Friday, March 27, 2015

Kat's K-Dramas: Healer




So I'm going to try to review some of the dramas that I really liked watching. It'll be similar to my book reviews (so an overview of the whole series instead of an episode by episode recap).


힐러
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Episodes: 20
Aired: 2014-Dec-08 to 2015-Feb-10
Network: KBS2

Watch it on: Dramafever, Viki

Synopsis:

A mysterious messenger, an online newspaper reporter who only concerns her own interests, a popular reporter who agonizes over the truth and reality.
When these three people meet, a passionate romance starts and the truths from the past and present reveal themselves to the world. This drama features young people and how they grow into real reporters.
This drama explores the world of underground business as well as journalism. It talks about how sometimes there are underground, powerful political groups that manipulate journalism for their own needs. It shows how different groups of journalists either conform or fight against these political powers.

Main Character: Chae Young Shin/Oh Ji An (Park Min Young) - She was abandoned/lost as a little girl, so she has a lot of issues about this. But now she wants to be a reporter like her idol Kim Moon Ho (a brutally honest investigative reporter who is a celebrity due to his great reporting skills). She is strong and honest and adorable, so I really like her as a main character.

Love Interest/Second Main Character: Seo Jung Hoo / Park Bong Soo / Healer (Ji Chang Wook) - So, I truly believe that Jung Hoo is the second main character and not just the love interest. Not only because he is the Healer (the whole name of the show). But because he has a past that intricately ties him into the greater mystery and he has a lot at stake in this show.

Secondary Love Interest: At first I thought that this show was going to try to make Kim Moon Ho (Yoo Ji Tae) the secondary love interest, which I would have hated since he is more of a protective older brother to Chae Young Shin. However, they don't do that in this drama (thank goodness!).

Setting: Current day Korea (with some flashbacks to the past).

Random Thoughts: Perfect balance of drama, comedy, action, and romance. I loved Healer for it's ability to find the perfect mix of these elements. It's what made the show both exciting and emotional for me. Also, it doesn't hurt that there were secret connections between a lot of the main characters that were revealed along the way. I love when a drama gives past connections (I don't care how hokey this might sound, just trust me that it's done way better in K-Dramas then in a lot of American dramas).

Chae Young Shin is a great lead female. She is not too whiney or weak. She is also not too rough and unlikable like some female leads can be (although, sometimes this works for a character, see I Can Hear Your Voice). Young Shin is the perfect blend of a strong female that still has some flaws and issues to work through. She also has a great family and support system around her, so it's easy to see why she's become such an upstanding and lovable girl.

On the flip-side Seo Jung Hoo did not have a loving family. He had a master trainer who taught him how to fight after his mother abandoned him. Oddly, his relationship with his mother is kind of good. He still goes to see her and shows her a lot of affection. This confused me for a bit but in flashbacks they explain it away (a little too quickly for my liking, but at least they explained it).

This is also a drama that seems to address a lot of the "cliches" that occur, kind of in a tongue-in-cheek way. A lot of dramas do this to try to dissuade the audience from thinking it's too corny. I've seen it done better in some other dramas, but I've also seen it done way worse. So I give the writers of Healer credit for trying and for pulling it off fairly well.

All-in-all, I waited each week for new episodes and the drama kept my interest during it's whole run. I really enjoyed the actors and the story of this drama, and I think it's a fun show to watch (especially if you're new to the whole Korean-Drama game. It's not overly steeped in Korean Culture, so it's easy to get into).

Recommendations: If you liked the mysterious past/master fighter aspects of Healer, then try City Hunter. If you liked the journalism in Healer, then try Pinocchio.


SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ SOME SPOILERS

I like the connections and how they became more complex as the drama went on. The fact that the past with the "parent characters" keeps permeating into the present is important to the drama. It seems like there are a lot of small reveals that show how interconnected the three main characters truly are. At first, I thought the Healer was just a jaded guy who lived a mysterious life. He is a man who doesn't like connections, but the fact that he gets embroiled in a mystery that deeply connects him to other people made me really happy. I do think it's a little coincidental that he gets randomly involved in the mystery, but I don't hate that one coincidental meeting that gets the ball rolling. When you think about it a lot of stories happen because of a coincidental meeting of two people fated to meet. 

Though there are some coincidences that I thought were a little too blatant. The fact that Jo Min Ja (Ajjuma) used to work on the police force with detective that now hunts Healer is a little far fetched. The fact that Chae Young Shin idolized Kim Moon Ho, who happens to be the man who has been looking for her for years and also happens to be her Oppa in a  past life (a little too coincidental).

I like that Seo Jung Hoo comes from a very similar background to Chae Young Shin and was also abandoned like Chae Young Shin, but he has taken a very different path. It makes it so fun to see how these characters interact and how they discover their history and react to it differently.

I also really enjoyed the romance. I like the scenes where Seo Jung Hoo is following Chae Young Shin as Healer and she calls him (thinking he is Park Bong Soo) and they talk about deep feelings while he is watching her longingly. I know this seems a little stalker/creepy, but I like to think it's easily explained away by the fact that he's just doing his job (since he was hired by Moon Ho to watch over Chae Young Shin).

Unfortunately, this series was one that had an anti-climactic ending. One of those endings where I thought, "is that it?" I know that sometimes a resolution is not as high-action as you'd like, but this show is an action/thriller, so I would have expected a little bit more. To be fair, there was some intrigue and secret plans that they carried off in the end. And it was nice that our main leads got a happy ending. I just wish that there was...more...

2 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to watch this, especially with all the sexy Ji Chang Wook pictorials being released -- apparently he's a hot commodity in Korea right now. Understandable <333. Also, I remember you raving about this back in the fall when it was live, mentioning it was similar to City Hunter, I believe? & yesss a heroine to root for. I love a good K-drama heroine. Wooooo. This is on my To-Be-Watched list.

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    1. I did really enjoy it. It's not the best drama ever, but it was really so entertaining and I really like all of the actors in the show (which, you know really helps make you love a drama). I will say there were some slow parts, but that would never make me dislike a show. Anyway, this is a show I would recommend to people to watch, so definitely put it on your TBW list.

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