In the wake of South Korea’s worst disaster in decades after Wednesday morning’s capsize and sinking of a Jeju-bound ferry carrying nearly 500 passengers, all major broadcast networks canceled dramas and variety shows scheduled for that night. Due to the still unfolding nature of the rescue operation where nearly 280 passengers remain unaccounted for, the networks continued to focus all its coverage on news updates of the rescue and all of Thursday nights dramas and variety shows were also subsequently cancelled. The Thursday night cancellations were last minute as SBS had made an announcement that it was planning to air back-to-back episodes of Three Days on Thursday night but ultimately decided to scrap that plan and air no new episodes this week. KBS and MBC were on wait-and-see mode with respect to what it wanted to do on Thursday with its respective dramas Golden Cross and Sly and Single Again and both networks also elected to preempt. Dramas are pre-recorded so the magnitude and devastation of the unfolding ferry tragedy would have no impact on whether the show could air, but all the networks first cancelled its variety programs as it would be callous and insensitive to the hosts and cast to put on a live entertainment show in the midst of a national crisis to save as many passengers still alive as possible. As an entertainment blog I’ll report on the related industry updates so this post is to let all the viewers know not to look for new episodes of the Wed-Thurs dramas since none aired. This week’s sensible and necessary drama preemption will also likely impact future drama airing schedules so expect all the Wed-Thurs dramas to get pushed back a week which includes pushing back the premiere dates of the two upcoming new dramas You’re All Surrounded and A New Leaf. Continue reading
I hate to say the upcoming MBC drama Triangle is male-lead centric, but it’s looking more and more like that considering all three male leads Lee Bum Soo as the eldest brother, Jaejoong as the middle brother, and Im Shi Wan as the baby brother have all had official drama stills released. Perhaps male-centric might be playing up the gender bias tilt in the entertainment industry too much, the central drama plot is sibling-centric as it deals with separated siblings who have grown up to be at odds with each other in their professional paths in life. It just so happens the three siblings are all male, and it so happens that there have been no sightings of female leads Bae Jin Hee and Oh Yeon Soo yet. Never fear, I’m sure they will show up in promotional materials sometime before the drama premieres. With the release of Jaejoong as a gangster and on a bike stills, it’s time to meet eldest brother Lee Bum Soo as a cop. I swear MBC just went over to SBS and borrowed Lee Bum Soo’s early drama wardrobe from Giant, because that picture above is surely of Lee Gang Mo from Giant.
It’s wonderful seeing the chameleon Lee Bum Soo smoothly exchange his Prime Minister suits for the casual rough and tumble leather and jeans that a cop walking the beat would wear. I wonder what type of personality he will have in this drama? Gang Mo was reserved and serious due to the sibling separation in Giant, but here his character seems rather expressive what with the drunken singing into a soju bottle. With every sibling separation drama there is always the inevitable big reunion scene and I remember how Giant aced the various reunions and spaced it out over episodes. I’m hoping Jaejoong can bring his A-game and make me believe he’s all bowled over and verklempt to find his hyung again. There are cute new stills of him still being all gangster on a motorcycle, except the BTS stills show his goofy side so I can’t take him seriously. Youngest brother Im Shi Wan is the lucky one to have been adopted by a rich family so in his first drama still we see him practicing at a blackjack table. Continue reading
First off, I love this first drama poster for You’re All Surrounded. It’s not groundbreaking but does two things right – (1) the color is lovely and everyone looks alive as opposed to the recent penchant for dark gritty everyone looks like a vampire stuff, and (2) it manages to stick the entire main cast in (and not just the three leads) and in a way that visually looks appealing with the stacked arrangement. Everyone also has animated expressions that are intended to showcase a glimpse of their character personality and delivers on that since I took away something other than “he looks cute” or “she’s so pretty”. I can’t get over seeing Lee Seung Gi as a cop wielding a gun. The last time he had a gun was when he was doing WOC training or in the actual competition in the drama The King 2 Hearts, plus I’m used to his stalwart bromace buddy Jo Jung Seok holding a gun to protect his king. Now it’s Seung Gi’s turn to do some protecting and I hope he gets up to speed fast. The bumbling rookie cop routine works for the initial stretch but will wear out its welcome soon if the rookie quartet doesn’t start bonding and using their individual strengths to solve cases as a team. In addition to Seung Gi, the other rookies consist of Go Ara, Ahn Jae Hyun, and Park Jung Min (not the SS501 one). Cha Seung Won is their impatient drill captain with high standards and no patience for training green young police academy graduates while Oh Yoon Ah plays another senior detective who happens to be Cha Seung Won’s ex-wife. It’s like YAAS can’t even escape the married exes reuniting trend. The second teaser came out yesterday and is more substantive than the first one but just as comedic in tone. I’m loving gruff no-nonsense Cha Seung Won and am trying to get a feel for Lee Seung Gi’s reluctant cop character. What’s his deal and why he is he a cop when he seems not into it? Continue reading
There is such undeniable quiet beauty in this drama rendering it such a joy to watch. But paired with a story where characters engage in behavior that isn’t acceptable in society increases the difficulty for me to write about it. It’s shallowly dismissive to say that watching Secret Love Affair equals condoning adultery or not watching it means having high moral standards about marital fidelity. Dramas are a form of entertainment and watching it doesn’t require the viewer to subscribe to the subject matter or the viewpoint. The conundrum with SLA is starting to bubble to the surface, which is the drama is not skirting around the very real crossing the line that Hye Won and Sun Jae have done by tumbling into their illicit romance, but then they are the only likable characters in the drama so we don’t want them hurt. When I say hurt I really mean it in the most serious of consequences since adultery in South Korea is actually against the law. That means Joon Hyung can sue Sun Jae for seducing his wife and effectively ruin his future, since a criminal record is pretty much a brand in that status conscious society.
Similarly Hye Won has a long way to fall if her infidelity were discovered, but unlike Sun Jae who is all raw love and innocence and guilelessness, Hye Won is better equipped to fight for her life. But if I were to wish the two of them to get away with it, where does that lead this story? As an viewer we watch in the now and thinking about the end, enjoying the process of watching two people fall in love and thinking about where they will end up after surmounting the obstacles before them. I honestly don’t know where these two will go. Hye Won divorces Joon Hyung and marries Sun Jae and they have a unconventional Autumn/Spring gender reversed marriage where she works in the arts and he’s a famed pianist one day? I really don’t think so, this drama doesn’t promise rainbows and unicorns. I actually think the most practical ending is that the secret love affair ends and becomes an unforgettable memory in each other’s mind. This drama is really so beautiful to watch but also hurts me so much to think about, pushing my own views against wanting two lovely people to be happy but knowing they will have to pay a steep steep price for it. Continue reading
Long time CF collaborators and former Dream High co-stars Kim Soo Hyun and Suzy continue with their coupling up for sportswear brand Bean Pole and the latest CF stills and video leave me rather befuddled. I love them together and have enjoyed all their previous Bean Pole collaborations which have been fun and flirty and great location porn as the brand sent these two to far flung picturesque places like New Zealand, Thailand, and the Swiss Alps. Maybe they ran out of money by overspending in the past because this set for filmed against in an indoor set with glaringly dull fake rock outcroppings as the backdrop. Huh? Maybe with Kim Soo Hyun and Suzy being so insanely popular with their most recent dramas (him with You From the Stars, her with Gu Family Book), Bean Pole figured why bother with nice backdrops and just sell the heck out of these two. The video CF, on the other hand, is all sorts of hilarious but in unintentional ways. Kim Soo Hyun and Suzy are rocking windbreakers while acting out some lover’s melodramatic break up and getting back together scene. To say it’s overkill and an understatement, but they still look great together and the CF is filmed in the usual wind blown slo-mo ways which makes it less ridiculous and more self-aware of it’s own overwrought presentation. Both of them also seem strangely stiff in their deliveries but it’s not clear if its intentional or bad acting. Either way, I had a good chuckle and enjoyed this plenty. Continue reading
All I have to say about the upcoming SBS drama Dr. Stranger is that it feels rather haphazard and whiplashy in terms of the sudden transitions between moods. The second video preview is out and this one features only Lee Jong Seok and Jin Se Yeon. In the drama, Jin Se Yeon plays two characters – the first is Lee Jong Seok’s first love and fiancee (?) Song Jae Hee who is a North Korean raised in China and is an anesthesiologist while the second South Korean Han Seung Hee who is the doppleganger for his first love and is on a secret mission to get close to Lee Jong Seok’s character Dr. Park Hoon. When I watched the second teaser, I felt like the first half was all dreamy first love idyllic times with falling petals and secret embraces and dialogue about two hearts beating as one. Then comes to the abrupt transition to a darkened rainy apartment complex and some desperate kissing in the rain. That doesn’t end well as Park Hoon watches his lady love get dragged off to god knows where but is definitely not a trip to Disneyland.
While I don’t have a problem with K-dramas fixation on dopplegangers and/or long lost twins to explain why two characters look identical (Bride of the Century did it just fine recently), I do think most of the time it ends up being an epic fail. If the first girl dies and he falls for the second one, it becomes forever a question of whether he loved her because she looked just like the dead first girl. If both girls are around and he has feelings for both, then it’s icky because either way he chooses he gets to stare at the same face forever. I wonder if Jin Se Yeon’s character will turn out to be the same girl and we’re getting some weird brain washed spy sequence where his first love is mind zapped and given a different identity to go approach Park Hoon. That might actually interest me more than this set up, though overall this drama is looking less and less “medical” to me. Check out the quite melodramatic preview below as well as a bone I tossed for those waiting for more glimpses of Park Hae Jin in this drama. Continue reading
Hhhhhmmmm, Cha Seung Won in a perfectly tailored classic tux. Delicious and nutritious for my eyes. The first official character stills are out for Cha Seung Won’s character in the upcoming cop drama You’re All Surrounded. While I will never say no to Cha Seung Won all cleaned up in a tux, because very few Korean actors have his perfectly proportioned male model’s lithe frame to rock that formal wear, the first thought that popped into mind when I saw these tux-plus-gun stills was “OMG, was there was time jump backwards and I’ve some how gone back to the days of the nightmare that was Athena: Goddess of War?” Those of you watching K-dramas back then will remember that mega followup to IRIS and in the drama Cha Seung Won played a gun wielding antagonist to Jung Woo Sung‘s gun wielding protagonist. The drama ended up being so godawful I’ve scrubbed it from my brain but for some random images of hot guys with guns I’ve discreetly retained. But from the first preview of this drama it’s clear the story is comedic and his police captain is going to have his hands full wrangling a team of rookies with conflicting personalities and policing tactics. Another one of the youngsters under his watchful eye is the rookie cop played by Ahn Jae Hyun. It’s strange thinking that he’s the same age as Lee Seung Gi since Ahn Jae Hyun looks so young plus he’s such a newbie in the K-acting world having first been a model. His turn as Jeon Ji Hyun‘s dongsaeng was one of the highlights of You From Another Star so it’s no surprise SBS picked him right back up for You’re All Surrounded. I definitely took note of his talent and potential and YFAS and can’t wait to see him improve in the ensemble cast of YAS. Continue reading