The third season of “Youth Over Flowers” on CJ E&M’s cable channel tvN recorded a viewership rate of 9.1 percent on its New Year’s Day premiere. It’s the highest record for the debut of any cable TV entertainment show.
The latest season of the show chose Iceland as the ultimate travel destination, where four celebrities in their 30s search for “god’s gift,” the Northern Lights.
Produced and directed by star TV variety-show veteran Na Young-seok, it casts top actors Jo Jung-suk, Jung Woo, Jung Sang-hoon and Kang Ha-neul. The four shared a long life of anonymity together until a recent rise to stardom.
“I did not intend to cast the current four members,” said Na during a press conference at Imperial Palace Hotel in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, on Dec. 29, 2015. “I happened to meet Jo, and while talking to him, I thought it would be fun to travel with him. Then I looked for people around Jo to cast with him for the show.”
The producer called his new episodes the all-time best of his series. It is the first time that Na’s team travels to such a northern country because the voyage to Iceland is comparatively cheap during the cold, dark winter.
“It is hard to assemble a cast in their 60s and 70s to travel to such a cold place, but these young people can enjoy the trip together, which shows youth without fear,” Na added.
Only Jo, Jung Woo and Jung boarded the plane to the freezing-cold Iceland in the first episode. The three actors had no experience backpacking anywhere and worst _ none speak English well, but they remained positive throughout. The members called themselves “three stones,” referring to their brainlessness, but they promised to care for each other during the journey.
Jung, the oldest of the three, took care of his two friends by trying to make a comfortable atmosphere and share his materials. Jo took the role of the “brain” as he had the best linguistic ability using a translator app on his smartphone. Jung Woo emanated positive energy himself. He did not lose the smile on his face and tried to be helpful. He showed off his cooking skills acquired from his long years of living alone.
The three upbeat people’s voyage to the far north grabbed TV audiences, who searched the members’ names and travel show on portal websites to top the realtime search word ranking.
Kang’s appearance in the second episode this Friday is expected to make the members a perfect team and kick off their real story.
“Youth Over Flowers: Iceland” will air every Friday.
By Kim Jae-heun