With the year coming to an end, that means it’s time to take stock of the past twelve months (well, eleven really) in kdramas. The broadcast stations will be holding their awards ceremonies at the end of the month, and I’m working on my wrap-up of 2009’s offerings — as are some very talented (and prolific!) drama-watching fans — which I’ll post up closer to the end of the year.
SBS’s drama A Star’s Lover was not a hit in Korea, but (as expected) it’s doing well in Japan, thanks in no small part to Choi Ji-woo‘s immense popularity there.
A Star’s Lover was broadcast on Japanese satellite and cable channel WOWOW TV starting in May, and will follow that with a run on a major broadcast station beginning August 25, airing as a Monday-Tuesday series.
Such is the reaction among buyers and Japanese retail and DVD production outlets that A Star’s Lover is being called “a second Winter Sonata” — strong words, given how incredibly strong (and lasting) the impression was from that drama. In June, a concert was held featuring the series’ soundtrack and earned such huge response that additional promotional materials are in the pipeline, from novelizations of the drama, guidebooks, the soundtrack album, and even chocolates.
CEO Go Dae-hwa of the production company Olive Nine said, “Even we at the production company did not know that the drama would cause such a tremendous response in Japan.”
I admit I still haven’t finished the drama, and even with only two episodes left, I have no desire to see the ending (so… painfully… slow). However, I will agree that Choi Ji-woo and Yoo Ji-tae were gorgeous and had intense chemistry (amidst all the crying and wailing), the scenery was beautiful, and the first four episodes were touched with a little extra magic that I wished carried through to the end. But in any case, I’m happy to hear it’s doing so well; all underperforming dramas should get second chances elsewhere.
I know it’s super-late, but I said I wouldn’t quit, and I haven’t. As much as this drama frustrates me, there’s something about it that makes me want to stick around to see the ending, even if it is mixed in with so many exasperating plot runarounds that just lead in circles. At the end of the day, this is a drama that you watch to find out plot, even if you may not enjoy the watching thereof. Plus,
SONG OF THE DAY
M (Lee Min-woo) – “Sad Song” [ Download ]
Choi Ji-woo‘s romantic melodrama A Star’s Lover may not have performed well in Korea, but she’s heading to stronger ground to promote the drama in Japan.
She’ll appear at Tokyo’s Ebisu Garden Hall on the 12th for a preview event and talk show about the series, which will begin airing on the satellite channel WOWOW on May 1. (The channel also aired her 2007 action drama Air City, which is another drama for which she’d held a similar event, at the same venue, back in October 2007. No doubt she can expect a lot of questions about her newly revealed boyfriend, Air City co-star Lee Jin-wook.)
A Star’s Lover (which I fully intend to finish!… one of these days) ended with a bit of a whimper, buzz-wise, but this being a Choi Ji-woo drama, it was likely intended to recoup any domestic losses with overseas sales anyway, as they did well in advance in Japan months ago.
Via Sports Khan
If you’re watching A Star’s Lover, you’ll notice that “melodrama queen” Choi Ji-woo cries A LOT in it. At least once an episode, and sometimes more. So much, in fact, that viewers have picked up on a peculiar trait of the actress’s crying scenes: The tears always start with the left eye.
A representative from Choi’s management company confirmed this particular habit, saying that nine times out of ten, she cries from the left eye first, then the right.
But she’s not the only one on the Star’s Lover set with a crying quirk: Cha Ye-ryun, who plays Eun-young, has lately also been shedding lots of tears after her character was dumped. In Cha’s case, whenever she cries, she lets trickle two streams of tears from each eye, for a total of four rivulets.
Also, the actress playing Yoo Ji-tae’s sickly sister Yuri, Shin Min-hee, is said to be so immersed in her character’s emotions that she often cries real tears during script rehearsals. Shin requires some time to recover after her scenes, so if NGs occur (outtakes), she needs time to prepare for a second go. However, ever the pro, Choi Ji-woo is ready to go immediately, in contrast to some actresses who keep the crew waiting for hours while they muster up the emotions. They don’t call Choi the Queen of Tears for nuthin’.
At first, I thought this was a silly thing to notice — but looking through all my screencaps of the show, IT’S TOTALLY TRUE. I find this hilarious.
How does a drama take such a sharp turn? Well, I bet some people can argue that this drama has been growing slower… and s..l..o..w..e..r… for weeks now. But I seem to recall thinking just two or three weeks ago that things were actually getting more interesting. And then… nothing happened. I mean, stuff happened, but nothing really happened, if ya know what I mean.
However, someone commented that Episode 15 is much more interesting than 14, so I’m still going to try to power through. I’m trusting in you, o faceless commenter. It’s a shame to quit so close to the end, right? (Famous last words?)
SONG OF THE DAY
A Star’s Lover OST – “하고 싶은 말” (Words I want to say) [ Download ]
Okay, so here’s Episode 13 in a nutshell:
SONG OF THE DAY
Sung Shi-kyung – “사랑하는 일” (“Act of loving,” or just “Loving”) [ Download ]
When Choi Ji-woo‘s current drama, A Star’s Lover, was being planned, there was particular attention to the Japanese market, given her popularity there. Hopes were high that this series would be a hit with its two big-name leads (Choi and movie star Yoo Ji-tae), so I suppose the decision to cast a Bae Yong-joon lookalike actor as Choi’s character’s ex-lover was done in fun and maybe even some fan-service. After all, it’s on the basis of their drama Winter Sonata alone that Ji-woo-hime and Yonsama amassed such huge fanbases overseas, particularly in Japan.
Philip Choi (Soulmate), above, made his first “real-time” appearance on the drama this week (he’d been teased in flashbacks and memories thus far), and I think it’s hilarious how much effort they went through to make him look, seem, and act like Bae Yong-joon. The hair particularly makes me laugh.
Philip Choi and Bae Yong-joon
Yeah, Philip Choi (who is seven years younger than Bae) has been noted for the resemblance in the past, but I think their auras and styles are so different when Choi is doing his own thing that you wouldn’t really confuse one for the other. But that’s when he’s not being told to imitate Yonsama, of course.
I know Choi was part of the drama from the start, but given that the drama isn’t performing so well, his appearance unfortunately comes off kind of like a last-ditch casting stunt. (The ratings have been stuck consistently in the 7%-8% range, versus dramas Kingdom of the Wind and this weeks’ new entry, Return of Iljimae.)
Via TV Report
I was frustrated by Episode 12. A lot of my issues with this drama have been building gradually, so it’s not like my catalog of complaints (listed at the end) has sprung up overnight. It’s more like I’m finally tired of making excuses for the story.
On the upside, the chemistry is still good between Choi Ji-woo and Yoo Ji-tae. Cha Ye-ryun (Eun-young) is still solid as an actress even if her character is annoying. And the music is well-used, which I think I’ve noticed more in recent episodes because Boys Before Flowers, in comparison, sucks so very hard at knowing when and how to use its soundtrack.
SONG OF THE DAY
A Star’s Lover OST – “떠날까봐” by Sei [ Download ]
I had a hard time getting through this episode (until the last third), even though I think it was one of the better ones. I think there’s an evenness to the pace, a sameness, that makes A Star’s Lover‘s subtlety feel slow at times.
It’s because the plot is kind of a foregone conclusion. While we may not know exactly what happens from here to the end, we all have a pretty good idea of its direction, and we haven’t been thrown any big twists.
So why tune in? This is a drama to watch for the acting of the leads and their chemistry, which is getting really good. I think Yoo Ji-tae and Choi Ji-woo are both pulling their weight nicely on this one. I don’t say that because the romance is heating up, but because I’m starting to actually believe their emotional connection. It also has a great soundtrack that fits the atmosphere to a tee.
SONG OF THE DAY
A Star’s Lover OST – “내겐 어려운 그 말” (Difficult words for me) by Hwayobi [ Download ]