Tag Archives: January 2011 drama

Anticipated Unhappiness With Paradise Ranch

There should be a clause in an actor’s contract stating that if said actor becomes objectively more popular and successive as scientifically measured by search queries rise and interests from the blogsphere in the course of his/her current role, his/her current role would be revised to reflect the rise in success or he/she can leave the project without penalty. Wishful thinking, but one can wish. This sentiment comes on the heel of news that Paradise Ranch 파라다이스 목장(the title sounds like something the late Aaron Spelling’s would be pleased to call his own), a simple concept of young newlyweds encountering marital and life challenges in their little neck of the world on a ranch in Jeju Island, has secured a broadcast slot for premiere in late January. The sympathy is directed towards the actor playing the second male lead for this sucrose oozing, almost shelved, thus further disencouraging, drama- Joo Sang Wook.

Fresh off his recently ended, more current rating powerhouse and award-winning drama Giant 자이언트, whose success he greatly contributed to and deservedly lauded for, JSW’s next project is highly anticipated. The only logical consequence for viewers would be to see him next as the male lead in a substantive project or participant in another top-notch ensemble piece deserving of his talent and new status. But instead, due to the chronologically uncorresponding relationship between a drama’s filming and its actual broadcast, JSW’s pre-Giant project Paradise Ranch will be shown now, where JSW was relegated to nondescript second male lead. Since PR was meant to be mega-popular, albeit truncated, boy group DBSK member Choi Kang Chang Min’s acting debut, he is the naturally the lead. ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, and in this case, curiosity can lead to eye-gorging, muscle-cringing experience from watching newbie idol-turn-actor try to act. There’re too many painful past experience as data support.

It might really be a service to everyone if PR gets shelved. SBS will continue its recent winning run ahead of the network race since the last quarter of 2010 with uncannily entertaining dramas i.e. Giant, Daemul, Secret Garden, Athena. The two leads, Chang Min and Lee Yeon Hee (East of Eden) get paid training in acting free of audience’s criticism, and Joo Sang Wook and management can stop fantasizing about stealing and burning those PR tapes and move on to selecting bigger and better projects. The only potential loser in this scenario is the production company, but even then some degree of tax-deductible business loss write-off is possible. A retraction anyone…?

My Princess’s Edict

When casting news of a new drama called My Princess 마이 프린세스 (2011) came out, it could not be helped that a most sarcastic reaction and laughing bout duked it out trying to burst out from me. But seriously, are the producers insane to let two of the most infamously bad actors anchor the same project? Who else can it be but Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee, well known for their lack of acting skills despite years in the industry with innumerable opportunities to hone and improve upon them. At the same time, because they are also just as well known for their blessed physicality which has garnered them a much more positive response, they have been able to coast by on them. In the past, they were each fortunately paired with good to exceptionally talented co-stars, thereby minimizing the collateral damage they leave behind in their earnest efforts to emote any believable, uncringe worthy emotions. But now, on their own, it waits to be seen if their looks can save them.   

This harsh statement is made after having endured hours of their latest spectacular performance failures- East of Eden 에덴의 동쪽 (2008) for Song Seung Heon and IRIS 아이리스 (2009) for Kim Tae Hee.  Even Song himself was embarrassed and apologetic for having won the end of year Daesang award in acting as evidenced from his subsequent public posts on his webpage and other outlets. Why he won would beg a separate post on the behind-the-scene industry politiking and drama of self-promoting awards shows.

As if the casting match is not befuddling enough, the character descriptions ought to slam dunk one to the ground in hysterical fits- Song will play a chaebol bred career diplomat while Kim will play an ordinary late-entry college student. Really? Song who’s known for his lack of and short range for conveying facial expressions and intent and  Kim who’s known as the smart Seoul National University graduate student?

The premise is almost your typical romantic-comedy pinwheel set up: the two leads are mutually attracted, while there are one-sided second leads whirling around them scheming to break them up and/or pining away at them. Park Ye Jin who played Princess Cheonmyeong  in 2009’s Queen Seon Deok 선덕여왕 is said manipulator out to re-steal Song’s character for herself out of jealousy at her former boyfriend’s new relationship. Ryu Soo Young from 2008’s Lawyers of Korea 대한민국 변호사 takes on his first project after being discharged from his military service will be an archeology and art history professor crushed on by his female students but who secretly crushes on Kim’s character. Neither second leads are compellingly strong actors either judging from their filmography, which only adds to the disenchantment and lukewarm anticipation for this project. The only factor in this production that may save, if not miraculously turn it into a winner is the confirmed fact that Kim Eun Sook will be the writer, whose current work on Secret Garden 시크릿 가든 (2010) is romping fun to behold.

My Princess will tell how Kim’s character literally becomes a princess. This will certainly add an additional layer to the mounting demands of suspension of disbelief the producers are requiring as Korea does not have a monarchy last checked. Will there be another caveat at the beginning similar to Goong’s 궁 (2006)? I’m frightened to watch this, but simultaneously compelled to see how it pains out.

My Princess is slated for a January release on MBC Wednesday-Thursday evenings taking over Home Sweet Home‘s 즐거운 나의 집 timeslot.