Christmas Came Early this Year

SBS, the network that keeps on giving. It is certainly on a roll this holiday season. Great for them, but subjectively and selfishly, even better for viewers.  

Daemul 대물(2010), ruling Wednesday-Thursday night with its tight storytelling and superb acting is a great start for SBS this season. Meanwhile, SBS’s marketing department continues to bait audience for the upcoming Jung Woo Sung’s small screen return spy thriller Athena: Goddess of War 아테나 : 전쟁의 여신(2010). Sandwiched between the solemnity of Daemul and adrenaline rush of Athena, SBS has found the perfect genre to transition the audience through this season- fantasy comedy. After all, tis the season of believing in a robust man dressed head to toe in a red and fur suit sliding down unsecured chimneys delivering elf-made toys so what’s in store is not too far from the magical mood of the holiday. With comparatively little leaks and only recently established teaser is Secret Garden 시크릿 가든 (2010), SBS’s major November debut starring Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won.

After the serious political leanings of Daemul, a good laugh over an audacious fantastical setup with plenty of sweetened quirky romance much like a cup of bacon hot chocolate (you haven’t tried that?!) to relax, reboot, and ready us for the ammo-heavy, thinking-light mayhem of international good guy bad guy chase fest that is Athena: Goddess of War is just what the drama psychologist calls for.

Last seen in his critically acclaimed performance in Friends, Our Legend 친구, 우리들의 전설(2009), displaying unexpected depth, tortured spirit, and complexity is Hyun Bin, who in Secret Garden tackles a no less challenging role playing a cold, introspective business man who has his world pulled out from him when he switches soul with a woman, played by recent box office darling Ha Ji Won.

Ha Ji Won’s character is a stunt woman aspiring to be an action director whose initial encounters with Hyun Bin are animosity-ridden and unpleasant.  It would make perfect sense that these two should get the end of the venom they spout since track record indicates the Universe just has the darnest sense of humor and panache for irony.

Soul-switching plotlines are usually moral lesson devices. Those involved always learn some valuable lessons through their time walking in each other’s shoes, quite literally. Nothing less can be in store for this photogenic pair. When the premise is already so silly, suspension of disbelieve is already a given, so no-holds-bar on the laughs is expected.

Secret Garden will air on November 13 as SBS’s weekend drama.

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