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New midweek shows “On Air,” “Who Are You?”

Last week saw the finales of both of Hong Gil Dong‘s competitors — New Heart crescendoed to its end with a whopping 33% rating, while Bulhandang [Con Man] limped to the finish line with a paltry 5%. (Hong Gil Dong has dropped a point or two, but is holding relatively stable in the 13%-15% range. We’ll see if the numbers pick up this week, since it’s going up against two newbies now.)

Speaking of which, let’s take a preliminary look at the two shows filling in the empty time slots for the foreseeable future: SBS’s anticipated On Air, and MBC’s Who Are You?, which looks like a family drama but is described more interestingly as a human drama mixing fantasy elements.

Of the two, I’d say SBS has the edge with its high-profile cast, well-publicized cameos by famous stars playing themselves (Jeon Do Yeon, Lee Hyori), and production muscle. I’ve also been hearing about it for, like, ever. At one point I wondered if it had already aired and I’d just somehow missed it, for all the news there was swirling around. But actually, I think I’m looking more forward to Who Are You?, once I actually looked into its story.

SONG OF THE DAY

On Air OST – “한가지말” by FT Island [ zShare download ]

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What On Air‘s got going for it, I think, is that it’s timely. The intro given to us about its four leads, all of whom are involved in the high-profile entertainment industry in varying capacities, echoes real-world elements that we can see even as spectators. The publicity machine, the gossip, the fans and anti-fans, fame and its backlash, pressure, etc. No doubt the producers will have something to say about the crazy world they inhabit — or at least I hope they do, since what greater opportunity is there to simultaneously poke fun at the madness of celebrity and also show us common folk the ugly downside to fame that’s hardly seen from outside the shiny exterior?

 

 

Take for instance Kim Haneul‘s character (she of 90 Days’ Time to Love, My Tutor Friend), an A-list actress who’s got it all — looks, money, fame, designer clothing, awards — who refuses an acting award and suddenly finds herself at the maelstrom of negative press and rapidly multiplying anti-fans. Still, as the top star commanding box office power, she’s in a strange position of vulnerability and power.

Park Yong Ha (Loving You, Winter Sonata), meanwhile, plays a drama PD at fictional channel “SBC” — SBS isn’t even trying to be clever about the pseudonym, is it? — who’s the station’s “dark horse” but also been frustratingly kept in the associate director slot (rather than moving on to lead director) because his taciturn, reserved demeanor gets mistaken for rudeness. He lives and dies by the audience ratings, and in order to score success, he needs a fantastic writer. Someone like the writer played by Song Yoon Ah (My Sister, Arang, Hotelier). He sets off to persuade her to work on his next project.

As a writer, she’s hugely successful, known for fantastic ratings, wonderful dialogue, and splendid dramas. But as a result of Kim Haneul’s actress character refusing an award, she becomes more famous for the gossip than for her writing. Having fashioned her career from 95% convention, 5% originality, she starts to have doubts about all the dramas revolving around adultery, terminal diseases, and the Cinderella syndrome. (Like I said, it’s verité!)

Rounding out the main four, Lee Beom Soo (most recently of Surgeon Bong Dal Hee) plays the head of a management company who’s built his career cultivating stars and relationships. He’s gone above and beyond to be at the beck and call of his actors, always there when needed, but has found himself easily cast aside when the actors hit it big. He’s at the point where he wonders if this is all there is when he’s approached by Kim Haneul’s top-star-in-trouble character.

On Air is written by Kim Eun Sook, who wrote the Lovers trio (Paris, Prague, and plain Lovers), and directed by Shin Woo Chul, who also worked on the above-mentioned three series.

 

 
Meanwhile, MBC is premiering Who Are You?, which also happens to be 18-year-old Go Ara‘s first role playing an adult; she got her start in the high school comedy series Sharp and went on to supporting teenager roles in dramas like Snowflake. In Who Are You? her character loses her father in a sudden accident and works to manage life on her own, while dreaming of becoming a manhwa writer-artist.

(By the way, MBC’s official website is rather unfortunately abbreviated (intending to be cute, I suppose) “Who R U,” but that just ends up looking like http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/drama/whoru/.)

Initially, the series looked pretty ordinary, but the more I read about it, the more interesting it seems. Apparently Ara’s father — a delivery man who dies in an accident — is given 49 days in this world in which he gets to do things before moving on to the afterlife. (You may recognize him, Kang Nam Gil, from Bad Family, Goong, Pure 19 — if anything, he’s got the goofy but lovable father role down pat.) He’ll get to make up for all the things he didn’t do for his daughter, although it seems Ara’s character won’t know it’s him (thus the “Who Are You?” of the title). Luckily, the body he’ll be inhabiting for his brief stay (actor Yoon Kye Sang) belongs to a young, smart — and rich! — man. Jackpot!

The Body, on the other hand, isn’t quite so happy about it. First off, he doesn’t even want to believe there are such things as spirits — but the proof is incontrovertible. And to think the spirit dares even to take momentary control over his own body without permission! And he’s the father of the girl he loves! Talk about conjuring a new twist on the term “love triangle,” eh?

Okay, I admit that a weird romance thingy with Ara and Yoon Kye Sang might be a little squicky — Oedipal (or Electra complex-y) connotations and all that. But it could be sweet.

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Definitely a go for "Who are you"...

"On air" has a lot of high-profile stars which make me feel uncertain about its success as I saw a lot of big dramas with many stars (such as Air City, Bad Love ...) but at the end, they couldnt get a good rating and good slots to hold viewers like normal dramas.

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you're right SM...

am hoping to see Who R U instead...

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out of the two i am more interested in Who Are You. It has a unique concept and I personally like the lead actor (and the actor who plays the father is also very funny and goofy in his other dramas) so it should be rather interesting and entertaining. I just hope they are able to execute it right... I'm looking forward to it and it seems like With S2 is going to sub it...yay! ^___^

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I'm actually more looking forward to On Air.. cos I love the cast and the writer! hehehe.. and preview looks really interesting.

But I will definitely check out Who Are You? too cos Yoon Kye Sang's in it.. loved him in 19 Year Old sister in law, and after seeing the trailer, I think it's gonna be really interesting. I'm not a fan of Go Ah Ra's acting tho.. but I guess I'll see how it goes. I need a good comedy to make up for the loss of it after my fav Robbers ended.. Hong Gil Dong just doesn't do it for me at the moment, despite my love for KJH.

Random fact here: Yoon Kye Sang and Kim Ha Neul actually have a new movie 6 Years In Love together... and now they're fighting against each other in the drama world heehhehe....

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Go Ara is definitely not 20.. She was born in the same year as me and I'm only 17.. She was born in 1990. So she's turning 18 in the states. I guess she's 19 in korea since they're a year older than us. But still that doesn't add up to 20.

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I am looking forward to On Air because of cutie Park Yong Ha and beautiful Kim Ha Neul ... but the plot of Who R U is actually interesting. I like the father from Bad Family and Goong..but I haven't seen any of Go Ara and Yon Kye Sang's works yet...

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Yep, definitely "who are you?" the plot sounded more refreshing.

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Oops, you're right, Ara's 18. She PLAYS 20ish in the show. Duh, I knew that.

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**Annie>>got a question.. what do you mean when you said "she’s 19 in korea since they’re a year older than us [in the US]" about Go Ara? i'm confused..please explain, Annie or [email protected][email protected]

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^In Korea, ppl usually add a year to their real age. So when they're born, they're considered 1 years old. So Ah Ra's a 1990-er, she's 19 in Korea while she's actually only 18 in reality.

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Both sound pretty interesting. I'll def take a peek at both but I'm more anticipating On Air for some reason. I'm sorry to say but I feel like Who Are You is something I'll just "see" what happens by looking at the last few episodes unless the first few episodes really hold my interest. But for On Air, like you said - is really timely. It has that chance to be a really sophisticated commentary about the current entertainment business - and not just a paltry love story. I am really hoping the On Air folk stick in some satire (seems like they already be alluding to the phenom of fan backlash and the fickleness of fame) and avoid focusing on too much love stuff :P A little satire would be really fresh coming from a drama with so many high-profile actors....it'd really get the point that the entertainment world isn't all fun and games...

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@cattey

The Chinese do it as well. Basically it's bad luck for a child to be "0" years old (i.e. the child doesn't exist).

So when a child is born, they are considered 1 years old.

Also, we add a year for Chinese New Years as well. So you can have a child that was born in December (1 years old) and then the next month they become 2 years old!

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I'm looking forward to watching On Air because I like the lead actors. Park Yong Ha hasn't done anything since Loving You and he's a real cutie who's going out with Eugene. Lee Beom Soo has grabbed my attention since Dr. Bong. It would also be interesting to peek behind the scenes of tv production which In-soon Is Pretty only hinted at.

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I want to watch "Who are you" because the fact that the actors are not really A-listers unlike "On Air". I can proudly say that "I watched this because it is interesting" and not "because Kim HaNeul is starring that is why I watched it!" but still I'm going to watch both of them if time permits because I'm sooo busy!

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looking forward to both dramas but I'm more interested in Who Are You as well...I'm into Family type of dramas but I'll also look on how they both fare on Wednesday and Thursday Nights

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I'm really excited to see Who Are You~ i'm looking forward to a nice, lighthearted comedy intead of the usual intense stuff that's been goin on lately...and plus this is Yoon Kye Sang - he's a total hottie...i so wish he woudl go back to G.O.D though - and be an actor! lol...

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Both seems interesting....which I haven't felt in awhile :/ I'm itching to settle into a good drama!

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i`m looking forward to "who are you".. Since i watched "Crazy for you" i`ve been a fan of Yoon kye sang. I think he`s one of those actors who really gets into their characters, to the point where you start calling them by the character`s name.. I guess I found my first drama for 2008.. (yes i haven`t watched in dramas in a few months now... nothing really caught my eye till now :P

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Who Are You sounds fun. I'll look forward to it~

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God, I love On Air's characters. But knowing it's written by the people who did the Lovers Trilogy is making me rethink it. As far as I know, all three were melodramatic. I love the entertainment industry, and it'd be amazing if they parody it and yet make it gritty.... And the guys are sooo cute!! *sigh* Maybe I'll catch the 1st ep.

^^ That being said, Who are you? sounds awesome as well. I love romantic modern fantasy-fusion. At first, when I was reading "girl is left orphaned after father gets hit by a car" I'm like NEXT!! but then comes the manhwa-artist part (I'm currently reading a GREAT manhwa about exactly that...) I perked up my ears. Then comes the twisted love triangle. Imagine trying to make a move on the daughter with the father right there objecting! :P I'm looking forward to it already. lol. It'll be really fresh if done correctly. So gonna watch it.

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i think i'm more excited for "Who are You." i'm watching Dead Like Me (american), so Who are You seems cooler and a little more different (but still with some of those typical korean plotlines). thinking about summarizing either of these, javabeans?

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Wow, they both sound super interesting. I really want to see "On Air" because of the actors, the story also appeals to me a lot, but "Who are You" also sounds incredibly interesting and cute. I really like Kang Nam Gil in his previous dramas and I so love Yoon Kye Sang especially in "Crazy for You", lol that drama made me cry, he was just awesome together with Lee Mi Yeon. Hopefully the dramas don't turn out as dissappointing as other recent ones have.

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based on the 1st episodes alone, i found on air more interesting. it may end up like the drama, "screen" (kim tae hee's first major drama), where it starts off strong but can't keep up the momentum but the actors are much more experienced, particular kim ha neul and lee bum soo. i also like that the pairings aren't so obvious and i love the hilarious scene between song yun ah and this one pd or director? where they talk about stereotypical drama formulas to ensure high ratings. the whole awards conflict isn't convincing, but is, nonetheless, interesting.
who are you has a promising cast and it's great to see one of teh coffee prince dudes, again. plus, the other young male lead (other than yoon gye sang, who is also really cute) is really good looking and natural (prob because he was a stage actor before appearing in dramas).

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More curious about "On Air".

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go ara... was very, very, very bad in snowflake. i love her, but i hope she's not so stuffy this time!
but i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE (yupp in a fangirl way!) yoon gye sang!!!

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#9 cattey -
As ripgal and Jessica stated, in Korea, you're considered one year old when you're born. Korea also does the same thing as China, I guess, where on the New Year, the baby is considered 2 years old (I'm not sure if it starts on New Year's Day of the Lunar or Gregorian calendar, though). That's why you often hear in dramas people asking, "What year are you? (i.e. What year were you born in?)" instead of "How old are you?" to determine seniority. Thus, in Korean age, you are always 1 or 2 years older (depending on what time of year it is) than your age in other cultures (namely Western - I don't know how other cultures measure age).

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I just watched the first episode of "On Air" and I liked it...despite myself. Of the 4 main characters (unusual to have 4 main characters in a drama) in the first episode, the 2 actors, Park Yong Ha and Lee Beom Soo shined. Their female counterparts were...good but a little over the top. I'm not sure if their characters were supposed to be portrayed that way or what, but Song Yuna definitely has her role cut out for her. It was interesting to see Kim Haneul act witchy for a change. I'm so used to seeing her in sappy, melodramatic roles so this was refreshing. I just can't figure out Song Yuna's character yet. However, there IS a hint of edginess to her character for sure. That edginess came out in the dialogues between herself and Kim Hanuel. It was great. I liked the fast pace and flying dialogues. Most of the time, I find myself fast forwarding through scenes I don't like, but in this instance, I didn't have to. It was thoroughly enjoyable from the beginning to the last.

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Oops, that was me above ^^ (#26).
Who Are You? sounds like an interesting story and looks promising. On-Air has the cast and, hopefully, satire I'd like to see. I hope I can squeeze in time for both.
*sighs* - too many dramas...too little time... :(

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The story of Who Are You kinds of reminds me of this movie with Robert Downey Jr. called "Chances Are"... It has the dead-father-possessing-the-boyfriend-of-daughter kind of storyline too.... I like Yoon Kye Sang! He was so cute and lovable in 19 Year Old Sister-in Law and Kim Ha Neul's a great actress. I can't really say which one I'd watch because it's so difficult... Anyways, I only have KBSWorld in my country....

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dramabeans!!!
i hope you can provide more info on the series Who are U.
yea..looks more interesting and i'm definitely looking forward to that
thank u!

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Isnt Park Yong Ha like a cameo for like every single drama. I always see him every where...but he is just like an extra though. BUt he's EVERYWHERE! lol
I love Ko/Go/Koh Ara, I always watched Sharp and even Sharp 2, even tho I didnt like Kibum ;p

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#26>>thanks for that answer! i have always been curious about that "year and age" thing in asian dramas..i'm not of korean or chinese descent, so i didn't really know about that until now.thanks, i really appreciate it!!!
:)

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ha..!! i've been waiting for years for Yoon Kye Sang's new series. He filmed a movie recently too!

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i like both the lead actors but am not too sure for the lead actress. i'll check it out when you've (or if and when) started your review on it.

btw, the story seems familiar... like the movie Won Tak's Angel starring "M".... his father died and with an unfinished business went back in the world of living... i like that movie A LOT!

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Out of the two, i'd probably watch On-Air. Because i think it will take an in-depth look at how korean biz works. . . by that I mean korean stars have rabid anti-fans, so yeah I think it SHOULD be interesting.

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javabeans..

are you gonna do a recap on the series "Who are you"?

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seriously. on air! XD

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truthfully OA doesn't look that good.
I mean it's one of those there is a problem and
they fix it, there's a problem and then they fix it.
It gets kinda boring after a while so I'm DEFINITELY
watching Who Are You~!

- Kyu

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FINALLY, OA WINS!!!!!

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i havent watched who are you just yet.
but it sounds like the kind of "ï've this amount of limited time to do things"
just like the dying cancer patient just that he's dead already.

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