The Big 2: Sungkyunkwan Scandal and Doctor Champ
Basically, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is dictating my life right now. I am completely and irrevocably in love with that drama. It’s an addictive crack. I can guarantee that once you actually get into it, there’s go getting out until the drama ends (which is soon, bohoo!!)
When I first started watching in September, it was pretty quiet. Not much fanfare, except maybe Mickey Yoochun’s fanbase anticipating SKKS, but now, it’s awesome to see that the reactions only have been super hot lately. Even though they don’t do too well in ratings, at least they have gained the Mania Drama title. I know it sounds sentimental bullshit, but I’m really happy for them. Normally I don’t really care about ratings. My general view is that if rating is deserving then I shut up. But sometimes, when you happen to come across a fantastic, yet underrated drama (especially one you never expected to like so much before), you just feel this overwhelming feelings to root for the said drama. And as Sungkyunkwan is my IT drama at the moment, I just wish everyone would take notice of this hidden gem.
To give a brief background on the ratings, the drama started at around 6% and has just recently broken the double digit ground. Currently, the best rating is at 13% for the newest episode, 15. I know the doubling in size becomes less spectacular when you see the base as 6%, but keep in mind that Sungkyunkwan’s Scandal’s competitors have been 2 heavy-weight dramas, Dong Yi and Giant, both garnering around the 2os% each. So this is quite a feat for SKKS that its ratings actually go up. It’s a testament to its enduring quality.
By now, some are probably sick of my over the top praise of SKKS, and by no means I think the drama is perfect, but it’s pretty great. It’s one of the best school dramas I’ve seen in a while, if maybe ever. Not since Brilliant Legacy last year I have been this obsessed with a drama. I’ve liked quite some dramas in between (Harvest Villa, Oh My Lady, Sons of Sol Pharmacy, etc) but with those dramas, I was content to just… watch them. I didn’t try to join the discussions happening in Soompi or Youtube behind the scene videos or read up spoilers, but with SKKS, I am displaying the usual symptoms of drama obsession. Bottom line is, get your ass to whatever you can get to watch Sungkyunkwan Scandal. You’ll thank me later.
Can you believe that they got away with showing BUTT on national tv during prime time in KOREA?? This scene was hilarious by the way.
Doctor Champ is also another drama I didn’t expect to watch or like before it aired. I heard about the new Kim Soyeon project with Uhm Taewoong but that was it. So Doctor Champ is a medical sport drama. The story centers around the doctors and athletes of Taereung Athlete Village in Korea, which houses the nation’s best athletes. The drama takes a closer look at the Judo team. In a nutshell, we’ve got sweaty abs, testosterone, and hot ass wrestling each other. Honestly? That’s like 50% my motivation in watching.
Deciding to try it out, I literally fell in love with the first episode, like SO BAD. I thought the chemistry was abound, the pace was exciting, and the acting was full of heart. I immediately took to the hot tempered doctor Yeonwoo, the goofy judo athlete Jiheon, even Jiheon’s cute nephew.
As things progress however, that initial excitement has died down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still like it and I continue to tune in week after week, but the drama just turned out to be different than my impression and expectation in episode 1. I thought Doctor Champ would be the thrilling medical drama, with frantic sports emergencies. Turns out, it is a more laid back, slice of life drama. The drama portrays the daily activities around the athlete village and while there are exciting things happening, they are not the BIG! CRAZY! PLOT! TWIST! kind of thing. Which is fine by me, but in all honesty, I wish to see things picking up a little. And judging by the newest episode, 7, it has started to.
The rest: Playful Kiss, Fugitive Plan B, Joseon X-Files
I’m sort of amazed that I’m STILL sticking to Playful Kiss when I dumped My Girlfriend is a Gumiho just shortly after the halfway point. Playful Kiss is easy to get through, especially if you don’t hesitate to fast forward. I watch a one-hour episode in probably 15 minutes, stopping to see the occasional interesting scenes. In general, PK continues to be silly and crappy and messy. The messy part is probably credited to the manga cos I saw similar issues in It Started with a Kiss as well. Although, I will say that PK is a lot more enjoyable than ISWAK. If you were watching this frenchise for the first time, I will recommend watching PK. It’s more digestible, with better acting all around and fewer episodes (that makes me wonder, maybe the Japanese, with 9 episodes, would be the MOST enjoyable version!). I like most of the supporting roles in PK while I found their Taiwanese counterparts to be really lacking.
Fugitive Plan B started really really meh for me. I didn’t understand WHAT they were getting at, so I was horrified at the first episode. But once I read around reviews from other people, I started to appreciate it more. It’s funny, snazzy, and zippy. Visually, it’s a feast. Although sometimes I wonder if I’m watching a drama or a tourism ad, with so much vanity shots. I love Lee Jungjin and Yoon Jinseo, they’ve got FANTASTIC chemistry. Which is too bad because main leads, Rain and Lee Nayoung are seriously lacking exactly that, chemistry.
I had been meaning to watch Joseon X Files for a while, after seeing so many people raving about it. I’m 3 episodes in and I love it, it’s really gripping, in times a little scary actually. Plus I love seeing a capable non-gisaeng single woman earnestly working and kicking ass in Joseon time.
I’m pretty happy overall with the current crop of dramas. I love that right we now have a wide variety of themes and genre. We’ve got action and thriller, good ol romantic comedy, fusion sageuk, political drama, medical sports drama, the usual family oriented dramas, and so on. After the lackluster first half of 2010, it’s fantastic to see a rise in the second half.