There’s a new toon-to-drama adaptation in the works, and while I’m not particularly excited by news of webtoon I’ve never followed, I am perking up at the mention of PD Kim Won-seok, whose last two projects were Monstar and Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Both were memorable, well-drawn, thoughtfully executed dramas whose romances carried a distinct cute factor, so yes, you’ve got my attention.
The webtoon in question is titled Misaeng (which translates to mean not yet alive) and deals with baduk. Yes, the chess-like board game. Baduk is the most important thing in the lead character’s life, but he fails to make it as a pro player and is cast into a cold reality. Is the cold reality that chess was the most important thing in your life, maybe? I kid, I kid, kinda. It’s not something that makes you think high stakes or emotional depth, but it’s all about execution — the series is really about wandering young adulthood and finding your way in the world, which is a type of narrative I love which hasn’t really been explored much by Korean dramas.
Following that failure our hero tries to forget all about baduk, only to find that ironically enough, the insights and skills he learned from the game now become the key to solving his problems. I can see that working, if the game is used as a kind of running motif rather than being a story all about chess. Like dramas that use baseball as metaphor for romance, or whatnot. (Side note: Is there something in the water? There’s another baduk-related project in the works, though that one’s a movie starring Jung Woo-sung and Lee Beom-soo.)
The drama adaptation purports to depict the lives of office workers in an honest, relatable, and poignant way. The main character seems like just an ordinary young salaryman with a dream, who turns out to possess “not at all ordinary philosophy and insight.” The drama will aim to show delicate emotions with depth, which I think we can expect given the PD’s deft touch in handling sentiment and humor in his previous dramas. I’m intrigued with this idea of telling a story of young adults finding their way in the world, which seems really appropriate for this generation of youngsters becoming adults without really knowing who they are yet.
Misaeng is still in early stages and hasn’t been picked up by a broadcaster, but aims to air next year.
Via TV Report