tvN Fri-Sat Night Drama Happiness Ends its Underrated Run But with Plenty of Cult Fan Love and Laments for How Poorly it was Promoted

This past weekend an underrated gem of a K-drama Happiness, according to the very vocal audience feedback, wrapped up its tight 12-episode run on tvN Fri-Sat late nights. The drama averaged mid 3% ratings through its entire run and the final episode was the only to break 4% with 4.185%. It’s considered a ratings disappointment based on the popular profile of leads Park Hyung Sik and Han Hyo Joo, but I felt it did alright considering this was a tough drama to market. It’s title is Happiness but the story is about a viral zombie like outbreak in Seoul that traps the leads in a high rise condo dealing with dangers of human psyche and bad behavior alongside the biting infected. It’s one of those either or situations as a viewer, and putting the two together just didn’t appeal to me outright. But the drama consistently got really positive viewer feedback and reviews it just didn’t translate to increased ratings. Now that it’s done it could be one of those dramas that has longevity and a new life on streaming. Congrats to the cast and crew for producing what is being praised as a cohesive drama that is tense, heartwarming, funny, scary, and above all else has a solid ending.


tvN Fri-Sat Night Drama Happiness Ends its Underrated Run But with Plenty of Cult Fan Love and Laments for How Poorly it was Promoted — 29 Comments

  1. Pingback: tvN Fri-Sat Night Drama Happiness Ends its Underrated Run But with Plenty of Cult Fan Love and Laments for How Poorly it was Promoted - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. It wasn’t so great. It was good. But the story wasn’t really new with the humans being worse than the zombies… The good part was PHS and HHJ, they had a good chemistry and a fun relationship.

    But it’s true that airing time wasn’t the best. But TVN released a lot of BTS on youtube.

  3. This is the best drama of 2021 I dont agree with the lack of appeal their chemistry is oozing the power couple delivered even the side characters acting are chef kiss they made me annoyed to the end if only this was shown in Netflix in will gain tons of viewers anyway congrats to han hyo joo and park hyung sik

  4. The drama is good up till the last two episodes, I’m sad to say I’m disappointed with the events leading up to the ending. The last two episodes felt like the scriptwriter rushed to tie up the ends and did a very poor job of it, leaving some parts unexplained and hanging. I wonder if the ending would be better if the drama was given another 2 episodes…

  5. I love the zombie horror type of shows and this one is a gem. I really like the characters. FL is a strong independent and sassy character. Her chemistry with PHS is absolutely terrific as platonic friends with a side crush. Every episode keeps you in suspense. It is so sad that it ended with 12 episodes but I suppose it is for the best to not make it draggy. I wish they consider making Season 2.

  6. Han Hyo Joo has a sharp eye for picking good projects. But this drama’s theme doesn’t appeal to me right now, what with living in pandemic and all. But I’m definitely putting this one in my list


    I love this drama. It showed the ‘real side’ of human being. At least, zombie didn’t kill each other, but human did. We also learned that, the netral team was the weakest. This show has many lessons about life.

    HHJ and PHS’s performances were surprisingly amazing. This drama’s genre wasnt my fave, but stuck with the main couple.

    Hope to see them in a ROMANTIC drama.

  8. Amazing drama to be honest, was surprised this didn’t get enough attention. I think this drama would have made more sense if it was produced by Netflix just as One Ordinary Day too but kudos to the team for putting out such an amazing body of work.

  9. This drama definitely would’ve benefited from being streamable on Netflix, rather than tvN’s own streaming platform TVing. The last two episodes even leaked online from TVing the day of episode 11’s airing, but glad that it finally broke 4% in the end despite that.

    I think its ratings are pretty decent when accounting for how much competition it had at the horrible time slot it was given and how crappy promotion had been. The fact that it performed better than it’s predecessor, Yumi’s Cells, was surprising to me. But it’s definitely becoming a cult classic amongst domestic and international viewers.

    It’s not a perfect show but I enjoyed watching it and would recommend it to other people. I think 12 episodes was just right but the ending could’ve benefitted from an extra 15 mins just to tie up all the storylines/character arcs.

  10. I thought the writing and directing was done well. Han Hyo Joo has come a long way from Spring Waltz or even Dong Yi days, she’s solid here. Her chemistry with Park Hyung Shik was also good, like they’ve truly known each other a really long time. I like the overall message that happiness is a decision – no mater what circumstances come your way, it’s about finding joy in the small things and valuing relationships that matter to you.

  11. Honestly with OTT getting huge in the recent years, ratings are definitely starting to get less and less relevant unless your drama is in a public channel.

    I haven’t seen this drama probably for the same reason most didn’t – this isn’t a subject I’m keen on particularly when we are still in the middle of a pandemic. However, good to hear that it’s solid. Maybe I’ll try it in 2026 ?

  12. I loved it. I don’t know that anything could do better in that timeslot. It’s not great. Plus, the networks think it’s a good idea to air a zillion dramas over the weekend.

  13. Woohoo, really glad to hear it ended well, I was really worried it wouldn’t. I’m bumping it up my watchlist then, can’t wait to watch.

  14. Looking back now, TVN should’ve swapped this drama’s time slot with Jirisan’s.

    I enjoyed the drama but got a bit annoyed by the pacing of the final episodes and all the plot holes. So many questions about the side characters left open.

  15. I honestly didn’t give it much of a chance and just decided I wasn’t in the mood for this genre and I think that really was the ratings issue. I might jump back in at some point in the future.

  16. The 3.5% average ratings were actually above expectations in this case. The only drama to perform better in that time slot was Voice Season 4, and even that one averaged 3.6%.

    • Voice performing 3% at that timeslot was the time jtbc is their only competition. With the new roster, mbc was added to the group and ocn came back.

  17. The ratings were very good for the timeslot and the unappealing story in a time when most people are looking for escapism. Apparently, the TV version also didn’t contain all the scenes the streaming TVing version did either. The drama also got lots of buzz domestically and internationally. TVN obviously were not expecting high ratings giving it this timeslot so I think they will be happy the outcome

  18. This is the best drama I watched all year. I am not so into zombies, but in the end the story wasn’t really about zombies, it was about people, and what they do to find happiness (or not). I finished it two days ago and the feeling is still under my skin, which is a good sign. TVN did far more promo for Yumi’s Cells than it did for Happiness (same time slot), but the people who found it were pretty pleased. (And Happiness had higher ratings in the end.) I also watched Jirisan, and liked it, but I have to say that the script is far tighter and clearer in Happiness.

    I wonder a lot about ratings in the era of OTT, though. If you got more story on TVING than on TVN, wouldn’t you watch it streaming instead? In which case your view wouldn’t be counted.

    Given the enthusiasm by word of mouth, I expect the rating would be a lot higher if streaming was added into the total.

    Anyway, I thought it was well cast and well acted. Highly recommend!

  19. I normally cannot take zombie shows but this one was great! I watched from beginning to end, and inbetween, I was anticipating the next episode. I also hooked my husband into it and he ended up loving it as well. Some shows I cannot watch a second or third time, this one though, I will watch again.

    The ending did feel a bit rushed and I felt confused a bit as some plot points were left unanswered but it did not detract from the overall show. I mean I loved it enough to leave a comment here when I usually am a lurker. Lol

    Hope you take a chance on it. Also, the soundtrack is catchy and really fits the moments in the episode!

  20. Voice performing 3% at that timeslot was the time jtbc is their only competition. With the new roster, mbc was added to the group and ocn came back.

  21. According to Twitter, it’s ranked #2 most mentioned drama of 2021 after Penthouse in Korea. The cult following is definitely vocal on that platform.

  22. I am ready for this couple to do a romcom. Love their chemistry the most. I enjoy the drama but what I look forward to in it is just THEIR SCENES together mostly.

  23. I really enjoyed the drama . Specially the leads’ chemistry and acting was on point. Just a little bit regret that they had to rush the ending. Last 2 episodes had too many filler scenes which weren’t needed for a 12 epi series. In the end , some loose ends couldn’t be wrapped up properly

  24. I think it’s just bad timing for Happiness. I don’t think many people would want to watch that kind of drama at this time. I tried two episodes and I don’t think it’s a kind of drama that I’d be willing to invest my time. Plus, there is The Red Sleeve, by far TRS is better overall.

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