Yes, I know we are in the midst of a great drama season, but what can I say, I like to look ahead. Here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated, from least to most...
10. To The Beautiful You - I like schadenfreude - this adaptation of Hana Kimi, starring a bunch of idols, is bound to be horrific. The only thing better than a genuinely good drama, is a drama so bad it's fun to watch and mock. Please be this!
9. May Queen - here just for the cast. Shipping empires is not a topic that interests me, but it stars Han Hyo Joo, Jae Hee and Kim Jae Won - my kryptonite, all of them. Though please tell me Kim Jae Won is not the second lead or, if he is, that he gets his own OTP.
8. Horse Doctor - there is no way this list would not have at least one nice, traditional sageuk on the list. This one has a rock-solid cast and a pedigreed behind-the-scenes crew, even if the topic of a veterinarian becoming a royal doctor doesn't sound like a rockin' party time.
7. The Great Seer - speaking of traditional sageuks, if I had to limit myself to just one upcoming one, this one would win. I like the cast better, being a fan of most of the leads - Ji Jin Hee, Kim So Yeon, Go Soo (has he ever been in a sageuk before?), Song Chang Ui. Plus, the topic of divination and power is more my bag than medicine. Bring it on!
6. City Conquest - first, the bad - it stars Kim Hyun Joong, who is a work of art, looks-wise, but cannot act. It is also written by the writer of the trainwreck 'Lie to Me.' Still with me, guys? HOWEVER, despite his lack of acting skills, I find KHJ has a likeable screen presence and I have enjoyed him in his previous two dramas (there is also a chance he magically got better, but I am not that much of an optimist). The director is the one who did my obsession IRIS. But what draws me in is the story - based on a manhwa, this is the story of a young man who seeks revenge on society for the ruin of his family but, of course, inevitably falls in love.
5. Haeundae Lovers - it seems to be 'Time Between Dog and Wolf' as a comedy. I confess my interest went down when I realized that the rumors of Ji Sung starring were unsubstantiated and this will star Kim Kang Woo instead (nothing against the latter, but I am a big Ji Sung fan). Still, the premise, of an undercover cop who gets amnesia and believes he's really a gangster, while falling for a mob boss' daughter, seems rife with potential. Especially since the writer is the same one who did my darling City Hunter.
4. Five Fingers - About a family of pianists and evilness and birth secrets. Yes, it's a 50-episode makjang, but that won't stop me. This is the small-screen comeback of one of my earliest and biggest drama loves, Joo Ji Hoon, whose last drama was in 2007. (Said drama, Mawang, is my favorite kdrama, bar none). At this point, I'd watch it if it was puppet theater. JJH is not the only draw - I am genuinely interested - I am a lot fonder of both long dramas and makjang than most of my flisties, and the potential for angsty shippping and photogenic misery is darling. It costars Eunjung (Coffee House) as a leading lady and I like her, plus Ji Chang Wook (Warrior Baek Dong Soo) as evil incarnate, so the cast makes me happy in my happy place. Now make Joo Ji Hoon have a shower of manpain, drama!
3. Arang and the Magistrate - Lee Junki is back on my screen! In a period supernatural melodrama mystery involving a female ghost seeking justice. Said ghost is played by Shin Minah and there is a romance between her and LJK. How do I love this, let me count the ways: (a) A period drama; (b) Starring two of my all-time favorites, after a long break; (c) All the stills released are painting-gorgeous; (d) A really rarely-done concept; (e) and I am sure the romance will be beyond angsty, seeing she's a ghost.
2. Nice Guy - the more years I watch dramas, the more I realize that the writer is more important than anything, actors or PD included. No actor or PD, however accomplished, can save a badly-written drama. Luckily, this drama is a perfect combination - it stars Song Jung Ki (who blew me away in Tree with Deep Roots, and for whom this is his first leading drama role) opposite Moon Chae Won but, even more excitingly, it is written by the sublime Lee Kyung Hee, who has written drama after drama I adored. Nice Guy is a dark romantic melodrama (my favorite genre, second only to period dramas) about a man who wants to use a young woman for vengeance but ends up falling for her instead. The last time LKH did a dark, vengeance-driven romance, she gave us A Love to Kill, which was incredibly polarizing, but remains my favorite melodrama of all time (all right, tied with Snow Queen) and is in my Top 5 dramas, period. Add in Song Joong Ki's intensity and my love for Moon Chae Won, and I am sold. Beyond sold.
1. Faith - About a general who time-travels to the present to bring a doctor back for his princess, and the surgeon who ends up accompanying him back in time, this is my most anticipated drama of 2012 by far (it was vying with Bridal Mask for that slot and BM is currently airing). It would take a miracle for this drama to not appeal to me, seeing that it is written by the legendary Song Jina, who has yet to write a drama that didn't work for me, and that this is a reunion of Song Jina with her PD from Legend, a drama that is one of my all-time favorites. It is also set around the Mongolian invasions and is a fusion sageuk (so was Legend!) involving time-travel and starring Lee Min Ho, my huge crush, and the star of City Hunter, one of my all-time favorite dramas, in his first sageuek role as a general. Kim Hee Sun is beautiful and underappreciated (I must be one of 10 people who loved Smile Again) and I think will be great opposite him. Plus, on a shallow note, it will also star Lee Phillip (Legend, Secret Garden) and Sung Hoon (New Tales of Gisaeng), so if your hormones are not overwhelmed, there might be something wrong with you.