Guys, you need to watch this show. I’m serious, dead serious.
If nothing else, then just watch the first episode. It’s worth it, I promise. In fact, what’s even more awesome is if you watch the first episode and half of episode two, before the (inevitable) drama takes place. I am telling you… the first episode is gold, pure gold. Okay, am I getting ahead of myself? Let’s rewind, and I’ll explain where I’m coming from and why this show is worth your while.
I’ve actually never watched Kang Ha Neul in a show before, since I conveniently skipped both MONSTAR and The Heirs, but he caught my attention in the recent Running Man episode where the cast of Angel Eyes went head-to-head with the running men (and one kickass woman). Then Pinkblossom wrote about it here – even coming out of her semi-hiatus to draw attention to this show! – and attached samples of the my-god-so-beautiful cinematography, i.e. screen shots from the drama. I caved in, and legit, now I’m so emotionally invested with this show.
Episode one and half of two were beautiful, nuanced, adorable, and uplifting. I can’t remember the last time I am this excited about a show and honestly, the first episode gave me vibes of not only Beautiful Life – the Jdrama that’s incredibly close to my heart – but also Can You Hear My Heart – a solid Kdrama weekender. There is so much innocence and purity to the romance; it captures the heady, innocent experience of first love so, so perfectly. Then there’s also the familial relationships, which are mostly warm and incredibly lovely. You know, where family members actually love each other and mums are awesome – brownie points!
My favorite though, is the hero, who epitomizes warmth and kindness. I luff him so, so much.
Kang Ha Neul was all kinds of amazing as the young Park Dong Joo, and passing on the baton to Lee Sang Yoon was a fantastic, fitting choice. I love both of them and wait, have I already said how much I love Park Dong Joo the character? He reminds me of the hero in Can You Hear My Heart.
I’ll let you in on a secret: I actually like Goo Hye Sun. I know, shocker. She’s… eccentric, I agree, in that artistic kind of way, but I don’t dislike her. I don’t always love the things she does, and this includes her acting and stage presence, but I do acknowledge her talents and smarts. So yeah I like her, but… she’s…. okay here? It is like… she’s okay here, but there is an obvious disconnect between the young Yoon Soo Wan, who was acted so awesomely by Nam Ji Hyun, and the older version by Goo Hye Sun. Yes, I’m a bit disappointed.
Nam Ji Hyun was spunky and stubborn, prideful to a fault too, but incredibly endearing. Goo Hye Sun‘s Yoon Soo Wan is… flat. She’s not lifeless, but the spunk that was so natural in the younger counterpart is lacking in the character’s older self. Okay to be frank, it’s more like it’s obvious that she’s trying to act spunky. For instance, being all badass as an EMT – I’m sorry, but no, you’re not convincing at all as an EMT… Still, she’s definitely more engaging here than in her earlier roles. I think that’s a good thing, because at least she’s not over-acting or looking like she doesn’t want to be there, you know what I mean? Baby steps, folks. I think she’s slowly connecting with the character, so hopefully in the later episodes the disparity is less jarring and I’ll come to like her as much as I like Nam Ji Hyun‘s version of Yoon Soo Wan, who is a pretty awesome character too, really.
In terms of chemistry – ahhh, my heart, be still. Kang Ha Neul and Nam Ji Hyun had CRAZY chemistry – I would love to see them together again, hopefully in a show of their own when they’re older! – and thankfully, both Goo Hye Sun and Lee Sang Yoon seem to have chemistry too. Not the crazy kind, rather a gentle, subtle sort – but it’s lovely. So, so lovely. I can’t wait for her to find out who he really is!
Not everything about this show is awesome, I admit. Like the EMT and all those ER scenes, all of them are laughably mediocre. They’re either too simple, or exaggerated. I am almost embarrassed for them, because none of the scenes are believable. I am also not digging Kim Ji Suk, who basically plays the same type of character in all of his shows. He’s serviceable, but personally I always find him sleazy-looking and pretentious (ahem, personal opinion). Pass. Then there is Seungri, who is the humor machine here, except he’s embarrassingly funny. His acting is uh… I don’t know, it’s basically like putting Seungri in a firefighter uniform and telling him to act.
Overall though, the other side characters are solid actors, especially the elders. I love that actor who plays Soo Wan’s dad; he was the dad in Love Rain! I also like that there’s no baddie villain here (not yet?), so I don’t have to fast-forward scenes of say, evil stepmothers and crazy plotting – what a relief. Ultimately, I am here for Lee Sang Yoon, his dimples, and the warmth in his character. I am also here for the amazingly beautiful cinematography – we’re in good, deft hands here folks, so enjoy the visual treat.
In short, I am dead serious – watch the first episode. If nothing else, watch it for its production and artistic values in the cinematography and the portrayal of that initial cusp of first love. There’s a kind of gentleness and warmth to the storytelling, further amplified through the camera works and other intangibles such as the soundtrack. Ah yes, the soundtrack is wonderful! The songs are incredibly easy on the ears, and poignant too.
I know some of you are allergic to Goo Hye Sun and/or weekend dramas, but just this once, put aside the prejudice and give Angel Eyes a go. True, it’s nothing innovative or new, but all that is familiar in this show, they are surprisingly warm. While I admit that I do suspect the show will eventually arrive in makjangville town, the way I look at it is I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. In the meantime, please excuse me while I squeal and grin like a loon at the awesomeness of the leading couple. Or better yet – join me!
Aw shucks, fine – Lee Sang Yoon and his dimples, need I say more?
PS Click on the link to Pinkblossom’s link to sample the visual treat. Trust me, this show is BEAUTIFUL.
PPS I’ll leave you with this lovely poem, recited in the first episode (yet another reason to watch it!):
I received a tied letter yesterday
The street that always followed you,
Those that were not the street,
The stones that played with us here and there
keep themselves buried with their faces hidden
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
From the night sky full of chill
I see the broken gold pieces
Sparse snow is floating
They can’t land on the ground anywhere
Floating endlessly, trembling with their eyes open
A few blooms of snow.
– Hwang Dong Yoo, A Little Love Song
(translation credits: DramaFever)