Can't Lose

A look at the interesting and/or high-profile dramas premiering in the next three months. So far the year has been packed with entertaining but not exactly well-executed dramas (with the exception of City Hunter and a handful of others) so hopefully some of these dramas will change that.

An interesting thing hapened in the first week of August in that one of the occupational hazards of the Asian drama production world kicked in: two series both starring Uee began airing. Ojakgyo Brothers,  which she recently shot and which also stars Joo Won, began airing on KBS on the 6th, while Birdie Buddy,  which was filmed months and months ago but couldn't get picked up by a network, finally saw the light of day on the 8th on tvN. 


Can't Lose -August 24 - Set to follow Heartstrings, this drama stars Choi Ji Woo and Yoon Sang Hyun as a pair of married lawyers in the midst of a divorce. It takes a light approach to two people who were once in love and gradually fall in love again. Directing is PD Lee Jae Dong of Thank You, which is one of the more solid dramas out there. The director has already said that he's satisfied with the chemistry between his leads, and there were bursts of laughter during the first script reading, both of which are very good signs. Claire's note: Choi JI Woo plus Yoon Sang Hyun plus the director of Thank You, one of my favorite dramas of all time? Bring it on!!!! Plus, I love lawyer dramas - the leads are always intelligent and the dialogue is usually incisive. No-one can trade insults quite like lawyers. The title I suspect has a double (triple?) meaning in that neither can stand to lose their cases, both intend to win the divorce case, and ultimately, neither can stand to lose each other.


High Kick 3: The Revenge of the Short Legged- September 19- Not only does this drama have a title which trumps almost all bad-sequel-titles ever, but, really, is there any need for a third High Kick series? Also so far the cast is mostly older actors (Yoon Kye Sang of all people, and Ahn Nae Sung) in defiance of the series'  name as a vehicle for young actor breakthroughs. Claire's note: It's funny to think how much I loved Yoon Kye Sang after Who Are You? and how I've gradually given up on him as I've watched him in a string of mediocre supporting roles since. I don't think he'll ever break out, nor that he necessarily deserves to, so I've transferred my affections to Park Shi Hoo, who had a similar upward trajectory in at first supporting roles, landed a leading role, and has been rocking it ever since - that level of charisma and thespian skill can't be ignored.

Poseidon-sometime in September-Choi Siwon (Athena, Oh! My Lady) and Lee Shi-young, who played the bitchy-but-kind-of-awesome secondary female in Playful Kiss, star in this drama about the maritime police force. Both are members of what sounds like the Coast Guard crossed with the Navy. Lee Sung-jae is their boss the police chief. Claire's note: Yawn. I'd be excited about this with a different cast but both Choi Siwon and Lee Shi-young are weaker actors, and I'm frankly surprised they were cast together. Lee Sung-jae on the other hand is awesome and one of my actor crushes (he blew me away as neurotic, brilliant, upright Mi-gook in Lawyers of Korea). I'm tempted to watch just for him but with the plot and leads so underwhelming I'll probably pass.

A Thousand Days' Promise - September 26- Kim Rae-won's comeback drama after his recent release from the military, this also stars Su Ae (9 End 2 Outs, Athena) in a drama about a woman with Alzheimer's and the man who falls for her and stands by her. Kim Rae Won reportedly read many movie and drama scripts before choosing this role. Writing is revered scriptwriter Kim Soo Hyun of 2010 drama LIfe is Beautiful, which is considered groundbreaking for its portrayal of gay romance on the small screen. Also known as Forget Me Not, this will follow Warrior Baek Dong-soo. Claire's note: I laughed out loud when the casting for this was finalized. Why? Because Kim Rae-won and Su Ae are two of perhaps five Kdrama actors whom I simply don't like. Kim Rae Won has a penchant for choosing mediocre projects in my opinion - Gourmet was just bland - and I find his acting style a little over-the-top. It doesn't help that I don't find him attractive either. As for Su Ae, I like her only in certain roles - really enjoyed her in 9 End 2 Outs, but I think she has a limited range and she just doesn't do it for me somehow. Which is why I was filled with absolute glee to note that the drama powers that be, to my extreme good fortune, had somehow cast these two together, thus ensuring they won't be paired with and drag down another actor that I like, and that they'd been cast in a drama I have zero interest in. Alzheimer's? No thank you. If you want your heart broken into a thousand pieces, watch A Moment to Remember instead, the fiercely acted, heartbreakingly tender film starring Son Ye Jin and Jung Woo Sung, which is also about a man who falls for a woman who develops Alzheimer's. All the requisite pain and in only two hours - why go through 20 hours of torture in a drama for the same result?

Tree with Deep Roots- September 28-Jang Hyuk stars in this historical thriller as a man in the reign of King Sejong who starts investigating a series of murders. He uncovers a conspiracy involving a group of brilliant men trying to control the fate of Korea. Han Suk Yu is King Sejong, while Song Joon-ki is young King Sejong. It also stars Shin Se-kyung (High Kick through the Roof, Queen Seon Duk). Claire's note: This could be pretty fantastic, and the concept hasn't been done before. The cast is good so it really all depends on the execution.


Man of Honor - Chun Jung-myung and Park Min Young star in this drama about a former hotshot baseball player who's been relagated to second status. When he gets injured, he meets nurse's aid Jae-in, who overcomes hardships as the story goes on. The PD and writer are the team behind last year's juggernaut Baker King Kim Tak Gu. Claire's note: I honestly can't decide which has the better combination of cast+director: this drama or Can't Lose. Right now I'm leaning toward Can't Lose, but Chun Jung-myung and Park Min Young are essentially the younger versions of the revered Choi and Yoon in that they're at the top of their age group in acting skills. The plot sounds like nothing much, but Baker King was such a solid, solid, well-written drama that I have great faith for this one (if I remember right, the plot of Baker King sounded dull also).

Iris 2 and Live in Style (Ki Tae Young) are also set to premier in October but little news has been released about either yet.