JYP brings the magic in new web drama
Clockwise from top left: GOT7’s Jinyoung, Yoon Park, 2PM’s Nickhun,
Shin Eun-soo, Ryu Seung-soo
On the heels of KBS’s Andante, JYP has announced they will also be producing a high school drama, but with a magical flair. Titled Magic School, the plot is reported to revolve around several youths at a, you guessed it, magic school (I’m assuming this school’s magic is more of the David Copperfield variety than, say, Hogwarts).
Among the ensemble cast are GOT7’s Jinyoung (Legend of the Blue Sea), Yoon Park (Introverted Boss), 2PM’s Nickhun (The Producers), Ryu Seung-soo (Beautiful Mind), and newbie actress Shin Eun-soo (Legend of the Blue Sea). Jinyoung’s character, Na-ra, is a college student who has never not been single (awwww, lol) and hopes to one day become a civil servant. Yoon Park is Jay, a star magician with a cold outer demeanor that hides a deep inner sadness (don’t they all), and it looks like Nickhun’s Jun will provide a direct contrast as a poor but warm-hearted medical resident. Ryu Seung-soo and Shin Eun-soo will be a father-daughter pair, the former as Master Han, headmaster of the titular magic school, and the latter as Lee Seul, who dreams of becoming a dancer instead of following in her father’s footsteps.
The characters, for reasons unexplained, will all come together at the magic school, and their story aims to reflect the dreams, hopes, challenges, and despair of this generation’s youths. The producers promise a fresh and humorous vibe, that is also emotionally resonant and a story that viewers can empathize with. That… is a tall order. Go big or go home, I guess, JYP.
Jinyoung, Shin Eun-soo in Legend of the Blue Sea
This cast and the director Kim Do-won are, for the most part, a big question mark for me. Yoon Park is the only cast member I’m familiar with, and although I think he’s a decent actor, he tends to choose assy characters that he doesn’t quite manage to make likable (see: Introverted Boss and What’s With This Family?). I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nickhun in anything outside of cameos in Dream High and The Producers, but the acting talent coming out of 2PM is a mixed bag. (On the one hand, you have Jun-ho, who was ace as Seo Yul in Chief Kim—may his bromance with Namgoong Min live on forever!—and then you have… Taecyeon.) This director, who’s pulling double-duty as screenwriter for the project, also has a very short list of credits: 2016 indie movie Dear… Lena. That’s it.
I’m also giving some side-eye to Shin Eun-soo’s role, because she is way too young to have a loveline with any of her fellow cast members (she was born in 2002, which makes her 14). She and Jinyoung have acted together before in Legend of the Blue Sea as mini Jeon Ji-hyun and Lee Min-ho, and they were cute in their scenes together, but now that I know their age difference (he’s 22), the ick factor is there. I’m hoping the drama can work with that gap without making things uncomfortable.
All this to say that I really do hope this turns out to be another Dream High-esque success for JYP, because that is the drama I point to as the golden standard for high school/coming-of-age/youth dramas. You better bring your A game, JYP, I need another Sam-dong in my life! Filming for Magic School is due to commence in July, and is expected to release in the latter part of this year.