Friday, March 1, 2013

'The Virus' Not-Really-Vs 'End of the World'

Virus and End

As I mentioned a while back in my first videogame post (I should pick those up again), I love apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic settings. I love the exploration of what happens to people, rules, morality when the world seems to be going, or has long gone, to the crapper.

The two new Korean dramas I mention in the title are tapping into that interest and are therefore on my radar. Both 'The Virus' and 'End of the World' are about a mysterious disease outbreak and the people who need to fight it. While we don't know if the world really will end or even suffer a big blow, this is very interesting.

For one thing, Korea has issues with sci-fi and Kdrama, especially, has issues with pushing the boundaries and trying different genres. If these two touch upon science-fiction or are at least something we've never seen before and if they do well, even a little, it will hopefully be a very big nudge for the industry to realize breaking the mold can be good.

So here come descriptions, a couple of stills and videos, as well as my take on both series and explanation for the "Not-Really-Vs" part in the title.

The Virus

The Virus poster

Cast: Uhm Ki Joon, Lee So Jeong, Lee Ki Woo
Director: Choi Yeong Soo
Writer: Lee Myeong Sook
Network: OCN
Starting Date: 01 March 2013, Fridays at 22:00
Episodes: 10
Official Website:
OCN blog:
OCN Original Twitter:

Synopsis: Three days from infection to death! The special infection Crisis Task Force struggles with his short period infection to save the humans. The first virus thriller in the country.

The Virus1 The Virus2 The Virus3

End of the World

End of the World poster

Cast: Yoon Je Moon, Jang Kyeong Ah, Jang Hyeon Seong
Director: Ahn Pan Seok
Writer: Park Hye Ryeon
Network: jTBC
Starting Date: 16 March 2013, Saturdays & Sundays 21:55
Official Site:
jTBC Twitter:

Synopsis: While an unknown mysterious disease spreads, "At The End Of The World" is about the agony of a doctor and those around him.

The End1 The End2 The End3

First impressions:

"Wow" would be the word. I'm loving the visual and thematic styles of both series, loving the atmosphere and tone they seem to have and hope to get very dark works, despite some behind the scenes cuteness in some of the stills. I can't say I adore either cast and there are many members I do not know or am simply neutral to, but Jo Hee Bong is certainly not one of them. I love the man. 'The Virus' gets an extra cookie there.

Why Not-Really-Vs:

I hate it when netizens assume works are similar simply because of the premise. Most types of plots have been done and done again and a simple premise is not enough to group two things together. It's like comparing 'Gothika' and 'El Orfanato' because they're both about ghosts.

'The Virus' is an OCN work. You can expect hard, cold science, witty Mr. Funny characters and moments, stylish visuals and a mostly cool and collected non-melo approach. 'End of the World' looks more focused on the human side of things and the pain the people suffering from the illness and the team go through while fighting against it. It looks darker and the melodrama seems more intense here.

So what I'm saying is, "A team of scientists fighting against a deadly virus threatening Korea/mankind" is not enough to compare things we don't even know much about yet. You can go so many different ways with that premise, you can have different tones, plots and even genres, so why not enjoy the fact that we have two fresh-themed series coming out soon from good Korean channels?

I'm looking forward to and will be watching both of these. If there is good reason to compare, I'll do that too. I hope they do good. And I mean be good, not have good ratings. It's cable, so I hope the latter won't change anything.

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