Sunday, July 3, 2011

God's Quiz Season 1 Review

The review follows after the basic info.

God's Quiz

- Title: God's Quiz
- Revised Romanization: Shin-ui Quiz
- Hangul: 신의 퀴즈
- Genre: Medical, crime, mystery
- Cast: Ryu Deok Hwan , Yoon Joo Hee, Choi Jeong Woo, Park Joon Myeon
- Directors: Lee Joon Hyung
- Scriptwriter: Park Jae Bum
- Broadcast Network: OCN
- Number of episodes: 10
- Broadcast dates: 2010-Oct-08 to 2010-Dec-10
- Airtimes: Friday 22:00
- Runtime per episode: ~45 min.
- Language: Korean
- Country: South Korea

Synopsis from Dramawiki


Han Jin Woo, Korea's top medical examiner, leads a team of experts in conducting a medical crime investigation after strange events and mysterious deaths occur in a hospital. He first clashes with but is later aided by Kang Kyeong Hee, an attractive female detective who possesses excellent skill in martial arts and a strong sense of justice.



So, a while back, I made a little quick first episode review for this. For the first episode of Season 1. Now, having watched Season 1 (and watching Season 2 as it airs), I thought I'd make a liiiittle review of the series, just to give you the general idea, as I see it. I mentioned in my previous rant, about which western series this resembles. And I guess I should update that a bit, having now watched the rest of it. However, these are veeeery general comparisons and God's Quiz only borrows certain aspects of these similarities as well.

This is using some elements that worked well in such series and gives its own character and twist to them. We have a victim and finding out what happened to them. This process is a bit CSI meets House meets Law & Order. Meaning, we have medical science and figuring out medical conditions. The clues that can be found on the actual body. Naming diseases and arguing about them and all. Like House. But we also have other types of clues. From prints to hacking computers, this also has some non-medical science. And of course, Kyeong Hee is a detective and investigates like one. We have interrogations, asking witnesses and families of the deceased and all that jazz. It's more "human" than some crime-oriented western shows. In that sense, it's a bit like Law & Order:SVU.

A nicely illustrated mother of an ouchie

But there are some other elements from successful western series. We have a bit-of-a-genius cutie who is also a bit mischievous. Like Numbers meets Castle. And the love-hate relationship with the hot cop lady, like in Castle (but not as intense). We also have a main plot, consisting of mysterious messages Jin Woo keeps getting and also, his sudden headaches and seizures, which he seems to be hiding from others and keeps the viewers in the dark about them too. A hero in pain, like House, only not such a dick. We also have some romance (oh come on, you knew it was coming) between Jin Woo and Kyeong Hee, but it's not sappy and angsty. It's cute and fun to watch. A cute might-be-couple who also rocks in solving crimes.

And is adorable as heck

The Stories and Characters

Besides the main plot, the series has a new body and new crime in each episode. We have all sorts of plots here, from really peculiar and colorful ones to more "everyday" crimes. We have an idol singer/dancer who keels over during her practice, someone who seems to love his knife a bit too much, a kidnapping case with a might-be-victim-unless-they-hurry-the-hell-up and more. So, it's not always focused on the body. Sometimes we have a body and focus on that. Sometimes we have a clear crime and look for the suspect, with the aid of the body. In the kidnapping case, we don't even have a body. We also have flashbacks and the victims often have an actual part in the story, other than being a stiff on a table. They don't focus only on those left behind, but also on the person that died and what their life and death was like. Not always, but in some of these cases.

Movie Death
Proof that movies CAN occasionally be bad for you

I am not sure how this system works in South Korea, but I get the feeling that this is not just a coroner's office. Meaning, one of the characters seems to be an overall computer genius, another is good with analyzing substances and we have the main coroner lady as well. They seem to be multi-talented and combine forensic and medical skills. As far as the cast goes, it is an ensemble one and although we don't get that much insight into the lives of the characters, they do have their personalities and usefulness. There's Mr. Geek #2, who is always there to do cute and kind of childish things with Jin Woo, the Master Geek. These are easygoing folk. And we have the more mature professional characters as well, but they are not annoying or anal.

A girl band fanboy and a clown at work

The Cast

Aaah, the cast. Well, if fangirls did not walk away from this because it's longer than 5 sentences or at the very sight of a poster without bright colors and hot men in suits, they will now. Cause there is not a tall strapping man in sight. Well, some of guest cast are good-looking, but hardly enough for people who shun anyone not "perfect". Ryu Deok Hwan is a cutie and a charming man, but he's not over 180cm tall and with the body of a Greek god. You know what he is though? A damn fine actor. You might know him from movies such as "Like a Virgin" and "Private Eye". I personally first saw him in "Our Town" and he was creepy and completely deranged and wonderful. He makes Jin Woo very funny and quite an energetic guy and also nails the more serious scenes. He also looks awesome when he's physically hurting and I have a weakness for guys who "suffer" so realistically. He rocks. Because he's Ryu Deok Hwan. And if you've seen his works, this is all you really need to say about his skills. He's Ryu Deok Hwan.

Ryu Deok Hwan
He also has hair on his knuckles... Well, it seems rare on K-celebs

Yoon Joo Hee is also very nice. She acts like a detective without acting too butch. She's still a woman and contrary to what most rom-com female leads do, she does not yell and act like a man (or rather a thug) to seem tough. She also has hair, make-up and clothes like a female cop instead of looking like she left the salon before and after every outing. Hardly any heels in sight too, but I suppose that is because Deok Hwan would disappear from the shot when standing next to her. She's already half+ a head taller than him with flat shoes. She is an ok actress for the part, likable and absolutely adorable when her more feminine/romantic traits come into play. She's cute, not cutesy.

Kyeong Hee
I just find her adorable and normal

The rest of the cast are solid actors, good for the characters they portray. We have a nerdy comic relief of a man who compliments Jin Woo very well and is generally quite an innocent and simple guy. The actor is a bit too slapstick at parts, but he's good. And we do have our very feminine and perfect looking woman, but she has a brain and acts like a professional, not a bimbo. I liked this actress a lot too and was sad to see she did not return for Season 2. The coroner lady is the Cerberus of the place and she's very nice, but will kick your ass if you don't behave. She's loud sometimes and she means business. And then we have "that guy". You know, one of them you see everywhere as it seems they have a shortage on middle-aged male actors for these things.

Choi Jeong Woo
He doesn't even have time to change his haircut between series and movies

The guest cast is also very talented. There are a few misses among the hits, but we have some nice known guest stars and also some less popular but good ones. However, most of the "this is an important role" guests are very good. And they need to be, in this kind of a series.

What You See

You see a very visually pleasing show. The CGI is good. No cheap stuff. The directing is lovely and there are some sequences that are just fantastic. The series has a dark tone, toned down colors and lots of cold filters. When a disease name is thrown, you get a "subtitle" that explains the disease, since it would feel very funny to have a bunch of professionals throwing definitions at each other just for our sake. But they seem to explain the important facts about it so that you don't miss out if you don't bother to read the text. Some of the flashbacks/how it happened scenes place Jin Woo in the action when he is thinking about how things went down. Quite an original approach and it works. Emphasizes how his brain works , what he feels about the events and helps the viewer to see things as he does as well.

Kim Tae Woo
And these are usually stunning too

The only turn off was that they blur the knives, which I'm guessing has to do with broadcast regulations in South Korea. It breaks immersion something fierce and if a show is running at midnight, you wouldn't think they'd need to hide a blade (even if they show blood, violence, violent and painful deaths). But apparently, they do. Well, South Korean television has many issues of outdated and irrational regulations, but hopefully, they'll proceed to the 21st century eventually and let people do their work. Other than that (and the occasional misspelled terms in foreign languages), I really can't fault this. It's good stuff.

"Don't come any closer! I will blur you to death!"

What You Hear

The sound is good, although there are occasionally some issues of scenes being louder than others. That might just be a problem of the file and not the actual sound of the series though. Still, it's barely noticeable and doesn't cause any problems for me. The music is nothing short of amazing and as you might have noticed in a previous post, I've gone through some pretty masochistic procedures to get my hands on those songs. The official soundtrack parts are nice and some insert songs are wonderful too. The actual score works well. Sound department gets a big thumbs up from me in general.

Some Things to Wrap Up

God's Quiz looks like a good quality crime/medical series. It looks polished and seems to have a nice budget, it's very cinematic, has cute moments, has sad and moving moments, it has characters you can warm up to and stories that pull you in. Do keep in mind, this has not been subbed yet and I do not understand too much korean. So, I am missing out on a LOT of things here. But I still get the gist of things and can still judge the show based on everything I do get. This has a good cast, good production value and is a great piece of work for the type of series it is. Hey, we even have some romance there! Can't really complain. I love it. Enough to go as obsessed about it as my blog suggests.

Who Will Like It

Anyone who appreciates these types of shows and a good piece of work. Lots of death, betrayal, power of greed and money. A lot of emotions, but not melo-silly. Good action, when it's there, witty humor and adorableness, some tears (if you're as sensitive as me), looots of lovely suspense. If you only care about romance, pretty dresses and designer homes/studios, you'll find this too dark and non fake.

I enjoy this, but I bet he enjoyed it more


I got what I expected from it. It's entertaining, it makes me laugh, cry, keeps me at the edge of my seat and generally makes me feel happy about spending 45 minutes per episode with these stories and characters. Even without the subs. Nothing is perfect and all, but this is as great by the standards so far. This is a very good series, in a genre that seems to be overshadowed in South Korea, by the things masses go for. Rom-coms, melo and sageuk. And it's a shame it's not getting the attention it deserves.

On the Fanboy Scale: Blood, violence, crime, some action, people with brains that use them. And also?

Lady power
More Lady Power
Yeah... I think you're gonna like this.

On the Fangirl Scale: Unless you dig one of the guests or find Ryu Deok Hwan cute, you're not going to like this. HOWEVER, there is looots of cuteness from him and the cop lady (I should really stop calling her that). There are moments that make me kyaa like a lemon makes me twist and shrink my mouth. It's an extreme reaction. If you have a brain in that noggin' and don't demand a series is non-stop "cuteness", you will appreciate the cuteness in this. This is for sane people who happen to be fangirls. Not fangirl material.

If he and his manpurses don't "roll your windows", then you won't have much gutter material here

*sigh*... Did I say this was going to be a "liiiittle review"? I didz, didn't I? I lied, apparently.. If you are interested in seeing this subbed, go to this post for further info. We're working on it, but more votes are always welcome. If you want to know even more, click on one of the tags about this. I've rambled a lot.

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