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[HanCinema's News] Lineup for tvN Faces High Expectations

With the conclusion of "Our Blues" this past June 12th, tvN has had a strong first half of the year, with a wide variety of genres. While "Our Blues" had a large interconnected cast, "Twenty Five Twenty One" held more traditional ground as a nostalgically styled romance and "Military Prosecutor Doberman" had decent success in its own right as a hybrid military and legal procedural drama. But with strong past performance comes high expectations. Many wonder whether upcoming programs will do as well.

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As usual, the increasingly international element of South Korean drama success makes it difficult to tell which shows truly did well. The management company oriented "Shooting Star" did quite poorly in South Korean ratings, yet was very successful overseas. In the long run, "Eve" and "Link: Eat, Love, Kill" may have a similar discrepancy between domestic and international success. The data for either of these dramas internationally simply isn't available yet.

CJ ENM remains aggressive in regards to its future programming, however, with "Alchemy of Souls" sticking out as a heavily promoted drama despite its rather eccentric fantasy premise of wizards dealing with the mysteries of the universe. Director Park Joon-hwa of "What's Wrong With Secretary Kim" is managing the project. Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran are writing the script, with the legendary screenwriting sisters having recent misfires as well as hits just as their director.

Later on in August, "Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist" will see its release. The highly anticipated fusion historical and medical drama stars relative newcomer Kim Min-jae-I in the title role. Then there is the high concept of "Adamas" with Ji Sung playing dual lead roles as twin brothers seeking to unravel a conspiracy against their family. Then in late August "Little Women" will take on a radically different genre than either of these, dealing with three sisters trying to make their way in modern Korea.

The only consistency in the schedule is a lack of clear consistency. "Mental Coach Je Gal-gil" takes a psychological approach to slumps suffered by athletes, and will air in September. "Love in Contract" deals with contractual wives assisting single fathers in various parent-associated meetings. These shows and more all demonstrate a scattershot approach by the network to finding the next big hit- and there's no way of knowing which of these programs will truly find an audience.

Written by William Schwartz

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