‘The K2’ K-Drama: New tvN Series Starts Out Strong With High Viewership, Might Possibly Dethrone Korea’s Best Pay Channel Series To Date ‘Another Oh Hae Young’ [‘The K2’ Special Report Series — Part 1 Of 5]

SPECIAL NOTE: This article is the third in a series of special reports dedicated to The K2. All articles in said series are linked below while upcoming articles are given a date and time.

  1. The K2 K-Drama: New tvN Series Starts Out Strong With High Viewership, Might Possibly Dethrone Korea’s Best Pay Channel Series To Date Another Oh Hae Young
  2. The K2 K-Drama: Were tvN Promotions Pairing K2 With Anna A Decoy For Foreshadowed Love Triangle Angle?
  3. The K2 K-Drama: Will The Seriousness And Political Angles In tvN Series Hurt It In The Long Run?
  4. The K2: K-Drama: Initial Reactions From Korean Drama Fans Show Yoona Has Greatly Improved In Her Acting
  5. The K2 K-Drama: Was Pushing Series In Edgier Direction A Means For tvN To Promote To Bigger Television Productions Both Domestically And Internationally?

One of the most highly-anticipated K-dramas to make its airing debut last month was The K2. Starring Ji Chang Wook, Song Yun Ah, Yoona, and Jo Sung Ha, the Total Variety Network (tvN) series is about Kim Je Ha (Chang Wook), a former mercenary soldier who now works as a bodyguard under the code name “K2.” Under the employ of Choi Yoo Jin (Yun Ah), his task is to protect Go Anna (Yoona), the illegitimate daughter of Korean presidential hopeful and Yoo Jin’s husband, Jang Se Joon (Sung Ha), and keep her out of the public eye. As Je Ha and Anna get to know each other, the two fall in love.

Nevertheless, tvN is putting a lot into The K2 with high-intensity action sequences and sophisticated action camera tricks such as bullet time. Ergo, all of the hype for the series, especially the fact it is Yoona’s return to K-dramas after three years, is enough for K-drama fans to anticipate it. Eventually, The K2 delivered on its initial release as it made its debut with high viewership numbers. However, its follow-up with the third and fourth episode shows it might be a viable contender to dethrone tvN’s top K-drama of all time so far, Another Oh Hae Young.

The proof of The K2 being highly-anticipated among Korean viewers can be seen in its viewership ratings provided by AGB Nielsen Korea and TNS Media Korea. Its first episode earned 3.257 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area for the former and an average of 3.7125 percent from both for the nation. Those numbers are some of the best for tvN when it comes to a debut of a new series, especially if we take in the fact the network airs on Korean pay television. The numbers only went up with the second episode. Ergo, The K2 had a very successful debut.

Viewership ratings for Episodes 3 and 4 get a bit weird as AGB Nielsen Korea shows the highest ratings for the third episode then a huge drop for the fourth, but it is the opposite for TNS Media Korea in which the third episode dropped from the second but hit over five percent for the fourth episode. Overall, though, the numbers are still good.

K2 and Anna
Promotional advertisements for "The K2" hint that the main male lead character, Kim Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook), will have some sort of relationship, possibly romantic, with the second female lead character, Go Anna (Yoona). [Image by Total Variety Network (tvN)]

The high viewership for the first two episodes may be associated with the fact tvN did a phenomenal job with its advertising and promoting. However, the weirdness of the viewership ratings in the third and fourth episodes, though high, might be in association with the preferences of the core viewership (domestically in South Korea). By all means, The K2 came off as a serious K-drama. It even uses Korean politics. These two factors might hinder The K2. Maybe that is why the fourth episode had more light-hearted and comedic scenes.

Another Oh Hae Young, tvN
"Another Oh Hae Young" is the most-successful K-drama on its day and time slot for tvN. [Image via tvN Promotions for "Another Oh Hae Young"]

The K2 did very well with its first four episodes and is on its way to possibly dethroning the most successful pay channel drama in South Korea ever, Another Oh Hae Young. Airing from May to June of this year, the K-drama dominated as it is the first series airing on a Korean pay channel to break 10 percent in viewership. Literally everything about it — the acting, story, and direction — was great. However, it was a light-hearted romcom, a preference Korean K-drama fans truly enjoy which in turn helped with the viewership. Only time will tell if The K2 will become another success story or not.

The K2 airs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. KST on tvN. For those who do not have access to Korean pay channels such at tvN, it can be viewed for free, with ads, exclusively on DramaFever pending region. Take note, starting with Episode 3, new episodes are given one week of exclusive viewership only to premium members.

[Featured Image by Total Variety Network (tvN)]