Premiere Watch: Manhole, Live Up to Your Name
We’ve got two time-travelers headed our way this week and they both seem like hilarious goofballs—one’s a loser and one’s a genius, but you wouldn’t know which is which from the stills alone. Despite the fact that both new dramas this week are fantasy time-slip stories, they’re actually very different in setup, and I’m expecting two very different shows. As a bonus, it looks like they’ll both be delivering on the laughs, which is definitely a welcome thing.
Time slot: Wednesday & Thursday
Genre: Fantasy rom-com
Episode count: 16
Reasons to watch: This drama looks wacky and fun, thanks to some awesome teasers and a great premise—a slacker gets a wakeup call when the love of his life announces that she’s getting married to another man, and he uses a manhole to travel back and forth in time to prevent the wedding. But the price of his time-travel is that it’s random and he can’t control where he travels to, and every little action he takes in the past changes the present. I can’t wait for the unintended side-effects, which are bound to be hilarious.
This is Jaejoong’s army comeback drama, and I think he’ll be really cute opposite UEE, who’s done a string of dramatic projects in recent years—they’ve earned her cred as a solid dramatic actress, for sure, but I’m looking forward to seeing her do something light and fun again. The producers’ credits are all over the board—PD Park Man-young did family dramas Strange Daughter-in-Law and Sweet Secret, second PD Yoo Young-eun worked on Mystery Queen, and writer Lee Jae-gon comes from the Special Affairs Team TEN franchise—so it looks like fantasy rom-com will be a new realm for them. But I’m already sold on the premise alone for this one.
Live Up to Your Name
Time slot: Saturday & Sunday
Genre: Fantasy medical rom-com
Episode count: 16
Reasons to watch: Kim Nam-gil. Do we need any other?
This one is all about the fish-out-of-water hijinks, as Kim Nam-gil travels 400 years in time from Joseon to the present and fumbles his way around modern-day Seoul (and ends up looking a bit like a mental patient because of it, hee). He plays real-life historical figure Heo Im, a brilliant acupuncturist, and he’ll butt heads with Kim Ah-joong, a contemporary surgeon. The time-travel element is what keeps this drama from seeming like any other medical drama out there, and from the promo material that’s been released so far, Kim Nam-gil is having a blast with this comedic role.
PD Hong Jong-chan directed the amazing Dear My Friends last year, and writer Kim Eun-hee (not THE Kim Eun-hee of Signal—this one is a different writer) co-wrote Queen’s Classroom. I feel good about the producers and the comic take on the mashup between time-travel, medicine, and romance. But mostly I’m thrilled that Kim Nam-gil is coming back in a sageuk, even if it ends up being for all of five minutes in the premiere.
- Jaejoong goes back to high school for Manhole
- Acupuncturist versus surgeon for Live Up to Your Name
- Manhole gang’s funky new character posters
- Jaw-dropping, club-hopping Kim Ah-joong in Live Up to Your Name
- Manhole goes retro for the ultimate beach holiday
- Kim Nam-gil flaps his wings to travel back to the past in Live Up to Your Name
- UEE and Jaejoong cozy up under the sun in new Manhole stills
- The needle vs. the knife for Live Up to Your Name
- Cast of Manhole throws dignity out the window for new dance teaser