Straddling the line between life and death, pain and peace in Doctor John
It’s hard to imagine any medical drama bringing a fresh spin to the genre, especially given the volume of medicals out there. But that certainly won’t stop dramaland from trying, and I have to admit I’m a little intrigued by this latest entry, SBS’s Doctor John, if only because of its cast and somewhat odd teasers. The latest clips that have been released feature leads Ji Sung (Familiar Wife) and Lee Se-young (The Crowned Clown), with a lot of medical imagery to reinforce that they’re, you know, doctors.
Doctor John will focus on doctors who specialize in what roughly translates to pain management. I admit that I’m a little confused by the reports describing what Ji Sung and Lee Se-young’s characters do, since their job titles are anesthesiologists, but they will also apparently diagnose patients that suffer from mysterious symptoms. I have no idea whether diagnostics has anything to do with anesthesiology, but I guess we’ll just find out through the show.
The two clips are quite short, and are full of depictions of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, and old drawings of the human body. In the first teaser, Ji Sung narrates, “A pain-filled life. A peaceful death. A peaceful life. A pain-filled death. And those who stand at that border.” The clip has some unnerving imagery, with a butterfly wing being stabbed with a needle, and Ji Sung contorting his upper body, though the teaser ends in a more conventional way with him staring straight into the camera.
Lee Se-young features prominently in the second teaser, and she promises that she “will not turn away from your suffering.” It’s a little bit of a jolt to go from Ji Sung to her, because she just seems so young in comparison, and definitely not old enough to be a doctor, but she’s actually 26, which isn’t an unreasonably young age to be a doctor. We see her approach something or someone with some apprehension, as the clip cuts to Ji Sung, and as the clip ends, she gets her own stare at the audience.
Doctor John will be co-directed by Jo Soo-won and Kim Young-hwan, while Kim Ji-woon will pen the script. I’m trying to keep my expectations a bit low, because though PD Jo Soo-won directed the delightful Thirty But Seventeen, I couldn’t find any credits for Kim Young-hwan, while Kim Ji-woon penned Hyde, Jekyll, Me, which… isn’t the most promising. Since this show is adapted from a Japanese novel titled On Hand of God by Yo Kusakabe, I’m hoping that the presence of source material will help.
Doctor John will premiere on July 19 and air on Fridays and Saturdays.