So…. I’m more than half-way through Big, I Do, I Do and Dr. Jin and here’s my mid-way impression of the three dramas. Oh yeah, I couldn’t resist the pull from reading the recaps and started watching Dr. Jin. Let’s start with Big, the drama I wanted to love because of Gong Yoo, but I didn’t because I didn’t quite feel the chemistry 2 episodes in.
Obviously I continued watching and 10 episodes later, Big is the drama I’m most obsessing. I realize now that the litmus test for k-drama obsession if I start helping with the subs.
It’s not quite at crack level intensity like Queen In Hyun’s Man or The King 2 Hearts because there are some serious flaws. The secondary characters and their side stories are weak at best and down right annoying at worst. Anytime you can fast forward through their scenes without any missing anything is a bad sign. Too, there’s this huge question mark on how the drama is going to resolve the OTP issue. It’s currently at such an f-ed up situation, my mind just can’t compute a happy resolution.
The assumption is “happily ever after” because the drama is billed as a romantic comedy, thus, only a happy ending will be satisfactory. Billed as a melo or a black comedy, the anticipation would be different.
So, how did the drama turn into an obsession? It goes to show you how amazing actors can elevate a drama. Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung are just killing their respective roles. Gong Yoo’s played an angst-ridden high school before in Biscuit Teacher. As much as I hated the whole high school/teacher storyline, I finished watching because of him. And now I’m watching Big because he’s doing an amazing job of portraying a high school boy, starting to become a young man but trapped in a 30-something-year-old’s body. There’s been some criticism about Lee Min Jung and her character, Gil Da Ran, but I think she’s playing it pretty spot-on.
And of course there is the shallow factor. He’s just really, really hot. *giggle and blush* He’s not what I consider traditionally handsome, but he’s got so much charisma.
Anyway, now I’ll have to watch Big to the possible bitter end. Hong Sisters are known for their romantic comedies, but they are also the one that wrote Hong Gil Dong with the ginormous WTF ending so I’m not without basis for fear. 6 more episodes to go!
I Do, I Do is the drama I loved the most after 2 episodes. 12 episodes later, I have mixed feelings, but I like it well enough to finish it out.
The main problem is that the secondary characters are straight out of Korean drama sterotypes. Annoying secondary male lead that just doesn’t get it and keeps pushing himself on her; scheming secondary female lead who pulls mean stunts without remorse and no satisfactory explanation to the viewers as to why she’s got so much axe to grind; obligatory all powerful chairman/woman/president/ceo scheming regarding company succession; old-fashioned dads who yell and hit a lot and passive mom who is ruled by her husband. It took 12 episodes before some of these characters started breaking out of their stereotypes.
What I love about the drama is Kim Sun Ah. I’ve always thought she was a good actress, but I’ve never loved her characters. To be fair, I’ve only seen her in two other dramas. I love her Hwang Ji An. She plays the ambitious career woman/soon to be single mom in a society where that’s still very much taboo with so much depth. Her acting is really nuanced.
Finally, Dr. Jin, the drama I wasn’t planning on following at all is turning into the most interesting drama of the three I’m currently watching. Also, the most ambitious out of the three time-traveling saeguk fusion dramas so far this year. Queen In Hyun’s man, political intrigue aside was, in the end, a wonderful love story. Rooftop Prince had a great premise that went no where most of the drama and got caught up in makjang mess. Dr. Jin questions what happens to history when you place a modern doctor and his knowledge in Joseon-era.
The premise is fantastic and the drama is filled with great veteran actors. If only the writing, the directing, the editing, the cinematography, the score, the costumes, etc were better. I’ve never paid attention to cinematography in other dramas. In Dr. Jin, the quality is so bad, it stands out. Even the traditional hanbok costumes that are normally gorgeous in most saeguks look cheap and flat. Or it could be that they really are cheap. Other reviewers have mentioned high production value of Korean dramas and I finally understand what that means. Add to that inappropriate music placement, choppy editing and awkward segues from scene to scene, cliff-hangers that aren’t, it’s a wonder anyone continues to watch it.
Well, I continue to watch because the main story is interesting. Will history change due to Dr. Jin’s modern-era medicine interventions? Will he be able to return everything back to Joseon-era normal? If not, what are the consequences inJoseon time and to future Korea?