First Impressions: Rich Man, Poor Woman, Wok of Love, Secret Mother, Investigation Couple

Too many dramas, too little time. I know you’ve got the same dilemma especially when all of them seem to be promising in their own rights. Without further ado, here are your newest drama offerings.

Rich Man, Poor Woman
Network: MBN
Genre: Romantic Comedy
No. of Episodes: 16 episodes (60 mins)

To be honest, this Korean adaptation of the popular Japanese drama of the same title has got the most little interest from me. I was actually reluctant to watch it but because I had to give a review, I managed to do it! But good thing I did because for some strange reason, I did like it. This drama is about ‘rich man’ Next In CEO Lee Yoo-chan (EXO’s Suho) and ‘poor woman’ Kim Bo-ra (Ha Yeon-soo) who dreams of landing a job who then meet each other (then obviously fall in love).

I dreaded the first few minutes seeing familiar tropes I’ve seen countless times in my history of drama-watching. We’re introduced to the haughty Yoo-chan who at the age of 29 has his own successful IT company and the hardworking-but-has-no-luck lad Bo-ra. But then as the drama progressed, it actually grew on me and found myself smiling as I watched it, thanks to the cast’s commendable acting. I do love Ha Yeon-soo’s natural acting that I couldn’t help but sympathize with her circumstances. I was also awed by Suho, who despite having minimal acting credentials, excellently gave life to the boss who just loves grandstanding whenever he gets the opportunity to do so. I also appreciate that there’s no workplace politics [as of this writing] creeping in the background and that our potential rival Min Tae-joo (Oh Chang-suk) is actually nicer than our main lead.

Verdict: The story is conventional but acting is praiseworthy. And the mystery around who Kim Bong-hoon is and her connection to Yoo-chan and Bo-ra was actually an effective cliffhanger that I’m itching to check out the next episode. Also, do you know how can a score a job at Next In?

Wok of Love
Network: SBS
Genre: Romantic Comedy
No. of Episodes: 40 episodes (35 mins)

If Rich Man, Poor Woman went under my radar, Wok of Love was the one I was waiting for with so much anticipation because of its promising cast: Jang Hyuk, Jung Ryeo-won, and Lee Junho. And yes, this trio delivered!

The drama is about Chef Seo Poong (Lee Junho) was once a star chef and worked at the best Chinese restaurant. But because of a string of undesirable events, he lost his popularity and ended up working for a failing Chinese restaurant owned by Doo Chil-seong, an ex-gang member. Add to the mix, chaebol heiress Dan Sae-woo (Jung Ryeo-won) who is ought to get bankrupt (according to the synopsis on the net), then we’ve got a story of three people who will try to get back on their feet against the odds.

It’s only the pilot episode but I already loved all our main characters, particularly Sae-woo who couldn’t help but be nosy and meddlesome with other people’s affairs. She’s not the stereotypical rich heiress who loves to show off her wealth but she is sure chatty but not in an annoying way. Seo Poong’s character is the perfect boyfriend you could hope for with his great skills both in cooking and being a romantic partner, but too bad his girlfriend cheated on him. Lastly, Chil-seong appears very interesting despite having not many details about him, thanks to the portrayal of the great Jang Hyuk. The characters alone are wonderful but the story is yet to pick up, so I guess I need to watch a few episodes more.

Verdict: The pilot episode did make feel hungry with all those sumptuous Chinese dishes but it’s the stellar cast that is making me crave for more. I reckon this drama is making our Grumpy Ahjumma a little less grumpy these days, so you better check out her drama reactions to this drama.

Secret Mother
Network: SBS
Genre: Thriller, Drama
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (35 mins)

We’re done with rom-coms. Now, let’s talk about this new female-centric thriller Secret Mother.

SBS’s Secret Mother is about psychiatrist Kim Yoon-jin (Song Yoon-ah) who quit her job to focus on her son and her husband. She, then, hires a suspicious private tutor (Kim So-yeon) to help with the studies of her child. Both of them are harboring a dark secret that links them. Sounds vague? I reckon its to keep the mystery going.

I love everything about this drama if I were to based on the pilot episode–from the compelling story to the intriguing characters. The tension between the two female leads is very effective that I was on edge every time they’re on the screen together, apprehensive of what to happen next. Song Yoon-ah impeccably portrayed the frantic Yoon-jin who tends to lose her head every time things go wrong while Kim So-yeon flawlessly breathed life to the two-faced lady who’s keen to carry out her plan. We’ve also got a strong supporting cast in the persons of the three neighborhood ahjummas who are also acting strangely.

Verdict: There’s a heap of questions thrown right off the bat in the first episode, but rather than confusing you, it will hype your curiosity more and more.

Investigation Couple
Network: MBC
Genre: Crime, Mystery
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (35 mins)

Finally, to the newest drama to hit the airwaves–Investigation Couple, the crime drama from MBC. It’s about a forensic doctor and a neophyte prosecutor who work together to solve criminal cases. And that’s exactly what you’d get in its first episode.

Jung Jae-young plays Baek Beom, a forensic doctor with the NFS who’s experienced and great in his work but has a bad temper while Jung Yoo-mi is rookie prosecutor Eun Sol who’s clumsy but is bright and warm-hearted. The pilot episode was straightforward about the direction it wanted to take and that’s law enforcement authorities working together to solve criminal cases. Unlike many dramas, the characters seemed to have chosen their respective work simply because they just liked to, not because of hidden agendas like wanting to exact a revenge or realizing an unfinished business. However, we’ve seen a snippet of Baek Beom’s tragic backstory through a flashback, but how that would play out in the entire story, we’re yet to know. Clearly, this drama aims to be a procedural one, which I believe is the appropriate route to take especially when you have forensic science as one of the subjects.

Verdict: It’s a procedural drama that might scare other people away, but it’s one that is done right and done well. I only had hard a time convincing that Lee Yi-kyung’s character was not Laughter in Waikiki’s Lee Joon-ki finally doing a major role. LOL.

Busy Ahjussi’s rating:

  1. Secret Mother
  2. Wok of Love
  3. Rich Man, Poor Woman
  4. Investigation Couple

What’s yours?

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