Sunday, October 25, 2015
Trying genres outside of the historical, family, romance and melodrama realm is never an easy challenge in Korean drama. New audience does not simply appear out of nowhere, it has to be convinced. Pre-production as a system has also been an unfavorable one for ratings, with viewers unable to control a show's development. Yet series like 'Last' are eye-opening. 'Last' is not only good, it also reveals the flaws in the system and potential in the industry##.
Jang Tae-ho (Yoon Kye-sang) is a man playing the stocks for clients. After he loses a great amount of money for a gangster and his partner dies as a result, Tae-ho ends up on the run and homeless. He finds himself in the world of Seoul's underground, which is run by Kwak Heung-sam (Lee Beom-soo), a man who profits at the expense of the poor. Tae-ho decides to take his life back and reach this secret organization's top.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Review] "Last".
"Healing drama" is a term which has been used often, but has sadly not produced great results. While there are many efforts to balance romance and lightness with emotional burdens and troubles, few have been successful. Even so, 'Bubblegum' aims to be a fairytale for adults and a healing drama about people finding comfort in one another. Term association aside, things are looking good for the series.
Park Ri-hwan (Lee Dong-wook) is an Eastern medicine doctor and Kim Haeng-ah (Jeong Ryeo-won) a radio DJ. The two are good friends, but like everyone else, they struggle with their own personal problems. The drama follows them and other characters as they try to handle their issues and as the relationships between them change.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Bubble Gum".
Monday, October 19, 2015
Arriving soon to JTBC and adding yet another genre to the channel's output is "Awl". "Awl" is so far marketed as a type of office drama and while it has not generated much international buzz, it seems there is some good talent and a popular work behind it with a faithful fan following. Whether this almost obscure series will gain more attention after it stars airing remains to be seen.
Lee Soo-jin (Ji Hyeon-woo) is one of the managers in a supermarket. When the company decides to let many employees go, Soo-jin leads the union workers in their fight against their unfair treatment. Goo Go-sin (Ahn Nae-sang) acts as a counselor for the workers and aids them in their efforts.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Awl".
Sunday, October 18, 2015
A good mystery satisfies the basic human feature of curiosity. Having a puzzle that needs solving is something which appeals to many, but not everyone is in it just for the fun of solving it. For a lot of people, there is need for extra motivation or easily digestible drama, rather than mystery. 'The Village: Achiara's Secret' may not have captivated as many as its predecessor, "Yong Pal" did, but its story will interest those who give it their time.
So far, the series is pretty much a clear suspense and mystery show. The numerous characters portrayed all have their secrets and emotional scars, which means that there are several mysteries to keep one's thirst for the truth fueled. The drama has very few elements of horror and while it does hint at certain supernatural occurrences, it cannot be called a horror work. For the most part, its story is very grounded in reality.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "The Village: Achiara's Secret".
Monday, October 5, 2015
Disaster stories in Korean cinema and drama do not have much of a presence at all. That is, aside from a few action films, and very few dramas slightly touching upon disaster, but not going all the way. 'D-Day' is a very ambitious production in general, but especially for Korean drama. With pre-production on its side and so far focusing on a near real-time method of progression, it has made one impactful start.
While many dramas nowadays opt for a mixed experience, offering a little bit of everything and essentially being hybrids of genres, this one is pretty straightforward. Four episodes in, the style is consistent and type of story easy to categorize. There is no real romantic focus here, at least for now and other character relationships are complicated, but do not devolve into melodramatic fluff. The medical aspect is a big part of things, but 'D-Day' is essentially a human drama.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama First Look] "D-Day".
Sunday, October 4, 2015
The mystery thriller genre is not one we see often outside of cable television in Korean drama. This is for good reason, as will be explained shortly. More and more shows are injecting mystery and suspense into their stories, however, and this means that the genre is evolving and hopefully improving. "The Village: Achiara's Secret" has a very interesting premise and could be a great success with some proper care.
Han So-yoon (Moon Geun-young) lost her entire family long ago. She one day finds a letter telling her that the secret to their death can be found in a village called Achiara. Just as So-yoon becomes a teacher in the crime-free, peaceful village, a body is discovered. This event sparks the escalating revelation of the village's ugly secrets.
Full Article: [HanCinema's Drama Preview] "The Village: Achiara's Secret".