L.U.C.A.: The Beginning
Next on the list is L.U.C.A.: The Beginning. It’s a sci-fi mystery and thriller drama starring Kim Rae-won, Lee Da-hee, and Kim Sung-oh. L.U.C.A. is short for Last Universal Common Ancestor. There is a most basic biological mechanism which can be traced back to the very beginning of all human beings. The L.U.C.A. is a seed from which all life is differentiated.
L.U.C.A.: The Beginning tells the story about Ji-o, a man who hides his ability to transform the universe but has no idea who he is or what happened to him. Eventually, Ji-o becomes aware of his existence. He knew he had no choice but to be alone because he was struggling to survive as a human being and wasn’t sure whether to give up or rush. Ji-o’s only friend’s name is Won-yi. Won-yi is aware that Ji-o lost all of his memory and has special abilities. He was the only one who was aware of Ji-o’s powers.
On the other side, there is the only woman who exists in Ji-o’s memory named Ha Neul Ae Gu-Reum. Ha Neul Ae Gu-Reum is a former member of the Serious Crime Investigation Department that investigated his boss’s violations. Her parents went missing when she was a child after leaving the house with a child. She became an adult without acknowledging whether or not it was by mistake. Even since becoming a detective, she has been preoccupied with the whereabouts of her parents.
Ha Neul Ae Gu-Reum started researching Ji-o after discovering that the person who saved her life was a child who had gone missing with her parents. It is believed that Ji-o is not an ordinary human being, and therefore he may be the culprit who murdered her parents. However, the more she gets to know Ji-o, the more she becomes integrated with his loneliness and his state of being completely alone.
L.U.C.A.: The Beginning aired on tvN every Monday and Tuesday at 21:00 KST. The drama began on February 1, 2021, and ended on March 9, 2021, with 12 total episodes. The series is available on iQIYI with multilingual subtitles in the South East Asia region.
Watch the highlight of L.U.C.A.: The Beginning here:
Next on the list is a heartfelt, inspiring drama based on a Webtoon by Hun and Ji-min called Navillera. Navillera was written by Lee Eun-mi and directed by Han Dong-hwa. The cast of the drama includes Park In-Hwan, Song Kang, Na Moon-he, and Hong Seung-hee.
Navillera tells the story of Sim Deok-Cheol (70 years old) who dreamed of ballet. He couldn’t tell anyone and didn’t think he’d dare to achieve it until he met Lee Chae-Rok (23 years old). Sim Deok-cheol was a post office employee and then retired in his 70s. Sim Deok-cheol aspired to be a ballerina when he was younger. He wanted to follow his lifelong dream after realizing how his peers began to regret their dreams they could not pursue when they were younger.
During Shim Deok-chul’s journey, he meets Lee Chae-rok. Lee Chae-rok played soccer since he was 6 years old but he actually doesn’t have any talent in soccer. However, ballet captivated him from the moment he saw Ki Seung-joo perform Don Quixote. Chae-rok’s family has been shattered by an unexpected accident, leaving him alone and in a slump. His interest in ballet began to break down as he struggled to make a decent living. Everything began to recover eventually after he met Shim Deok-chul.
Shim Deok-chul hides his ballet training at the beginning of the drama, but in the original novel, he talks first at a family meeting before starting. The original and character settings are contradictory. Some individuals have also had their names modified. Navillera is a story about a dream. Either you have a dream or you don’t have a dream. Or, it is a story of people who don’t even know what a dream is. Everyone has to try at least once.
Navillera aired on tvN every Monday and Tuesday at 21:00 KST. The drama began on March 22, 2021, and ended on April 27, 2021. Following its airing on television, the drama was made available on Netflix and internationally.
Catch up to Song-kang featuring Park In-hwan in the drama series Navillera‘s trailer that will leave you amazed here:
Next on the list is Mr. Queen. Mr. Queen is a fusion historical, romantic-comedy drama. The drama is based on the original Chinese web drama called Go Princess Go which tells the story of Jang Bong-hwan who lives in modern Korea and is stuck in the body of Queen Cheorin of the Joseon Dynasty. The main characters of Mr. Queen are Shin Hye-sun as Kim So-yong (Queen Cheorin) and Kim Jung-hyun as Lee Won-beom (King Cheoljong).
Kim So-yong is the same age as Lee Won-beom. She is said to be in her early twenties, or “born in the late 1820s,” like Won-beom who was born in 1831. In the first episode, Jang Bong-hwan, who entered Kim So-yong’s body, has an identity as a man living in Korea in the 2020s, but as the drama continues towards the end, he may have an identity as a woman living in Joseon in the 19th century.
Lee Won-beom is the Joseon Dynasty’s 25th king. He is Jekyll and Hyde in another sense. He tends to be a gentle and laid-back leader. In reality, he conceals his abilities. He is scared of dying without doing anything for the citizens, as some would have him do as an incompetent leader. As a matter of fact, he secretly plans reforms.
Mr. Queen received many controversies during the airing. Despite the controversies, it surpassed 8% from the first broadcast, recording the highest first broadcast audience among tvN dramas aired in 2020. In the fifth episode, it exceeded 11% viewership, entering the top 10 highest ratings for tvN dramas of all time. It received 17.371 percent ratings in the final episode, breaking its previous high audience rating and achieving its overall success.
From December 12, 2020, to February 14, 2021, Mr. Queen aired on tvN every Saturday and Sunday at 21:00 KST. The drama was written by Park Gye-ok and Choi Ah-il and directed by Yoon sung-sik with a cast including Shin Hye-sun, Kim Jung-hyun, Bae Jong-ok, Kim Tae Woo, Seol In-ah, and Na In-woo.
Check out Shin Hye-sun and Kim Jung-hyun’s acting in the Mr. Queen trailer here: