Title: Doctor Stranger
Duration: 60 min.
Aired: May 5, 2014 to Jul 8, 2014
Cast: Lee Jong Suk, Park Hae Jin, Kang So Ra, Jin Se Yeon
Genre: Drama, Medical, Romance, Thriller
The Synopsis: As a child, Park Hoon and his father were kidnapped by North Korea. In North Korea, Park Hoon was trained to become a doctor by his father who was already a doctor. Park Hoon became a genius like chest surgeon.
He then flees to South Korea. Park Hoon begins to work as a doctor in South Korea’s top hospital Myeongwoo University Hospital, but he feels like a complete outsider. To bring back his love from North Korea, he does anything to make money.
The Review: Let’s get this out of the way; the suspension of disbelief is very important in this drama. It gets pretty ridiculous at times, even for kdrama standards. I’m still appalled that they had surgical competitions that gambled with the lives of their own patients, and managed to drag it out for almost the entire drama. Not to mention Park Hoon had this almost supernatural ability to hold a heart and be able to “feel” what was wrong with it. Seriously?
Title: Kazoku Game
Duration: 46 min.
Aired: Apr 17, 2013 to Jun 19, 2013
Cast: Sakurai Sho, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Uragami Seishu, Itao Itsuji, Suzuki Honami, Kutsuna Shiori
Genre: Family, Life, Psychological, School
The Synopsis: The story revolves around an eccentric home tutor named Yoshimoto, who is hired to teach the second son of the Numata family. While being tossed around by the weird and unconventional home tutor, the remedial student and his family gradually start changing. Though the previous movie/dramas featured a fiercely competitive high school entrance examination as its main theme, the 2013 version will also feature some modern problems like bullying and school refusal.
The Review: Kazoku Game translates into what this show is all about, “Family Game.” Sakurai Sho, as Yoshimoto, agrees to be Shigeyuki’s tutor, but he is teaching the whole family. Each of the family members has different problems in the ways they act, think, and communicate. There is the mother, who cares more about how her family is perceived by the neighbors and has lost touch with her own children; the father, who pays no attention to his own family. The children consist of the older brother, Shinichi, who does not show any feeling for his family or guilt about hurting others, and the younger brother, Shigeyuki, who hides himself away at home and refuses to face the harsh realities of the world.
Title: Witch’s Romance
Duration: 60 min.
Aired: Apr 14, 2014 to Jun 10, 2014
Cast: Uhm Jung Hwa, Park Seo Joon, Han Jae Suk
Genre: Comedy, Romance
The Synopsis: Ban Ji Yeon is a single 39 year-old woman. She works as a reporter and is very enthusiastic about her work. So much so that she is often called a “witch” at work. She doesn’t believe in true love, because of her past experience when her boyfriend disappeared prior to their wedding. Yoon Dong Ha is 25 year-old young man who runs a small errand center with his friend. He looks like a happy guy, but he lost his girlfriend by an accident. Sparks fly when Ji Yeon and Dong Ha meet, and despite the age difference, they find a lot in common with each other, including their scarred hearts.
The Review: My love for this drama is strong. It is the one of the cutest, sweetest stories I have come across in dramaland. A lot of this has to do with the very strong execution. As I outlined in my previous post, Witch’s Romance relies on a large number of kdrama clichés. It doesn’t get caught up in these rom-com staples, though, and instead uses them as a means to bring these two wonderful characters closer together. Anyway, let’s be honest here, you don’t watch a romantic comedy for a unique, or even realistic, story. The adorable cheesiness of Witch’s Romance is actually one of its main draws. However, it does, thankfully, avoid the usual plethora of misunderstandings and drawn out storylines typical to kdramas.
Title: The Thieves
Duration: 2 hr. 19 min
Release Date: Jul 25, 2012
Director: Choi Dong Hoon
Cast: Kim Yoon Suk, Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Jeon Ji Hyun, Kim Hae Sook, Kim Soo Hyun, Yam Simon
Genre: Thriller, Crime
The Synopsis: Popie, Yenicall, Chewingum and Zampano are a team of professional thieves in South Korea. After they score a valuable antique vase, they hear from Macao Park in which he proposes a highly lucrative new job in Macau. In Hong Kong, a separate crew waits for the Korean thieves. When the Hong Kong and Korean teams finally meet, tension rises immediately between the two groups. Macao Park then enters the meeting and lays out the plan. Their goal is to steal the “Tear of Sun” diamond. The diamond itself is currently in the possession of ruthless criminal Wei Yong. Furthermore, the diamond is stashed safely in the suite room of a Macau casino & resort. Macao Park also lays another bombshell. He can easily sell the “Tear of Sun” diamond for $20 million dollars. Now the two teams work together in what will surely turn out to be the heist of their lives, but the 10 thieves all have their own agendas.
The Review: I am a huge fan of heist movies, so I was looking forward to watching The Thieves. It’s directed by Choi Dong Hoon and was incredibly successful in South Korea. The film follows a group of Korean thieves that team up with a group from Hong Kong, and together they plan to steal a diamond that’s being held in a casino. It’s a slick and glossy production that spans multiple international locations. They don’t shy away from using different languages which was nice to see. It is a lot like the Oceans movies, but with a slightly darker and grittier tone. It’s highly entertaining, exciting, and action-packed.
Duration: 54 min.
Aired: Apr 10, 2014 to Jun 5, 2014
Cast: Oguri Shun, Aoki Munetaka, Endo Kenichi, Haru
Genre: Detective, Thriller, Psychological
The Synopsis: Ango Ishikawa is a detective with smarts and a keen sense of observation. He’s in great physical shape and also highly ambitious. Ango also only focuses on his work and his personal life is pretty much non-existent. One day, a former police officer is killed by a gun shot. Ango goes to the scene of the crime, but is shot in the head by the killer who is lurking at the crime scene. Ango hovers between life and death. At that time, he thinks to himself “Where do people go after they die?” and then “I don’t want to die.” A miracle then happens. Ango survives with the bullet still lodged in his head. He goes back to work. Since Ango was shot, he can now see and talk with the dead.
Title: Special Affairs Team Ten 2
Duration: 1 hr. 14 min.
Aired: Apr 14, 2013 to Jun 30, 2013
Cast: Joo Sang Wook, Jo An, Kim Sang Ho, Choi Woo Shik
Genre: Action, Crime, Detective, Psychological, Suspense, Thriller
Related Content: Special Affairs Team Ten
The Synopsis: TEN is an elite criminal investigation unit that tackles the most violent crimes in South Korea. The team is led by the cool and mysterious detective Yeo Ji Hoon. He’s joined by veteran detective Baek Do Shik, female detective Nam Ye Ri, who has great psychological reasoning powers, and rookie detective Park Min Ho.
The Review: This season started off incredibly strong. The first two episodes managed to pack in all of the high suspense, tension, and character background that was sorely lacking from the first season. Man, was it good. Just when I thought I knew what was happening and who the real bad guy was, everything was pulled out from under my feet.
Title: Special Affairs Team Ten
Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
Aired: Nov 18, 2011 to Jan 13, 2012
Cast: Joo Sang Wook, Jo An, Kim Sang Ho, Choi Woo Shik
Genre: Action, Crime, Detective, Psychological
Related Content: Special Affairs Team Ten 2
The Synopsis: “Special Affairs Team TEN” is a criminal investigation unit that tackles the most violent crimes in South Korea. These crimes usually have less than a 10% rate for arrests. They chase the most notorious killers who attempt to commit the perfect crimes. Yeo Ji Hoon is a former top-notch detective, but now works as a professor. He then becomes the leader of Special Affairs Team TEN. Nam Ye Ri has been a detective for 4 years. She joins Special Affairs Team TEN because of her psychological reasoning powers. Baek Do Sik is a 24 year veteran detective. He possesses a keen sense of intuition, which he honed from his many years as a detective. Park Min Ho is a new detective. He joins Special Affairs Team TEN after impressing Professor Yeo Ji Hoon with his reasoning powers.