First Impressions: Life, Thirty But Seventeen, Risky Romance, Witch’s Love, Your Honor, Time

I’m back! But this time I’ll be using an entirely different format which I think would better help you choose the drama you want to stick with. This new style would include What’s It About which tells you the drama’s plot in a nutshell; The Good or the strengths of the pilot episode; The Bad or its weaknesses; and The Verdict or my overall assessment as well as my suggestions. Ready? Let’s begin!

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Life
Network: jTBC
Genre: Medical, Suspense, Drama
No. of Episodes: 16 episodes (35 mins)

What’s It About? This drama is about the power struggle within a hospital following a suspicious death of a senior medical staff.

The Good The greatest strength of the pilot episode which was actually the one that kept the plot moving is the mystery around the suspicious death of senior hospital staff Lee Bo-hoon (Chun Ho-jin) who’s known for his good ethics. The incident triggered a lot of tension between the staff who have warring values and views but it’s a matter of time before we can tell who the good guys are and who are not. The two lead actors, Lee Dong-wook and Jo Seung-woo both have a very strong screen presence playing an ER department doctor and the hospital’s new chief, respectively and these two completely look like they are neither good nor bad characters and I’m definitely excited to see a showdown between them. There is a myriad of supporting characters but it’s Ye Seon-woo (Lee Kyu-hyung) I found really intriguing. I wonder what the writer wants to tell ask by having him pops in and out Ye Jin-woo (Lee Dong-wook)’s head in a lot of scenes. It’s actually a little creepy.

The Bad The pilot episode introduced a lot of characters in one swoop that it’s quite difficult to remember everyone. Add to the problem a complex narrative, then you’ll see yourself rewatching some of the scenes to understand what they’ve actually said and what was really going on.

The Verdict While a lot of dramas consciously try to veer away from workplace politics because it tends to bore the viewers, Life has taken a brave attempt to focus its attention on it, and whether that’s good or not, it’s only a matter of preference. There were some dragging parts during the first episode but Lee Dong-wook’s stunning visuals can compensate for it.

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Thirty But Seventeen
Network: SBS
Genre: Romance, Comedy
No. of Episodes: 40 episodes (35 mins)

What’s It About? The drama is about a woman who fell into a coma when she was 17 then wakes up 13 years after. She then meets a man whom she got acquainted with before the accident that led to her ‘sleep’ took place.

The Good What I really love about this show is its premise. We’re all familiar with the Sleeping Beauty story in which the princess after a long, long sleep wakes up because of her prince’s kiss and then, they live happily ever after. Well, it’s not the case for Woo Seo-ri who realized she’s been robbed off all the important years in her life after waking up from a coma. Shin Hye-sun gave a very convincing portrayal of the woman who had to struggle with the truth that time had already passed her by and she now has to live a grown-up life. The supporting characters are also very interesting especially the mysterious android-like housekeeper Jennifer (Ye Ji-won). I don’t’ want to overcomplicate things by thinking that there’s more to her character than meets the eye but I couldn’t help it because of she’s really bizarre. Also, Yang Se-jong and Ahn Hyo-seop are such eye candies.

The Bad I thought Yang Se-jong’s character Gong Woo-jin would be scarred by the accident that happened in the past but other than sporting a weird hair-do and get-up, he seems to not have any behavioral issues. Well, I’ve only watched a single episode so maybe we’ll figure it out in the episodes to come.

The Verdict Thirty But Seventeen looks to be a very promising romantic comedy with its quirky set-up, undeniable chemistry between the leads, and equally interesting secondary characters. However, tt’s Shin Hye-sun’s acting that impressed me so much that I replayed it a lot of times.

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Risky Romance
Network: MBC
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Medical
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (35 mins)

What’s It About? It’s about the romantic story between warm and understanding neurosurgeon Han Seung-joo who turned into a hot-headed person after the death of a close friend and the hormones-obsessed endocrinologist Joo In-ah who can’t help but feel intrigued towards his case.

The Good I had the lowest expectations for this drama so I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much thanks to the excellent acting of Lee Si-young and Ji Hyun-woo as two totally different doctors who found themselves intertwined with one another. I found myself cheering for In-ah while watching the show as she tried to do everything to find out what happened to Han Seung-joo who had a 360-degree transformation after a car accident. I also have my suspicions that the reason Seung-joo has a picture of In-ah could either be they’re a couple or that he harbors a crush on her. And wouldn’t it be exciting that as he tries to unravel the truth about In-ah whom he thinks the one who caused his best friend tragic heartbreak, he’ll find himself more and more drawn to her and realized that she’s actually someone that he really likes? I guess I’m going overboard with my theories.

The Bad The romance in this drama has the potential to be really fun but I’m just concerned about how this simple kind of a plot will pan out without being repetitive and boring for the rest of its run.

The Verdict It’s a bummer that this drama has got little attention and underwhelming response just because it doesn’t have the biggest names in the Korean entertainment industry. Give it a try!

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Witch’s Love
Network: MBN, DramaX
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
No. of Episodes: 12 episodes (60 mins)

What’s It About? It tells the stories of modern-day witches as they explore romance.

The Good There’s not much I really like about this drama aside from the fact that somehow Yoon So-hee has finally got a likable character as the girly and sweet witch Kang Cho-hong. If you are a sucker for a romantic comedy, then this could be one in your long list.

The Bad The pilot episode has failed to deliver a magical world that would lure you to keep watching the series. It’s like a fantasy book you read to your kids and by that I mean, grown-ups would find this one too childish and petty. Hyun Woo who’s already 33 still looks like a young boy forced to dress up like a grown-up and act as one. I never thought looking cute could ever become a problem. The restaurant owner who’s bugging our three witches is very annoying.

The Verdict It’s your stereotypical rom-com which tried to use magic as a gimmick to make it somehow unique but ultimately failed. It’s entertaining at times but you’ll completely forget about it as soon as you finish watching it.

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Your Honor
Network: SBS
Genre: Legal, Drama
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (35 mins)

What’s It About? It’s about a troublemaker who gets caught up in a situation where has to pose as his identical twin brother who’s a courtroom judge.

The Good There are a lot of good things that can be said about this drama. It has an engaging zero-to-hero storyline, interesting characters, great acting, and a fast-paced plot. The dynamics between trouble magnet Han Soo-ho (Yoon Si-yoon) and his mother (Kim Hye-ok) is the one that really hit me hard. They definitely love each another but somehow they got lost in translation. You can easily sympathize with Soo-ho who harbors resentment towards his mother because she has always favored his twin brother over him even if he’s in the wrong. But you cannot also help but pity the old lady who singlehandedly raised her children but got no love from them in return. The story of Song So-eun (Lee Yoo-young) and her struggle to fight sexual harassment during her internship is also a reason to watch the pilot episode of this drama. She may appear very vulnerable but I was pleasantly surprised when she called out his senior for sexually assaulting her even if it’s a downhill battle for her.

The Bad This story of a hero/heroine trying to live the life of someone whom he or she looks alike because of inevitable circumstances has been told over and over in dramaland that it’s sometimes tiring to watch because they tend to follow the same trajectory and make the story predictable.

The Verdict If two Yoon Si-yoon’s in one show isn’t enough to convince you to tune in, then let me add that this drama has a very solid story and well-developed characters. It’s no wonder this one is raking ratings in Korea right now.

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Time
Network: MBC
Genre: Melodrama
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (30 mins)

What’s It About? This drama is about the story of a terminally ill man who will do everything to help the woman whose life he ruined.

The Good This drama was a little marred with controversy when its leading actor Kim Jung-hyun demonstrated cold behavior during their press junket. His agency was quick to apologize and reasoned out that the actor was deeply affected by his character who in the drama only has days to live. I didn’t buy that alibi but after watching the pilot episode, I somehow understood where Kim Jung-hyun was coming from. His character who’s living life without any real direction has to suddenly face the fact that his days are numbered. His character had to go through a rollercoaster of emotions dealing with the tragic truth and this actor excellently played it out for cameras. Another worthy of attention is Seohyun’s so much improved acting. Like Kim Jung-hyun, Seohyun has a lot of emotionally charged scenes where she had to wail out loud like when the time she has found out about her sister’s death. The drama has a very heavy theme but it’s not hard to watch. I also very like the sharp and moody cinematography used in it that prevents it from feeling outdated.

The Bad The character sketches are very similar to the 2013 sleeper hit Secret which catapulted Hwang Jung-eum and Ji Sung back to the limelight. It both has an impoverished heroine whose life is peppered with one tragedy after another, a hot-headed rich male lead who falls for her and an ex-boyfriend who will betray her in the series. It might be a winning recipe but it would dull out originality if the writer won’t consciously try to distinguish its story from that reference. Both dramas are penned with the same writer, by the way.

The Verdict I actually love the show but I’m not ready for a tragic love story right now.

Busy Ahjussi’s Ranking:

  1. Thirty But Seventeen
  2. Time
  3. Your Honor
  4. Life
  5. Risky Romance
  6. Witch’s Love
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