A deluge of new stills from Secret Garden
Admittedly, I don’t have high expectations for SBS’s body-swapping fantasy-romantic-melo-comedy (woo, genre mishmash overload!) Secret Garden, despite liking the main cast (Hyun Bin, Ha Ji-won, Yoon Sang-hyun, Kim Sa-rang, Philip Lee). And I am not a fan of the On Air and Lovers writer-PD pairing.
But I’m not writing it off yet, because body-swapping hijinks can yield some interesting results, such as the wonderfully funny and heartfelt 2008 Yoon Kye-sang offering, Who Are You?, which surprised me by being so much better than I thought it would be. There was also 2006’s comedy Please Come Back, Soon-ae, which was light and amusing.
(Note: It’s funny that in English, the term is “body-swap,” whereas in Korean it’s “soul-swap.” Significant or not? Food for thought.)
The story: Hyun Bin plays Joo-won, the typical cold, rich businessman. I’m okay with this cliche since the premise so thoroughly overturns it by putting him into the body of Ha Ji-won’s stuntwoman character, Ra-im. Yoon Sang-hyun is Oscar, a playboyish Hallyu-star singer who’s big in Japan (who should never wear his hair straight again, as far as I’m concerned, based on all the stills of him so far). The connection? Joo-won and Oscar are cousins, yet also bitter rivals. (Example: If Oscar buys a sports car, Joo-won buys a sports car dealership. Dudes, just whip it out and measure it already.)
Another hostile pairing is between Ra-im, aforementioned stuntwoman, and Yoon Seul (Kim Sa-rang), an educated and talented CF director. They get tangled up in one particular encounter, and the former scrapes the latter’s pride, rendering all future encounters tense and contentious.
Rounding out the main cast is Philip Lee (who I’ve been referring to mentally as “sex on legs” since his role in last year’s Story of a Man — rawr), who takes the role of martial arts director and Ra-im’s instructor. The role will likely take advantage of his fluency in English, as his character studied abroad and worked in the Hollywood system.
The drama airs after Life Is Beautiful wraps, its first episode broadcasting on November 13.