A Wife’s Credentials was one of JTBC’s big successes last year (although the station had a pretty great first year all around, with offerings like Padam Padam, Childless Good Fortune, Dowager Queen Insoo, and Can We Marry), and the cable station is hoping lightning strikes twice with the return of its director, PD Ahn Pan-seok, in a new medical drama. In addition to leading A Wife’s Credentials to record-setting ratings (they’ve since been broken, but 4% on cable is nothing to sniff at), PD Ahn also had great success with the smart, acclaimed medical drama White Tower starring Kim Myung-min, which just may have set the gold standard for Korean medical dramas. So you can see why there’s excitement here.
This new show is titled End of the World, which refers to the physical world rather than doomsday (perhaps Ends of the Earth may be a more accurate direct translation)—but don’t count doomsday out, because the drama is all about a mysterious epidemic that strikes, and the doctors who are at the center of the medical maelstrom.
Hmm, that’s an interesting direction to take a medical drama, and by interesting I mean WAY MORE AWESOME. (I hope.) I like medical shows in theory, but a lot of times they tend to be (1) an occupation drama that just happens to be set in a hospital, (2) set dressing for a romance drama, or (3) a standard melo that is more about themes like Ambition and Rivalry and Brotherly Strife than it is about medicine. A mystery about the outbreak of a plague, on the other hand? That could be exciting.
They’ve already cast the leading man, Yoon Jae-moon, who is a veteran of film and television, although this is his first drama lead. His many credits include Tree With Deep Roots, IRIS, Mother, The Good the Bad the Weird, A Dirty Carnival, Chaw, Midas, Quick, The Show Must Go On, General Hospital 2, and The Host—but perhaps he’s freshest in our memories as the psycho bad guy in The King 2 Hearts, Bong-gu, who always put me in mind of an angry, hoppy little gnome.
But this time he’ll be saving lives, not plotting demises. He plays the the chief of epidemiological investigation at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Formerly an officer in the military police, Yoon Jae-moon’s character loses his beloved to the new virus, kicking off his hunt to identify and deal with the disease.
End of the World is set to air in February.