Ones to Watch: Upcoming November K-Dramas

October delivered us a great mix of K-dramas to keep us thoroughly entertained. And while Halloween is right around the corner to mark the end of the month, fear not, as November has a delightful spread of dramas to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters at the K-drama table.  And don’t worry, there are no tricks here, just treats.

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“Birth of a Beauty”

November 1 – Saturdays and Sundays on SBS

birth of a beauty
Han Ye Seul plays a spurned ajumma who convinces plastic surgeon Han Tae Hee (Joo Sang Wook) to transform her into a modern Venus, taking up the name Sara. The pair becomes a team, as Han coaches Sara in all the ways to entice men–specifically a man named Lee Gang Joon (Jung Gyu Woon), the source of Sara’s broken heart and the reason she’s bent on revenge. The teasers for this drama have been light-hearted and fun, but I imagine that both Han Ye Seul and Joo Sang Wook will bring a lot of heart and depth to their characters. I’m particularly interested in “Birth of a Beauty” as it marks Han’s first project since 2011’s “Spy Myung-Wol.” I have generally liked her previous performances and am eager to see her return to K-dramas.

Check out the teaser for “Birth of a Beauty” below:

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“Mr. Baek”
(November 5 – Wednesdays and Thursdays on MBC)
mr. baek

While keeping with the theme of transformation, MBC’s “Mr. Baek” takes a different approach by focusing on age rather than beauty. Shin Ha Kyun plays an ailing, elderly president who suddenly finds himself 40 years younger and falling in love with Eun Ha Soo (Jang Na Ra), a cheerful young woman who nonetheless struggles to make ends meet–until she lands a full-time job working for Shin Ha Kyun’s company. Lee Joon plays Shin’s son and heir, who will butt heads with the capable Jung Yi Gun (Jung Suk Won), the President’s right hand man. There’s something incredibly enticing about being able to recapture youth, especially if you retain the wisdom and knowledge you’ve gained with age. What choices would you make in your younger years, knowing what you know now? How would your life change? “Mr. Baek” seems to tackle all these questions and more, served up with a slice of humor.

The teaser for “Mr. Baek” shows him having a blast as his new younger self:

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November 12 – Wednesdays and Thursdays on SBS

The main cast of “Pinocchio” features several familiar names: Lee Jong Suk, Park Shin Hye, Kim Young Kwang, and Lee Yoo Bi are all young reporters working closely together in a newsroom. Park Shin Hye’s Choi In Ha is a reporter who starts to hiccup whenever she lies (which explains the show’s title), while Choi Dal Po (Lee Jong Suk) is a sharp and capable rookie with a tragic past, Kim’s Seo Bum Jo is tall, attractive, has grown up in privilege, and may or may not know the meaning of hard work, and finally, Yoon Yoo Rae (Lee Yoo Bi) is a former sasaeng fangirl whose skills aid her in the newsroom. I anticipate all the drama one would find in a workplace–heated arguments, moments of tension and triumph, as well as the inevitable office romance–but what makes this drama one to watch is this bunch of interesting characters, and how well (or not) they’ll be able to work together in pursuit of this more noble idea: the truth.

In the teaser below, we see scenes of Choi Dal Po and Choi In Ha’s adolescent relationship:

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“The King’s Face”
Mid-November – Wednesdays and Thursdays on KBS2

kings face

The historical drama “The King’s Face” follows the life of concubine-born Prince Gwanghae (Seok In Guk) as he struggles to succeed his father, King Seonjo (Lee Sung Jae). Now, every heir to the throne needs a rival, and in “The King’s Face” that role is filled by Kim Do Chi (Shin Sung Rok) who has the ability to predict the future based off a reading of one’s face. In the middle of it all the intrigue and rivalries is love interest Kim Ga Hee (Jo Yoon Hee). I have to admit historical dramas are not usually my first pick, but both Seo In Guk and Shin Sung Rok have had a great year with their choice of projects, which gives me confidence in this drama. But more than that, I mentioned in “The Next Best Thing: Directors” post that “The King’s Face” is directed by Yun Seong Sik, whose style of storytelling I really enjoy for its focus and sleekness. “The King’s Face” is set to premiere after “Blade Man.”

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Dr. Frost
November 23 – Sundays on OCN


And now for something a little different. OCN’s “Dr. Frost” is based off a popular webtoon about a brilliant psychologist, played by Song Chang Eui, who helps solve crimes with his unique ability to read people’s gestures and faces. Having suffered an injury to his frontal lobe as a child, Dr. Frost has keen perceptive abilities, but this is the case where when one gains something, one must lose something else. And for Dr. Frost, his ability to sympathize with others was lost or at least seriously stunted. However, as our emotionally detached doctor begins to work closely with his assistant (Jung Eun Chae) there may be a chance for a thawing of his heart. I really love this kind of character flaw–where what makes Dr. Frost so capable and great in one situation, is also his “Achilles heel” in another. In this way, Dr. Frost isn’t this unreachable, perfect hero, and honestly, how can you not root for him to feel emotions? And as if I wasn’t already excited for this drama, the animated teaser that OCN came out with sealed the deal:

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“Valid Love”
November 24 – Mondays and Tuesdays on TVN

Here’s the thing, I really like the actors of “Valid Love” (working title). Our hero is Uhm Tae Woong playing opposite Lee Si Young, with Choi Yeo Jin and rising actor Lee Soo Hyuk rounding out our main cast. That should be more than enough reason to tune into this drama – if you can get past the premise of the show, which is about Lee Si Young’s character cheating on her husband (Uhm) with the handyman carpenter (Lee). Choi Yeo Jin plays the younger sister of Uhm Tae Woong’s character. It’s a slippery slope, to be sure, but if there’s any sympathy to be found in the situation, this cast of actors would be the ones who could draw it out of the viewers. The second thing this drama has going for it is that the writer of “Valid Love” is the same writer who gave us the much beloved “My Lovely Sam Soon” which really dug in and explored the complexities of love and relationships. “Valid Love” is set to premiere after “Liar Game.”

November is serving ups some delicious dramas. Which ones are you most excited for? Vote below and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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