The C-drama Fall In Love With Anchor Beauty (aka the All About Eve remake) premiered today and dropped two episodes for our viewing pleasure. I must preface by saying that but for Jang Hyuk playing the male lead in this drama, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. The few C-dramas I watch are wuxia historicals, and I have no desire to watch their trendies. Just a personal preference, not an indictment of quality, or lack thereof.
My verdict: it’s surprisingly not sucky. Actually quite watcheable, and bordering on pretty good. I think the overwhelming reason for this drama being anything remotely close to good is the amazing casting they lucked out with. The story is quite pedestrian and actually does feel rather dated. It’s missing the zippiness I associate with the genre of trendy melodramas.
What elevates the source material is having three charismatic actors breathe life into their characters. Jang Hyuk has a big role in this drama, he’s not just the token prince charming. It’s his story as much as it’s the story of the rivalry between two best friends over the same anchor job and the same guy.
He gets a lot of screen time, so don’t worry Hyukie fans, he’s not relegated to the background (NOBODY puts Hyukie in the corner!). Yes, I hate the fact that Hyukie is dubbed, and his dubbing voice sounds nothing like his real voice so there is a disconnect for fans used to hearing his voice come out of his lovely mouth. However, there is no way around this fact, unless he magically learns perfect Chinese in two months, so I’m at peace with it, and don’t find it terribly jarring after the first few scenes.
The biggest surprise and the most delicious treat from this drama is lead actress Zhu Dan. She is a natural, everyone. The camera loves her, and she’s so at ease acting on screen it’s hard to believe this is her first role. And her voice is sublime, absolutely gorgeous to listen to, from her enunciation, to her pitch, to her lyricism in line readings – which really shouldn’t be a surprise since she’s an anchorwoman in real life. But she also displays an innate knack for connecting with her co-stars and her environment. She is a real treat to watch make her acting debut.
Cheryl Yang is a consummate actress, and so far she’s pitch perfect as the young, idealistic and sheltered college grad yet to face any real obstacles or fight for anything in her life. She’s charming without being immature, and its going to be a joy to watch Cheryl transition her character into a claws-bared rival to her current best friend, Zhu Dan’s character, for both professional and personal success.
In conclusion, the drama is well-acted and adequately filmed, and is a rather enjoyable watch. The music is overused and already getting annoying by episode 2, but it’s better than most C-dramas which barely has any proper scoring. If you miss watching Jang Hyuk on screen, it’s worth checking out.
And last but not least, I am pretty sure one of the ballads is sung by Jang Hyuk – its the song that plays each time there is a Hyukie introspective scene. I have not been able to confirm it, but it sounds a lot like his voice, and the singer has a very noticeable Korean accent singing the Chinese lyrics.