It’s official. There are not enough hours in the day for me to continue my preferred level of drama watching while still keeping my day job (which is deadline crazy), kinda having a life, sleeping and periodically blogging. I’m still not done with History of a Salaryman, yet a slew of new dramas have started and about princes none the less. A few years ago modern day princesses were all the rage (My Princess, Goong), but now it princes that are in style. Hence two dramas about princes with a fantasy aspect- one ala time travel and the other in the form of an alternate world. That is probably where the comparison’s stops though. I was able to squeeze in the first few episodes of The King 2 Hearts and Rooftop Prince and they’ve both left a good impression on me, but in different ways.
I’ve already gushed about Rooftop Prince which is pretty typical kdrama territory, but now to gush about The King 2 Hearts (K2H). Worst title ever (does it have something to do with cards?…), but don’t judge a drama by it’s title. This might turn out to be just as good as History of a Salaryman was. Could 2012 turn out to be the year of awesome, hilarious, dark comedies? Maybe. K2H is interesting- watching it makes you curious about this alternate version of history where Korea is ruled by a monarch, but there is still a North and South Korea. K2H is dark and funny and even a little creepy at times. I get the feeling that something really, really bad might actually happen…(more on that later).
Ahhhhhh, Ha Ji Won! My ultimate girl crush that even rivals my love of Yoon Eun Hye. Ha Ji Won is so awesome, I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do. Here she plays Kim Hang Ah, a North Korean military officer.
“She’s a drill instructor for our pregnant female soldiers.”
Hahaha. Naturally. It’s familiar territory for HJW, playing the tough chick, but she does it so well and she actually looks like and moves like a person who can hold her own in a fight. She plays Hang Ah with loads of vulnerability which especially come out in episode 2. Our hero is Prince Lee Jae Ha, a bratty young royal played by Lee Seung Gi, who is also playing to type with this character. They are thrown together together to participate in the World Officer Championships representing one Korea. Hijinks ensue. HJW and LSG have palpable chemistry so they might end being an OTP for the ages depending on how much their relationship is played up. I’ve never been a particular fan of LSG, but this role might just do it for me, especially if his character is able to turn into a true gentleman who earns Hang Ah’s love and trust. Rawr?…that sounds boring…especially if his character is able to turn into a true gentleman who earns Hang Ah’s love and trust and is hawt while doing it. RAWR!
Anywhoooo…episode 1 and 2 were very memorable. They really left an impression and it’s apparent that the team working on this drama is skilled in what they do. One of the things that really stood out was the set design and the costume design. They are especially spectacular in introducing our literally maniacal villain, Kim Bong Goo, Yoon Je Moon. Bong Goo is a sociopath, complete with suspenders. I really hope that outfit comes back, red shirt and black suspended just scream evil maniac. And Bong Goo really is just evil- an illegal arms dealer who wants to keep us at war with each other and business booming. Bong Goo provided us with one of the creepiest moments I’ve ever seen in a kdrama in episode 1….but then later he gives this face below and I find him even creepier.
Later Bong Goo shows us his lair which is cold, expansive and mostly empty. Perfect for echoing fits of maniacal laughter! Muahahahaha! Now this is the way to do a villain who’s not exactly filled with depth, but still convincing and scary as hell because he’s a time bomb with no time display. He’s like a Korean arms dealing Joker. Hopefully they run with this characterization and keep Bong Goo off-his-rocker evil. But he really does creep me out. If something really bad goes down, and I think it will, (I call the King’s assassination – either a failed attempt or maybe even a successful one), Bong Soo’s going to be the one to do it.
The other aspect of the set design which stood out was the partially computer generated set of a North Korean train station. The only one I’ve ever seen pictures of are Pyongyang Station, but I’m not sure if the one shown was suppose to be that station or elsewhere. Either way it was very well done and shows a great deal of care and dedication to making a convincing story. Here is a link to a good travelblog about the blogger’s trip to North Korea. A fascinating and completely foreign world…