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PostSubject: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:31 pm


Korean TV Dramas




Korean TV dramas used to
not travel much beyond Korea's borders, but beginning in the late 1990s
they began to acquire a strong following throughout east and southeast
Asia, as well as in Hawaii, where they are screened with English
subtitles. A great number of TV and film stars also owe their current
popularity to the success of TV dramas. This page is devoted to
providing some subjective reviews of the better-known dramas. Also be
sure to visit the essay "Why is Winter Sonata a Big Hit in Asia?" by Diana Lee. For more comprehensive English-language websites on TV dramas, visit Soompi.com or www.koreanwiz.org, which offers a wide range of information and credits on Korean dramas.




Reviewed below: Coffee Prince Number 1 (2007) -- Palace (2006) -- My Lovely Sam-Soon (2005) -- My Love Toram (2005) -- Romance in Paris (2004) -- Stairway to Heaven (2003/4) -- Punch (2003) -- Summer Scent (2003) -- Attic Cat (2003) -- Snowman (2003) -- Shoot for the Stars (2002/3) -- Rustic Period (2002/3) -- My Love Patji (2002) -- Loving You (2002) -- Ruler of Your Own World (2002) -- Romance (2002) -- Success Story of a Bright Girl (2002) -- Winter Sonata (2002) -- Autumn Fairy Tale (2000) -- Sandglass (1995).

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Last edited by coffeeprincessanne on Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:31 pm

Coffee Prince Number 1 (2007, MBC miniseries)
Coffee Prince Number 1 is probably the most enjoyable Korean TV drama I've watched so far. I loved Ruler of Your Own World, but it was darker, more serious, more dramatic. Coffee Prince is pure fun, and its popularity shows that many Koreans agree with me.
The premise is that Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun-hye, Palace),
by default the head of her family after her father died when she was
16, is often mistaken for a boy. She wears her hair fairly short,
dresses ambiguously, knows Tae Kwon Do, does delivery work, and eats
like a horse. Choi Han Gyeol (Gong Yoo, One Fine Day), handsome
scion of a wealthy family, is being pressured to marry by his imperious
grandmother (Kim Young-ok). He hires Eun Chan, whom he takes for male,
to pretend to be his gay lover. Behaving outrageously in various hotel
lobbies, the two scare off all the women his grandmother sends him.

Grandmother then raises the stakes. If Han Gyeol won't marry or go to
work for the family company, he'll have to support himself; she takes
away his care and gives him notice of eviction for his expensive
rooftop apartment before he agrees to manage Coffee Prince, a rundown
coffee shop in a student district, and increase its profits. Eun Chan
wheedles him into hiring "him," and before long they find themselves
powerfully drawn to each other. His interest in a cute boy
understandably disturbs Han Gyeol, who reacts as if he were a closeted
gay man: he alternately tries to keep Eun Chan close, and to drive
"him" away.Why is Han Gyeol so reluctant to marry? Several online articles I've
seen describe him as a "playboy," but he's never shown dating women.
He's in love with Han Yoo Joo (Chae Jeong-an, Emperor From the Sea), a beautiful and brilliant artist who has an on-again, off-again love with Han Gyeol's cousin Han Seong (Lee Seon-gyoon, White Tower),
a musician and producer. As the series begins, Yoo Joo has just
returned from a long stay in New York, where she was involved
professionally and romantically with a man called DK. Now she's back
and wants to start over with Han Seong, who (reasonably enough) doesn't
quite trust her. But she's not in love with Han Gyeol either. By
chance, Go Eun Chan delivers milk to Han Seong's house. She and Han
Seong bond over Han Seong's sheepdog Ssulja, and become good friends.
As usual in a series, Coffee Prince includes a constellation of secondary characters, ranging from Eun Chan's feckless mother (Park Won-sook, Tomato) and the wacky butcher, Mr. Goo (Lee Han-wee, Love and Hate),
who wants to marry her; and Eun Chan's more glamorous younger sister
Eun Sae (Han Ye-in), who wants to be a star. Then there's the Coffee
Prince team, assembled like disciples by Han Gyeol and Eun Chan: Han
Gyeol's old friend Chin Ha Rim (Kim Dong-wook), who fancies himself a
ladies' man but also seems interested in Eun Chan; the hunky but slow
Hwang Min Yeop (Lee Eon, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident
in 2008), who's in love with Eun Chan's sister and pursues her doggedly
despite her best efforts to drive him away; the mysterious Master of
Waffles No Jeon Ki (Kim Jae-wook), who keeps muttering in Japanese; and
Manager Hong, the slovenly manager of the shop, whom Grandmother keeps
on as co-manager to keep Han Gyeol on his toes.Writers Lee Jeong-ah and Jang Hyeon-joo keep things steaming along
entertainingly, and for the most part they keep the comedy in
character, without much of the pointless slapstick or asides that
disrupt some comedy-dramas. I'm also forever grateful that they never
resort to a car or other accident to engender a crisis and permit
tearful reconciliations and confessions, as in so many dramas. Some
early plot points, like Eun Chan's supersensitive nose for smells, are
introduced early on and then forgotten; on first meeting Eun Chan, Ha
Rim calls "him" My Chan and exclaims over "his" cuteness, but after a
few episodes he's chasing after young women and trying to give Eun Chan
advice on handling the babes. The story doesn't really come together until Han Gyeol and Eun Chan
begin to fall in love. Most writers would, I think, have let Han Gyeol
know that Eun Chan was a girl after no more than one episode of
homosexual panic, but Lee and Jang stretch it over several episodes,
and make Han Gyeol's anxiety wholly convincing. He sees a clueless old
doctor, who gives him medicine to cure him of his tendencies. "You're
gay, right?" he asks Eun Chan. "But I'm not. So stop seducing me."
"Who called me over in the middle of the night?" she points out."Let's be sworn brothers," he tells her. She refuses his evasion at
first, then gives in. In voice over, each then tells us that even if it
only means being a brother, he won't have to leave the other's side.
But still Han Gyeol runs hot and cold, firing Eun Chan and then running
to get "him" back. (One beautiful bit: Han Gyeol tells Eun Chan a major
family secret. Sitting behind him, where he can't see her, she
stretches out her hands and mimes embracing him, comforting him,
because she doesn't dare to touch him. Yoon puts immense longing into
that gesture.)As more and more of the other characters are let in on the secret of
Eun Chan's real sex, the tension builds. It's helped a lot by the
wonderful chemistry between the leads, who are wholly convincing as new
lovers delighted with each other. Gong Yoo resembles a younger Ju
Jin-mo (Musa, Happy Ending),
and he actually seems to grow up during the series, from a pretty but
shallow young man to a strong but gentle adult. There's one lovely
scene where Han Gyeol visits his grandmother, who's seriously ill and
looks it. They bicker pleasurably, and I realized that Eun Chan is a
younger version of Granny. Then Han Gyeol climbs into her bed and
pillows her head on his arm, saying that no man had done that since
Grandfather.Yoon Eun-hye has a hard job. Typically in cross-dressing roles, the
deception is not allowed to be too convincing: the audience is not
allowed to succumb to the illusion that the actor or actress could pass
for the other sex. Nor will be a performer be hired who looks the part
too well. Yoon Eun-hye says she studied men's movements and body
language, but maybe the director toned her down. She never quite
persuaded me that women would chase her out of a women's sauna when she
tried to make a good delivery, but she does have an androgynous charm
and earnestness that makes her lovable. And after her femme makeover in
episode 5, Go Eun Chan looks like a drag queen. She actually looks more
like a boy when she's wearing a dress and full makeup than she does in
trousers and t-shirt.
It doesn't really matter, though, because Coffee Prince Number One
is a romantic fantasy, not a realistic story. It works very well on
that level. Best of all, from my point of view, is that the story has
no villain, and even the most foolish characters aren't clowns but
believable people with reasons for their folly. The characters vary
somewhat in their likability, but all are good at heart, even the
unreliable Yoo Joo. As the literary critic Marvin Mudrick once said,
nothing in life or literature is more interesting and exciting than
goodness. (Review by Duncan Mitchel)



Coffee Prince Number 1 ("Keopi Peurinseu
1-hojeom"). Alternate title: "Coffee Prince's Flagship Store." 18
episodes. Written by Lee Jung Ah & Jang Hyun Joo. Produced by Lee
Yoon Jung. Starring Yoon Eun-hye, Gong Yoo, Lee Sun-kyoon, Chae
jung-an, Kim Chang-wan, Kim Dong-wook, Kim Jae-wook, Lee Eon. First
aired on MBC in Korea from July 2 - August 28, 2007 on Monday and
Tuesday nights at 9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Episodes can be downloaded for a fee here.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:32 pm

Palace (2006, MBC miniseries)Imagine being a happy-go-lucky high school student and finding out one
day that your commoner grandfather and the King of the country had made
a pact that you would marry the Crown Prince. This is Chae-kyung's
predicament as she is quickly thrust into a royal marriage to a
complete stranger. (Oh, and did I mention that Korea is a country that
doesn't even have a monarchy in the real world?). For some, it's a true
alternate reality Cinderella story, but for Chae-kyung, her Prince,
named Shin, turns out to be mean and selfish with little intent of
breaking up with his previous girlfriend and every intention of
divorcing her in a couple years.But the bubbly and good natured Chae-kyung finds solace in the Crown
Prince's cousin, Prince Yool. He is the true Prince Charming, a kind
and understanding soul who quickly falls in love with her (his
cousin-in-law). Complicating the situation is the fact that prince Yool
used to be the Crown Prince and she was originally betrothed to him.
And as it turns out, the parents of the Princes have a complicated past
and love triangles all their own.

Sound like a soap opera? Well, obviously it is. And a good one.
Chae-kyung must navigate the difficult worlds of the palace and high
school and marriage. The mixture of three situations that are difficult
enough on their own creates all kinds of interesting difficulties for
our girl next door.Yoon Eun-hye (second from right) is perfectly charming as Chae-kyung.
She is the most delightful part of the show -- goofy and cute without
ever being too annoying. She cries a lot but never comes off as weak.
The performance really brings a lot to a character that's hard to
dislike and easy to care for. Joo Ji-hoon (far left) is also great as
Shin, the troubled monarch to be (he does great even though he's almost
always dressed in questionable pink frocks). At first Shin seems
somewhat one dimensional, but over time his complexities and
insecurities come to the fore and are portrayed very effectively.
Former boy band idol Kim Jung-hoon (far right) debuts well here,
portraying the complicated and tortured character Yool. Along with the
three leads are a great cast of supporting characters. Particularly of
note are Chae-kyung's bumpkin family and her wacky trio of friends --
the characters that add the greatest comic effect to the show.And the show balances the comedy and the drama very well. It never gets
too sad or too silly for too long. A scene where the elders try to get
Crown Prince Shin and Chae-kyung to consummate their marriage had me
practically rolling on the floor in laughter, while a simple shot of
Chae-kyung waiting by the phone and never receiving a call from her
absent husband required a box of tissues. The show is full of tender
moments, and really works best when it focuses on the love triangle of
the younger characters, and tends to lose steam when a lot of attention
is paid to the Elders.Prince Shin does eventually begin to warm to Chae-kyung's utter
adorableness, and a love triangle full of joy and pain plays out over
the show's 24 episodes (It was originally slated for 20, but the show
became so popular that they extended it for 4 more episodes of
misunderstandings and tears). In fact, the extra 4 episodes might be a
bit too much, because it does seem like there's maybe one
misunderstanding too many by the end. As for the end, it's a bit
strange and not the most satisfying I've seen, but it certainly gets
the job done, and in no way should be a deterrent from watching the
rest of this truly enjoyable show.But right up to the last couple episodes, I didn't know which guy to
root for. Sometimes I wanted her to end up with Shin, and sometimes
with Yool. And it's not only a question of who will get the girl,
there's also a question of which Prince will become the next ruler.
Because as the Princes struggle for Chae-kyung's affection, their
mothers connive to grasp the throne for them. Once again, the court
politics mixed in with high school politics add a great twist to this
drama.A lot of the success of the show is credited to the top notch
production values. The three main characters wear an array of designer
outfits, and seem to be in a different one every time they appear on
screen. The crown prince and princess' quarters are stunningly
beautiful. The production was denied when they asked to shoot in a real
castle, but it's all for the best, because what was created was perfect
for the series.The show's surprise success in Korea (which shouldn't have been
surprising, due to how great it looked and how good the main trio of
actors are) has caused it to be dubbed the next big thing in the Korean
wave. There are high hopes that the show will catch on in other Asian
countries. Even Variety has called it the "future of Korea's TV drama
industry". And it could easily gain a following as loyal as Dae Jang Geum or Winter Sonata.
(Review by Alison Veneto)



Palace ("Gung"). Alternate title:
"Princess Hours." 24 episodes. Written by In Eun-ah. Based on the comic
book by Park Soh-hee. Produced by Hwang In-roi. Starring Yoon Eun-hye,
Joo Ji-hoon, Kim Jung-hoon, Song Ji-hyo, Kim Sang-joon, Shim Hye-jin,
Park Chan-hwan, Yoon Yoo-sun, Kim Hye-ja. First aired on MBC in Korea
from January 11 - March 30, 2006 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at
9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Episodes can be downloaded for a fee here.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:32 pm

My Lovely Samsoon (2005, MBC miniseries)
My Lovely Sam-Soon was the most popular TV drama of 2005, and it's easy
to see why, though the series doesn't fully work for me. Kim Seon-A is
totally convincing and likable as the title character: a brassy,
unglamorous, vulgar young woman with her own mind, but who still feels
the tug of social expectations. They are her expectations too.Kim Sam-soon is a high school graduate who went to France to study as a
pastry chef. Returning to Korea, she acquired a boyfriend, a spoiled
and disturbingly pretty rich boy. When she discovers, at the beginning
of Episode 1, that he has been cheating on her casually, she flees to
bawl her eyes out in a restroom stall. A knock on the stall door
interrupts her; she learns that she'd run into a men's restroom by
mistake. The man who knocked is another disturbingly pretty rich young
man, Hyeon Jin-heon (played by Hyeon Bin), and even if you hadn't seen
him in the opening
credits, you'd know by the conventions of TV drama that he's the one.
The question, as Sam-soon flees again, is how to get from this
embarrassing first meeting to Happily Ever After.


Before you know it, Sam-soon has stumbled into a job as
pastry chef in Jin-heon's chic restaurant, so you know that it's only a
matter of time -- sixteen episodes, to be exact. All they have to do
is get past Jin-heon's Gorgon of a mother, President Na Hyun-sook (Na
Moon-hee); his former true love Yoo Hee-jin, returned from several years in
California (Jung Ryeo-won); Henry Kim, the studly Korean-American
doctor (Daniel Henney) who followed Hee-Jin to Korea from California;
and all the other obstacles that a talented and sadistic writer can
throw at them.
Another obstacle, of course, is Sam-soon's age: she's on the verge of
30. In Korea (and not only there) she's no longer prime meat in the
marriage market, even if she weren't slightly plump, loud, and
stubbornly self-willed. Even so, she has three disturbingly pretty,
rich, younger men pursuing her. (I don't remember the third one's
name. He's mainly a fall guy: every time he and Sam-soon sit down
together in the hotel lounge for a lust-filled chat, a jealous Heon-bin
intervenes and sends him on his way.) She isn't really overweight, just a
normal Korean woman instead of a supermodel, and her appeal to men is
more realistic than surprising. This clash between romantic fantasy
and reality is the force that drives the series.
I don't have space to do justice to all the characters who thread in
and out of Sam-soon's life, from her widowed mother to her glamorous,
divorced older sister; from the restaurant staff to President Na
Hyun-sook's icy lieutenant. There are more, all performed beautifully
by the fine cast, except for Daniel Henney as Henry Kim, the studly
Korean-American oncologist. He's game, but wooden; still, his model's
good looks ensure that he's going to turn up in more TV dramas (and
commercials, and Buddha only knows what else), despite his still practically
non-existent Korean. Sweetest of all is Sam-soon's late father, who
loved and encouraged her all her life, and who turns up often in
flashbacks and Sam-soon's fantasy. In Sam-soon, Heon-bin like so many
men is falling in love with a woman much like his mother; Heon-bin,
unfortunately, is not at all like Sam-soon's father. That may be why,
despite her attraction to him, she can still look at Heon-bin with a
critical, even cynical eye.
My Lovely Sam-Soon, then, takes some believable and interesting
characters and runs them through the meat grinder of TV drama
conventions, from raucous slapstick to gothic melodrama. By the sixth
episode I often felt as if I were sitting through the sixteen-hour
director's cut of My Sassy Girl, but I was hooked by then and had to
learn how it all turned out. The ending is surprisingly realistic,
resisting the temptation and pressure for a Cinderella resolution; so
it satisfied me even though it might not please everyone. What I love
most is a long scene near the midpoint, between Sam-soon and Henry in a
hotel lounge in Chejudo. Upstairs, Heon-bin has been reunited with his
lost love Hee-jin, whom Henry also loves. Henry speaks no Korean. Sam-soon
sizes him up and then, while he beams at her uncomprehendingly, she
tells him (in French, Korean, and bits of English), about the role of
pastry and memory in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past,
a book she learned about during her training in France.Can you imagine a long, funny, moving dialogue on literature and love,
conducted in three languages, in an American TV comedy? Me neither, but
it works. I only wished for more scenes like it. Still, because of the
hodgepodge of incidents and styles, there's probably something in My Lovely Sam-Soon for everybody. (Review by Duncan Mitchel)



My Lovely Sam-Soon ("Nae ireum-eun
Sam-Soon"). Alternate title: "My Name is Samsoon." 16 episodes. Written
by Kim Do-woo. Produced by Kim Yoon-chul. Starring Kim Seon-A, Hyun
Bin, Jung Ryeo-won, Daniel Henney, Na Moon-hee, Kim Ja-ok, Lee Ah-hyun,
Suh Ji-hee, Yoon Ye-hee, Lee Kyu-han, Kwon Hae-hyo. Aired on MBC in
Korea from June 1 - July 21, 2005 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at
9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Episodes can be downloaded for a fee here. Released on DVD in Korea by Bitwin with no subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:32 pm

My Love Toram (2005, SBS special drama)
Our local public library recently began stocking Korean and
Chinese TV dramas on DVD, which is great news for my bank balance. One
of the first dramas I checked out was a two-part SBS special from 2005
called Nae Sarang Torami (My Love Toram), which I hadn't heard
of before. The English title isn't even on the DVD case.
Jun Suk-yeon (Ha Hee-ra, To Be With You) and her husband
Kim Seong-min (Kim Young-ho Second Proposal) live happily with
their two children on Jeju Island, where they have an orchard. As the
story begins, they agree to raise a golden retriever puppy named Toram
for her husband's junior Yeom Dong-ho (Kwon Hae Hyo, My Lovely
Samsoon
), who trains guide dogs for the blind. Toram turns out to
be a bright, friendly addition to the family and the community.


But then Suk-yeon is blinded in an accident. Furious at her new
dependency, she flees to Seoul, intending to return to graduate
school, demanding that her family stay away until she finds her way
again. She has a terrible time until she's reunited with Toram and he
becomes her guide dog. But even then, she is stymied by the
nervousness her neighbors feel about a blind woman, and their outright
fear of her big guide dog. So she returns to Jeju. Her husband,
understanding her need to complete her education, sells their farm and
returns to Seoul with the children while Suk-yeon attends graduate
school there. She has to contend with her son's anger; he won't
forgive her for abandoning them when she was first blinded, and he's
embarrassed by her blindness now before his classmates.
Since this is a TV drama, Suk-yeon wins over not just her son but
his entire class, developing Braille and mobility skills that would
make Helen Keller envious. She wins over the bus driver who had at
first refused to let her on the bus with Toram, though guide dogs are
permitted on public transportation by law. But presently Toram begins
to droop. He has cancer of the spleen, yet no matter how sick he is,
he insists on staying with Suk-yeon.
Nae Sarang Torami is fairly shameless melodrama: on a
shinpa scale of 1 to 5, I'd rate it a 4; in my recent viewing, only
You Are My Sunshine evokes tears with more gusto. I didn't mind
having my heartstrings yanked in the least. I just sat in front of the
TV with tears running down my face, loving every minute, and only
occasionally mocked my willingness to be manipulated. It doesn't hurt
that the story is more or less true, based on the real Jun Suk-yeon's
book about her beloved dog. The show incidentally serves as an
infomercial for Samsung's training center for seeing-eye dogs, which
gets prominent credit. SBS also booked Jun Suk-yeon and her husband on
daytime TV, where she talked about her life and the program,
illustrated with video clips.
Ha Hee-ra is taller, leaner and more glamorous than her real-life
model -- she reminds me of Geena Davis -- but she's a perfect TV drama
upscale suffering mom. Kim Young-ho is better cast as her husband:
stocky, unglamorous, solid and totally credible. If I had trouble
shaking the image of Kwon Hae-hyo as the wacky, macho chef in My
Lovely Sam-soon
, it was his fault only for being so memorable
before; he's restrained and equally strong here.
It's a constant cause of wonder to me how much thought goes into
even the lightest Korean entertainment, compared to the US. That's not
always true, of course -- I've seen Sassy Girl Chunhyang,
Marrying the Mafia, and OldBoy -- but they're the
exceptions that prove the rule. My Love Toram could have been
unbearably maudlin; instead it earned my emotional response honestly.
(Review by Duncan Mitchel)



My Love Toram ("Nae sarang torami"). 2
episodes. Written by Yoon Young-mi. Produced by Han Jung-hwan. Starring
Ha Hee-ra, Kim Young-ho, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Hak-joon, Ha Seung-ri, Lee
Seung-min, Kim Han, Lee Dae-yeon. Originally aired on SBS in Korea
January 7, 2005. Official website (in Korean): click here. Episodes can be watched online for a fee here. Released on DVD in Korea by SBS with English and Korean subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:33 pm

Romance in Paris (2004, SBS drama special)

I had yet to watch another 2004 Korea drama production since Stairway to Heaven.
For a while, I felt that the genre of Korean dramas had come to be
stereotyped and typecast as sappy, romantic, authoritative dramas with
each plot made up of repetitive, parallel and analogous storylines. As I decided to choose a drama production to watch again, I was quite
apprehensive on the choice of a drama. But after hearing positive
reviews of Romance in Paris
and the high ratings that it garnered, I was rather curious about this
drama, and wondered if it would be as excellent a drama as others had
described it to be.


Romance in Paris is addictive. With its first three episodes
showing the landscape of Paris, it is no wonder why the audience would
be beheld by the picturesque scenery of the city of Amour. The Eiffel
Tower, Seine River and other sights and sounds of Paris are captivating
in the opening scenes of this drama. However, this is not the only
captivating factor. The drama itself is also alluring and draws viewers
in with each subsequent episode.This is a Cinderella story. Although there is no real prince living in
palace with a line of maids and a butler, the male protagonist here
could be said to be a reincarnation of one. Suave, rich, smart, he is
everything that you could ask for in a guy. Our Cinderella is, as the
name suggests, a poor, optimistic, beautiful lady with an enchanting
smile that could melt almost any guy. The actors in this show are excellent. It seems like the roles were
tailored just for them. Our prince is Park Shin-yang, who is better
known for his movies like A Promise and The Letter,
both of which were hits in the 1990s, rather than drama roles. An
outstanding actor, he gave an excellent rendition of the role, Han
Ki-joo, who is the GM of a multi-national coporation dealing with cars.
Initially, after viewing the first two episodes, his acting seemed a
little stiff. In fact, I was wondering why the PD chose someone who
cannot act to take upon the lead role. But as subsequent episodes were
unveiled, I was really impressed with his performance.
Kim Jung-eun, best known for the movie Marrying the Mafia,
is the hard-broke girl Kang Tae-young, who is constantly being fired in
her part time jobs. Although she had never taken on the leading role in
a drama production, Kim shows her own charisma and proved that she also
is worthy of becoming an A-list actress. She is the one who provides
the soul for the drama with her forgetful character and cutsey
performance. Of course, we should not forget another actor, Lee Dong-gun, who acts
as Yoon Su-hyuk, who together with Park Shin-yang is head over heels
for Kang Tae-young. It was amazing to see how much Lee Dong-gun has
matured in his acting skills. When I first saw him in Ad Madness
in 1999, he was still an aspiring singer acting in minor roles in small
productions. But his depth in portraying Su-hyuk's inner emotions was
overwhelming. At 24, he is definitely an excellent actor to look out
for. In fact, after watching his performance in Romance in Paris, I had the urge to view his earlier works such as Sweet 18. A Cinderella story, but is it a Cinderella ending? If there is one flaw
in the drama, it is definitely the ending. After watching the ending,
questions marks were flying in my head. It was simply incomprehensible.
In fact, I had to re-watch the last episode again to try to understand
the ending. But sad to say, another attempt to do that would be futile.
My guess would be that the PD would want the audience to comprehend it
at their own discretion.Nice story, nice scenery, great soundtrack, great cast but bad ending.
But if you are contemplating which Korean drama to watch, I would still
highly recommend this one. (Review by Kit Lim)



Romance in Paris ("Pari-ui yeonin"). 20
episodes. Written by Kim Eun-sook and Kang Eun-jung. Produced by Shim
Woo-chul and Son Jung-hyun. Starring Kim Jung-eun, Park Shin-yang, Lee
Dong-gun, Oh Joo-eun, Kim Seo-hyung, Jung Ae-ri, Kim Sung-won, Park
Young-ji, Jo Eun-ji. Aired on SBS in Korea from June 12 - August 15,
2004 on Saturday and Sunday nights at 9:55pm. Official website (in
Korean): click here. Available on DVD from SBS in Korea with English subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:33 pm

Stairway to Heaven (2003-2004, SBS drama special)

2003 could be said to be a pretty fulfilling year for Korean dramas. From All In to Mermaid Lady, Yellow Handkerchief to Damo,
these dramas have garnered a pretty faithful following when played on
TV. To top off the moving year of titillating Korean dramas, SBS
broadcast Stairway to Heaven, starring current heartthrob Kwon Sang-woo and entrancing actress Choi Ji-woo.

This show was a big hit, considering that it could absorb a viewership
of anything from 25%- 45%. Of course, one of its main reasons could be
the star-studded cast. Starring Kwon Sang-woo, who returns to the
screen after his major movie hit My Tutor Friend, fans can't seem to get enough of him. Also, Choi Ji-woo, the awe-aspiring actress from Winter Sonata, has not been in any productions since Winter Sonata, except a Hong Kong-Korea production, 101 Proposals.
Another of its lead actors, Shin Hyun-joon has also been missing from
drama productions since 1999. With a cast like that, it's no wonder
that it was one of the most anticipated dramas of the year, even in its
pre-production stage.Alas, this drama is not exactly captivating or exciting. The storyline
is too cliche. Most of the plot seems to have been copied from other
dramas such as Autumn Fairy Tale and Winter Sonata. Certain parts of it also parallel the storyline of Beautiful Days, which might be due to the fact that the PD of this drama Lee Jang Soo was the PD of Beautiful Days. Like any other melodrama, this story opens with two childhood friends:
Cha Song Joo (Kwon Sang-woo) and Han Jung Suh (Choi Ji-woo). However,
as Jung Suh's father remarries, her new stepmother Tae Mira, brings her
two children along, Han Tae Hwa and Han Yuri (Kim Tae-hee). An
introvert, Han Tae Hwa (Shin Hyun-joon) is touched by Jung Suh's
kindness towards him and gradually falls in love with her. On the other
hand, Jung Suh and Song Joo have an inseparable relationship. At the
same time, Yuri also likes Song Joo. So you can see that there's pretty
complicated relationship triangle, or rather, rectangle here. The show than fast-forwards years later, when the children have all
grown up. However, due to a freak accident, Jung Suh is run over by
Yuri's car, which leaves her suffering from memory loss and living with
Tae Hwa under a pseudonym. Song Joo is devastated, but never forgets
about Jung Suh even though the irritating Yuri tries at all times to
get his attention. When the lovers finally reunite, another cruel
misfortune occurs...
Like Autumn Fairy Tale,
this story also depicts two children who grew up together and become
lovers. Kwon Sang-woo is captivating as Song Joo. In fact, the media
reported that Kwon shed so much tears in one of the scenes of the show
that even the production crew became teary. In fact, this seems to be
his best production to date, having acted in pretty minor roles before.
Choi Ji-woo is also charismatic in her role as Han Jung Suh. However,
it seems like she has become so fixated in playing pathetic, damsel in
distress roles (recall: Beautiful Days, Truth, Winter Sonata) that it is becoming numbing for the audience to see her in such pitiful renditions. However, it was refreshing to see Shin Hyun-joon in dramas again.
Taking a five year hiatus in drama productions to concentrate on his
movie career, there have been significant changes in his acting style,
becoming more mature and in-depth in his character portrayal. Another
actress Kim Tae-hee, who plays the evil Yuri, failed to impress with
her bad-girl impersonation. Going by the same few expressions, Kim
clearly shows her weakness in portraying the inner feelings of Han
Yuri, especially since the four main characters in the drama focus a
lot on inner feelings. Lee Wan could be said to have brought in a
breath of fresh air. Acting as the younger Tae Hwa, Lee Wan is
considered one of the most prominent up-and-coming actors to look out
for. In fact, he is Kim Tae-hee's brother in real life.
To conclude, Stairs to Heaven
is typical Korean melodrama. Unless you are a big fan of Kwon Sang-woo
or Choi Ji-woo, you would most probably find this story boring, since
the storyline has been used in so many other high profile drama
productions before. Watching the last episode, one feels not forlorn,
but rather, melancholic. (Review by Kit Lim)



Stairway to Heaven ("Cheon-guk-ui
gyedan"). 20 episodes. Written by Park Hye-kyung. Produced by Lee
Jang-soo. Starring Kwon Sang-woo, Choi Ji-woo, Shin Hyun-joon, Kim
Tae-hee, Ha Jae-young, Kim Ji-sook, Jung Han-yong. Aired on SBS in
Korea from December 3, 2003 - February 5, 2004 on Wednesday and
Thursday nights at 9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from SBS in Korea (no subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:34 pm

Punch (2003, SBS drama special)
As the title suggests, Punch is a drama about boxing. This drama stars Joo Jin-mo (Musa, Wanee and Junah) and Shin Min-ah (Madeline, Volcano High) as the two main protagonists.

Joo Jin-mo, after a four-year hiatus from drama production, returns to
the small screen as charismatic boxer Lee Han-sae. An interesting
character, Lee Han-sae is perceived as a playboy by others who do not
know him personally. A nightclub king at night (he's the manager of a
nightclub) and a college dropout, Lee Han-sae does take his boxing
training seriously. In fact, he was so good that he managed to win a
boxing title. This could be said to be where the story picks up. Shin Min-ah plays
Jang Yoo-bin, the sister of an inspiring boxer named Jang Yoo-chul who
rivals the skill of Lee Han-sae. However, during the final boxing
match, where the two are pitted against each other, Lee Han-sae wins
the match, with Yoo-chul dying of complications from his injuries.
Then, by some twist of fate, Han-sae and Yoo-bin fall in love with each
other until one day, she realizes that he was the one responsible for
her brother's death.Although the storyline sounds typical and predictable, I felt that this
was one of the best dramas I have seen for a long time. Using boxing as
a background could be said to provide a breadth of fresh air, instead
of utilising the usual parental disapproval as the main reason why they
had so many obstacles in their relationship (think Winter Sonata, Romance).The characters turned in great performances in this show. Joo Jin-mo
was fantastic. It was refreshing to see him back on the small google
box after seeing him in so many big movie projects. This regular "oppa"
(big brother) role seems to be tailored just for him. Shin Min-ah did a
good performance too, considering that she's relatively inexperienced
in acting except for a few movie projects under her belt. A natural
talent, she could be one of the actresses to look out for in the near
future. Sung Shi-kyung, who is more known for his singing abilities than his
acting, also had a supporting role in this show. After watching his
performance, one might feel that it would be better if he had just
stuck to singing. As this was his first foray into acting, his stiff
expressions and emotions were quite a pain to watch. Luckily, at the
end, the show was still saved by the excellent chemistry between Joo
Jin-mo and Shin Min-ah. (Review by Kit Lim)



Punch ("Ddae-ryeo"). 16 episodes.
Written by Lee Yun-jeong. Produced by Lee Hyun-jik. Starring Shin
Min-ah, Joo Jin-mo, Sung Shi-kyung, Soh Yi-hyun, Im Seong-eon, Hwang
In-yeong, Kim Mi-sook, Ahn Seok-hwan, Yang Taek-jo. Aired on SBS in
Korea from October 8 - November 27, 2003 on Wednesday and Thursday
nights at 9:55pm. Official website (in Korean): click here.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:34 pm

Summer Scent (2003, KBS miniseries)
I finally finished watching Summer Scent. Don't misunderstand me. I am not implying that Summer Scent
is such an unbearable show to watch that I have to force myself to
watch it. It's just the feeling of relief you get when the drama
finally comes to an end.


Summer Scent threads along the same vine as its predecessors: Autumn Fairy Tale and Winter Sonata.
Narrating the story of two lovers and their tribulations, it certainly
follows the directing style of Yoon Suk-ho, who also directed the
previous two dramas.
In this drama, PD Yoon is reunited with actor Song Seung-hun (Calla, Ice Rain), who also acted in Autumn Fairy Tale.
Perhaps it was the previous chemistry which they had build-up together
in the previous drama, Song Seung-hun could grasp the PD's requirements
and expectations, and thus played the role of Yoo Min Woo well. Song
Ye-jin (The Classic, Crazy First Love), in her fifth role in
dramas and movies, also showed that she has grown up to become a more
mature actress since her debut in 2001 in Delicious Proposal.Song Seung-hun plays the role of Yoo Min Woo, an architect who lost his
first love, Eun Hye (played by actress Shin Ae) in a traffic accident
on the day of their wedding. Ever since that freak accident, he
believed that he would never be able to fall in love again, until he
met Shim Hye Won, whose personality bears a striking resemblance to his
first love. However, like how most Korean dramas go, their meeting was
not immediate, but rather coincidental in the mountains three years
later. What made this story complicated was the fact that Hye Won, who
used to be a sickly child with a heart problem, had a heart transplant
with, gasp! Eun Hye's heart!The complications do not end here. The story also threads on a
sideline, where the lovers find it tough to maintain their love since
Hye Won was already attached to Park Jung Jae (played by actor Ryu
Jin), a charismatic eligible bachelor. Making things worse, Jung Jae's
younger sister Jung Ah (played by actress Han Ji-hye) who is also best
friends with Hye Won, is in love with Min Woo...Just looking at the relationships alone, one can pretty much tell that
it's a messed-up entanglement. What stands out in this show also is the
beautiful scenery and lovely soundtrack. Using Calla Resort and the tea
fields as a backdrop, one can't help but to admire the beautiful
scenery too. An avid classical music lover myself, it was exhilarating
to hear Schbert's famous Serenade been played in the background.
Besides Serenade, the soundtrack also boasts a couple of great songs
that went well along with the scenes in the show.As for the performance of the supporting cast, Ryu Jin put up a good
performance. Portraying a composed, sensitive new age guy, he has
clearly done a good rendition of what is required of his role. Han
Ji-hye was impressive in her debut performance too. She is natural in
her acting. Perhaps this could be the reason as to the success of her
latest comedy-drama, Narang 18 Seh.
Summer Scent is a good drama to watch. But compared to Autumn Fairy Tale and Winter Sonata,
I personally felt that this was the least exciting of all. Perhaps this
could be attributed to the slow start-up pace of the drama. However,
the audience can expect a more tense atmosphere with each episode. The
plot has its pretty ridiculous moments as well, especially the
heart-thumping moments, which I felt were pretty preposterous. (Review by Kit Lim)



Summer Scent ("Yeoreum hyanggi"). 20
episodes. Written by Choi Ho-yeon. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho. Starring
Song Seung-heon, Son Ye-jin, Ryu Jin, Han Ji-hye, Shin Ae, Jo Eun-sook,
Ahn Jung-hoon, Kim Hae-sook, Kim Yong-gun. Aired on KBS in Korea from
July 7 - September 9, 2003 on Monday & Tuesday nights at 9:55pm.
Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from KBS in Korea with English subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:34 pm

Attic Cat (2003, MBC miniseries)

Kim Rae Won fever can be felt everywhere in Korea after Attic Cat
was broadcast on TV. Indeed, he has started received more advertising
offers and his clothing and dress style which is copied from his role
in Attic Cat have become popular among teenagers.

Kim Rae Won is Kyung Min, a law student who is taking his final year
exams to become a prosecutor. His only aim in life seems to be wooing
the beautiful Hye Ryun (played by Choi Yoon Jin), who has a striking
resemblance to his dead mother. Due to a twist of luck, he realizes
that Jeong Eun, played by Jung Da Bin, is a good friend of Hye Ryun,
and he steps up to make a good impression on Jeong Eun, even agreeing
to pay for her rent at the "ok tap bang" (rooftop house), hoping that
he might score some brownie points in front of Hye Ryun. Unfortunately,
he runs into some bad debts and gets chased by loan sharks. In the end,
he moves into the attic roof house which he rented for Jeong Eun.
Feelings grew between them although he is convinced that it is a pure
platonic friendship between them.Jeong Eun, on the other hand is a high school graduate trying to look
for a job. She is optimistic about life even though she might be poor.
When her family moves to another city, she decides to stay in Seoul and
rents the "ok tap bang" which Kyung Min helped pay for the rent. Her
spirited character also draws her boss's (Lee Hyun Woo) attention. The
story becomes more complicated when her boss happens to be the guy that
Hye Ryun likes. You can expect a tassle of attention seeking and
backstabbing events. The funny scenarios start when Jeong Eun and Kyung Min, who are living
together, always have constant fights. When the situation gets out of
hand, Jeong Eun will chase Kyung Min out of the house and Kyung Min
will pack his things and leave. However, Kyung Min always returns and
the two of them will compromise eventually. At some point, you wonder
how many of such quarrels will have to go on before the plot takes a
twist. When things go wrong after Kyung Min's grandparents and Jeong Eun's
family finds out about their cohabitation, a twist of events occurs
which sees Jeong Eun leaving for England eventually.
Overall, Attic Cat
(which is loosely based on an internet novel) is a fun and enjoyable
drama to watch, and it has great onscreen chemistry between the two
leads, Kim Rae Won and Jung Da Bin. Kim Rae Won proves himself as a
potential upcoming actor in this drama. Jung Da Bin also proves her
ability, after only appearing in minor roles before. The most wooden
performance comes from Lee Hyun Woo. Acting as Hye Ryun's "oppa" (big
brother, or older male friend), his performance never goes beyond the
few facial expressions that he carries. (Review by Kit Lim)



Attic Cat ("Oktapbang goyangi"). 16
episodes. Written by Min Hyo-jung and Goo Sun-kyung. Produced by Kim
Sa-hyun. Starring Kim Rae-won, Jung Da-bin, Choi Jung-yoon, Lee
Hyun-woo, Jang Yong, Kim Ja-ok, Bong Tae-gyu, Kim Mu-saeng. Aired on
MBC in Korea from June 2 - July 22, 2003 on Monday & Tuesday nights
at 9:55. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:34 pm

Snowman (2003, MBC miniseries)

While the country was swept away by the 'All In
syndrome,' a few other dramas were fighting to stay afloat during the
super popular show's run. One of those was Lee Chang-soon's debut
miniseries Snowman. Starring popular Piano (the 2001 hit
SBS TV drama also starring Kim Hae-neul and Jo In-sung) lead and Kim
Ki-duk favorite Cho Jae-hyun along with veteran Oh Yeon-soo, Snowman
had the unenviable task of facing off with the gambling melodrama for
the entire course of its running time. And while the show's first few
episodes actually beat All In, it was only because Song Hye-gyo and Lee Byung-heon weren't introduced yet. In the following weeks, Snowman would slip further down the ratings chart, sometimes even under 15%. But stiff competition wasn't the only reason Snowman didn't attract the audience it deserved: a controversial plot is also to 'blame.'

The controversy came from the possibility of a love story between a
young girl (Kong Hyo-jin) and her hyeongbu (Korean for brother-in-law,
played by Cho Jae-hyun). And you'll understand that even in a less
conservative society than Korea, this would still raise quite a few
eyebrows. But Korean TV is not foreign to stories of incest, impossible
love between brothers and sisters, et al. While this turned off some
viewers, it's refreshing to see that they didn't play the 'jjaksarang'
(unrequited love) storyline in a predictable way. PD Lee Chang-soon was
able to make a compelling story driven by a coherent plot and well
developed characters. Even an important event involving one of the
major characters - usually relegated to the finale for dramatic effect
- only ends up shaping that character's role in the drama much more
efficiently.
Once again - just like in Piano
- Cho Jae-hyun plays a cop, in a role that seems to fit him perfectly.
Han Pil-seung is mature, but his conflicting sentiments often blind him
into making mistakes. Also, this series is further confirmation of Kong
Hyo-jin's immense potential. After her career making performance in Ruler of Your Own World,
she's starting to get roles that show a definite maturation. Her
Yeon-wook is rapidly becoming a woman, and in such a delicate moment
she feels very much conflicted, and unable to decide between what
society defines as common sense, and her sentiments. Kim Rae-won is
effective as well, as the rich but kind hearted (which in Korean TV
dramas is something that rarely goes hand-in-hand) Cha Sung-joon,
Yeon-wook's other potential love interest. Veteran Oh Yeon-soo is, as
always, very good portraying a familiar role, and there's a fine
supporting cast including movie regulars Myung Kye-nam and Lee Dae-yeon
putting the icing on the cake.
Perhaps what characterizes Snowman
best is its refreshing change of pace from conventional fare, while
remaining solidly footed in familiar terrain. This is nothing terribly
original, but excellent acting and a strong script, aided by PD Lee's
assured direction, allow Snowman to become the first highlight
of the 2003 season. For casual fans, the finale is also 'fanboy proof'
(another controversial issue, especially for fans of Kim Rae-won), and
very uplifting. A great start for MBC, and hopefully the sign of more
success for Kong Hyo-jin and Cho Jae-hyun, they really deserve it.
(Review by V. "X" Naldi)



Snowman ("Nun Saram"). 17 episodes.
Written by Kim Do-woo. Produced by Lee Chang-soon. Starring Cho
Jae-hyun, Kong Hyo-jin, Oh Yeon-soo, Kim Rae-won, Oh Seung-eun, Myung
Kye-nam, Lee Dae-yeon, Kim Ji-young. Aired on MBC In Korea from Jan. 8,
2003 - March 6, 2003 on Wednesday & Thursday nights at 9:55. 2003
Baeksang Awards: Nomination (Best New Director in a TV Drama or
Miniseries - Lee Chang-soon, Best Actor in a TV Drama or Miniseries -
Cho Jae-hyun). Official website (in Korean): click here.
Available on DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles). Also available on
VCD from Passion Music in Malaysia (Chinese Subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:35 pm

Shoot for the Stars (2002/3, SBS drama special)
By temperament I find it very painful to watch self-defeating
characters. I can't watch slasher films because of the "Okay,
everybody stay together!" trope -- the cue, of course, for the
characters to wander off alone into the jaws or blades of the killer.
Shoot for the Stars is a romantic drama, with hardly a drop of
blood shed, but it's structured like a slasher film, and before long I
was climbing the walls.
Ku Sung-tae (Jo In-sung, Something Happened in Bali), a
handsome aspiring young actor, has a dark secret: he's illiterate. But
he can memorize almost anything on one hearing, so he relies on his
managers, Han So-ra (Jeon Do Yeon, You Are My Sunshine) and her
older brother Han Ba-da (Park Sang-myung, My Wife Is a
Gangster
), to read his lines to him. That means they have to stay
with him constantly when he's working, but of course, to keep the





story moving they keep wandering off alone. Then Sung-tae is
confronted with a written text he can't read, he panics and runs out,
and is told he'll never work again. He and his managers bow and scrape
to the director and promise it'll never happen again. Sung-tae then
exults: he'll become a big star and find his long lost adoptive
family, from whose loving bosom he was torn at the age of six. And all
is well, more or less -- until the next episode. Well before the
midpoint of the series I was rooting for the monster, as I do when I
have to watch a slasher film: get him! finish her off! rip them all to
shreds!
The monster here is the model/actress Jung Yae-rin, who had been
managed by Ba-da until she decided to hitch her rising star to Kim
Do-hun (Lee Seo-jin, Since We Met), Ba-da's former partner and
So-ra's former fiance. Do-hun swindles Ba-da out his life savings to
buy his way into a CEO job with a production company, and dumps So-ra
brutally. Yae-rin then blackmails Do-hun into taking her with him.
Yae-rin is played by Hong Eun-hee, who went on to play the wicked
stepsister character in My Love Patji. Her trademark is a mean,
smug little smile whenever she's working her evil, the kind of smile
you want to wipe off her face with a two-by-four. (Yae-rin has a dark
secret of her own: she was a bar girl before Ba-da rescued her and
took her under his ample wing. Known for his stinginess, Ba-da likes
to brag that he never gives anything to anyone, but in fact he's
almost pathologically generous to lost sheep like Yae-rin and
Sung-tae.) As an added complication, Sung-tae and So-ra fall in love
with each other, which has to be kept secret from Ba-da the
overprotective big brother, and from Sung-tae's adoring fans.
Ba-da, So-ra, and Sung-tae keep lying to each other, for their own
good of course, and withholding important information from each other,
to protect them from being hurt of course, and every time it just
makes things worse. But they never, ever learn, and can hardly wait
for the next crisis, so they can lie again. The saving grace of the
series is So-ra's old friend Lee Mi-ryun (Byun Jung-soo, Man in
Crisis
), a hardboiled hair stylist who always tells the truth and
sees through every problem, often getting the others out of trouble
when no one else can. (When Mi-ryun beats up Yae-rin, about halfway
through, it's immensely satisfying.) But even she can't dig these
losers out of their morass. Despite their best efforts at failure,
though, they thrive and the series ends happily -- this is a TV
drama, after all.
Despite all this, I couldn't stop watching Shoot for the Stars.
One night I watched three episodes in a row (on DVD). The cast are all
very good, making their doofus characters believable and sympathetic,
even lovable. Jeon Do-yeon stands out, which is no surprise, but Park
Sang-myun and Jo In-sung are right behind her. The setting is parts of
Seoul that I know, and want to return to; the sight of snow falling in
Myungdong, the skyline of Seoul seen from a rooftop at night, made me
ache with nostalgia. The writing is tight and mechanical, like a
windup toy that churns along mindlessly, with the actors giving
it a heart. (Review by Duncan Mitchel)



Shoot for the Stars ("Byeoreul ssoda").
16 episodes. Written by Yoon Sung-hee. Produced by Lee Jang-soo.
Starring Jeon Do-yeon, Jo In-sung, Park Sang-myun, Lee Seo-jin, Hong
Eun-hee, Jo Jung-rin, Han Joon, Byun Jung-soo, Park Chul. Aired on SBS
in Korea from Nov 20, 2002 - January 9, 2003 on Wednesday and Thursday
nights at 9:55pm. Episodes can be watched online for a fee here. Released on DVD in Korea by SBS with no subtitles, and by YA Entertainment in the U.S. with English subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:35 pm

Rustic Period (2002-2003, SBS Daeha Drama)Historical TV dramas (known as "Daeha Dramas" in Korea) featuring a
large number of episodes have long been a successful genre within
Korean TV Dramas. After the end of SBS's Ladies in the Palace (Yeoin Cheonha), the time slot was filled by another historical drama Rustic Period
(Yain Shidae), which ended up as the most successful TV drama in Korea
last year, with at its height over half of the TV ratings in prime time.


Rustic Period is a 100-episode drama based on the life of a
mystery -- Kim Doo-han (1917-1972). The whole drama was split into two
parts. Part 1 (Episode 1-50), performed by Ahn Jae-mo as Kim, is based
on how Kim came to be a triad leader around the Jongno area during the
days when the country was invaded by the Japanese. Part 2 (Episode
51-100), performed by Kim Young-chul, is based on the days when Kim
served as a Council member. Stories about Kim Doo-han are not new.
Previously, Im Kwok-taek's Son of A General film series were based on Kim Doo-han.
Compared to other dramas, Rustic Period features an unique heroic style which is rarely found in melodramas or historical dramas like Morning of the Emperor.
Despite the large number of characters, this drama gives an adequate
atmosphere in introducing the people around Kim Doo-han and how he made
friendships with his gang crew, in a less typical way than a normal
drama.Action is also another successful factor which captured audiences'
hearts. Part 1 of the drama contains lots of fighting along Kim's path
to becoming a triad gang head, which is also unusual for Korean dramas
in such a set up. The song "Ye-in", which is used from time to time for
fighting, has also became one of Korea's most popular ringtones. The
usual scene for fighting, the street outside "Yeomi-gwan" is also used
for the poster of My Tutor Friend.
Ahn Jae-mo, who has previously acted in minor roles in films like My Wife is a Gangster and The Humanist
gives a much sharper image in the film, as sharp as Kim is described in
Lee Hwan-kyung's original drama. This drama also gave Ahn a chance to
transfer into a career as a singer afer spending weeks on the top as
Korea's most popular male actor.Foreign viewers may find it difficult in catching up without some
background information on Kim Doo-han. It would be useful to recall the
Son of a General series or films like The Anarchists before watching this drama. (Review by Ryan Law)



Rustic Period ("Yain Sidae") 100
episodes. Written by Lee Hwan-kyung. Produced by Jang Hyung-il.
Starring (Part 1) Ahn Jae-mo, Choi Dong-joon, Lee Deok-hee, Jung
Young-sook, Jeon Mi-seon, Ko Doo-shim; (Part 2) Kim Young-chul, Park
Young-rok, Jang Se-jin, Lee Hyuk-jae and Yoon Yong-hyun. Aired on SBS
in Korea from (Part 1) July 29, 2002 - January 14, 2003; (Part 2)
January 20 - July 8, 2003. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from SCM in Korea (no subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:35 pm

My Love Patji (2002, SBS drama special)
My Love Patji was a 2002 production, starring popular rising
stars Jang Na-ra, Kim Rae-won and Kim Jae-won. This was a pretty short
series, considering that it is only 10 episodes, compared to other
miniseries which are normally 16 episodes, or more.One might try to relate this show to the Korean fairytale, "Kongji and
Patji", a sort of Korean version of Cinderella. Kongji is the nice girl
in the story, whereas Patji is the mean sister. However, in this
series, it comes with a twist, in which Patji, who is the hot-tempered
and nasty girl that everyone detests, is in fact a kind-hearted girl
deep down. Kongji on the contrary, appears to be the nice, kind,
friendly girl, but in fact is jealous of Patji and tries hard to scheme
against her.

Jang Nara is Yang Song-yee, the so-called Patji in the show. She is
hot-tempered and does not hide her thoughts. Hence, her forthright
personality often brings her loads of trouble, as many
misunderstandings are caused by her candidness. Kim Jae-won is Kang
Seung-joon, who is the son of a rich amusement park owner. He falls in
love with Song-yee as he thinks that she is a good girl who does not
try to hide her real self. Kim Rae-won is Kim Hyun-sung, a seal trainer
working at the amusement park. He has a heart problem and hides it from
others and also vows not to fall in love again, as he thinks that his
ill health will bring agony to the other party. Another main character
that must not be missed is Eun Hee-won, ( played by actress Hong
Eun-hee ) the nice, pretty Konji that everybody likes. However, deep
down, she is scheming, and tries in lots of ways to hurt Song-yee.The show starts with a younger version of Song-yee, Hee-won and
Hyun-sung at elementary school. Song-yee likes Hyun-sung, and when
Hee-won finds out about it, she tells Song-yee that she will not like
the same guy Song-yee likes. Later, during a class exercise one day,
when the teacher asks the children to choose a boy they like, Song-yee
immediately grabs Hyun-sung's hand. However, at the same time, Hee-won
goes forward to Hyun-sung as well. Hyun-sung then breaks away from
Song-yee's grip and grabs Hee-won. Song-yee, furious with her friend
for snatching the boy she likes, throws a shoe at her and beats her up.
The same thing repeats as they grow up...The show then fast forwards years later, when the children have grown
up. Hee-won helps Song-yee to get a job at the amusement park, after
Song-yee screws up at her previous job. However, as Hee-won snatches
the guy that Song-yee likes from her again, Song-yee then plans for
revenge. However, she commits arson unknowingly, and Seung-joon is
trapped inside a parade vehicle. She then saves him and runs away.
After the incident, Seung-joon keeps looking for the "angel" who saved
him. At the same time, Hyun-sung also falls in love with Song-yee, and
Hee-won schemes to snatch Seung-joon away from her once more...This is a typical Korean drama. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, third
party comes in. However, this is no tragic fairy tale like Autumn Fairy Tale or Glass Slippers. Director Lee Jin-suk (of All about Eve and A Star in My Heart
fame) might have decided to give the drama an ambiguous ending, leaving
the audience hanging at the end of the show. To conclude, My Love Patji is as good a comedy as has come out for a long time. If you are in need for a quick, good laugh, My Love Patji is the show for you. (Review by Kit Lim)


My Love, Patji ("Nae-sarang patjwi").
Alternative title: "My Love Cindy". 10 episodes. Written by Kim
Yi-young. Produced by Lee Jin-suk. Starring Jang Nara, Kim Jae-won, Kim
Rae-won, Hong Eun-hee. Aired on MBC in Korea from August 26 - September
24, 2002 on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9:55. Official website (in
Korean): click here. See also this English-language website.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:36 pm

Loving You (2002, KBS miniseries)Cliches, that's what Korean dramas are famously known for. Consider
this scenario: Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, parents' objections,
revenge, evil third party, and another good-hearted fourth party who
always helps our protagonist whenever they are in need of assistance.
This is exactly what Loving You has to offer.
Park Yong-ha, fresh off his previous high profile drama Winter Sonata,
takes on the lead role of Lee Hyuk, an aspiring director with a hot and
short temper. Eugene from popular girl band S.E.S, is Jin Da-rae, a
good-spirited girl who lives by the sea.

After a fatal accident in the sea, Lee Hyuk lost his best friend due to
his insistence on shooting a scene despite the dangers that entailed.
Ever since, he halted his directorial pursuits and worked at a
subsidiary of his father's company. Although Lee Hyuk also fell into
the ocean, he was saved by Da-rae. At the same time the accident
occurred, Da-rae's father also passed away due to an accident.As the story goes on, Lee Hyuk and his brother Lee Min, both fall in
love with Da-rae's high-spirited personality. Also in the picture is
the evil girl Cho Su-kyong, who decides to fight for Lee Hyuk's
affection, after learning that he is the elder son of a rich
entrepreneur.
Loving You is an okay story, neither interesting nor boring. The
cast did a good job. Park Yong-ha took on the role of Lee Hyuk
relatively well. In fact, it seems like there was very little variation
from his previous role in Winter Sonata. Eugene, in her drama
debut, could be said to have portrayed the role of Da-rae quite well,
perhaps because the role seems to be especially written for her. The supporting cast did a good job as well. Lee Yuri, taking on the
evil third party role, portrayed the bad girl nicely -- in fact, I
thought that she was better than Eugene. Young, charismatic and
talented, she definitely has the X-factor needed to become the next big
thing. Lee Dong-wook in comparison, perhaps due to his poorly-written
role, had very little chance to show his potential in this drama. Last but not least, viewers can finally heave a sigh of relief when it
comes to an end. A storyline which is debatably either good or bad, it
is a relief that the story is only 10 episodes long. (Review by Kit Lim)


Loving You ("Leobingyu"). 10 episodes.
Written by Kim Jeom-hyun and Shin Hye-jin. Produced by Lee Gun-joon.
Starring Park Yong-ha, Eugene, Lee Yu-ri, Lee Dong-wook, Kim Se-ah, Kim
Ji-hoon. Aired on KBS in Korea from July 29 - Sept. 3, 2002 on Monday
and Tuesday nights at 9:50. Official website (in Korean): click here.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:36 pm

Ruler of Your Own World (2002, MBC miniseries)They're called "Mania" Dramas. TV Series that, for many reasons
--including their competition with top rated shows, or lack of major
stars-- fail to capture the masses, but manage to slowly build a
faithful audience which supports the show until the end. Ruler of Your Own World
might be one of the best examples yet. This is a different show, far
away from the diabolical convolutions and contrivances of the
prototypical TV melodrama --like, say Winter Love Song-- far away from the usual weepy, over the top atmosphere. Far away from stereotypical characters.


There are no major stars here, but everyone down to the smallest
supporting character does an excellent job. If Shin Koo's superb
performance as Bok-su's father is no surprise, the real find is Yang
Dong-geun and his partner Lee Na-young. After a career as a child
actor, Yang slowly built his acting skills thanks to important roles in
films like Kim Ki-duk's Address Unknown, and started to become popular after appearing in the hit TV sitcom New Nonstop. Following his successful turn in the nostalgic dork comedy Bet on My Disco,
he started to get recognition from both the public and critics. His
portrayal of Ko Bok-su is fantastic. He swings between the character's
innocent naivete and guilt for his past with ease. You can really
relate with his problems, being a simple task like showing his parole
officer that he's a changed man, or a big one like accepting Jeon
Kyung's (Lee Na-young) affection. Yang shows impressive range here, and
seems the perfect leading man for the series' ever changing mood. The other surprise is relative newcomer Lee Na-young. If you're tired
of super-pretty plastic beauties overacting at every chance they get,
here's finally someone who can convey different emotions without making
a fool of herself. Kyung's charming personality comes across
impressively thanks to Lee. When she smiles, she does it with her whole
face and it feels sincere, as much as the opposite evokes the same
reaction. Her character is difficult to portray: Kyung is a simple
young woman. She's not particularly attractive --at least compared to
the conventional canons of beauty in this kind of set-up-- is rather
shy and has a hard time opening herself to other people. As the series
begins, the viewer will likely have a hard time connecting with her.
Little by little though, as she begins her relationship with Bok-su,
you'll start to relate to her, and understand her personality.It would be almost criminal leaving Kong Hyo-jin out of the picture.
Despite her charming personality and great raw talent, she's been
underused for the past 3-4 years in both TV dramas and movies. 2002 was
probably her breakthrough year, with her first leading roles in Emergency Act 19, Conduct Zero and A Bizarre Love Triangle. She's also a lot more active than usual on TV, lately starring in MBC's Snowman,
with Cho Jae-hyun & Kim Rae-won. Her portrayal of Mi-rae is
interesting, because it mixes a lot of elements from her supporting
roles (lots of cutesy and quirky moments) with a more 'grown up'
personality. This is the best performance of her young career, and it
finally gives a new spin to the 'bad girl' character you often find in
series like this. That's of course only the leading stars, because the
supporting cast is equally good. Jung Doo-hung, for example, impresses
once again with a role that basically mimics his real life occupation
(action director). He's a tough, no bullshit man looking at him from
the outside. But, he reveals himself to be one of Bok-su's best
friends. Jung seems a natural for this kind of role, and he's been
leaving a mark all year long. All his performances in 2002 (No Blood No Tears, Champion, Resurrection of the Little Match Girl) showcased his charisma and screen presence. Second, the writing. Fans of TV Dramas often put up with a lot more bad
writing than those who only watch Korean movies can tolerate. After
all, if you're a sucker for melodrama, you can sometime forgive sappy
music, manipulative plot developments, and stereotypical characters. I
think most of the people who enjoy these dramas do so for their
emotional content (remember, the major target demographics here are
Ajumma's), they're not trying to find great writing. Instead, Ruler of Your Own World
features some of the best writing I've seen on a TV drama. Characters
seems stereotypical at first glance, and actually trick the audience
with the usual set-up of the genre (boy 1 likes girl 2, girl 1 is
pissed at girl 2 because she loves boy 1, dysfunctional families
galore, and so on), but emerge from that set-up as multidimensional and
realistic. Ko Bok-su is neither a simple thief nor a perfect man.
Kyung's emotional state often gets the better of her and she avoids
problems instead of facing them. Mi-rae can be pretty egotistical and
short-minded, and that's just scraping the surface. There is never the
feeling that things are rushing to the usual mega-convoluted
cliffhanger, or that a mysterious sickness or death will come out of
nowhere to further the plot. Whatever happens here does so for a
reason. I never got the sense of urgency felt on other melodramas. This
series shows a good mix of lighthearted, even silly moments with more
serious and touching ones. And, the most important thing, it's
successful in hitting the right notes. Even when things get a little
manipulative, it's that kind of manipulation like in Lee Jung-hyang or
Hur Jin-ho's films. One you can happily live with, because you care
about the characters.
With a fantastic ending and lots of questions left to the viewer after the conclusion of the story, Ruler of Your Own World
does something I haven't seen for too many Korean TV series. It takes
the most overused plot device (a fatal disease) and actually uses it to
convey something. It's not just a facade to bring tears to your eyes,
no matter how successful at that some TV dramas are. Up to the last
episode, the atmosphere never goes the usual way, there's no tragedy
here. Bok-su builds a beautiful life out of his last days on Earth. He
tries to make life better for him and the people he knows. He makes new
friends, makes his parents' life meaningful again, and why not, he lets
people who love him enter his life. The only flaw of Ruler of Your Own World is that, sadly, it eventually has to end. The best TV drama of 2002. (Review by V. "X" Naldi)



Ruler of Your Own World ("Ne Meotdaero
Haera"). 20 episodes. Alternative Title: "Do As You Wish." Written by
In Jung-wook. Produced by Park Sung-soo. Starring Yang Dong-geun, Lee
Na-young, Kong Hyo-jin, Lee Dong-gun, Shin Koo, Yoon Yeo-jung, Lee
Hye-sook. Aired on MBC in Korea from July 3, 2002 - Sept. 5, 2002 on
Wednesday & Thursday nights at 9:55. 2003 Baeksang Awards: Winner
(Best TV Drama, Best Screenplay - In Jung-wook, Best New Actor - Yang
Dong-geun), Nomination (Best Actress - Lee Na-young). 2002 MBC Awards:
Winner (Editors' Pick - Yang Dong-geun, Most Popular Actress - Kong
Hyo-jin, Best Actor in a Miniseries - Yang Dong-geun, Best Actress in a
Miniseries - Lee Na-young, Netizen Talent Award - Yang Dong-geun).
Official website (in Korean): click here.
Available on Director's Cut DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles).
Also available on VCD from Passion Music in Malaysia (Chinese
subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:36 pm

Romance (2002, MBC miniseries)
After watching Romance, the success of teacher-student comedy My Tutor Friend
(over 4.8 million admissions) seems easier to accept. Perhaps it was
Kim Ha-neul's performance in this series prompting the producers to
cast her in the film (an adaptation of an online story, retelling the
struggles of a poor tutor having to deal with a spoiled rich brat who
forces every teacher they throw at him to quit). She plays the young
teacher who's still too inexperienced for her profession very well.
And, with a few exceptions, her performance considerably improves the
series.

Kim Chae-won (Kim Ha-neul) is a bright young teacher in her mid 20s,
but she still has a hard time adapting to her profession. She
accidentally meets young singer and high school senior Choi Kwan-woo
(Kim Jae-won), and they instantly form a bond. Of course, they're lying
about each other's age: Kwan-woo says he's a college senior, and
Chae-won doesn't reveal she's actually a teacher, and considerably
older than him. When Kwan-woo is forced to move to Seoul because of a
family problem, their lies start to produce consequences. Kwan-woo has
to enroll in Chae-won's school, and she'll be one of his teachers!The setup is familiar, and even if a little controversial, it's well
played out. The series thankfully doesn't rely excessively on the
typical themes of 'impossible romances.' Parents are kept at a distance
until the main characters are developed enough to let us care about
them, and it's not until their relationship becomes serious that the
usual obstacles are put on their way. The first part of Romance
is very good TV: the chemistry between Kim Jae-won and Kim Ha-neul is
excellent; the supporting characters, while certainly stereotypical,
are fun to watch. Also, with the exception of Kim Hae-sook's
predictable typecasting as the troubled ajumma, the parents are
actually a little more colorful than expected. Chae-won's mother runs a
jeans company, and is a bit of a nut, shouting 'Oh My God' at random
and sporting wild haircuts. Her father is obsessed with the formalities
of the father-daughter relationship, such as insistence on deferential
tone. He will later play a big part in Kwan-woo and Chae-won's future
as a couple, and is a well developed character.What helps the series in its first part is the fact there's very little
urgency. The writers feel no need to reveal a major plot development
every week, which usually forces viewers to keep tuning in to
understand. The drama is introduced slowly, and doesn't completely
upstage the comedy, which makes for better viewing. Characterization,
at least by TV drama standards, is quite good, although a few missteps
along the line don't allow this drama to reach the depths of shows like
Ruler of Your Own World.
For example, the 'bad girl/guy' character isn't played out like a
constant obstacle to the main characters' romance. The writers try to
make a case for those characters as well, and most of the time --at
least for the first half-- they succeed.Then, things suddenly change when the series moves 3 years ahead. It's
clear they couldn't go anywhere with Chae-won and Kwan-woo anymore,
without becoming repetitive. While the focus on secondary characters is
understandable given the main couples' forced division, their complete
takeover of the show ruins the pace and atmosphere. Kwan-woo's sister
(Kim Yoo-mi), and Chae-won's former love affair and soon-to-be husband
(Jung Sung-hwan) become centerpiece, and the parents' importance grows
exponentially. The relationship between the main characters is updated
slowly, every week building to the big finale. In theory, it's good
writing, but when acting isn't there, the series is likely to become
dull.Kim Yoo-mi is pretty good, given her character's development and the
way her problems come into play. But Jung Sung-hwan is terrible. He's
not able to go beyond the same facial expression, no matter how
important his reaction is to make the scene compelling. As a result,
even if his character is not played out as a caricature, he doesn't
allow it to come alive, and hurts the series' middle portion. Also, the
constant use of fatalist, ultra-emotive mothers who faint at every sign
of difficulty feels out of place for a breezy, lighthearted series like
Romance. Kim Hae-sook is a good actress, and has become reliable in portraying this type of character, but she disappoints here. I admit I liked the rather predictable and quasi cop-out finale, but in
light of the final 2-3 episodes leading to it, I can't really say they
built it as well as they could. The urgency level was upped by 300% in
the series' third act, only to make it more conventional. Romance
is a good series, marred by little inconsistencies and a mediocre
supporting cast. If you need any reason to watch this show, it's the
chemistry between newcomer Kim Jae-won (who's great as Kwan-woo) and
Kim Ha-neul. Every time they're together the series improves a few
notches, and even if Kim Jae-won understandably shows inexperience --
and Kim Ha-neul still overacts on occasions -- at the end they make
this show worth watching. (Review by V. "X" Naldi)


Romance ("Romangseu"). 16 episodes.
Written by Bae Yoo-mi. Produced by Lee Dae-young. Starring Kim Jae-won,
Kim Ha-neul, Jung Sung-hwan, Kim Yoo-mi, Han Hye-jin, Kim Hae-sook,
Hyun Seok, Shim Yang-hong, Park Won-sook, Kim Yong-gun, Ahn Young-hong.
Aired on MBC in Korea from May 8 - June 27, 2002 on Wednesday and
Thursday nights at 9:55. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:36 pm

Success Story of a Bright Girl (2002, SBS drama special)
In a year dominated by long dramas like Yain Shidae and Mermaid Girl,
it was refreshing to see this little romantic comedy make its way to
the top spots, and make its star one of the biggest attractions in
Korean entertainment. Before this series, Jang Nara was a moderately
popular singer in search of her first big hit. Fast forward almost a
year, and here we are, with the country in full Jang Nara syndrome,
with her records hitting record sales, and film offers piling up (she
got a record 300 million won for her role in 'Oh! Happy Day'
which is hitting theaters soon). Also, her father (stage actor Jang
Myun-gyo a.k.a. Ju Oh-sung) has benefited tremendously from his
daughter's success, recently being cast in 'Les Miserables.'

Yang-soon (Jang Nara) is a simple girl living in the countryside with
her grandmother. She dreams of saving a prince from harm with her
martial arts, and living happily with him ever after. Han Gi-tae (Jang
Hyuk) is the president of a successful makeup company. He's the classic
silver spoon case: spoiled, arrogant, taking everything for granted.
His world changes when he accidentally falls in Yang-soon's bathtub
(I'm not kidding you). It won't be her first meeting with Gi-tae,
because she's forced to move to Seoul to work as a maid. Guess who will
be her new boss? Yang-soon's first contact with city life doesn't begin well. She's
bullied at school, and doesn't connect with Na-hee (Han Eun-jung),
Gi-tae's girlfriend. Thankfully, she also makes new friends. Seok-gu
(Yoon Tae-young) seems attracted to her, and his sister Bo-bae (Chu
Ja-hyun) actually becomes her best friend. But, even more surprising,
Gi-tae seems to slowly warm up to her. When his career completely
changes thanks to rival Joon-tae (Ryu Soo-young) and his father's
behind the scenes intrigues, his outlook on life and Yang-soon's
personality evolves. She's now the one who's actively trying to help
him start his life from scratch, and make a better future for himself.
Yes, it all sounds terribly predictable, but don't worry. Bright Girl
smartly takes its paper-thin plot and develops it around the
characters, instead of shameless manipulation and/or ultra-convoluted
plot developments. This might just be the funniest drama I've seen all
year, because it never takes itself seriously. This positively affects
the more dramatic portions of the series, so that they become actually
touching. Also, while the characters are broad caricatures and follow
the dichotomy of the genre, they're treated with such a lighthearted
approach that it's hard to not be charmed by Jang Nara and company.Displaying a quite impressive Chungcheong-do accent (at least from a
non-native speaker's p.o.v.), she makes Yang-soon emerge from the
walking cliche she seems at the beginning. Her stubborn insistence on
only calling Gi-tae 'ajusshi' instead of 'oppa,' up till the end. Her
devotion to her parents (no matter how often they get in trouble), and
her manners perfectly convey her country girl upbringing, never mocking
it (think of it as an affectionate tribute). Jang Nara might not be a
great actress, but she has an addictive personality, a tremendous
energy and screen presence which is evident from the first episode. Her
chemistry with Jang Hyuk couldn't be better. He overacts a little too
much, but most of the time that turns into laughter, too.
Bright Girl also benefits from good supporting performances.
Kwon Hae-yo is always a pleasure to watch, no matter how small his
roles are. He might just be the most underrated character actor working
in Korea today. Yoon Tae-young and Chu Ja-hyun also make their
characters likable and a little more realistic than the paper thin plot
seemed to allow. Yang-soon's parents are a riot, and while Han Eun-jung
shows little else other than her beauty, Ryu Soo-young is surprisingly
effective as Joon-tae. His latest movie appearance in Summertime
consisted of pretending to masturbate and having sex with Kim Ji-hyun,
so that probably made his job in this series much easier to digest.
Despite the obvious flaws (this is not exactly an unconventional and terribly creative series), Bright Girl
is really fun to watch. The characters are well developed and the
performances very good. The manipulation never bothers, and it has a
quick pace which will help even the most skeptic casual fan. In short,
one of the funniest, most charming miniseries of the year. (Review by V. "X" Naldi)


Successful Story of a Bright Girl
("Myeongnyang sonyeo seonggonggi"). Alternative title: "Joyful Girl's
Success Story." 16 episodes. Written by Lee Hee-myung. Produced by Jang
Ki-hong. Starring Jang Nara, Jang Hyuk, Han Eun-jung, Ryu Su-young,
Yoon Tae-young, Chu Ja-hyun. Aired on SBS in Korea from March 13 - May
2, 2002 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 9:55. Official website (in
Korean): click here.
Available on DVD from Bitwin in Korea (no subtitles) and from PMP in
Malaysia (English, Chinese, and Malay subtitles). Also available on VCD
from Mei Ah in Hong Kong (Chinese subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:37 pm

Winter Sonata (2002, KBS miniseries)
Another masterpiece by Korea's revered director, Yoon Suk-ho, Winter Sonata is the second installment of his famous four season series, the previous being Autumn Fairy Tale and the latest, Scent of Summer. Like its predecessor, Autumn Fairy Tale, Winter Sonata
has a huge following in many parts of Asia, including Hong Kong,
Taiwan, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Its two leading stars, Bae
Yong-jun (Untold Scandal) and Choi Ji-woo also gained international fame because of the series.

Bae Yong-jun takes up the role of Kang Joon-sang, an illegitimate child
whose mother is an accomplished pianist. Due to his parental
background, he is an introvert who does not like to interact with
people, and often does not take the initiative to express himself. Even
though his mother has told him his father is dead, as a child,
Joon-sang believes that he is still alive. Hence, when he becomes
older, he decides to return to his mother's hometown, where his parents
were lovers, in a bid to look for his biological father.Joon-sang then transfers to the high school where Yoo-jin (Choi Ji-woo)
studies. A couple of entertaining anecdotes then happen between the two
protagonists and through these incidents, they grow to like each other.
However, as Joon-sang investigates, he realizes that his biological
father might be Yoo-jin's late father. Flustered by his new findings,
he decides to leave. However, as he decides to rush to see Yoo-jin for
one last time, he is knocked down by a car...Meanwhile, as the rest of his schoolmates including Yoo-jin think that
he is dead after the accident, he is in fact alive, but he has lost his
memory. In a bid to let him lead a happier life, his mother decides to
erase his previous memories and give him new memories with a new
identity, Lee Min-hyung. The show than fast forwards 10 years later, as Joon-sang and Yoo-jin
have both grown up. Joon-sang returns as Min-hyung and as Chae-rin's
boyfriend (Chae-rin was Yoo-jin and Joon-sang's classmate in high
school, but later went to France for further studies). During this
time, Yoo-jin was about to get engaged to her childhood playmate
Sang-hyuk, played by up-and-coming actor Park Yong-ha. However, due to
a twist of fate, Joon-sang and Yoo-jin meet again and become attracted
to each other once more. As the fate of the four intertwines, the show
goes on to tell of the enthralling love story between Joon-sang and
Yoo-jin.
Winter Sonata is a captivating story. The chemistry between Bae
Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo is terrific. In fact, many people were so
impressed by them that rumours surfaced that they were a real-life
couple. Bae Yong-jun certainly impressed many with his gripping
performance of Joon-sang and Min-hyung. This could be said to be his
breakthrough drama, as it was through this show that he shot to great
fame. Choi Ji-woo also proves herself as an A-list actress with her
overwhelming performance as Yoo-jin. One of her scenes which enthralled
me was when she was confronting Joon-sang, urging him not to fire an
old worker. The feeling of urgency then topped 100%.As for the supporting leads, Park Sol-mi did a good impersonation of
Chae-rin. Park Yong-ha did fairly well, but acting alongside veteran
actors Bae Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo, he clearly showed his inexperience
in this field. Finally, it would be almost unjust to leave Kim Hae-sook
out of the picture. Acting as Yoo-jin's mother, her performance as the
Korean "ajumma" added flavour and colour throughout the whole show.Again, Yoon Suk-ho has proven himself as one of Korea's best drama
tellers. With an impressive portfolio, many audience members certainly
do look forward to his subsequent dramas. Winter Sonata is an original love story. It's definitely not-to-be-missed! (Review by Kit Lim)


Winter Sonata ("Gyeoul yeonga").
Alternative titles: "Winter Love Song" or "Winter Ballad." 20 episodes.
Written by Kim Eun-hee and Yoon Eun-kyung. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho.
Starring Bae Yong-jun, Choi Ji-woo, Park Yong-ha, Park Sol-mi, Lee
Hye-eun, Ryu Seung-soo, and Kim Hye-sook. First aired on KBS2 in Korea
from January 14 - March 19, 2002 on Monday and Tuesday nights at
9:50pm. Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from KBS Media in Korea in both English-subtitled and unsubtitled versions.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:37 pm

Autumn Fairy Tale (2000, KBS miniseries)
Autumn Fairy Tale was a major hit in 2000, directed by
critically-acclaimed director Yoon Suk-ho. This series was so popular
that it not only propelled the three leads -- Song Seung-hun, Song
Hye-gyo and Won Bin -- to stardom, it also helped Korea to become a
popular tourist destination for many Asians. In fact, this was also the
first series to really showcase Korean dramas internationally.

Some might find the storyline to be pretty sentimental, as it tells the
story of an undying love between two siblings, although they are not
related by blood. Song Seung-un is Jun-suh, and Song Hye-gyo is
Eun-suh, who grew up together as siblings for fourteen years. Due to a
traffic accident, Eun-suh is hospitalized and requires a blood
transfusion. It is then that the parents of the two children realize
that Eun-suh is not their biological daughter. As Eun-suh's father
probes into the matter, he found out that two female infants were born
in the same hospital the day Eun-suh was born. After much
investigation, Eun-suh's parents find that their biological daughter is
Eun-suh's classmate and rival, Shin-ae, who had suffered through a much
tougher life. Shin-ae hates Eun-suh for possessing a much better
material life. Also, while Eun-suh grew up with her parents' and
Jun-suh's love, Shin-ae grew up with a rather uncouth mother and a very
abusive brother. When the truth is revealed, emotions overwhelm Eun-suh, and being the
kind-hearted girl, she choses to return to her biological mother.
Shin-ae, played by child actress Lee Ae-jung, leaves with Jun-suh and
her biological family for America and stays there for nine years. The
show than fast forwards nine years later, as Jun Suh returns to Korea
with his fiancee. Jun-suh is reunited with Eun-suh, but alas, Jun-suh's
best friend, played by up-coming actor Won Bin also falls in love with
her. As the story moves on, Eun-suh and Jun-suh face many obstacles
which pull at viewers' hearts...When this show was broadcast on TV, the love story between Jun-suh and
Eun-suh was deemed by many as incest, although they were not biological
siblings. Song Seung-hun is charistmatic as Jun-suh -- I personally
felt that he portrayed the role of Jun-suh quite well. Song Hye-gyo's
portrayal of Eun-suh was also compelling. It was impressive to see her
tearing up so naturally in the drama's many heart wrenching moments.
The supporting leads, Won Bin (Taegukgi) and Han Chae-young (Bet On My Disco),
who played the grown-up Shin-ae, also complemented the two leads well.
However, I thought Han Chae-young was a little underused in the show.
Despite the general thumbs up performance of the leads, the most
impressive performance comes from the child actors. The teenage Jun-suh
was played by child actor Choi Woo-hyuk and the teenage Eun-suh, played
by Moon Geun-young (A Tale of Two Sisters). Despite the fact
that Moon Geun-young was only 12 or 13 when she played the role of
Eun-suh, she shows her caliber as one of the best actresses around.
Choi Woo-hyuk also impresses the audience with his good acting skills.
With a good plot and great performance by the cast, Autumn Fairy Tale proves to you why it has such a huge following. Overall, this series is worth your every minute spent watching it. (Review by Kit Lim)


Autumn Fairy Tale ("Gaeul donghwa").
Alternative titles: "Endless Love" or "Autumn Tale". 16 episodes.
Written by Oh Su-yeon. Produced by Yoon Suk-ho. Starring Song
Seung-hun, Song Hae-gyo, Won Bin, Han Na-na, Han Chae-young, Choi
Woo-hyuk, Moon Geun-young, Lee Ae-jung. First aired on KBS in Korea in
Autumn 2000. Official website (in Korean): click here.
Available on DVD from KBS Media in Korea (no subtitles) and from MPEG
Video in Malaysia (English, Chinese, and Malay subtitles).

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:37 pm

Sandglass (1995, SBS miniseries)
I could tell you a lot about the historical significance of Sandglass:
it's famous for its popularity, and for its daring depiction of Korean
life under the Park and Chun dictatorships. Or I could dwell on its
personal significance as an early part of my introduction to Korean
popular culture, along with the movie A Single Spark and the
music of Lee Seunghwan. A Korean friend brought over some of the early
episodes on VHS, with subtitles; it was years before I was able to
watch the whole series.
But I'd rather talk about its entertainment value. I watched Sandglass
on DVD over a four-week period, one episode each night, and I was
hooked before I knew it. I haven't gotten so caught up in a TV series
since I was a kid.


Sandglass follows its three main characters from early
adolescence to full adulthood, from the 1960s to the 1980s. Park
Tae-soo (played by Choi Min-su) is a charismatic gangster, adored by
the men with whom he breaks up opposition-party meetings. Flashbacks
tell us that in high school Tae-soo was a fighter and leader, already
wooed by local toughs and politicians. He briefly resisted his destiny
under the influence of his close friend Kang Woo-suk. Woo-suk tutored
Tae-soo and encouraged him to think about college, much to the delight
of Tae-soo's widowed mother. But when Tae-soo was rejected by military
college because his late father had been a Communist guerilla, he
abandoned himself to a gangster's life.Woo-suk (Park Sang-won) went on to law school, his goal since
childhood. As he prepares for the bar exam, Woo-suk keeps aloof from
student activism or anything else that might deflect him from his goal.
But he's impressed by a bold young woman, Yoon Hye-rin (Ko Hyun-jung)
who edits the Student Association's newspaper. They become friends.
Flashbacks show us that Hye-rin is the daughter of a rich and powerful
casino owner with ties to the highest levels of the Park Jeong-hee
regime. A devoted bodyguard, Baek Jae Hee (Lee Jung-jae),
watches over her in her student lodgings and her increasingly dangerous
activism. By chance, Woo-suk once again meets Tae-soo, who is also
impressed by Hye-rin. Woo-suk (who doesn't know why Tae-soo gave up his
academic dreams) is disappointed to learn that his old friend is still
on the wrong side of the law. When I become a prosecutor, Woo-suk warns
him, I might have to prosecute you....The most spectacular segment of the series is its recreation of the
Gwangju uprising of 1980, which takes up most of two episodes. Tae-soo
visits a former subordinate who moved back to Gwangju, and gets caught
up in the resistance when government troops are sent in to crush the
democratic protests there. He doesn't know that Woo-suk joined the army
just in time to be deployed at Gwangju. Hye-rin has escaped arrest and
has fled Seoul for the countryside. Archival video footage adds power
and authenticity to the program's restaging of the rebellion.
Two-thirds of the series still lies ahead after Gwangju, but Sandglass
(as its title implies) is really about time, and about Koreans'
struggle to come to terms with their history. Tae-soo, Woo-suk, and
Hye-rin must overcome their suffering and pursue their aims and
destinies, which they do with great energy. At times I did get tired of
Hye-rin's Poor Little Rich Girl routine, especially since her impulsive
decisions tend to blow up in other people's faces, not hers.
And Woo-suk is such a Boy Scout -- clean, thrifty, brave, reverent,
blind to the feelings of the people nearest to him, and prone to give
up when at first he doesn't succeed. Only Tae-soo, perhaps because he
knows he's damned, seems to know who he is from the beginning, doggedly
pursuing what he wants over all obstacles.To their credit, the stars make their characters credible as people,
not just symbols. I fell in love with all three of them, especially
Park Sang-won, who I think had the hardest job. Woo-suk could have been
an intolerable prig. His best scene is near series end, when he returns
to his office after having been interrogated for days at KCIA
headquarters. His wife finds him dozing in a stairwell, unhurt
physically but exhausted, and too proud to let his colleagues see him
in that state. Park really looks as if he hasn't slept in days; it's
the only time he looks anything but buttoned-up and alert.Twenty-four episodes allow space to develop minor characters as well.
The inexperienced Lee Jung-jae, for example, who plays Hye-rin's
lovelorn bodyguard Jae-hee, is at first given little to do but look
pretty. But over time he becomes credible as a man who watches and
waits, saying little, while keeping his feelings bottled up.
The Korean friend who introduced me to Sandglass
tells me he's watched the whole series three times. I can understand
why: as soon as I finished it, I wanted to go back to the beginning and
watch it again. I'm lucky most television isn't this good. (Review by Duncan Mitchel)


Sandglass ("Morae sigye"). Alternate
title: "The Hourglass." 24 episodes. Written by Song Ji-na. Produced by
Kim Jong-hak. Starring Choi Min-su, Ko Hyun-jung, Park Sang-won, Lee
Jung-jae. First aired on SBS in Korea from Jan 10 - Feb 16, 1995.
Official website (in Korean): click here. Available on DVD from SBS in Korea (no subtitles) and from YA Entertainment with English subtitles.

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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:37 pm

Other prominent TV dramas





2006 --

Alone in Love (SBS - Gam Woo-sung, Son Ye-jin);
Goodbye Solo (KBS - Yoon So-yi, Chun Jung-myung);
Spring Waltz (KBS - Daniel Henney, Han Hyo-joo);
The Great King (Taewangsasingi) (KBS - Bae Yong-joon, Moon So-ri);



2005 --

Lovers in Prague (SBS - Jeon Do-yeon, Kim Joo-hyuk);
Rose-Colored Life (KBS - Choi Jin-shil);
My Girl (SBS - Lee Dong-wook, Lee Joon-ki);


2004 --

Age of Heroes (Yeongwoong-shidae) (KBS - Cha In-pyo, Jun Kwang-ryul);
Full House (MBC - Song Hye-gyo, Bi);
Hearts in Bali (SBS - Ha Ji-won, Jo In-seong);


2003 --

Jewel in the Palace (MBC - Lee Young-ae);
Damo (MBC - Ha Ji-won);
All-In (SBS - Lee Byung-heon, Song Hye-gyo);
Mermaid Lady (MBC - Jang Suh-hee, Kim Sung-taek);
The Age of Warriors (Mooinshidae) (KBS - Suh In-suk, Kim Heung-ki);
Alcohol Land (SBS - Kim Jae-won, Kim Min-jung);
Love Letter (MBC - Jo Hyun-jae, Ji Jin-hee)


2002 --


Daemang/The Great Hope (SBS - Jang Hyuk, Park Sang-won);
Friends (MBC/TBS Japan - Won Bin, Fukada Kyoko);
Present (MBC - Song Yoon-ah, Park Jung-cheol);
Glass Slippers (SBS - Kim Hyun-joo, So Ji-seob);
Loneliness (KBS - Lee Mi-sook, Ryu Seung-beom);
Wang Gun (KBS - Choi Soo-jong, Kim Young-cheol);

-- 2001 --


Beautiful Days (SBS - Lee Byung-heon, Choi Ji-woo);
Fox & Cotton Candy (MBC - Yoo Joon-sang, So Yoo-jin);
Guardian Angel (SBS - Song Hye-gyo, Kim Min-jong);
Hotelier (MBC - Bae Yong-joon, Song Yoon-ah);
Ladies of The Palace (SBS - Kang Su-yeon, Park Sang-min);
Piano (SBS - Jo Jae-hyun, Kim Ha-neul);
Sang Do (MBC - Kim Yoo-mi, Lee Jae-rong);

-- 2000 --


All About Eve (MBC - Jang Dong-gun, Chae Rim);
Hur Joon (MBC - Jeon Kwang-ryeol, Hwang Su-jeong);
Mr. Duke (MBC - Kim Seung-woo, Choi Ji-woo);
Truth (MBC - Choi Ji-woo, Park Sun-young).


1990s --


Goodbye, My Love (MBC 1999 - Kim Hee-sun, Ahn Jae-wook);
Happy Together (SBS 1999 - Cha Tae-hyun, Jeon Ji-hyun);
Into The Sunlight (MBC 1999 - Cha Tae-hyun, Kim Ha-neul);
Model (SBS 1997 - Jang Dong-gun, Han Jae-suk);
The Power of Love (MBC 1997 - Shim Eun-ha, Park Shin-yang);
Wish Upon a Star (MBC 1997 - Ahn Jae-wook, Cha In-pyo);
Trap of Youth (SBS 1999 - Shim Eun-ha, Lee Jong-won);
First Love (KBS2 1996 - Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo);
Barefoot Youth (KBS 1994 - Bae Yong-joon, Ko So-young);
The Last Match (MBC 1994 - Shim Eun-ha, Jang Dong-gun);

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PostSubject: hi   Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:15 am

these are the korean dramas ive watched so far.....

coffee prince
princess hours
full house
my lovely sam soon
couple or trouble
sad love song
love truly
delightful girl chun hyang
success story of a bright girl
save the last dance for me
princess lulu
stained glass
memories of bali
only you
dalja spring
my girl
winter sonata
the legend
hwang jin yi
lovers in prague
which star are you from
sweet18
wonderful life


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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:21 am

-=dami Koreanovelas!!!

-=sana lahat mapanuod ko!!
lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Top Koreanovelas   Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:02 am

same here! but anyway i know some of those novels! haha!!
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