YTN Reporter Discusses How Thirty Nine’s Weak and Conventional Plot Makes it Feel Like a 1990’s Era K-drama and Wastes the Casting of Top Star Son Ye Jin

An entertainment reporter at YTN wrote an article today (click here) that went into depth to discuss the first two episodes of just premiered jTBC drama Thirty Nine. I noticed the same criticisms and concerns already voiced by K-netizens here and there but to have it expressed cohesively explains why K-ent doesn’t think Thirty Nine isn’t primed (for now) as a sure fire success despite its decent 4%-5% cable ratings for the first two episodes. The reporter said that Thirty Nine was one of the most anticipated dramas of 2022 due to it being top actress Son Ye Jin‘s first project since the mega hit Crash Landing on You two years ago. But once it aired a segment of the viewer feedback is that the plot is really old fashioned (i.e. conventional) and comes off like a 1990’s era K-drama.

The three lady best friends are the same age and each has their own love lines, but it feels so random. Especially Son Ye Jin with Yeon Woo Jin‘s character, it’s just a series of random encounters one after another and rinse and repeat. There is nothing compelling about the start to this romance and in fact turns off viewers. Also old fashioned is the use of a funeral to start the drama but not tell viewers who the dead person is and then revealing it by episode 2, so why the coyness only for the quick reveal. And lastly Jeon Mi Do‘s character has an adulterous affair and terminal illness, both plot points are getting lots of lambasting from the netizens. Overall, the reporter is just disappointed this was the drama top star Son Ye Jin picked and hopes the plot and writing gets better with a good ending to make up for the less than stellar start.


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YTN Reporter Discusses How Thirty Nine’s Weak and Conventional Plot Makes it Feel Like a 1990’s Era K-drama and Wastes the Casting of Top Star Son Ye Jin — 67 Comments

  1. Pingback: YTN Reporter Discusses How Thirty Nine’s Weak and Conventional Plot Makes it Feel Like a 1990’s Era K-drama and Wastes the Casting of Top Star Son Ye Jin - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. Sigh. Alright people, expect a parade of 39 posts incoming for the near future. Koala has sensed a prime opportunity to drive high site traffic (and fund her Hermes bags) with SYJ and SHK fans fighting in these 39 articles (talk about a random feud).

    • This drama is not that compelling but I hope it get better as the story progress. I don’t really like Son Ye Jin characters and the plot but that won’t stop me from watching. What does SHK have to do with this drama? Leave her out.

      • Maybe because of the previous post about 39. That was about 39 but it didn’t stop SHK fans from bringing her into it to put down SYJ. Heck even SJK got a mention.

      • @Kiddo Just as I was mentioning only lowly pathetic shippers do that. I could careless about SJK or HB, I only care about SYJ and SHK because I love both actresses and their works. Who ever they’re dating or married to has nothing to do with their works. I see ridiculous bashing from SYJ shippers in NWRBU too. Lol people have so much times to belittle someone when they should have just take the times to better themselves as a person.

    • Y’all are so rude. Like ppl are just commenting whatever. Isn’t it Koalas’s blog? Can’t she post whatever she wants without judgement??

      • When you monetize your readership and sell ads to them, then your readership has a say in the content. It is a two-way street. If you don’t want any judgment, then don’t try to monetize.

      • Yup. Koala never posts about her and isn’t a fan but suddenly sees an opportunity for more site traffic (maybe due to wedding announcement) so we’ll likely see more of these articles.

    • @Yzma, 100% agree with you in calling out K. She has gone zero silence on YSH and Heyri who are her beloveds. Instead she senses a golden opportunity on SYJ’s new drama as there are tons of fanwar comments resulting from wedding announcement & accusations of media-play. It’ll be non-stop 39 articles much like NWABU while Moonshine completely disappeared after premiere episode post. There have been no Moonshine recaps, netizens comments/sentiments, blow-by blow accounts whatsoever.

      • K is always like that. She is always subjective, bias, and never been subtle in showing her hatred when writing articles or reviews of dramas if she doesn’t like the actors/ actresses.
        But it’s her blog… she of course can do whatever she want.

        But she will always try to bury the faiilute or hype her bias like Yoo. eun Hye, Yoo Seung Ho, Hyeri, etc who flopped multiple times in a row. Esp Yoo Eun Hye who has no more hope in the ent industry…. oh to add on is her baby Top Star Lee Seunggi

      • @chichi , it’s not YOO but Yoon Eun Hye , @koala never burried the what you call “failure” of Yoon Eun Hye, she even state in a previous comment that Yoon Eun hye is not anymore in the game . As a person who stills like Yoon Eun Hye , i dare say that she had more potential than SHK or SYJ as she achieved a lot in a few years . She wasn’t a goddess as SHK or SYJ but she was the younger and highest paid actress after Coffee Prince , She was the muse for the biggest brands as YSL, Cartier, Burberry, … she was a sold out actress (Nars lipstick in I miss you) , she won the daesang of best actress at the age of 23 over talented actresses as Han ji Min , Kim Hee Ae, … All that with being a former idol . She may be a nobody now but she will stay in Hallyu dramas history . And i will ad that SYJ was her friend before “her scandal” .

  3. SHK and SYJ fans now have a new place for their fan wars other than Twitter. Funny how they only started coming after each other after CLOY and Hyun Bin shot down the reunion rumor with SHK.

    • No offense but I love both actress and not HB so leave SHK out. SYJ fan should be happy for her since she’s getting married soon. I not a HB fan but still happy for SYJ. Only pathetic shippers fight over HB.

      • I didn’t know there is SYJ and SHK fanwar on twitter, lmao… I like both ladies, but i cling more towards SYJ…

      • None taken. I’m not a shipper. Just telling it how it has been in social media since 2020. Search up and you’ll know how the fan wars between a lot of the actresses’ fans started. Search SYJ and SHK tags on this site to see how different the comments were before.

  4. Well, celebrities don’t always hit the jackpot when they select their new project . Remember when Hyun Bin did the drama with Han Ji Min wich was a flop instead of “Kill me, heal me” which was a hit and made Ji Sung won a Daesang, Lee Dong Gun declined Goong’s role , look at Joo Ji Hoon now !

  5. I don’t get why this writers keep getting top star in her drama? must be her movie track record. I love some of her movie, but her drama always seems underwhelming. she might be not that good to told a story in drama format.

    • I agree. Apparently this was supposed to be a movie script. Then she changed her mind and made it a drama. I think she should stick to movies. That’s what she does best. Her writing is best as punchy short scripts. As soon as she attempts to stretch it out, she flags.

  6. Here we go again.. I wanted this to be good, I really did but it’s not doing it for me at all, I feel like they don’t have much story to tell and even if I didn’t hate the first two episodes the story isn’t really going to go anywhere for me personally. The only thing I could try to keep watching this is because of SYJ but I’m pass that stage where I watch a show because I love the lead actress or actor, the story needs to be captivating or I don’t have much time for it. I’m going to keep my 4 episodes rule but I don’t expect much if it doesn’t improve after that.

    • i like yejin too but the story is not very exciting to me. But i love the trio and the acting of the over all cast . So may stick with it. However i have mostly seen decent review of it. People didn’t have high expectations with 39 from the beginning because of the writer. Even the teasers looked boring. So idk where is this so called massive disappointment coming from. It never had that type of hype that is generally observed for a usual romcom.
      Moreover I still don’t understand why didn’t jtbc didn’t give it the weekend slot if their expectations were so huge.

      • I didn’t know it was expected to be huge either. But there were a bunch of Naver articles in the week leading up to the first episode saying expectations were high for Son YeJin to save JTBC from ratings slump which I thought was bizarre. Like why is that her responsibility? Anyway the debut numbers are solid, it’s doing good numbers on Netflix too, is that not good enough?

  7. Literally all the reviews I’m reading about this drama are decent and koala picks up this random ass article.

    The last thing I would accuse this drama of being is conventional and old fashioned.

    • Yes, the overall perception is really not that negative. But fanning the flames is what drives traffic, and I guess it works because here we all are.

    • I think episode 2 and especially the last bit really sets up the plot for the rest of the drama. I’m very curious where they go with the story form here on out. I just know Jin Seok is a major douche and I want him to leave my Chanyoung alone! LOL

    • It’s funny because I always see drama fans saying how they miss the old school style kdramas but then turn around and criticize plots as conventional and old fashioned.

  8. It’s is a contraction and should be used where a sentence would normally read “it is.” the apostrophe indicates that part of a word has been removed. Its with no apostrophe, on the other hand, is the possessive word, like “his” and “her,” for nouns without gender.

  9. Was this drama really expected to get big ratings? I know SYJ is a top star coming off the success of CLOY but that was a classic rom-com with a popular writer and two big stars. That doesn’t mean her next project will be the same. I get why something like Jirisan had high expectations given the big name writer, big stars and big budget. Even with SYJ attached this drama has always seemed like the mid level kdrama that gets decent ratings in the 4-6 range. That would be pretty good considering Jtbc’s woes.

    • People expecting CLOY numbers are crazy. You can never predict something like that. Her last JTBC drama was Pretty Noona, also touted as her big comeback drama after 5 years and it debuted at 4%, slightly lower than 39. So I’d say that’s average. Why are people so concerned with premiere ratings anyway It’s really how it ends that matters. It can go up or down from here.

  10. Is anything new anymore? Every storyline is a retelling of another and it is in the way the actors put into motion the characters and up to us viewers if we want to see their interpretation from beginning to end. It’s only 12eps and I like the friendship of the 3 leads. Plus, SYJ’s acting in that last scene from Ep2 was deserving of its praise.

    Same case for the Chinese Drama “Nothing but 30” and there were some heartfelt performance that was worth watching but otherwise a depressing drama for me.

  11. Whatever opinion others may have… personally iam loving everything about this drama and yes all the characters are giving justice… People are fast at criticizing but they themselves have not a single talent to begin with ?

  12. Nothing to criticize about the casts nor their acting other than the writer. Looking at her past works (encounter,etc) she should consider changing her job.

    Diff case from SHK and JKY drama tho….for that one Both leads acting were horrendous.

  13. Sighh and song hye kyo gets articles praising her when literally no one but her fans liked the show. I’ve always noticed bias in the articles but this is just over the top lol. Goodbye and good riddance ??

  14. Koala can’t be more obvious lmaooo.. I want to know which dramas centred around 3 ladies were able to achieve cloy type ratings. Search www, be melodramatic, hello my twenties etc. all have low ratings.

    Btw , kmedia instead praising how it took 8 months for JtBC to finally get a weekday drama over 5pc. That’s certainly no disappointment.
    In Netflix, it is doing even better than 2521 and Weather forecast.

    Anyways read the last post ,bitter miserable song hye kyo stans’ lives must be in hell these past few days. Nwabu was panned universally not only by yejin fans.

    This writer is not that good in dramas so there is nothing extraordinary abt the plot.But the reviews aren’t negative either like how Koala purposefully trying to make it out to be.
    Atleast yejin getting widespread praise for her acting . Even an article related to her was trending at no.1 on Naver but Koala would rather post some random articles just to fuel the fanwars.

  15. Ohh Koala ????… What i am going to do from now on is to spam you on twitter related to the actual trending articles on naver with huge traffic. You will be sad to know cause it’s all praise .

    Even if the drama may not be excellent, yejin is still getting applauded unlike certain someone who was criticised for her wooden acting and then had to resort to media play . It’s funny how her fans were accusing others when their fave is the biggest media play queen in the whole industry.
    I know her fans going to flock on every 39 related article here because they going to get ratiod badly on twitter

  16. Here we go again all stupid fans trying to downgraded others actress just to make their bias look great. What are we 12? Why suddenly SHK names was mentioned here. Yalls criticised Koala but u guys are even worst in picking n throwing hates to others. Pot calling the kettle black. N this always happened between woman is what make it so embarrassing. Grow up girls, grow up. Stop being toxic.

  17. There were some issues with the writting but I don’t think Jeon Mi-Do’s character is one of them. I found her story very interesting. I don’t watch KDramas to see perfect people, but humans with their flows. Her love story raises a lot of questions and it’s why I like it.

  18. It’s a boring and lousy show! And son ye jin’s imperfect nose is so glaring. And the lead actor (whats his name?) Is so unimpressive! After 2 episodes i give up

  19. I don’t understand the negativity. I watched it thinking I would be bored to tears like with NWABU but I ended up finishing the first episode and continued with the second one.

    The acting is good. So far the story is focusing more on both SYJ and Mi Do’s story. The third friend feels more like a supporting character as of now.

    I also don’t get the hate about Mi duo’s character. She already quit the guy or at least tried. It is hard when the guy wouldn’t let go either. So the wife will definitely attack the supposed mistress. I am not saying the character isn’t without fault. She should have quit the guy the moment he got hitched.

    I will continue to watch because I like the cast. The acting is not wooden and there is nothing in the story that turned me off from tuning in for the next episode.

    I already said to my sister that if this drama gets 4-5% JTBC should be happy since other dramas like Snowdrop and Inspector Koo had something like 2%. If the ratings get higher it would be nice of course.

  20. Hey koala, ThirtyNine is #1 on Netflix in South Korea as well as doing well in its live run on jtbc. Why don’t you make a post about that ? instead of hating on a rare drama with all female leads.

    • Lol you must be blind like the rest of all the proud Son Ye Jin’s fans to not see and know that Son Ye Jin is a koala bias and favorite actress. She’s just purposely doing this to get traffic from the anti-frozen face SHK fans. Kolala love SYJ to the core.

      • I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and I would disagree SYJ is a favorite of hers. I dont think she hates her or anything but she is not her fave and barely covers her unless she has an ongoing drama. Nothing wrong with that, she can blog about who she likes, but just clarifying ✌

  21. Not some people being mad at Koala for posting what she wants on HER blog. Yeah, she definitely has favorites and bias, but the simple thing to remember is it’s HER blog lol. She can post what she wants. Nobody is forcing you to frequent this site if it bothers you so much.

  22. These so proud Son Ye Jin nations first love fans must be blind to keep questioning Koala about posting this article of the drama. Koala love SYJ and favorite her but inorder to get traffic she gotta do this. Knowing there are some dumb Frozen face SOng Hye Kyo stans still dying for public attention seeker HB. They will stormy in to bad mouth Koala’s precious SYJ and HB although this article doesn’t include Frozen face Song Hye Kyo’s name. Smart Koala. It’s sad to see Frozen face Hye Kyo has the dumbest fan base. They’re making Frozen face SHK look so desperate and cheep. When Frozen face SHK has already move on and probably was never even into the obsessed public attraction seeker HB in the first place. When you have two dumb Fans stands fighting over an Overrated public obsessed attention seeker HB, you’ll get some sorry pathetic traffic that has nothing to do with the drama. These commentary care so much about the rating of this drama and fairy god SYJ nation’s first love to over look the other two actresses. The comments here were more entertaining than the boring dramas.

      • Right???? He’s one of the most low key top actors around. No social media. He doesn’t do variety shows. He films his projects and does the necessary promo and that’s it. He will do big fan meeting every few years but hasn’t in a while. He keeps his personal life private other than confirming relationships over the years, but then never talks about them. He is quite shy and soft spoken. That’s a crazy accusation.

      • You call yourself Hblover only to call Hyun Bin an obsessed public attraction seeker? Anyway, first of all, let me correct you, it should simply be attention seeker, not attraction seeker. Go brush up on your grammar first, your English gives me cancer.

        Could any attempt to troll be more blatant? As others have rightly pointed out, Hyun Bin has always been one of the most low-key actors.

    • OMG you make my day! I was also questioning my self so many times about what is so cool about Hyun Bin for her fans to make her into a laughing joke from Son Ye Jin’s scary fans. He’s is not that good looking and his acting is not the best. I feel blank emotion everytime he cry. Everytime I see him i can’t help but feel cringe because he is like a JDG copycat. Song Hye Kyo was bashed since WW drama day to now just because of her dating him in the past. Pretty unpleasant experience. This drama has nothing to do with SHK but her stan still come to bomb the topic. I think if her fans care about her they should leave her alone. This is Son Ye Jin topic and her lane. Let her fans celebrate her success and love blossom with Hyun Bin the way they like. I just finish the first two episode and it doesn’t hold my interest to continue. SHK is such bad luck actress because everything she does is considered media play while everyone is all talented actors and actress. Nobody is as horrible as SHK but I still love her more. She’ll always be the reason I watch Korean drama. I hope I don’t get slander for stating my opinion since all the comments here are pretty much out of topic.

    • @flowerpot Does that make HB any difference from SHK? I never seen SHK milk anything or media play anything. You should double check your facts first about how innocent your lovely HB is first. It’s the showbiz tabloid that publish so many unreasonable nonsense about her. You’re as biased as you can get on this unreasonable nonsense. You and every bitter fan’s should grow up and stop barking but celebrate your Binjin couples up coming successful career and wedding.

      • What are you talking about? There is nothing to double check about anyone’s “innocence”. No bitterness here. I only responded to the earlier comment about HB being an attention seeking celebrity which he very clearly is not. I’m not even talking about SHK at all.

        You can think what you want about HB, but saying he’s not good looking and not a good actor makes YOU sound bitter. He and SHK seemed to have an amicable breakup over a decade ago. Even some of SHKs friends posted about CLOY when it was airing and some have left nice comments on his stylists IG when she posts his CFs. He even sat next to SHKs manager at a wedding a few years ago and they were smiling and laughing. Doesn’t sound like there is any drama there so not sure why some fans insist there is bad blood between them or he did not treat her well.

  23. Having a success in a Korean drama is a roll of the dice. People need to stop hyping all the top stars who have as many meh type dramas as successes. I thought the first 12 episodes of CLOY were enjoyable but to this day don’t get the hype and the end sucked. The actress picked this drama and maybe the 12 episode limit was part of it. Maybe she wanted the friendship aspect to be more prevalent…who knows but expecting dramas to sparkle every time out is crazy town.

    • Yo, this. Idk why “Hallyu stardom” is assumed to be the end goal or pinnacle of success for Korean actors. Serious actors should not be basing their career decisions solely off trying to score ratings hits. Majority of Hallyu dramas aren’t challenging acting work; they’re the equivalent of Marvel movies.

      I really respect actors who try different genres and indie fare. At the end of the day, experimenting and honing your craft is what’ll further career longevity.

  24. TO BE IN NETFLIX IS ALREADY AN EDGE FROM OTHER DRAMA/MOVIES WHICH ARE NOT THERE YET…EVEN IF IT’S ALREADY FINISHED SHOWING…IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE ACTORS’ACTING DON’T WATCH!…STOP ATTACKING SYJ & SHK BY MAKING ISSUES AGAINST THEM…LET THEM ENJOY THEIR OWN LIVES & LOVELIFE…IF YOU INSIST THEY ARE NO GOOD AS ACTORS & YOU THINK YOU CAN ACT BETTER THEN GO AHEAD BE AN ACTOR TOO & PROVE WHAT YOU GOT.PATHETIC CRITICS!!!

    • Yes, leave these 2 innocent Top actress out of your arguments! They bathing in their $ and living their lives while just salting for your health. Stay saint people!

  25. Shk fans playing the victim card again. No one would have cared abt their bias if they didn’t flood the previous 39 related article. Lol they invaded this place too

    • Lol no one is making SHK the victim. Some hypocrite fans are so bitter to keep dragging SHK in here to show off their favorite Box-office winning awards and nation’s first love. It’s a petty tactic to Bomb NWABU topic but cry victim when others try to click bait in here. Some Very petty fan you are. Lol call SHK all kind of names but no one is allow to talk about SYJ acting. Narcissist as F* to think everyone is involved with your bias performance. Gross!

      • Lol you think readers are as dumb as you guys? It’s plain obvious to anyone who can ‘read’ that you guys started to drag your OWN SHK first and started the whole rubbish talk.

        Talk about stupidity at its best

  26. Regarding your review. You are not that wuse critic. This drama us so realitistic and youched the core of one’s being. So how come it it had a good rating. My question is have you done or wrote a story? Shame on you to critic such a beautiful story

  27. Don‘t like 39 at all. In my opinion it is a dull film, saw this theme several times before. Not the best choice of SYJ.

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