GN SAYS: The 2023 K-dramas on Our Watchlist
Both solar and lunar new years' days have passed, and we're ready to fill our calendars with the upcoming dramas for the year. We asked the Gwenchanoonas what shows they're looking forward to the most for 2023.
My 2022 list didn’t age very well, so this year, I’m proceeding with cautious optimism. The Red Sleeve turned me into a huge fan of 2PM’s Lee Junho and I’ve enjoyed every single one of his dramas, so I really hope that King the Land, his upcoming rom-com with Girls’ Generation’s Im Yoon-ah, doesn’t disappoint. I’ll also be checking out A Time Called You, the Korean remake of popular Taiwanese timeslip romance Some Day or One Day, starring Jeon Yeo-been, Ahn Hyo-seop, and Kang Hoon. Other dramas on my 2023 watchlist are Netflix’s Doona! (Bae Suzy and Yang Se-jong), The Worst Evil (Ji Chang Wook’s long-awaited return to action), and the all-star fantasy drama Moving, a carry over from last year’s list.
Pleasant surprises are most welcome, and I actually hope that a drama that isn’t even on my radar turns out to be my favorite of 2023!
I’m super excited for Taxi Driver Season 2 with Lee Je-hoon, that’s set to be released in February. I’m trying to keep my expectations low because the first one was really hard to top. But I really hope it’ll be the last of the revenge dramas for a good year or so. There’s only so much revenge I can take.
Apart from that, I’m also looking forward to Black Knight. I have no idea what it’s about really but if it stars Kim Woo-bin and Song Seung-heon, I’m willing to give it a shot. As for the rest, I’ll take what k-drama throws at me. It’s always a great adventure to start a new k-drama.
I’ve been so disappointed in many of the shows I looked forward to last year (I’m looking at you, Narco-Saints), so I will try to not place my hopes in any show with big stars and big budgets this time. This year, I will be rooting for small, niche, and weirdly-titled k-dramas like 2021’s Work Later Drink Now and this year’s Fanta G Spot to provide fresher concepts and better storylines that don’t need to use up 16 hours of life.
That being said, I still have my old faves, so definitely looking forward to D.P. and Bloodhounds (Woo Do-hwan!). I’m more optimistic for the movies now that shooting locations have opened up again. So I am especially excited for Believer 2, Ballerina, and Kill Boksoon.
There was a deluge of k-dramas last year. While it meant more choices for me as a fan, it also meant I needed to wade across a larger river to catch the k-dramas that I would end up liking. Unfortunately, I liked only one series last year, and there’s a few more I haven’t even seen yet. My 2022 favorite Twenty-Five Twenty-One wasn’t even on my watchlist!
However, I’ve learned that I enjoy dark and fantastical themes in general, so I’ll dive deep into Strong Woman Gang Nam-soon and season 2 of the hit shows D.P., All of Us Are Dead, Hellbound, Squid Game, Taxi Driver, and The Uncanny Counter. I’ll snorkel to check out Queen Maker (Kim Hee-ae), See You in My 19th Life (Shin Hye-sun), Unlocked (Im Si-wan), Kill Boksoon (Jeon Do-yeon), Moving (Han Hyo-joo), and The Worst of Evil (Ji Chang-wook). If Money Game (Ryu Jun-yeol) finally airs this year, I’ll quickly swim towards it. But to offset the angst and gloom, I’ll briefly float to the surface and enjoy the comedy Chicken Nugget (Kim Yoo-jung) (and—not a k-drama—the k-variety BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star).
Liam Yeon Kimin
With the real-world outlook for 2023 not quite brimming with optimism, I’m looking forward to spending a lot of escapism hours in the world of k-dramas. That means I want elaborate fantasy worlds, light comedies, fast-paced action, and satisfying revenge tropes. Which also means I’m particularly excited to see superhuman abilities in The Uncanny Counter 2, the long-awaited Disney+ series Moving, and Strong Woman Gang Nam-soon (from the same writer as Strong Woman Do Bong-soon).
I’m also keen for the second seasons of Arthdal Chronicles and Sweet Home as they meet some of my criteria, but more because I enjoyed their first rounds. Basically, I want to be transported to another world. Spare me the realism and melodramas, real life has enough of that.