The premiere of Arang and the Magistrate is still a week away, but if you want to whet your appetite for the comedic, whimsical, ghost-human romance fusion sageuk, you’re in luck: the drama is showing a preliminary special broadcast this week to introduce the show.
They’re saying that it’s the first time a drama has trotted out a pre-premiere special of this kind since the highly anticipated epic fusion drama Legend four years ago… which seems strange to me, but I suppose must be true. Well, if you’re leaving out little cable shows like Answer Me 1997, that is, which had an “Episode 0” before launching its series. But they’re framing this as a big broadcast event, so commence fanfare and hype. A rep from broadcaster MBC stated that they decided to go with the special after seeing the strength of fan/netizen response every time a new wave of information was released by the show. Can’t argue with that. Lee Jun-ki has been away for three years. People need their fan fix, y’know.
Let’s just cross our fingers that the show delivers on its promise. Because Lee Jun-ki can be hilarious with his sharp comic timing (especially when he remembers not to overdo it) and Shin Mina has already shown us she’s adorable and feisty in supernatural heroine roles. The story takes a well-known folk tale and makes it something new with a zippy, quirky tone. And I’m just ready to love the show, if only it’s good. Please don’t suck!
The introductory special will air on Wednesday, August 8. Episode 1 airs next week on August 15.
Via E Daily
All right, this is more like it: The above promo poster (wallpaper, actually) carries more of the quirky fantasy comedy-melo I’m expecting of Arang and the Magistrate than, say, its previously released main poster.
That first poster’s pretty, sure, but rather straight-up romantic and fantasy-like. Nothing wrong with that, of course (see: Queen In-hyun’s Man), but this is a drama with a loud, assertive dead-ghost heroine and a pretty, pretty magistrate hero (who’s very much alive). With heavenly gods and messengers of death and shamans with half-sight. There’s definitely a strong personality with this show, that’s for sure.
Sad news for impatient drama viewers, which may be a redundant moniker. What, you can’t just give me my crack and then TAKE IT AWAY. The London Olympics will be taking over some major primetime broadcasting slots, and it looks like dramas will be preempted left and right. Everyone take a deep breath, and stock up on some behind-the-scenes videos and reruns to tide yourselves over for the next few weeks.
What a pretty heavenly king Yoo Seung-ho makes — as if we doubted he would, especially with his lustrous Barbie hair in Warrior Baek Dong-soo. But he ups things one step with his latest role (it’s an extended guest spot) in Arang and the Magistrate, where he plays the Great Jade Emperor.
The promos and teaser have made clear that this drama has got a strong quirky vibe, so it’s no surprise that this god-figure is a bit left of center: His character has a playboyish image, though he can turn on the dignified charisma in a heartbeat. For instance, Yoo explained that the Jade Emperor’s age is roughly equivalent to the King of the Underworld (played by Warrior Baek Dong-soo co-star Park Joon-kyu, pictured below), but as the ruler of the heavens who watches over new life and thinks positively, he looks much younger. Whereas Hades’ purview is death and bad deeds, which has taken a toll on his outward appearance.
This newly released poster for Arang and the Magistrate may look ethereal and romantic, but as we know from the drama’s teaser, those are just two adjectives of many that describe the genre-mixing fantasy drama. Others include: quirky, comic, ghostly, action-packed, and fast-paced.
The poster copy reads “A fateful beginning, a truth greater than you imagined.” I suppose we can add mysterious to the adjective pile, because the premise hints at a secret behind the death of our heroine, Arang the ghost (Shin Mina), who doesn’t remember or know the reason for her murder. That makes it tricky when she appeals to the young magistrate Eun-oh (Lee Jun-ki) to help figure it all out. I find it interesting that the poster applies a fuzzy, romantic glow when it appears the heroine’s a grittier type of character than the goddess-like image makes her out to be. And we know from the preview that she’s hot-tempered and maybe a little badass, too. Which makes her that much more interesting in my eyes.
Good news and bad. The Good: The first teaser for summer spook drama Arang and the Magistrate is out, and it looks awesome. The Bad: We’ve been waiting on pins and needles already, but MBC has pushed the premiere back three weeks, so we’ll have to wait that much longer to see Shin Mina and Lee Jun-ki in action. Dramaland giveth, and dramaland taketh away.
Could there be a cuter ghost in all of dramaland? I don’t know if Shin Mina’s spectre can top her gumiho, but I sort of love that she’s got the market cornered on spunky supernatural creatures who are misunderstood. The myths and legends got it wrong, don’tcha know? I can’t wait for this show to start, if even to just find out what part of its fantasy-melo-comedy-sageuk DNA is its most dominant. I hope they don’t skimp on the fantasy part of that equation. I want my ghosts to be ghosty!
Arang and the Magistrate is about a month away from its premiere on MBC, which means it’s in the thick of shoots. That gives us a steady stream of stills and promotional tidbits about the fusion romance-melo sageuk that pairs a ghost (Shin Mina) who doesn’t know why she’s dead with the very-much-alive magistrate (Lee Jun-ki), who comes to help figure out the mystery. And maybe also fall in love with the dead girl, breaking everybody’s hearts. I’m bracing myself for delicious conflict, though also clinging to hope that there’s a way to Make It Happen in a satisfactory way. What, dead people can come back to life, right?
The following stills and interview comes with two of the drama’s supporting leads, who play sidekicks to our hero and heroine. Kwon Oh-joong and Hwang Bora describe their roles and what it’s like to film below:
Now that the hero’s had his introduction, we turn to Arang and the Magistrate’s heroine, Shin Mina, pictured in these latest stills wearing hanbok for her role as the murdered Arang seeking justice for her death.
Shin Mina said, “I’m so excited and happy [to do this drama] that I find myself waiting for filming days. It’s because it’s my first drama in two years, but also because the script is so entertaining and the cast and staff are all working so hard; the more expectations grow for the drama, the more I want to do a really good job. I’m enjoying every moment on the set.”
Making his much-awaited comeback from army duty, Lee Jun-ki takes the role of the magistrate in his upcoming drama, Arang and the Magistrate, which you can see in these stills.
The drama riffs on the famous tale of a young woman named Arang who was killed, who returned as a ghost to plead with magistrates to bring justice to the evildoers, played in the series by Shin Mina. Though there are definite fusion-mystery-ghost story vibes, there also seems to be a current of humor that’ll run through it (though I hope it’s more the wry kind and not, say, broad and slapstick).