Lee Da-hae in “The Slave Hunters”
By Han Sang-hee
Korean dramas may be famous for their catchy storylines and handsome characters, but there is no doubt that heroines also play a big part in terms of popularity and content.
This year's drama lineup boasts various female characters, following last year's femme fatale Mi-shil from ``The Great Queen Seondeok'' and secret agent Choi Seung-hee from ``Iris.''
Lee Da-hae stars in the new drama ``The Slave Hunters'' as the captive Eon-nyeun who receives a new name, Kim Hae-won, upon rising in social status to the high-rank of ``yangban.''
She falls for fellow yangban-turned-slave-hunter Dae-gil, played by actor Jang Hyuk, but things take a turn when she befriends Song Tae-ha, played by Oh Ji-ho, the slave Dae-gil is pursuing.
The 25-year-old actress, along with the cast and producers, has a lot of weight on her shoulders, as the new drama follows the trail of the successful ``Iris.''
`` I do hope that we will be able to continue the popularity and interest `Iris' enjoyed,'' Lee said during a press conference last year.
Lee has been in a number of successful dramas, but only time will tell whether the drama will succeed. She dropped out of ``East of Eden,'' the drama that aired in 2008, leaving after a couple of episodes, saying that she did not understand her character. ``The Slave Hunters'' will air every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m on KBS.
Actress Han Go-eun, 34, will journey back in time as the partner of Choi Guk-sun, a member of one of the noblest families in Korea, played by Cha In-pyo, in the drama ``The Reputable Family.''
Han's character, Han Dan-yi, teaches Cha's character about the world of business. Although the two have feelings for each other, they hide them and work together to bring the Choi family back to its glory days.
``I was drawn to the fact that she was a woman who worked her way through the difficult time when there were so many social restrictions for women,'' Han said at a press conference last year.
The 16-episode soap airs every weekend at 9:40 p.m. on KBS.
Meanwhile, model-turned-actress Bae Doo-na will appear as a high school English teacher in the new soap ``Master of Study'' airing every Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m.
The 30-year-old will portray Han Soo-jeong, a warm and na?ve character initially bullied by the headstrong students.
``I was given English phrases and I had to come up with a lecture myself,'' Bae said during a press conference last year, adding that her favorite subject during high school was in fact English.
``I think we will be able to get 30 percent in ratings,'' Bae said, smiling. ``We're dreaming big.''
Bae, one of the most successful model-turned-actresses in the business, recently won an award for best actress for her role in the Japanese film ``Air Doll'' at the Japan Academy Awards last year.
Meanwhile, fellow actress Kong Hyo-jin returns as an aspiring chef, Seo Yoo-gyeong, in the television series ``Pasta.''
``Seo is cute and adorable, someone you could find in real life,'' she said during an interview with the broadcaster MBC. This is Kong's first drama in three years.
Kong is famous for her strong-willed characters who endure hardships and finally reach their goals, and this time, she will move into the busy kitchen as an aspiring chef.
``Pasta'' airs every Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m., competing with fellow dramas ``Jejungwon The Hospital'' and ``Master of Study.''
``It's not common to have such anticipated works from different networks airing on the same day, but I hope we will be able to continue the successful streak of culinary dramas,'' she said.
Last but not least, Han Hye-jin appears in the medical drama ``Jejungwon The Hospital'' on SBS. The actress shot to stardom thanks to the period drama ``Prince of the Legend'' (MBC), but failed to garner fans with more modern works, including her most recent television series ``Terroir'' (SBS).
``To be honest, I'm actually scared of period dramas and I know I'm not very good at them. I was given many roles in such dramas, but my fear stopped me. But now as I get older and especially after I failed with `Terroir,' I started to tell myself to be confident and just go for it,'' she said.
The drama started airing Monday, and although it was hard to grasp her character's persona through one airing, the actress seemed comfortable and confident acting as the smart and passionate doctor-to-be. The soap airs every Monday and Tuesday at 9:55 p.m.