Sunday, March 29, 2015
From mental illnesses to senses, 'Sensory Couple' is here with a premise which is at the very least fresh. Not everything is as sugary as its promotional material, however, and it is very difficult to really get a feel for the actual work due to how its marketing and probable story tone will differ. Even so, there is promise here at the moment.
Choi Moo-gak (Park Yoo-chun) and Oh Cho-rim (Sin Se-kyeong) are connected to the same case. Moo-gak became a police officer after losing his sister to the Barcode Murderer and Cho-rim is the sole survivor of the murderer's attacks. While the incident has left Moo-gak with dulled senses and emotions, Cho-rim can visualize smells, but has no memory of her life before it. Together they try to crack the case which changed their lives.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "The Girl Who Sees Smells".
All kinds of characters have faced crime in OCN series. From coroners to simple detectives and from vampire prosecutors to superheroes. 'Doctor Frost' takes a slightly different approach and looks at the individuals, rather than the crime itself alone. While less exciting than similar shows in terms of suspense and lacking a strong gimmick, it offers that unique exploration of crime through a different lens. That of what aids and breaks people's minds.
The titular Doctor Frost (Song Chang-ee) was given his nickname due to the condition he developed after being in a car accident as a child. While he can understand emotions and "read" people, he cannot feel sympathy or experience those emotions himself. Working as a bartender by night and also aiding the police with investigations, he decides to take on an additional job as a professor of psychology. Joined by his cheerful and emotive assistant, Yoon Seong-ah (Jeong Eun-chae), they solve cases by looking at the individuals and their mental and behavioral problems.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Frost".
Creating a heartwarming story about human pain, desperation and the bonding between strangers is no easy task. When the plot devices which bring the people in question together are also outrageous, it takes extra effort to really solidify the motivations, emotions and troubles of the characters in order to make those outrageous devices feel human. 'Super Daddy Yeol' is not such a show at the moment. In fact, it has achieved the exact opposite through its clumsiness and mishandling of its important points.
One of the first things that viewers would probably wonder about would be if this is a romantic comedy when the female lead is dying of cancer and how that can possibly work. Oddly enough, the series has kept its light tone throughout the first four episodes. Some of it is done by annoying measures, such as the overuse of bad comedy and sound effects, showing complete lack of faith in the actors' comedic skills, but there is nonetheless some effort there. Keeping its light tone, however, comes at a cost. The cost is that many serious issues which should have been handled with responsibility are laughed off.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Super Daddy Yeol".
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Fans of 'Special Affairs Team TEN' will not be getting their third season yet, but those who appreciated the style of the drama will be getting a consolation piece. The production team of the aforementioned series is back with 'Missing Noir M'. The premise this time around involves missing persons, rather than the usual dead ones, and also a dynamic duo of very different characters working together and solving the presented mysteries.
Gil Soo-hyeon (Kim Kang-woo) is a genius former FBI agent who returns to Korea to lead a missing persons unit and uncover a mystery. His partner is Oh Dae-yeong (Park Hee-soon), a veteran detective who goes by hunches and a less fussy approach to get his work done. The two clash as they cooperate and solve the toughest of missing persons cases and serious crimes.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Missing Noir M".
For all the variety and expansion of genres that the last few years have developed in Korean drama, romantic comedy is one which has suffered due to those changes. What used to be stereotypical, but also simple stories has given way to convoluted plots and dwindling comedy. 'Heart to Heart', however, stands out as an old-school rom-com with a modern approach. Sadly, it is also a reminder that trends usually have their way by the end.
Cha Hong-do (Choi Kang-hee) has a phobia of facing people and suffers from constant blushing. Since losing her grandmother, she has been disguising herself as an old woman to find work. Go I-seok (Cheon Jeong-myeong) is a psychologist who begins to have black-outs during counseling which Hong-do seems able to prevent. The two strike a deal. Hong-do will work for I-seok and in return, he will attempt to cure her so that she can confess to the man she likes.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Heart to Heart".
Sunday, March 15, 2015
The Korean drama industry is going through a period of change in the content, format and genres of its productions. KBS2 now seems determined to use its newly created Friday drama timeslot for experimenting with these elements. 'Spy - Drama' was promoted as a blend of a family and a spy show, two different and challenging to connect types. The series ultimately fails in this, but it does not fail as a whole.
Park Hye-rim (Bae Jong-ok) has a loving husband and a beautiful family. Her son, Kim Seon-woo (Kim Jae-joong) works for the National Intelligence Service, something he has not shared with his family. But Hye-rim has her own secret. She is a former North Korean spy. When an enemy she thought dead finds her, she tries to do anything she can to protect her son, whom the man called Hwang Gi-cheol (Yoo Oh-seong) wants to recruit. With Seon-woo's work leading him towards the same case involving Gi-cheol, the family's secrets and lives are threatened.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama".
Outrageous stories and complicated plots are a Korean drama staple. Especially in the last few years, even prime time works have been getting convoluted and messy in ways that are most characteristically associated with soap operas. When 'Kill Me, Heal Me' was announced and during its early episodes, it seemed to be going down the same path. In a surprising and admirable manner, however, this seemingly generic show has achieved something incredible. It tells a good story and tells it wonderfully.
Cha Do-hyeon (Ji Seong) is a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder, otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. Being the sole heir to his family's company, he is called back to Korea from the United States and needs to keep his condition hidden and get help. Oh Ri-jin (Hwang Jeong-eum) is a first year resident of psychiatry who meets Do-hyeon when she bumps into one of his personalities. She eventually becomes his secret doctor and together they try to find the source of his trauma and family's secrets.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Kill Me, Heal Me".
Sunday, March 8, 2015
After 'Hogu's Love' and its 'odd couple plus child' start, tvN is following with a similar premise for its Friday and Saturday slot. This time, the child is older and father-to-be less than capable of handling her. This twist of family themed romantic comedies is one with potential and being tvN's choice of topic for the season, both of these shows need to play their cards well. It is now 'Super Daddy Yeol's turn to shine.
Han Yeol (Lee Dong-geon) is a baseball icon has-been who has given up on marriage and now lives like a slob. That is until Cha Mi-rae (Lee Yoo-ri), the former sweetheart he could not forget appears with her daughter and determined to make an honest family man out of him. Mi-rae's reason for father-hunting is a dire one, however, as she has been diagnosed with cancer and only one year left to live.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Super Daddy Yeol".
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Korean drama has its hits and misses in all aspects, including acting. Yet this specific aspect is rarely as prominently criticized and discussed as it has been for 'Blood'. It is important to remember that even bad flaws do not always diminish the overall quality of a work, unless they exist in a place and form which make their influence crucial. Sadly for 'Blood', its problems exist in two very important aspects of it. Its leading pair and unclear plans for the future. Is all hope lost? For a quality experience, probably. For entertainment? Not just yet.
Starting from the good, the series has its moments in terms of its visuals. There are some issues with the props, visual effects and make up department, but the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the show are quite pleasing for the type of drama that it is. Night shots are plentiful and even the day ones have an ominous feel. The style of the show, when they get it right, fits its premise.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Blood".
Black comedy is a genre that requires an extremely delicate touch to succeed. It takes great skill to make dark topics funny and it takes even greater skill to make the characters in such stories likable. 'Villain and Widow' has its issues, mainly with its length, but it manages to not only be funny and feature some nice social commentary, but also be a work with characters that are just so easy to enjoy.
Chang-in (Han Seok-Kyu) has been looking to smuggle an antique into South Korea, but he is beaten to the piece by another man. During their meeting, Chang-in is arrested and the man falls to his death while escaping. When he gets out of jail, our villainous hero decides to rent a room from the man's widow, Yeon-joo (Kim Hye-soo) in hopes he can find the item in their house. Yeon-joo and her daughter are both a mess, giving Chang-in a run for his money.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Film Review] "Villain and Widow".