Medical Spy Drama Dr. Stranger Drops Character Stills and Bipolar Toned 3rd Teaser

I find myself increasingly interested in the upcoming SBS drama Dr. Stranger genuinely because of the plot. It sounds so wacky but might be wacky enough to work. Lee Jong Seok plays a South Korean born but North Korean educated genius surgeon who escapes the regime and ends up working in a top notch hospital in Seoul. He’s been recruited there by top heart surgeon played by Park Hae Jin, though his educational path is less gritty and more Harvard-grad. I initially thought it would be a straight up medical drama about a fish-out-of-water doctor stranger from North Korea trying to ply his craft in the fast-paced South Korean medical field. Sorta like Good Doctor but substitute the autistic Joo Won doctor for the North Korean Lee Jong Seok one. Then the first previews dropped and now it seems like a spy thriller complete with torn apart first loves. Dare I call it a spy medical drama? The character descriptions for the two female leads have come out and shed more light on what sounds like a potential messy love quadrangle.

Jin Se Yeon plays two characters – one is the firsy love of Lee Jong Seok’s character who is torn from his side and he does not know where she is and what has happened to her, the second is the first love’s doppleganger in working at the same Seoul hospital as an anesthesiologist. She is a Korean raised in China and described as cool and capable, but no one knows anything about her background which leads Lee Jong Seok’s character to keep trying to determine whether she is his first love. It’s a fifty/fifty K-drama probability she’s the first love and/or the twin sister of the first love. Kang Sora‘s character is also a heart surgeon and works in the same cardiothoracic surgery department as her fiancee who is Park Hae Jin’s character. She is the illegitimate daughter of the hospital managing director but she grew up confident and elegant, a woman at ease in scrubs during surgery or wearing name brands at black tie events. She’s engaged to Park Hae Jin but her heart starts to waver when she meets Lee Jong Seok. Check out the character stills and first poster for the drama featuring the pretty quartet. Continue reading

Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae Move Their Secret Love Affair to the Pages of Elle Korea

The preemption of K-drama and variety shows stemming from the Sewol ferry sinking tragedy last Wednesday continues into this week somewhat. The major networks have started airing some nightly K-dramas but cable channel jTBC elected to cancel the airing of Secret Love Affair this week. That means no new episodes and episodes 11 and 12 will instead air next Mon-Tues. Anyone anxious for a new fix of this addicting and thought provoking show will have to summon up more patience and add another week to the wait. I’ve been holding onto the Elle Korea photo shoot featuring the two SLA leads Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae for the last month, initially because I hadn’t started the drama yet when I saw these so wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to write about it, and the second being that not all the photos from the entire shoot had been released at that time. It’s all out now and qualities as a work of pictorial art.

I love everything about it – a few color but mostly throwback black and white, the smart cocktail and formal wear outfits, the sexy but not raunchy poses, and the feeling of posed passion that still manages to convey raw emotion. I’m so blown away by Yoo Ah In’s acting in SLA, leaps and bounds above anything he’s ever delivered in dramas. It’s much closer to how he is in movies and that’s a testament to having a great PD and costar to restrain his impetuousness and coax out his wounded depths. The Elle pictorial also works as a mirror reverse of the story line in SLA, showing Yoo Ah In as a confident playboy while Kim Hee Ae is a sexy femme type, both of which are so not what the characterization and unexpected romance is like in the drama. Hopefully this photoshoot will help plug the gap this week with no SLA around to challenge our opinions and feed our senses. Continue reading

Big Man Releases Lots of Promotional Materials With Another Week to Go

I hope viewers aren’t writing off Big Man before it premieres. It’d be a shame to arrive DOA to do a myriad of factors – the lackluster lead-in from Full Sun, the two week break between Full Sun ending and Big Man starting to avoid an Empress Ki head-to-head, and the really wonky birth secret to steal a heart set up. I confess my love for Kang Ji Hwan completely counterbalances all the warning signs that this drama might be awful. That and a very vivid memory of how awful every preview and promotional material was for The King 2 Hearts and that baby turned out to be so awesome I still miss it in my sleep. I do like the two new drama posters better than the first two, it’s still not groundbreaking but at least it doesn’t immediately call to mind comparisons to other posters. I never thought Kang Ji Hwan and Jung So Min would be doing a drama together so there is no way in hell I’m going to miss it. They are parts of two of my favorite drama OTPs of all time – Kang Ji Hwan with Yoon Eun Hye in Lie to Me and Jung So Min with Kim Hyun Joong in Playful Kiss - and Eun Hye and Hyun Joong have already worked together on those early day Basic House ad campaigns it’s only fair Ji Hwan and So MIn get a twirl around to block to see if they have onscreen chemistry to burn as well. I also like Lee Da Hee and Daniel Choi well enough, so if it’s a main cast of two loves and two likes I’ve already felt like I hit the casting jackpot. The third teaser is out for the drama and I like it better than the first two. It has a more consistent feel even if it’s still bizarre that the story revolves around a chaebol family claiming orphan Kang Ji Hwan is their long-lost son in order to get him lined up for organ donation for their real son Daniel Choi who is suffering from heart failure. It’s a massive con for sure, but also one that screams impossible. Oh wells, I’m in it for the rich spoiled heiress Jung So Min falling for her fake newly acquired oppa Kang Ji Hwan. Can they be the OTP, pretty please drama gods? Continue reading

Nam Sang Mi Confirmed to Romance Lee Jun Ki in Joseon Gunman

I feel like my itty bitty casting concerned heart has been settled down with the hot off the press confirmation by Nam Sang Mi‘s agency that she has officially accepted the leading lady role in Joseon Gunman. Whew, now I don’t need to be cursing the drama gods or spend the first few posts about the drama lamenting the could have been reunion between her and her Time Between Dog and Wolf co-star Lee Jun Ki. I love both actors and together they are my favorite onscreen couple for each in all their dramas I’ve ever watched. A close second other costars I’ve liked for each would be Nam Sang Mi with the hilarious Kim Myung Min in Bad Family and Lee Jun Ki with Han Hyo Joo in Iljimae. This thrilling news immediately rockets Joseon Gunman to my number 1 most anticipated drama of all the ones in production but not yet aired. I am also super stoked about You’re All Surrounded because of Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won but it’s dampened slightly since Go Ara does nothing for me.

In Joseon Gunman, Lee Jun Ki plays Park Yoon Kang, one of Joseon’s top swordsman who trades his blade for a gun after the death of his father and sister. The drama is set in the late 19th century as Joseon undergoes a great and reluctant transformation due to the entrance of Western culture and Yoon Kang will find his way of life and values challenged in the process. Nam Sang Mi is Jung Soo In, a lady born and bred in traditional Joseon culture but becomes swept up in the changing times towards the end of the Joseon dynasty and transforms into a modern woman. Based on all synopsis snippets, Yoon Kang and Soo In are totally the OTP and there doesn’t appear to be a “My father killed your father” cloud hanging over their romance. Funnily enough, that plot device was used in TBDAW since Nam Sang Mi’s gangster dad in that drama was the one responsible for killing Lee Jun Ki’s parents. Another reason I don’t think Joseon Gunman will toss that in is due to this PD’s last drama The Princess’s Man using that as a central obstacle keeping the OTP apart. Can we just get lots of making out even if there is no father-killing angst? Continue reading

Lotte Duty Free Goes Ahead with This Weekend’s Family Festival Event with Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye

The Sewol ferry sinking tragedy in South Korea is undoubtedly the center of news coverage and public concern in South Korea. Since last Wednesday, all networks have cancelled their variety show and drama broadcasts and that preemption extended into the weekend programs as well. Music events were also scuttled such as comeback showcases and fan meetings and anything that could be rescheduled for a later date got pushed back due to a combination of somber concern in the aftermath of the tragedy and the entertainers not being in the mood to be merry right now. Of course life goes on and the entertainment shows will all return one by one likely this week, but over the weekend one scheduled event wasn’t rescheduled and it has caused a tiny bit of chatter about it. Lotte Duty Free had scheduled a Family Festival three day fanmeeting event and this weekend’s guests were Lotte spokespersons Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho. This event had already been planned well in advance and reportedly over ten thousand attendees were coming from overseas and had already booked flights and hotel rooms. After conferring with Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho, Lotte decided cancelling it outright would be hard on the attendees who had spent time and money on coming so a decision was made to go ahead with the first event date while the second and third event dates have been cancelled. The first event was also downsized down to one hour long only and the program changed from singing and dancing performances to a more solemn prayer session leading to an the two stars being interviewed and having an answer and chat session with fans. I think the organizers tried their best to handle this event while Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye were true professionals in attending despite the whole nation residing in a state of mourning. Continue reading

Yoon Eun Hye Models Cartier and Hunky Seo Kang Joon for High Cut Magazine

Yoon Eun Hye doesn’t have a current or upcoming acting project but that doesn’t mean she’s not a welcoming sight in the pages of High Cut magazine going solo and with major hunk candy to drape over. Seo Kang Joon is her idol hottie for this particular photo spread and he’s really one of the most promising idol aspiring actors out there. When he showed up onscreen in a minor role in The Suspicious Housekeeper, I saw up and took notice and it definitely wasn’t just for his looks alone. Plenty of good looking idols and actors basically turn two-dimensional for me when they can’t act. I just stare with a “I’m not amused” face when one pops up to stink up the screen with their non-acting pretty face. Seo Kang Joon has charisma and can act, he just needs plenty of polish, so I hope noona Yoon Eun Hye enjoyed working with him on this High Cut spread and shared some tips with him. She’s of course one of the most famous idols-turned-actors herself, but her acting career has really plateaued these past few years with poor project choices. One area where she rarely stumbles is doing photo shoots, with an innate model understanding of how to connect with the camera in split second still shots. I love this High Cut spread but it’s not as gorgeous as the one she did for the magazine in Hawaii a few years ago. I do love how she’s in control of each picture, including having this power over Seo Kang Joon in the shots with the way she’s holding him and posed. She’s one of Cartier’s most prominent star endorsers in South Korea so she models the brand for this photo shoot as well in case folks have money to toss around and love one of the blingy pieces. Continue reading

Bride of the Century Gears Up for Joint China-Korea Production C-drama Remake

Anyone ready for round two of Bride of the Century? No, I’m not talking about a sequel maybe involving a reformed Yi Kyung meeting her perfect man who ends up having a family curse spanning generations. What’s coming is a Chinese flavored Bride of the Century courtesy of a C-drama remake that is right around the corner. This is the second popular K-drama this year to get scooped up for a remake, the first being You From Another Star. BotC was popular streaming on the Chinese drama watching sites and garnered a lot of buzz which quickly led to a production company approaching Chosun TV to discuss buying to rights for the remake. The only saving grace that would compel me to even check out the C-version is that the remake will be a joint Chinese-Korean production and behind the helm will be the PD who directed BotC as well as his entire directorial team from lighting to costuming. Part of me wonders why they don’t just buy BotC and dub it in Chinese and air it directly, but then I remembered SARFT being totally hard-asses lately and grinding down on foreign dramas airing on Chinese television.

The C-version of BotC will reportedly star a Korean actor paired with a C-actress, with the production looking for a Korean male actor who has Lee Hong Ki‘s warmth and appeal and promising a C-actress who can play both roles of Yi Kyung and Doo Rim as well as Yang Jin Sung did. I think this remake will also need to hope for lightning in a bottle that the two leads will generate as much natural chemistry as Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sung sparked with each other. That stuff can’t be predicted and is either there or it isn’t. I can’t stop this remake from happening but I don’t think botching it (highly likely) will ruin my affection for the original. The production has stated that the remake will be tweaked to infuse it with Chinese flavor for the local audiences, which leave me scratching my head as to exactly what that means. I’ve watched plenty of C-dramas and I honestly don’t know what C-flavor is since the dramas coming out of China are all over the place. I’ll keep an eye on this as it develops but for now it’s keeping Bride of the Century in the news longer. Check out the latest pictures the PD posted with Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sung on set.

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