Bitter Sweet Hell Ep 1 premieres to solid ratings and #1 watched drama on Friday night

Photo courtesy MBC

As someone who keeps a close eye on the Korean drama world, it was odd to me to see MBC give very little attention to their latest drama Bitter Sweet Hell, before it premiered last night.

So little attention, if I am honest, I hadn’t even heard of it until a couple of days before it began airing.

And then it dawned on me, it had been marketed as Our House for months on end until, days before it premiered, its title was changed.

What is even weirder is Viki, who is streaming the drama in the west, isn’t beginning streaming it for another three weeks.

Now explain that with any logic if you can.

Despite such low amounts of promotion in the west, however, Bitter Sweet Hell premiered on MBC in South Korea last night to very strong ratings — ending up the #1 watched drama out of the two new dramas that premiered.

Those ratings via Nielsen Korea were 6.0 percent of the audience share — both nationwide and in Seoul.

They were also .30 percent higher than Connection‘s ratings — the latest SBS drama, which also premiered last night in the same time slot, and is available in the west on KOCOWA. (It’s excellent too, by the way! And performed better in the ratings in Seoul than did Bitter Sweet Hell.)

What is Bitter Sweet Hell?

The 12-episode MBC drama premiered last night, and will run every Friday and Saturday night through June 29th.

Bitter Sweet Hell stars Kim Hee Sun, Lee Hye Young, Kim Nam Hee, and Yeonwoo.

The Korean mystery thriller tells the story of a certified family psychotherapist who tries to protect her family by teaming up with her mother-in-law, a mystery novel writer, when her career and home are threatened by a mysterious blackmailer.

Unfortunately, outside South Korea, you cannot watch Bitter Sweet Hell legally for another three weeks. Not unless you subscribe to Hong Kong-based Viu, which most of us outside Asia and the Middle East don’t.

The Korean drama will then show up on Viki but, by that point, most western audiences will have moved onto another more-hyped drama, right?

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.