Tag Archives: SBS 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…?

Jang Hyuk’s Midas Touch

Who would’ve imagined that the Jang Hyuk from back in the days as the prototypical dorky cowering boyfriend to uber alpha girlfriends i.e Shin Mina and Jeon Jihyun could transform into such a delicious scroundel complete with reverberating gruff throaty voice, scruffy facial stubbles, and six- (maybe even eight-) pack choco abs. But here he is, in contention- rumored or what not- to lead the best scripts floating around where his potential roles’ characters are craft without a speck of sugar.

After last year’s all around cinematic K.O. Chuno (2009), Jang Hyuk had been in talks to lead dramas such as romantic-fantasy Secret Garden (2010) and action-adventure Poseiden (2010), which ultimately didn’t pan out, delaying seeing this surprisingly wide-ranged transformative actor sooner. Last seen in the Chinese remake of All About Eve (2010), taking on the character Jang Dong Gun played in the Korean version (2000), he has finally confirmed his latest project- Midas.

Midas will be broadcast on SBS network (which is having an amazing lineup all the way to next year) centering on the business world and several of its movers and shakers. Jang Hyuk’s character hasn’t been completely fleshed out yet, but in the high-stake, make-or-die cutthroat financial world, a three-piece Hugo Boss suit draped, smoldering shark persona might not be far from possibility.

Flanking him are Lee Min Jung, fresh off her local box-office topper Cyrano Agency, and Kim Hee Ae, ready for a comeback since 2006’s My Man’s Woman.

Midas, taken from the tragic Greek mythological character King Midas, who simultaneously gained and lost everything he came in contact with, is a telling title for a drama set in the world of tycoons, stocks, securities, and mergers and acquisitions. With the continuing fallout of the global financial crisis with its varying recession lows, there should be plenty of source material for inspiration and content to work with. Director Kang Shin Ho reunites with Jang Hyuk once again after their collaboration in Tazza (2008) to steer him and company through All In (2003) and Jumong (2006-2007) famed screenwriter Choi Wan Kyu‘s script.

Midas lines up after Athena:Goddess of War.

‘Giant’ Further Delays the ‘Goddess’

Giant‘s steady and strong audience support and praise has sealed the deal on another 10 episodes extension to its already long (and tiring) initial 50-episodes run. Although it’s a well-performing drama so far, really hitting its stride midway around episode 23-24, the producers’ reason for dragging the story out is unquestionably monetary. One can only hope the pace, story, and characters do not suffer in the aftermath of this greed à la Dong Yi (2010), and even High Kick Through the Roof 2 (2009-2010), which may have the worst twisted, bitter ending in the history of Korean dramas! The only sure bright note to this is seeing more of Hwang Jung Eum, who plays the youngest sister Miju in the drama and reigns as the current Queen of CFs in real life.

Giant’s extension has another more immediate fallout- the subsequent delay of the debut of Athena: Goddess of War, which is next in the line up. It is now slotted to air in December.

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.

Tailing ‘Bad Boy’, ‘My Girlfriend is a Kumiho’ Finally Airs Next Week

My Girlfriend is a Kumiho Poster
My Girlfriend is a Kumiho fashionable photo shoot

August is here and with it are a slew of new dramas waiting in the wings to air, amongst which is My Girlfriend is a Kumiho, slated to take over Bad Boy on SBS’s Wednesday-Thursday slot on August 11. This 16 episodes drama stars singer/actor Lee Seung Gi as a hapless lad who accidently frees a nine-tailed fox aka kumiho and model/actress Shin Mina as the aforementioned kumiho. Hilarity and romance follow.

This new drama is a modern fancy of the Hong sisters, who penned past hits like My Girl and You’re Beautiful. This time around they take the mythical creature of Korean lore called the kumiho and set it in 21st century Korea. In kumiho tales, whether the kumiho transforms into a stunningly handsome human man or beautiful woman, it is always up to no good. However, given this is a Hong sisters’ interpretation, one can surely expect witty hijinks, comical minefields, and an ultimately benevolent, or at least very benign, kumiho from Shin Mina’s character.

Ms. Shin wasn’t the first choice for the role. Other names that floated through blogs and tabloids included Sandara Park of 2NE1 and Shin Se-kyung. Although each of the rumored leading ladies has her own charm, Shin Mina seems like the best choice. First off, Shin Mina definitely fits the physical description of this role. Second is the confidence that she can pull off the strong, sassy and ethereal characteristics of this role. Ms. Shin started as a model then debuted as an actress back in the very Gen-X (remember that term?) movie Volcano High as a beautiful (what else) kendo wielding high school student opposite Jang Hyuk and Kwon Sang Woo. Since then, she has graced innumerable covers and editorial pages from Vogue to W, built a notable filmography including Naked Kitchen and The Beast and the Beauty, filmed enviable CFs endorsing wide-ranging products like Calvin Klein and Maxim T.O.P coffee, and published a travel diary about her trip to France. Not too shabby for a 26 years old.

This drama was announced relatively early in its production before principal photography rolled which allowed much speculations, leaks, and casting changes. Another time related issue this production had was the lag between filming and airing time. Usually, Korean dramas are filmed while they’re airing by only a couple of episodes ahead for budgeting purposes and to account for audience reaction and input. But of late, more shows have allotted longer time between production and air time in hope of producing tighter scripts, avoiding unforeseen mishaps, and burning out cast and crew. My Girlfriend is a Kumiho prescribed to this latter formula and hopefully it pays off for everyone who worked on it and will be watching it!