New drama’s concept has passed its timeI am now mentally ready to greet a new year, as I’ve fulfilled one year-end ritual ― having my fortune told. I’m no believer in fortune-telling, which is often devastatingly wrong ― I was once told that I would marry at 27 and have three children in my 20s. Still, it’s fun to tease fortune-tellers who give me conflicting readings, as some say I should stay at home and others have told me I would “wither to death” if I became a housewife.
The fortune-teller of this year, however, was right with, “Well, you are very talented in finding fault with others, which you will be using at work.” Bingo! That’s how I’ve written this TV review beat for years now. Although I soon grew tired of his forecast that I would meet a “precious person” coming from a northern direction, this year’s session did note my talent at carping at others ― mostly TV shows. Asked what kind of precious person it would be and more details about the northern direction, the fortuneteller replied, “You should not try to know divine will that closely.”
Remaining true to my talent anyway, I turned on KBS2-TV’s new, ambitious drama, “The Snow Queen,” which airs Mondays and Tuesdays at the drama prime time of 10 p.m. The charm of lead actor Hyun Bin somehow made my virulent pen grow a little dull, but I was brought back to my senses quickly by the unpleasant chirping of lead actress Seong Yu-ri. Seong, who has a cute face, needs to work on her voice while acting ― even though she was a member of the now-disbanded four-girl pop group, “Fin.K.L.” (The odd name was an abbreviation for “fine killing liberty” according to the group’s talent agency).
Ms. Seong is obviously the snow queen ― an icy princess who is the only daughter of a rich family yet, suffers from an incurable disease (yeah, yeah, yeah). Korea has seen more than enough of this incurable disease plot in its hit dramas, and the concept has long passed its expiration date. Still, the concept appears to die hard on the Korean TV scene. On the other hand, Hyun, who is high on my favorite pretty boy list, plays a mathematics genius who chooses to be a struggling boxer with a sad back story. The boxer meets the snow queen by accident, and later works as her driver. Ms. Snow, although she secretly admires her driver, tries to keep an icy attitude toward him. Ms. Snow has a heartbreaking past, as her mother, who used to read her Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” as a bedtime story, has died.
Well, from the story elements given so far, I can easily anticipate how the drama will end, even though it is only four episodes old. Seong’s character will somehow open up her heart to the boxer and they will fall madly in love, despite objections from her family. However, at the zenith of their love, Seong will fall critically ill and the two will promise in tears to meet in heaven. The end.
I’d be glad to be proven wrong, for that would be an omen of the progress on Korean television scene.
I’m evilly pleased that I’m not the only one to veto “The Snow Queen,” as it has scored less than 10 percent of the audience rating, despite the stars in the lead roles. Some of the drama’s aficionados are claiming on online clubs that it will soon have its deserved high rating, but I cautiously doubt it.
Numbers do lie, but at least not, apparently, in the case of “The Snow Queen.”
There is still some value in the drama, as it presents picture-perfect scenery with adept camera operation.
In a trivial sequence of the young Ms. Snow standing on a wall, the camera films her from ground level, from under a layer of pebbles, presenting quite a picturesque scene.
I may choose to keep watching the show with the volume off as I enjoy the scenery quite a lot, in particular the presence of Mr. Hyun.
by chun su-jin