During the Winter Season of K-dramas, fans were entertained by Dr. Romantic 2, the second season of one of the best medical series created during Hallyu (Korean Wave). Although the current season barely reached the same viewership as the first, the show remained popular, proving that viewers are not able to get enough of the K-drama’s medical genre.
In fact, many medical K-dramas succeed as soon as the shows initially air. Besides both seasons of Dr. Romantic, other triumphs include Yong-Pal, Doctor Crush, Hospital Ship, Doctor Stranger, Forest, and The Good Doctor (the American version is based on the original K-drama).
This year, the Total Variety Network (tvN) continued the trend for releasing medical K-dramas by broadcasting their latest series, Hospital Playlist. The debut, which only aired once, features a five-member main cast that did its best to attract viewers in a series that is equal parts medical and slice-of-life K-drama.
The hospital is a microcosm of life
Hospital Playlist — also known as Wise Doctor Life — airs on tvN and includes a strong cast featuring Jo Jung-Suk, Yoo Yeon-Seok, Jung Kyung-Ho, Kim Dae-Myung, and Jeon Mi-Do.
Jo Jung-Suk plays Lee Ik-Joon, a professor of hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery and Yoo Yeon Seok was cast as Ahn Jung-Won, a professor of pediatric surgery.
Jung Kyung-Ho plays Kim Joon-Wan, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery; Kim Dae-Myung encompasses the character of Yang Seok-Hyung, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology surgery; and Jeon Mi-Do plays Chae Song-Hwa, a professor of neurological surgery.
After meeting at the same medical school while undergrads, the five doctors have remained friends for the past 20 years. In the present day, these physicians are now professors at the same hospital, dealing with their medical careers and with their personal lives, especially so given the five are members of a band.
The breakdown of the show explains the title of this K-drama which focuses on the doctors’ professional lives (Hospital) and their personal lives, especially as a band (Playlist).
A strong start with one episode
For its premiere, Hospital Playlist only aired one episode which a different approach from the tradition of airing two episodes during premiere week. However, the episodes are extra long, clocking in at about an hour-and-a-half each. Given their length, Hospital Playlist will only air one episode per week for a total of 12 weeks.
Happily, the premiere was a success according to viewership numbers provided by AGB Nielsen Korea. The nation earned 6.325 percent while Seoul earned 7.113 percent. Given tvN is a cable (pay) network, this result is more than satisfactory.
With regard to international viewership, Hospital Playlist currently trends on Netflix. Although the show may never reach the top 10 for a specific region, the series will likely continue to gain plenty of attention.
Indeed, if Hospital Playlist continues to be this entertaining and this dynamic, the show’s popularity should continue to grow. Helping to make this happen, popular actor Yoo Yeon-Seok — who was cast on the new show as Ahn Jung-Won — is a veteran of this genre, having played one of the original doctors in Dr. Romantic.
Hospital Playlist airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. KST on tvN up to 12 episodes. For international viewers, episodes are available in all regions through Netflix, and are available approximately one hour after the original air date and time. Note that viewers will need a subscription to the video streaming service in order to watch the K-drama.