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  1. Crash Landing On You 사랑의 불시착 Director: Lee Jung Hyo Writer: Park Ji Eun Original Broadcast: December 14, 2019 to February 16, 2020 Starring: Hyun Bin Son Ye Jin Kim Jung Hyung Seo Ji Hye Background Crash Landing On You was always going to have a troublesome public perception issue on its hands. It was telling the story of a cross border romance between a North Korean military officer and a South Korean heiress in the modern day, and treat it as more of a romantic comedy rather than a melodrama or a tragedy as other works have done. The issue has to do with the fact that a Korea that has been divided for going on seven decades not only exists, but that North Korea is the most reclusive and repressive regime in the world today, with families still divided. The division of Korea is still a very sore point for many people in both North and South Korea, with a hope of reunification still a very hot topic. While the lengthy separation and development of the two Koreas has led to marked differences and cultural alienation, CLOY tackles the task of trying to humanize the North Koreans to a South Korean (and international) market. As such, its depiction of the North Korean village where most of it is set is to treat it as a bucolic rural village with comedic touches of black market trade, inconsistent public transportation, and village hierarchy based on the official positions of the husbands or other family members. The drama does make brief references to the beggar orphans who lead appalling lives as non-persons in NK and to the all-invasive, all-controlling state, but these references are marginalized or not referenced for most of the drama until near the end. As such, it does a good job of creating sympathetic North Korean characters, but it may do so at the expense of the most prominent of the South Korean characters who are depicted as greedy, suspicious, fake, back stabbers whose primary concern is for themselves. Not all South Korean characters are depicted as such, of course, but the ones who aren’t do not have much of a role. But, the question remains whether with this is as a backdrop, the romantic comedy worked as a plot, and actually, it does for a majority of the story. The OTP have good chemistry together making you want to root for them to be together and happy. Plus, they have the kind of dialogue which is both playful and earnest which makes them a fun watch and listen. Plot and Review - warning - major spoilers Commentary It may be my personal gripe that the ending doesn’t offer much of a resolution to whether they are able to be together or not. Given that this drama was a comedy, I thought that it would eke out a happy ending of some kind. I had wondered if the drama would tackle the idea of reunification in some future Korea which would finally enable the OTP to be together, or whether it would separate them, or just give them an unrealistic happy ever after ending somewhere even if it went agains their portrayed characters. But instead, the drama uses a bit of a cheat to delay that question of whether the OTP can truly be together. Again, it’s a clash of what the drama is trying to accomplish coming up against the realities of using a real world setting and scenario. Ultimately, this drama felt very busy and not very engaging when it wasn’t focusing on the central chemistry and romance of the OTP. Even the second lead romance felt as if it lacked spark and progression, despite some really emotionally touching moments, especially by Kim Jung Hyun as the amoral conman who actually turns out to be a pretty good guy, Goo Seung Joon. Goo Seung Joon had the only true moment that gave me pause in the final episodes as he’s running away from NK soldiers who want to take him in for questioning. There is a moment where he is hiding, and some NK street orphans are complicit in hiding him. GSJ comments that the orphan is also like him in that neither of them have any parents nor anyone to cry for them when they die. GSJ’s sparse back story as an orphan parallels CCG’s story of being an orphan, and is reflected in this moment with the nameless street orphan that GSJ addresses. However, this issue of orphans being disposable people whether they grow up in NK or SK isn’t really explored, but rather put into a pithy observation. Despite that, this drama really relies on the chemistry between Hyun Bin’s RJH and Son Ye Jin’s YSR. They actually demonstrated their chemistry before in the cat-and-mouse thriller of The Negotiation, and their romance sparks are good enough that it’s created a legion of real life shipper fans as well. HB’s comedic timing was shown to great effect in Secret Garden, but it is more refined here and burnished with his action star credentials as well as his generally acclaimed dramatic acting skills. Son Ye Jin slides easily into her role here as one which is similar to roles that she has done before in her diverse repertoire of roles. Both visually and chemistry-wise, they do make a great OTP. It is in the actual story itself that I found flaws in depiction, execution, and satisfaction. It is hard to separate out the real world aspects that this drama doesn’t reflect as it pertains to their romance if it had been real. While I watched it the first time wondering how they planned to resolve their various issues, the ending left me unsatisfied enough that I don’t really feel the need to watch it again, even for the great OTP chemistry. Ratings: Plot/story 6 Cast/acting 9 Production Value 8 Rewatch Value 3 Overall 7
  2. Run On 런 온 Director: Lee Jae Hoon Writer: Park Min Sook Broadcast: December 16, 2020 Broadcast Station: JTBC/Netflix Main Cast: Im Shi Wan as Ki Sun Gyeom Shin Se Kyung as Oh Mi Joo Choi Soo Young as Seo Dan Ah Kang Tae Oh as Lee Young Hwa This is a romance drama that tells the story of Ki Sun Gyeom and Oh Mi Joo. Ki Sun Gyeom was once a popular athlete, a sprinter, on the national team until he had to quit due to some legal troubles. Afterwards, he starts working as a sports agent. Oh Mi Joo writes subtitles for movies, and is thrilled to see her name in the end credits. Sun Gyeom and Mi Joo meet as Sun Gyeom quits his sport, and Mi Joo feels as if they were destined to meet. Seo Dan Ah is the CEO of a sports agency, and the only daughter of the Seomyung Group. However, because she's a woman, she is not considered to be a potential successor to the Group. This causes her to live fiercely, trying to take back what she feels is rightfully hers. Dan Ah then meets Lee Young Hwa, a university student majoring in art who likes movies. credits: wikipedia.org, asianwiki.org, IMDb This drama could be called an idol drama in that 3 of the 4 leads are idols or idol wannabes. Shin Se Kyung is the only one who started in acting as a child actress and has continued to be a female lead in numerous productions. Im Shi Wan may have started his career with ZE:A, but has proven himself through numerous roles, so that he's shed the title of 'idol actor.' Choi Soo Young is a member of Girl's Generation. Kang Tae Oh is a member of 5urprise which is an actor group, but I honestly don't know what that means. The director of this drama, Lee Jae Hoon, has directed 'Page Turner', 'Chief Kim', and 'Ghost Detective', all solid shows that showed a steady directorial hand even with sometimes outlandish material. drama website (in Korean): http://tv.jtbc.joins.com/teaser/pr10011252
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