SBS clearly can bask in the success of Wed-Thurs drama Yongpal (Yongpalyi), but it’s also prudent to look ahead to what’s to come once Yongpal finishes in early October. The network has lined up mystery drama The Village from the screenwriter of Que Sera Sera, with the story set in a seemingly idyllic countryside village rocked by the discovery of an unknown corpse. While Kim Tae Hee and Joo Won may not be everyone’s cup of tea in Yongpal, both are considered trendy casting choices, her for being Korea’s favorite pretty face+smart brains combo and him for being a ratings good bet. The first casting news for The Village seems to go the other way, eschewing buzzy names for low key talent.
Veteran actress Shin Eun Kyung is the first to join The Village, playing an artist from a hard scrabble background who marries the richest man in the village. Sounds a lot like her character from the smart but uber makjang Flames of Ambition, but hopefully with less plotting and throwing family members under the bus. Shin Eun Kyung’s career trajectory might be the framework for Kim Sun Ah down the road, transitioning from leading ladies in early trendy Hallyu dramas to now playing young moms and/or married wives with agendas. I don’t have a problem with that if the character is good and the script smartly written. The problem is there are few such roles and a lot of great older actresses out there. Seeing Shin Eun Kyung join The Village definitely pushes this drama up a notch on my watch list.
I’m also thrilled to see Jang Hee Jin joining The Village, which means she’s heading straight from shooting the KBS Wed-Thurs drama Scholar Who Walks the Night into yet another Wed-Thurs drama. She plays an art teacher at the village who is also the mistress to the richest man in town. One day she disappears but her disappearance isn’t investigated by the village since she’s originally from outside the village. But her disappearance sets in motion the series of mysterious events to follow.
Good for Jang Hee Jin that she’s cast in back-to-back projects, she’s by far my favorite female character and actress performance in Night Scholar, delivering the perfect restrained yet vulnerable rendition of a gisaeng with a one-sided love for vampire scholar Lee Jun Ki. Who knew she was so capable in a sageuk, none of her previous dramas such as Spy Myung Wol or Big hinted at the extent of her acting talent. Hopefully The Village will continue with the nice acting maturation shown in Night Scholar.