This week, Netflix had a couple of highly-anticipated K-dramas air on their video streaming service. In one of them, Hyena, Kim Hye-Soo and Ju Ji-Hoon brought love and hate into the courtroom battlefield.
Now we take a complete 180 from intense legal drama to supernatural family comedy in Hi Bye, Mama! The K-drama marking Kim Tae-Hee’s return to Korean television brings the laughs as her character, Cha Yoo-Ri, has a 49-day-long task in hopes to be alive again.
Cha Yoo-Ri has 49 days counting down!
We first reported details on Hi Bye, Mama! earlier this year. It is a supernatural, human fantasy, comedy K-drama starring Kim Tae-Hee, Lee Kyu-Hyung, and Go Bo-Kyul. At the time, the synopsis for the series was very simplistic: Cha Yoo-Ri (Kim Tae-Hee), a woman who passed away and left behind a husband and daughter, returns for 49 days.
Now after the first two episodes of Hi Bye, Mama! have aired, we know more details pertaining to the plot.
The first episode did a very good job providing background insight before Cha Yoo-Ri’s 49-day-long task happens. We go back to when Jo Kang-Hwa (Lee Kyu-Hyung) was still in college. Pressured by his friend, he attends a double-date during a football (soccer) game. The girl he is set up with is Yoo-Ri and when their eyes meet, it is love at first sight.
Over the course of about ten minutes, we watch how Cha Yoo-Ri and Jo Kang-Hwa’s relationship evolves from dating to marriage. Suddenly, time jumps forward and Yoo-Ri is suddenly dead. Despite this, she sticks around her daughter Jo Seo-Woo (Seo Woo-Jin) watching her as she grows.
Despite her family moving on which includes her husband Jo Kang-Hwa getting married again to Oh Min-Jung (Go Bo-Kyul), Cha Yoo-Ri enjoys watching them grow. She then realizes that her always being around her daughter has consequences. Woo-Jin can see ghosts. Given her young age, Woo-Jin often confuses who is alive and who is a ghost. This can become a problem as most people can’t see ghosts.
Cha Yoo-Ri is suddenly forced to stay away from her daughter and family. Flustered at the situation, Yoo-Ri screams angrily at her fate, possibly at Buddha. In turn, this angers the higher powers as they bring her back to life.
However, Cha Yoo-Ri being brought back to life is her 49-day task to set things right. She thinks this means getting back to her family to be a wife to her husband and mom to her daughter. If Yoo-Ri fails, the rules of reincarnation apply.
Hi Bye, Mama! debuts to good ratings
Both domestic and international K-drama fans have tuned in for the premiere of Hi Bye, Mama! According to AGB Nielsen Korea, the first episode earned a viewership rating of 5.895 for the country and 6.209 percent for Seoul. It increased for the second episode which earned 6.111 percent for the country and 6.220 for Seoul. Just like previous K-dramas airing on the Total Variety Network (tvN), these are good viewership numbers given the fact tvN is a cable (pay) network.
As for international viewership, Hi Bye, Mama! is a Netflix Original and was featured as one of their popular shows of the week. Given the fact that Netflix is available in numerous regions and Netflix Originals are region-free, Hi Bye, Mama! did very well in its first week.
Ultimately, Hi Bye, Mama! is off with a good start and K-drama fans can’t wait to see what happens next to Cha Yoo-Ri now that she’s alive.
Hi Bye, Mama! airs episodes on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. KST, for a planned number of 16 episodes on tvN. For international viewers, the K-drama is available to watch exclusively on Netflix. Take note viewers will need a subscription to the video streaming service to watch the K-drama.