart to Heart
January 9 – Fridays and Saturdays on tvN

Chun Jung Myung and Choi Kang Hee head up this romantic comedy with a medical twist. In “Heart to Heart” Choi plays Cha Hang Do, a woman who has lived as a recluse from society due to her extreme shyness and inability to control her blushing. She can’t venture outside without wearing a helmet or her disguise of choice: a full elderly woman costume. Still, Cha Hang Do manages to encounter Chun Jung Myung’s Go Yi Seok, a psychiatrist who suffers from his own personal trauma, and wouldn’t you know that’s the recipe for romance in K-drama land! What seals the deal is that the director of this drama is none other than Lee Yoon Jung, who, most notably, gave us the much beloved “Coffee Prince.” And by the looks of things, “Heart to Heart” follows the same vein with its light-hearted, humorous storytelling. Lee Jae Yoon and Ahn Sohee, of Wonder Girls fame, round out the cast.

Choi Kang Hee’s character teaser for “Heart to Heart” is all kinds of adorable:

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January 9 – Fridays on KBS 2

Here’s an unusual one. Take one part suspenseful spy drama and add one part family drama, and you get the foundation for KBS2’s “Spy.” Based off the Israeli drama “The Gordin Cell,” the adaptation will focus on a mother and son, like any good family drama, except she’s a dormant spy from North Korea and he’s a current agent for the National Intelligence Service. Their family dynamic gets turned upside down when spy mama Hye Rim (Bae Jong Ok) is suddenly tasked with bringing in her own son, Sun Woo, played by Kim Jaejoong (yes, from JYJ). I think Kim Jaejoong really proved himself as an actor in last year’s (regrettable) “Triangle,” and I’m curious to see the marriage of family drama with spy intrigue. Go Sung Hee also stars as Sun Woo’s love interest.

The teaser for “Spy” sets a tone that is more reminiscent of smart and clever spy dramas (lighthearted and full of reversals) than of family melodramas (full of tears). But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

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“City of the Sun”
January 30 – MBC

Confession: I harbor affection for Kim Joon that, yes, admittedly, comes from his turn as part of the infamous F4 in the 2009 KBS hit drama, “Boys Over Flowers” (has it really been almost six years since then?!). But that’s not why “City of the Sun” is on this list (okay, fine, not the only reason). January dramas seem keen on giving us lots of light-hearted fare to go along with that hopeful, new feeling of the new year, but if you’re in the mood for something a little heavier, a little meatier, then look no further. I don’t mean to imply that “City of the Sun” won’t have its share of humor or that it is meant to be taken more seriously than the other dramas on this list, only that its subject matter sets it apart from the other offerings on the K-drama table. The story is based off a well-received Japanese novel by Jun Ikeido, and follows Kim Joon’s idealistic Tae Yang (“Sun” in Korean, hence the title of the drama), who struggles to keep his principles after he finds out the construction company he works for is involved in serious corruption.

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“Hyde, Jekyll, I”
Wednesdays and Thursdays on SBS

Hyun Bin and Han Ji Min. Have fun!

Okay, fine. In the interest of being more informative (and less of a fangirl), here’s the low-down on this most anticipated of all upcoming dramas, “Hyde, Jekyll, I.” Hyun Bin’s character will have two distinct and opposing personalities, which is a nod to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novella. He works as the director of an amusement park and wants nothing more than to get rid of the circus, which is headed up by none other than Han Ji Min’s character, Jang Ha Na. Their romance is complicated by his personalities, but all I can see is fun times ahead. And let’s not forget about the supporting cast, which isn’t too shabby: the ever charming Sung Joon, Han Sang Jin, Lee Seok Hwa, and Girls’ Day Hyeri also star in “Hyde, Jekyll, I” (no matter how many times I write it, it is still awkward).

“Hyde, Jekyll, I” follows “Pinocchio” on SBS.

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shine or go crazy

Shine or Go Crazy
Mondays and Tuesdays on MBC

I am rarely excited by historical dramas, but fantasy historical dramas? Count me in! Granted, I’m not quite sure how “fantasy” will play a part in “Shine or Go Crazy” because by all accounts, it reads like a palace romance drama. Jang Hyuk plays Wang So, a prince of Goryeo that is haunted by a prophecy that he will be responsible for lots of bloodshed and destruction. Seems like a pretty sad fate, but enter Oh Yeon Seo as the last princess of Balhae who is destined to be a light for another nation. What a fated (ill?) and beautiful pair they make! I really like both Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo, and something about “fusion fantasy historical” just peaks my interest (I blame this on tVN’s “Queen In Hyun’s Man” which I adore) so I’m particularly excited for this drama.

“Shine or Go Crazy” will premiere after the conclusion of “Pride and Prejudice.”

What January 2015 Dramas are you most anticipating? Think I missed one? Drop me a message in the comments below. And Happy New Year, Soompiers, see you in 2015!