The casting and time slot for upcoming KBS high school vampire drama Orange Marmalade feels like an optimistic win-win. Growing up nicely child actor Yeo Jin Gu gets his first drama leading man role that is age appropriate rather than shoving him into adult scenarios while the Friday night low key time slot isn’t too much pressure on him to deliver the ratings. Sure it feels like he’s babysitting his other leads Seolhyun from AOA and CNBLUE‘s Lee Jong Hyun but Kim Sae Ron already did that in Hi! School: Love On with Woohyun and Sungyeol of Infinite and made it work until writing in that drama went into the crapper. Yeo Jin Gu will have more help now that Song Jong Ho has joined the drama to play the teacher character to all these students.
Orange Marmalade is adapted from the same name popular webtoon set in a world where minority oppressed vampires live openly among humans who look down upon them. The vampires have shaved down their fangs to stubs and drink animals blood to survive, no longer posing a danger to the humans. With the vampires no longer a threat, humans have grown to ostracize them in society openly and subtly. Seolhyun plays a high school girl who hides her vampire identity and aspires to become a singer. She falls for the cute human boy in school played by Yeo Jin Gu. Song Jong Ho is a kind and caring vampire teacher at the high school and helps bring the two kids together while Lee Jong Hyun is a cold vampire friend who likes Seolhyun and doesn’t want to see her hurt by a human boy.
I like the unique setting of this story, turning the typical dangerous vampires live among us concept around to a placid world where being a vampire is akin to belonging to an alienated minority. It works even better not to have vampire bites danger looming when the central story is set in high school so the issues are over friendships and schooling and dreams rather and life and death struggles.