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1st Place Winner - JangHaven's 2021 Most Anticipated Drama Korean Broadcast: tvN US Broadcast: Netflix Broadcast Schedule: 2021 About the Drama: Season 2 of Hospital Playlist continues the story of five surgeons who had become friends in medical school as their lives and careers intertwine. With episodic stories of the various patients who are treated by these surgeons as well as the hospital staff of doctors, residents, interns, nurses, and others, this drama presents a slice of life accounting of the lives of this group of friends who are dedicated to each other and their calling. In Season 1, the five friends were pulled together by Ahn Jung Won (pediatric surgeon) to all work at Yulje Medical Center, a teaching hospital, together as well as reforming their medical school band which was one of Yang Seok Hyung's (obstetric and gynecology) conditions for joining. But as life continues, there are challenges in store for both of them as well as for Chae Song Hwa (neurosurgeon), Lee Ik Joon (general surgeon) and Kim Joon Wan (cardiothoracic surgeon). While the setting is a hospital and there are plenty of medical cases, this drama is a slice of life drama which happens to be set amongst the staff of a hospital rather than a medical drama per se. Genre: Slice of life, Medical, Romance, Comedy, Drama
Those who know me well would know that I would get to this one eventually. I'm unashamedly a broken record on this. It ranks highly amongst my all-time favourites… as close to a perfect drama as they come. It is an exemplar in how to get the best out of an ensemble cast. Whatever it does, either in storytelling or eliciting viewer emotions, it does superbly. It’s hard to believe now that it wasn’t something that grabbed my attention straightaway when Netflix was promoting it. To be frank, I wasn’t at all keen about watching a drama about prison life until I discovered that the wonderful Jung Kyung-ho was in it. I am forever grateful to him for bringing this gem to my attention. A gem that I have revisited several times since which is no mean feat considering each episode is 80-90 minutes each. There is something inexplicably magical in this slice-of-life drama about the goings-on in detention centres and among their inhabitants. Perhaps it boils down to the crafting of the story. Props to PD Shin Won Ho and Writer Jung Bo-hoon for all their efforts in that regard.This prison backdrop seems to be an unlikely setting for a deeply moving and often hilarious story of male camaraderie. It isn’t all laughter and frolicking because the show doesn’t steer away from the darker side of prison life. The bleakness is undoubtedly felt but it is mitigated by a kind of gallows humour. Shin and Jung are indeed masters at playing with viewer expectations. The result being: I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. In fact I would often find myself on a rollercoaster ride of emotions from one moment to the next. The show revolves around baseball sensation, Kim Je-hyeok, who on the eve of leaving for a career in Major League Baseball is charged with manslaughter for inadvertently killing his sister’s assailant. He is convicted and unhappily for him, lands in prison for a year. Much of the action sees Je-hyeok navigating life in two detention centres (pre and post trial) with the help of his longtime friend Jun-ho, now a prison guard. He is also aided and abetted by other fellow travellers playing the game of prison Survivor. As if things aren’t tough enough, there are villains in this. Genuinely nasty types whose mission in prison is to make life more of a nightmare for Je-hyeok than it already is. Fortunately for Je-hyeok, he gets a little help from his friends (even from unexpected quarters), making the trials and tribulations of prison life a tad more bearable. The key to the show’s success, it seems to me, is the characters and the relationships. Long after we leave them (or when they leave us), we remember them. Their antics, highs and lows linger with us. Each story is told in flashbacks and we are privy to why those in Je-hyeok’s inner circle in particular end up in the slammer. There’s Min-chul, the cell boss who in his previous life was a gangster. During a nightclub brawl he ended up killing someone but escaped the hangman’s noose. In his early days in prison he finds God and in his spare moments, he reads his bible. Then there’s also Jean Valjean, his adopted prison “son” who stole a bread truck. Dr Ko, not an MD but a petition-writing former salaryman is a trusty colleague in the wood-working shop. Han-yang aka “Loony” is an immature but intelligent drug offender with Mummy issues that shakes the habit cold turkey in order to reconcile with his partner. Kaist the technical fix-it guy, and serial monogamist who is not exactly the nicest guy in the room has his story too. Some time later the former Captain Yoo Jung-woo, convicted of causing the death of a subordinate, joins them in that cell. Down the track, Je-hyeok is reunited with loyal fanboy Jailbird, completely living up to his nickname and the potentially dangerous Crony. Even in a show like this there’s time to throw in a tiny bit of romance into the mix. Je-hyeok’s push-pull, on again, off again relationship with childhood friend turned girlfriend, Ji-ho which has been so much a part of his life is also given air-time in flashbacks. Love and baseball does mix. Even while she’s on the outside, she is no less important to his headspace as he bemoans the unfairness of life. It also explains why when Je-hyeok falls into a slump, it’s Ji-ho to the rescue. Nobody, not even Jun-ho knows Je-hyeok better than her. The show also chronicles Jun-ho's blossoming very low-key romance with Je-hyeok's sister, Je-hee. One of the highlights of the drama is the way Je-hyeok maintains his baseball training in prison. I’m no fan of the game… a complete ignoramus in fact but I loved every single moment of those practice sessions where the men interacted and showed their growing affection for the one figure who brings them all together. It isn’t all about the inmates. The prison guards play a prominent role in this as well. Most seem to be kindly gents who do their bit to make life less onerous for those behind bars. Officers Pang, Song, Jun-ho become pally with those in Je-hyeok’s cell. Even the chief warden has a hilariously transactional relationship with his beloved celebrity prisoner which is looked on disapprovingly by the martinet 2IC. Considering the subject matter, I daresay this is undoubtedly one of the funniest and most heartwarming K dramas that I’ve ever seen. I consider this one of the best. It may start off slow for some but it’s not a bad way to waste 1300 minutes in any given week. I highly recommend it, my other half recommends it especially if you’re looking for something that doesn’t quite adhere to the usual K drama fare. Plot/story: 10 Cast: 10 Production Values: 10 Rewatch Value: 10
☕ How About Coffee ☕ Romaji: Coffee Ikagadeshou Japanese: 珈琲いかがでしょう Director: Naoko Ogigami, Yoshitaka Mori, Hiroshi Shoji Writer: Misato Konari (manga), Naoko Ogigami Network: TV Tokyo Episodes: 10 Release Date: April 5th 2021 Runtime : 11.06 pm - 11.55 pm Language: Japanese Country: Japan ☕ Plot ☕ Hajime Aoyama (Tomoya Nakamura) runs the mobile coffee shop Tako Coffee. Riding in his coffee truck, he goes from street to street. Along the way, he comforts the minds of people of who are wounded. Hajime Aoyama appears to not have a care in the world, but he has a secret. ☕ Notes ☕ Based on manga series "Coffee Ikagadesho" by Misato Konari (first published September 13, 2014 by Mag Garden). ☕ Cast ☕ Tomoya Nakamura - Hajime Aoyama ☕ Twitter ☕ ☕ Official Website ☕
Summary: When five long time friends are brought back to work in the same hospital as professors, great stories are bound to follow. We get to watch as each of the friends tackles life in their own way. Whether it be through love trials, illness or just general everyday life, these five will show you what true friendship goals are. Characters: Song Hwa is the professor of neurology who loves camping in her free time and makes her pals laugh with her off key singing voice. Next is Ik Jun, the professor of general surgery. He's a goofball who seems to be the most carefree of the group but he is also the most mature. He has an adorable little boy and their interactions are easily some of the cutest in the show. Then we have Jeong Won, a pediatric surgeon who has a weak spot for kids and all things winter. All of his siblings are nuns/priests and it's his dream to join them. Fourth is Joon Wan, the resident professor of cardiothoracic surgery. He appears cold and calculating but truly cares about and gives his all for his patients. Last but not least is our OBGYN, Seok Hyung. Great at his job, he truly enjoys life and just wants to spend time with those he loves. Review: This show has multiple seasons and the first season primarily focuses on character introduction and development. We get to learn the ins and outs of the friendship these five have shared since their med-school days and watch as they grow and support one another. While each episode tends to revolve around a specific set of patients, most of our attention is drawn to the friends and those who work in the hospital with them. The love lines span from quick burn romance that's just starting to a long divorced man who has no interest in love at all. The plot itself is very slice of life with a few memories thrown into the mix to explain the characters' backstories as we follow them in their everyday life. While some episodes, especially at the beginning, are very addictive other episodes barely held my attention long enough to get through the story. I will definitely be waiting to see what happens in the next season as I really love seeing the friends interact, but I don't really think I'll be re-watching more than a handful of scenes from this season. Pros: 1. The friendship is amazing to watch. Any scene with all of them together or Ik Jun with his son is pure gold. 2. Majority of the love-lines are cute but realistic. It's fun watching them unfold. 3. The songs on the OST are lovely, as are the songs the friends sing in their band scenes. Cons: 1. There are multiple seasons so if you're like me and don't want to wait long, this is not a show for you..... at least not until all the seasons are out. 2. Because there are multiple seasons, some of the pacing is really slow and it's hard to stay interested. 3. I wasn't a fan of the first romance that comes to fruition. It didn't feel very genuine to me and I kept wanting to fast forward through all their scenes. Plot/Story: 7/10 Cast/Acting: 10/10 Production Value: 9/10 Re-watch Value: 6/10 Overall: 8/10