The Korea Herald


How hit Korean dramas plan to avoid sophomore slumps

By Lee Si-jin

Published : June 28, 2023 - 15:49

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"D.P." (Netflix)

A number of smash hit Korean dramas that enjoyed both local and global popularity are scheduled to return for second seasons this summer, gunning to shoot past a sophmore slump.

Global streaming service Netflix confirmed that the military series “D.P.” (2021) will return for a second season on July 28.

Short for “Deserter Pursuit,” the series presents the lives of Pvt. Jun-ho (played by Jung Hae-in) and Cpl. Ho-yeol (played by Koo Kyo-hwan). The show reveals the reasons why some soldiers try to escape the Army.

Helmed by “Coinlocker Girl” (2015) and “Hit-and-Run Squad” (2019) director Han Jun-hee, “D.P.” was considered one of the most iconic original series by Netflix Korea, realistically exposing the dark side of Korea's military culture.

Though most of the actors have reprised their roles, the director hinted that the tone of the stories may be a little different from the previous season.

“I spent a lot of time thinking about why I have to continue the series, and what I have to do to show more,” Netflix’s latest press release quoted Han as saying.

Poster image of Poster image of "D.P. 2" (Netflix)

While the original "D.P." made the lead character question and reflect on himself about the mistreatment which he witnessed and experienced during his military service, the upcoming season will present Jun-ho's attempts to make small changes, according to the director.

Cable channel tvN’s hit fantasy thriller “The Uncanny Counter” (2020) will also return with more stories featuring new and original actors on July 29.

Adapted from Kakao Page’s popular web comic of the same title written by creator Jang Yi, “The Uncanny Counter” presents the story of the counters, a group of people who hunt down evil spirits with their superpowers.

The series centers around a high school student named So-mun (played by Cho Byeong-kyu), who is recruited by the group to eliminate evil spirits that prey on humans.

Poster images of Poster images of "The Uncanny Counter 2" (tvN)

“The Uncanny Counter 2” excited many drama fans with its new star-studded lineup, including “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (2022) star Kang Ki-young and Kim Hieora, the actor behind Lee Sa-ra -- one of the five school bullies in Netflix’s “The Glory.” The show also stars Yoo In-soo, who portrayed a frightening, unkillable zombie in “All of Us Are Dead” (2022).

While Kang and Lee make their “The Uncanny Counter” debut as powerful villains, Yoo plays a rookie counter in the second season.

Yoo In-soo plays a rookie counter in Yoo In-soo plays a rookie counter in "The Uncanny Counter 2" (tvN)

“The Uncanny Counter 2” will be available on local streamer Tving and Netflix.

Meanwhile, Disney+’s “Shadow Detective” (2022) and local broadcaster SBS’ “The First Responders” (2022) will complete unfinished business in the upcoming season.

“Shadow Detective” revolves around a 30-year veteran detective named Taek-rok (played by Lee Sung-min), who has been framed for a murder he did not commit. Taek-rok is blackmailed by the real murderer, a mysterious character named Friend.

The first season featured the detective chasing the unknown killer and ended as a cliffhanger, which is set to be resolved this season.

Lee Sung-min plays veteran detective Taek-rok in Lee Sung-min plays veteran detective Taek-rok in "Shadow Detective" (Walt Disney Co. Korea)
Poster image of Poster image of "Shadow Detective Season 2" (Walt Disney Co. Korea)

Meanwhile, SBS' “The First Responders,” which presented the entertaining teamwork between Korean police and firefighters in responding to crisis situations, will return for a second season. The National Forensic Service will join the two agencies, according to Disney+.

Along with other catastrophic cases, the fierce fight against a serial arsonist -- which was left as a cliffhanger in the previous season -- is expected to concluded this season.

While “Shadow Detective Season 2” premieres on July 5, “The First Responders 2” is set to be released on Aug. 4.