The mainstream media is typically diplomatic when it comes to covering entertainment, especially in K-ent when so much is written with the involvement and consent of the subjects. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours two-way street. Critiques tend to be softer and more roundabout, and even the flops can get a write up solely on the things that did work. With that said, the news media feedback on the the just premiered new KBS drama Blood have been pretty bloody in very direct ways that is rare to see. I’ll just translate one of many Korean newspaper articles discussing the reasons for the ratings flop of the premiere two episode with the same critique. Click here for the original article if you read Korean.
The article analyzes why Blood was met with such low ratings and directly lays the blame with the poor acting of the two leads Gu Hye Sun and Ahn Jae Hyun. First the article discusses Gu Hye Sun’s bad acting, specifically describing the problem being her limited overacting expressions and dialogue spoken like she reciting memorized lines. It then goes into a discussion of how Gu Hye Sun became famous after the back-to-back successes of Pure 19 and Boys Before Flowers, leading her to both act was well as do many other types of projects such as singing, directing, art, etc. Since it’s just the first two episodes, the article leaves possibility for improvement to come, whether her irritating character develops better or Gu Hye Sun’s acting improves in this role.
The article then discusses newbie leading man Ahn Jae Hyun, first mentioning his meteoric quick rise to leading man status within a year of debuting as an actor in You From Another Star. Unfortunately his acting in Blood has been met with near universal audience disdain, especially the scene in episode 1 when he was shot, the feedback has been mockery of his poor affected acting. The article discusses a positive with the casting of Ahn Jae Hyun as a vampire in that his looks make him a perfect visual for a vampire, skinny and tall with very white complexion and red lips.
The article then quotes the PD of Blood responding to the torrent of criticism of the acting of the two leads – the PD understands that it’s risky to cast a relative unknown like Ahn Jae Hyun in the lead and finds the criticism of bad acting acceptable, about what Gu Hye Sun was criticized for when she first debuted nearly 12 years ago. I wish the PD could say more about what the production is going to do to address the criticism going forward. With just 2 episodes aired out of 18, statistically it’s too early to call it quits and just let this drama stay in the ratings crap hole. The production has the responsibility to right a sinking ship, if it’s possible to do so.
Since the leads can’t be switched out and it’s too late for acting lessons, I suggest greatly toning down the terribly abrasive and smug personality of Gu Hye Sun’s character. Calm her down so she’s not shrieky, which will also calm down Gu Hye Sun’s overacting if her character starts acting like a professional doctor would and not a petulant valley girl. The PD also needs to cut the posturing filming around Ahn Jae Hyun, make it more natural rather than capturing every shot of him like he’s posing on a runway. It amplifies his limitations and makes him look even more preposterously unqualified to be a male lead at this stage in his acting experience. Of course, a big boost would be to make sure the script has more plausible medical story lines with less surgery battles. Just my 2 cents.