A New Wave of Korean TV Shows Being Adapted in the U.S.

"My Love From Another Star." (Seoul Broadcasting System)

By: Ada Tseng

My Love From Another Star,” “Good Doctor,” and “Nine: Nine Time Travels” are among the K-Dramas that are being remade for American audiences.

ABC recently announced that a Hollywood adaptation of the popular Korean drama “My Love From Another Star” was in the works, with Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain — writing partners who have worked on “The Shield,” “Vampire Diaries” and “Dollhouse” — on board to pen the script. A huge hit in both Korea and China, “My Love From Another Star” is a fantasy romance about a man from another planet, played by Kim Soo-hyu, who falls in love with a world-famous actress, played by Jun Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun), a popular Korean actress who first rose to fame for her role in “My Sassy Girl.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s some serious Korean muscle behind the American production, from Ji-eun Park, the creator of the original Korean series, and producer Bomi Moon, who also worked on the original, to Korean Americans Sebastian Lee and David Kim, founders of EnterMedia, a U.S.-based consulting company known for adapting Korean TV shows in the U.S. and vice versa. (Lee and Kim are also working on a Korean adaptation of the Israeli show “Prisoners of War,” known in the U.S. for inspiring Showtime’s “Homeland.”

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“My Love From Another Star” is one of numerous Korean television shows that have been picked up for adaptation in the past year. In October 2013, Yunjin Kim (“Lost,” “Mistresses“) began a development deal with ABC to remake “Nine: Nine Time Travels,” a Korean drama about a man who goes back in time to try to alter a murder that destroyed his family — only to find himself in danger of rewriting the history of the woman he loves.

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In August, Yunjin Kim’s “Lost” co-star Daniel Dae Kim, now on Hawaii Five-0,” signed on to produce an adaptation of another Korean drama, “Good Doctor,” for CBS with Malaysian American scribe Adele Lim (“One Tree Hill,” “Private Practice” on board as a writer. The series, which won numerous Best Drama Awards in Korea in 2013, follows Park Shi-on (Joo Won), a man with Aspergers who happens to be a brilliant surgeon, and Cha Yoon-seo (Moon Chae-won), a fellow pediatric surgeon who believes in his abilities and defends him againt his doubters. The American version will be relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.

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And early September, NBC announced they had bought the rights to the Korean travel reality show “Grandpas Over Flowers,” which follows a group of aging male celebrities as they backpack around different parts of the world. The show was a big hit in Korea, where it has already run for three seasons, and it was adapted in China this summer, where it was also popular. The American version is tentatively titled “Better Late Than Never,” and it will be directed by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who recently produced “The Sound of Music Live” and the 2013 Academy Awards.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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