I love it when high-profile and big-budgeted primetime K-dramas go head-to-head with the same premiere date. When dramas airing on the same time slot have staggered premieres, it makes it harder to gauge audience interest since a drama with a head start in airing can build up viewers already or if it sucks so bad viewers are dying for something else to watch and both reasons might affect the ratings. When dramas premiere on the same night, it’s a clear cut indicator of interest based on either cast or story line. The most recent showdown was between IRIS 2 and That Winter, the Wind Blows. The former debuted on top in ratings but its terrible storyline and directing quickly reversed the ratings battle. Up next is a battle with a lot at stake and even more in common – fusion sageuks Jang Ok Jung and Gu Family Book are both premiering on April 8th. Today saw the release of the first stills of GFB leading man Lee Seung Gi, which makes it even funnier that the first stills of Jae Hee come tumbling out from the filming of JOJ. And its not just any stills, Jae Hee is dressed in all-black, with a mane of glory, bound by ropes, and is wet. Hello for going overboard to hit every single fan kink out there when it comes to tortured sageuk heroes. Jae Hee isn’t the leading man of JOJ, that would be Yoo Ah In as lothario King Sukjong with his many wives and concubines, so that makes him free to love one woman only and that woman would be Kim Tae Hee‘s revisionist fashionista Jang Ok Jung. Jae Hee’s character is her first love and later a daddy-long-legs presence in her life as she navigates the treacherous waters of the Joseon court. I can’t complain that Jae Hee signed up for this project since he’s been in two consecutive stinkers since his army release and this one at least has a chance of being half-way decent. Or maybe I’m just projecting hope that he won’t have a trifecta of suck in his resume. I don’t mind that JOJ and GFB are going to compete head on since that will hopefully make both productions work harder to create a decent product. Or conversely it’ll just make each want to one-up the other, and in the process we’ll get juicy storylines aimed at garnering ratings. Either way, now that I see Jae Hee going for the tortured hero look, I better be getting some topless sword training scenes or shirtless wound cleaning scenes out of this.