Sweater weather season is finally upon us. In an alternate world without a pandemic, I would be preparing for my Seoul autumn trip where I’ll be living my best life as a big-time Hallyu lover. Surrounded by gingko leaves and wearing my cutest layered get-up, I could’ve pretended I was headed to a date with Park Seo-joon or Park Shin-hye. With that plan down the drain, I’ll settle for the next best thing: living vicariously through my faves by ticking off shows on my K-drama watchlist.
This October, Hallyu fans have a lot of releases to look forward to. I’ve rounded them up on this neat little list so you can keep track of them. Here are the K-dramas I can’t wait to devour.
Arriving on Netflix this Oct. 17 is “Start-Up.” Actress and singer Bae Suzy (“While You Were Sleeping”) stars alongside model and actor Nam Joo-hyuk (“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo”) in a show about a pair of young entrepreneurs throwing their hat in the ring for Sand Box, Korea’s Silicon Valley. Tech whiz or not, you’ll want to check this one out as it heralds two of the most anticipated returns to the small screen.
Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) teams up with her first love, resident math kid Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), to achieve her dream of becoming the next Steve Jobs by founding a start-up company. Get ready to be inspired and melt over rekindled romance and score some insights on technology and enterprises that might come in handy in the future.
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol
We have a few days to practice pronouncing the title of Netflix rom-com “Do Do Sol Sol La” before its Oct. 7 launch. If you’re a fan of a mix of music and romance, this is right up your alley. It follows the riches to rags story of bubbly pianist Gu Ra-ra, played by Go A-ra (“Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth” and “Reply 1994”), as she tries to get back up on her feet. Along the way, she meets mysterious Sun Woo-joon, played by Lee Jae-wook (“Extraordinary You”), at a countryside piano academy called La La Land.
As they grow closer, they help heal each other’s scars. Whether those are literal or just metaphorical, you’ll have to watch to find out. Joining them in the academy is Kim Joo-hun, who stole our hearts on “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” Find out what role he’s playing by catching the show.
Not all K-dramas are romances. Another Netflix show premiering on Oct. 7 is “Private Lives.” It follows the story of con artists played by Girls’ Generation member Seohyun, Kim Hyo-jin (“The Taste of Money”) and Kim Young-min (“The World of the Married”) as they try to disclose the private lives of public figures.
Expect intrigue and mystery, as well as cool disguises. If you’re in need of something spicy that will keep you guessing, this definitely fits the bill.
The Spies Who Loved Me
Since we’re on the topic of secrets, “The Spies Who Loved Me” is a rom-com on espionage starring Yoo In-na (“Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” and “Touch Your Heart”) as a wedding dress designer Kang Ah Reum whose ex-husband and current husband are both spies. I can already imagine all the twists and turns.
Shinhwa’s Eric Mun plays husband number one, an unpredictable Interpol agent. On the other hand, her current hubby played by Im Ju-hwan (“Oh My Ghost”) is a corporate spy with a competitive streak. It sounds incredibly messy and I can’t wait to see it all unfold.
Viu Singapore has announced an Oct. 27 release for time-bending thriller “Kairos” so I’m hoping we’ll get to watch it too. Shin Sung-Rok plays Kim Seo-Jin (“The Last Empress” and “My Love from the Star”), the youngest executive at his company. He leads a wonderful life—until his young daughter gets kidnapped. Desperate to bring her back, he travels to the past. There he meets Han Ae-Ri, played by Lee Se-Young (“A Korean Odyssey”), who is also looking for her missing mother.
Joining them in the cast is Ahn Bo-Hyun (“Itaewon Class”). From the trailer, it’s going to be keeping us at the edge of our seats as they do everything it takes to get their loved ones back.
Here’s a bonus entry because I can’t help myself:
Record of Youth
A lot of K-drama fans have been hooked on “Record of Youth” this month. If you’re part of the minority who have yet to check it out, I highly recommend that you do. Get your serving of kilig from makeup artist An Jeong-Ha, played by star Park So-dam (“Parasite”), and model Sa Hye-jun played by Park Bo-gum (“Encounter”).
One of our favorite scenes (besides that kiss by the outdoor piano) is the real-life ARMY Bo-gum singing BTS’ “Tomorrow” at a noraebang (the Korean term for a karaoke place). If seeing him on a catwalk isn’t enough to pique your interest, perhaps the Park Seo-joon cameo will.