1. Fight For My Way (KBS2)
Overview: A story about the lives of four childhood friends who live earnestly, trying to make a living. This drama explores the dreams of young people and their drive and determination to work towards them.
TNmS Highest Average Audience Share Ratings: Nationwide (9.4%) and Seoul Capital Area (11.4%) for Episode 6 on 6 June 2017.
Opinion: The build-up of the romance between the two main leads has led many fans to ‘ship’ them. Go Dong Man (Park Seo Joon) and Choi Ae Ra (Kim Ji Won) portray the perfect friendzone relationship. However, as the story unfolds, the anticipation to see who makes the first move in expressing their feelings is building up.
Although the characters’ ambitions are progressing, I feel that the romance-related cliffhangers were not strong enough to keep fans talking, and this might have a negative effect on the results of the competition with other broadcasting companies.
Current status: 12/16 (70 minutes per episode)
2. Lookout/The Guardians (MBC)
Overview: This high-intensity drama tells the story of 4 people whose family members were victims of violent crimes. Filled with hatred for the corrupted justice system, they work together as a team to fight for what they believe is right.
TNmS Highest Average Audience Share Ratings: Nationwide (8.7%) and Seoul National Capital Area (10.2%) for Episode 14 on 12 June 2017.
Opinion: Lookout started with a flashback which was helpful in creating curiosity among the audience. Every character in the team has their own story and I love how the writers have clearly elaborated on them. Aside from the unique storyline about desperation and longing, the actors have really immersed themselves in their characters. I particularly like how Kim Young Kwang portrays two extreme sides of his character, Jang Do Han.
The drama has aired more than half of its 32 episodes. Although the team has been working separately and the leader has not revealed his identity to them so far, we should be able to see a change in the coming episodes.
Current status: 22/32 (35 minutes per episode)
3. My Sassy Girl (SBS)
Overview: This drama tells the story of a romance between a troublesome princess and a cold-hearted nobleman set in the Joseon Dynasty.
TNmS Highest Average Audience Share Ratings: Nationwide (9.3%) and Seoul Capital Area (11.3%) for Episode 2 on 29 May 2017.
Opinion: Recently, there have been quite a number of historical dramas, but what stands out in My Sassy Girl is the comedic scenes. It is also a light-hearted drama and is not based on any particular historical incident which makes it easier for the general audience to watch it without any prior history knowledge.
Both main characters are played by experienced actors and I love the way they portray the characters' playful and funny sides. Especially Oh Yeon Seo has shown her abilities in Please Come Back, Mister and acted equally well in My Sassy Girl. The two actors have portrayed their unique chemistry in the few episodes that have been released and I definitely look forward to the rest!
Current status: 18/32 (30 minutes per episode)
Comparison: In my opinion, Fight For My Way, Lookout and My Sassy Girl have different genres and each has its own attractiveness. All of them have award-winning actors to showcase their exceptional abilities in portraying their characters. If you are looking for a light-hearted and pretty realistic drama then perhaps Fight For My Way is a good start, but if you like something more aggressive and action-packed, then Lookout will definitely be something to ‘look out’ for! On the other hand, if you want a historical drama for a change but still prefer a rom-com, then My Sassy Girl’s the choice!
In Korea, viewership pretty much determines the front-line of ratings. Indeed, these ratings are really, really close and as of now the highest recorded is Fight For My Way but we are only halfway through these Monday/Tuesday 22:00 prime time dramas, so will there be a change in viewership ratings as they approach the climaxes?