Most Popular Review
This drama was based on fact, about the real life of Jang Hui-bin, a beautiful royal concubine to King Sukjong in 1686. It is no wonder why Kim Tae Hee was cast to portray her. Apparently, over the years in Korea, at least nine other women have been cast in the same role making Jang Ok-jeong a popular historic figure indeed. Another fact arises that, unlike in the States, Korean/Asian women are cast in roles that can be much younger than their real age. They can be much older than their male counter parts. Yoo Ah In (King Sukjong) portrayed depth in his role despite being 6 years younger than Kim Tae Hee and being opposite a strong actress. Their chemistry carried the drama well and the supporting characters held the story up. Admittedly, while the story was original, the mechanisms used were very similar to other dramas seen: evil power struggles, greed and avarice where love struggles to find a way out. But hey, that’s why we watch!
Ghosts abound in this historical drama that depicts Yin and Yang, good and evil, love and hate in a well-constructed mystery. The ghost, Arang, (Shin Min Ah) who died unexpectedly, tries to find out the reason behind her death and who killed her. The Magistrate, Kim Eun Oh played by Lee Joon Ki, is her “human” Sherlock Holmes and romantic interest. Also, there are two powerful “God’s” of the writer’s creation that are portrayed as the black and white robed Yin and Yang, who control the fates of everyone and yet are not omniscient. They allow Arang to come back as a human to find out the truth but with two caveats: she only has a limited time in which to discover the truth and she is immortal. That’s right – a human that can’t die. During her search, they discover a very dark and evil demon with great powers that can control and possesses humans. Interesting right? It is indeed. The drama became better with each episode to where you will find yourself watching two or three at a time!
While at the moment Bae Su Ji (Suzy) rides a wave of popularity and that most find her attractive, she still needs time to mature as an actress. After all, she is only 18. Most of the time, save for the crying scenes, she simply acts like herself (view “Invincible Youth II” for a baseline). I eagerly wait for the role that she can create to enhance the story (much like Moon Chae Won in “Shining Inheritance” or Kim Sun Ah in “Scent of A woman”). Please don’t misunderstand this and let’s hope that she will seize the next opportunity and make it her own. Lee Seung Gi is accomplished and has shown us with the likes of “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” and “King 2 Hearts” that he can carry a starring role easily but even then he has had very strong female leads supporting him. While the Gu Family Book is unique, entertaining and recommended, it falls beneath the other two in overall appeal. That being said, tears did fall so take the time, watch this drama and wait for the clever ending!