Review – While You Were Sleeping
A perfect 10. Same writer that gave us Pinocchio, also a perfect 10 show. This is drama that managed to mix comedy, romance, thrills, and fantasy into one episode after the other of pure entertainment and joy. Lee Jong-Suk plays a young prosecutor who is learning the trade, stumbling hysterically along the way but still admirable due to his strong sense of justice. It was so refreshing to see a young man play a young man for once – naive, goofy, lounging about in a messy home as he sorts out his feelings and career. Bae Suzy plays a reporter who has quit her job because of an ominous dream. She’s carefree and yet complicated, her constant dreams of the future have crippled her ability to bravely face a world she believes she can not change. When Lee Jong-Suk’s character causes one of her premonitions to alter, she realizes the future isn’t as concrete as her dreams might imply and begins to climb out of her shell.
The entire cast is a goldmine of lovable characters with unique personalities and back stories. Each of them gets their moment to shine as this drama unfolds, allowing them all a chance to win your heart. Even the antagonists, in typical K-Drama style, are oddly sympathetic and though you will be cheering for justice, you’ll also feel a little bad for them too. Touchingly sweet moments full of sentiment and genuine affection were sprinkled throughout the show, nicely balanced between the intrigue and humor.
This will probably be my new choice for “First K-Drama” recommendation. I can’t imagine anyone not being charmed and compelled by this amazing story. If you haven’t seen it yet – watch it immediately! It’s currently on Viki.
Overall Rating – 10/10. Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This.
Character Breakdown, Spoilers, Thoughts and More follow…
Review – Doctor Stranger
What an odd little show. I have so many conflicting emotions about this drama – because there were so many things I really, really liked and quite a few things I wished I could have vetoed in the writer’s room. But overall – it’s one of the few medical dramas I enjoyed.
Plot: A brilliant surgeon and his young son are sent on a secret diplomatic mission to North Korea – only to be betrayed by their own country and kept by the North Koreans! The young man grows up there, following the footsteps of his father to become a doctor, but due to the lack of equipment and technology, learns “old school.” His childhood sweetheart and fiance is taken by the secret police shortly after agreeing to marry him. When he’s near graduation, he is taken by the government to a secret facility to perfect his craft of heart surgery, by devious and nefarious means. He spends several years imprisoned in this nightmarish place – secretly searching for his fiance. He finally finds her right when his opportunity to escape the country presents itself – and attempts to flee with his lady love only to lose her in the process. Several years later, in South Korea, a series of events leads him to be hired as a new surgeon at a prestigious hospital. There he meets a woman who looks identical to his fiance, but claims not to know him. Who is this mysterious woman? And will he ever find his lost love? While all these burning questions linger, there is an awesome new woman in his life who vies for his heart… but can he ever escapes the secrets of his terrible past and get over his first love?
Overall Rating – 8/10. Pyongyang Medical School is Not For The Faint of Heart.
More Discussion and Spoilers Follow….
Review – Pinocchio
Every once in a while a finely tuned drama like this comes along and grabs you unaware. The premise seemed simple, almost silly. I thought it was going to be another cheesy romance with some silly work comedy thrown in. Oh how wrong I was.
This is one of those rare shows that just does everything right. Every character is well developed. They give you enough time to explore the world – the family and friends and dynamics of relationships. No one feels plastic or cliche. By the end of episode five, you have a deep commitment to all the players on the stage. It isn’t just about a cute couple falling in love. This is a drama about lots of people and how interpersonal relationships shape your life, for better and worse.
The Plot, Short Version: After inaccurate news coverage leads to tragedy, a young man grows up and tackles the enemy from the inside by becoming a reporter.
Overall Rating – 10/10. Do Reporters Go To Heaven or Hell?
Review – W – Two Worlds
Every once in a while a drama pops up with a premise so outside the box that you can’t help but love it. Even if it gets caught up in twists and turns and makes a big messy knot of its own plotline. Even if describing it to friends makes you tongue tied. Even if just trying to REMEMBER all the random turns and sharp angles and unexpected twists makes you feel crazy. Even if you could have chopped off the last five episodes and not missed anything. You forgive it. Cause… wow. The plot! The amazing, spectacular plot!
W Two Worlds is a story about a hero. A hero the likes of which only exist in our fantasies. In comic books. In graphic novels. In Korean Dramas….
This drama is full of action and adventure. It’s a mystery. It’s a thriller. It’s a science fiction show. It’s a dark fantasy and a fairy tale mixed together in a blender. It’s all over the place! And it’s fun. It’s really, really fun… cause honestly, there is NO WAY you will guess what’s going to come next. From episode to episode. It just keeps changing shape, changing genre, changing our expectations. It’s a glorious chameleon of superb and complicated writing, solid acting, and no holds barred imagination.
Our hero is the star of this show (in the general sense and in the meta sense). He’s an Olympic sharp shooter. He’s orphaned by an unspeakable crime that he’s framed for. He’s a man on a quest for vengeance. And he’s inexplicably wealthy, young, and attractive. Basic hero formula.
Only he’s NOT REAL.
He is the creation of a writer in another dimension. He is the main character in a graphic novel. The world he lives in exists for him and because of him. And his story line is about to come to an end… the writer is finishing the series and finishing off our hero with it.
But our hero is not ready to be put down!
Remember that old video to Take On Me by Ah Ha?
Rating: 8/10. A twisted, convoluted, extraordinarily fun show that proves reality is what you make it… and what it makes you.
Let’s Discuss! SPOILERS AHEAD… but not very many….