tvN Infectious Disease Thriller Drama Happiness with Han Hyo Joo and Park Hyung Sik Premieres to 3.300% First Episode Ratings

It’s a big premiere few days going on in K-drama land as a bunch of dramas are arriving in short succession. The first is tvN Fri-Sat drama Happiness starring Han Hyo Joo, Park Hyung Sik, and Jo Woo Jin. Despite the positive sounding title, it’s a dark drama involving the spread of an infectious disease and what looks like maybe a zombie-esque outbreak thereafter. Not sure how crazy zombie it will get ala Train to Busan or more isolated to various areas. The first episode premiered to 3.300% ratings which is higher than predecessor Yumi’s Cells by a whole percent but I’m not sensing this drama buzzing either domestically or overseas. Not sure if it’s the promotional circuit really not pushing it as hard as Jirisan, for example. It’s also competing this weekend with the finale episodes of One The Woman so that may mean we’ll have to wait until next week to see what audience this drama settles in with. Early reviews are good but I’m not hearing the usual raves and rants for either extreme opinion.


tvN Infectious Disease Thriller Drama Happiness with Han Hyo Joo and Park Hyung Sik Premieres to 3.300% First Episode Ratings — 19 Comments

  1. The ratings are actually good given how yumi’s cells fared. Plus the time slot is quite late in the night and the genre isn’t something that may pull viewers in numbers.
    We will see how episode 2 delivers

  2. I’ll wait to hear feedback after this one finishes because kdrama writers seem to really struggle with these types of genres. Hope it’s a good one…

  3. I was quite surprised that the female lead is Han Hyo Joo, thought it was a different actress coz she looks so different from her Brilliant Legacy days (it is being shown again on cable TV, so I am re-watching this old drama?).

  4. I thought the first episode was promising but it could easily go off the rails. I don’t know what tvN was thinking with this particular timeslot. It’s terrible.

  5. Okay, this series is dope, and might actually become one of my favorite dramas. The soundtrack is very high quality, and the pacing so far is good. I’m extremely excited.

  6. IDK but I’ve been feeling disappointed with all these A+ cast, director, writer combinations recently. Honestly this has not been a great K Drama year but the biggest disappointments have been these big named and big budget dramas. Overall its been a slump year and seeing that makjang dramas like Penthouse, Marriage, Lyrics and Divorce Music, One The Woman have been the major raging hits just drives home the point. Maybe next year will be better or maybe the only worthwhile dramas will be on OTT.

    • Tbh that’s not strictly true. The problem is that Korea is a rapidly aging nation with the majority of television watchers being older women who are endlessly fascinated by makjang+comedy/popular names. Sooner or later, most of the interesting/unique dramas would shift to OTT platforms.

  7. It’s quite well done. The director is the same as Secret Forest. The pacing really moves along and it has a nice balance of humor and lightness mixed in with the zombie terror. I like the casting (Han Hyo Joo in particular brings her character to life in a dynamic, believable way), and the plot leaves you guessing and wanting to see more. I don’t normally care for zombie shows, but this one is well done. The late time slot and the underpromotion from TVN (far less than Yumi’s Cells, which was the same time slot) aren’t great, but so far it’s well made and moves along. Hopefully it spreads by word of mouth.

    Side note: this is the first drama I can think of that has mentioned covid or even acknowledged its existence, which I think is interesting.

    • This is so true. Despite thelack of promotion and buzz, episode 1-2 delivered and drama is more fun than I thought. Beter than big budgeted and hyped dramas out there.

  8. My fiancee and I are enjoying this drama so far. Very solid first episode and with refreshing, mature characters. I was expecting it to be darker in theme cause I knew it would involve zombies but the fake marriage trope they’ve added is pleasantly cute lol. HHJ’s character is really fun and likable. She’s done a great job at developing Yoon Sae-bom as a fully realized heroine.

    The 2nd episode decreased in ratings a little bit due to One the Woman finale, but still within 3% range. It was slower in pace compared to the pilot but builds up in tension enough that has us anticipating for next week’s episodes. Expect things to pick up again and excited to see the setting be based primarily on the apartment complex with the extended cast of residents as well as our main couple.

    I was honestly expecting lower premiere ratings because of the lack of promotion and its predecessor’s performance, so was surprised that it premiered higher than Yumi’s Cells. Hoping the ratings will increase as its got good word of mouth, but with Now, We’re Breaking Up premiering next week, we shall see.

    • It’s not just now we are breaking up but with red sleeve too both airing @955pm. Tbh, tvn’s fri-sat 1040pm slot is the crappiest bec aside from compreting with the fri- sat dramas, it overlaps with sat-sun dramas goo kyung yi and chimera airing @1030pm.

      Meanwhile, tvn’s sat-sun drama is @9pm and have no direct competition.

      • Yeah, it will have a lot of competition. The best case scenario is that the first two episodes are enough for it to at least maintain 3% ratings. I’m not expecting it to be a breakout hit so hopefully ratings are stable and quality remains good, then the fiancee and I will be happy lol.

        Tbh, this drama seems like something Netflix would’ve picked up. Too bad it’s a TVing original.

    • Lol… That’s a bit unfair but totally understandable. I had my own share of dislike for other actors for various silly reasons too.

  9. Love the all the characters so far, even the third lead. Its nice that they show a glimpse of his back story very early on. He is pretty humane and not too cold unlike many stereotype bureaucrats. I have no idea what is his character’s trajectory but I am hoping for decent characterisation till the end.

    Love the pragmatic FL and the logical ML and they are both very level-headed and also the hint of pining by the ML. Just a gaze and a small moment. Its nice to see a pair of rational people in the middle of disaster, I guess they cannot put too much chaos in a drama, though I have watched people shouting all the time in dramas so its nice to see that people handling a crisis with actions instead of shouting and shrieking. I usually don’t care much for this type of story, but the characters and direction just pull me in. As expected of Ahn Gil-ho, its in the small details, like we see the perspective of an ahjumma cleaner and her disapproval of ML messing through the room in search of the pill. And the introduction of the ML and time setting through the rearview mirror while he is driving and listening to the radio. Its in the small details and less of the fancy camera shots.

  10. Just finished the first 2 episodes, so far the story is interesting and the pacing is good. It’s definite yes for me to continue watching the drama.

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