The Korea Herald


Women’s stories continue to resonate with Korean viewers

By Lee Si-jin

Published : Nov. 1, 2023 - 15:17

    • Link copied

"Strong Girl Nam-soon" (JTBC)

More drama series with diverse women in the lead are expected to dominate South Korean TV screens over the remainder of the year.

Several new shows last year, including “Juvenile Justice,” “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” “Under the Queen’s Umbrella” and “Twenty-Five Twenty-One,” garnered greater-than-expected attention from viewers with their strong, independent women.

This year, TV dramas with bold, no-nonsense women have proved a strong trend, as production companies and screenwriters rush to tell more stories with different women in the lead roles.

Three female-centered series -- “Strong Girl Nam-soon,” “Doona!” and “Castaway Diva” -- are on track to make the trend a mainstream feature of the Korean content industry, after sweeping the top spots on the South Korean Netflix chart for TV shows on Tuesday.

Lee Yoo-mi (right) plays Nam-soon, who is gifted with superhuman strength, in Lee Yoo-mi (right) plays Nam-soon, who is gifted with superhuman strength, in "Strong Girl Nam-soon." (JTBC)

“Strong Girl Nam-soon,” JTBC’s 16-part drama series, revolves around a young woman named Nam-soon who is gifted with superhuman strength.

The series stars Lee Yoo-mi, who shot to global recognition as Player No. 240 in “Squid Game.” After the recent series' release, Lee topped weekly rankings for most viral actors in October, analytics firm Good Data Corp. said Friday.

“Strong Girl Nam-soon" also ranked No. 1 on the company's weekly list of most-talked-about TV dramas since its premiere on Oct. 7. It was No. 5 in Netflix’s global rankings for TV shows as of Tuesday as well.

“Doona!" -- another recent Netflix series helmed by “Crash Landing on You” director Lee Jung-hyo -- has achieved a stunning performance on the charts at home and abroad as well.

The romance series features former K-pop superstar Doona (Suzy) and her love story with a young college student who happens to live in the same shared house.

Suzy plays former K-pop superstar Doona in Suzy plays former K-pop superstar Doona in "Doona!" (Netflix)

“Doona!” topped the Korean Netflix chart for TV shows as soon as it was released on Oct. 20. However, “Strong Girl Nam-soon” on Tuesday knocked "Doona!" down a peg from its perch on top.

"Castaway Diva" on tvN is off to a good start with a viewership rating of 5.2 percent.

Though the rom-com starring Park Eun-bin did not come out on top for its time slot, “Castaway Diva” took the fourth slot on Tving’s top 20 chart for TV.

The series also occupied the No. 10 spot on Netflix’s global chart for TV series as of Tuesday.

Park Eun-bin leads Park Eun-bin leads "Castaway Diva" as Mok-ha, who aspires to be a diva. (tvN)

In the first half of this year, Netflix’s smash-hit “The Glory” presented school violence victim Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo) and her horrific stories of surviving high school. Meanwhile, JTBC captivated viewers with family medical drama “Doctor Cha,” showing the relatable and encouraging story of Cha Jeong-suk (Uhm Jung-hwa) returning to practice medicine after years as a homemaker.

Netflix also has another female-centered drama to release soon in “Daily Dose of Sunshine.”

Starring Park Bo-young, the upcoming show presents the story of a young nurse who is transferred from an internal medicine department to a psychiatric clinic.

Park Bo-young stars as a young nurse named Jung Da-eun in Park Bo-young stars as a young nurse named Jung Da-eun in "Daily Dose of Sunshine." (Netflix)

Hit shows of 2022 that featured women's stories also included “Reborn Rich” and Disney+ superhero series “Moving.”

“TV dramas are widely enjoyed by female viewers. The latest trend surely quenches the female-dominated audience's thirst for more interesting stories about women, who are not only falling in love with a prince-like male lead, but also bring exciting storylines,” culture critic Hwang Jin-mi told The Korea Herald.

And that trend is not likely to come to an end any time soon.