Angel Eyes: Love At First Sight (Watch It!)

Angel Eyes (2014)
Angel Eyes (2014)

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,
disappeared suddenly

Those that were not the street,
disappeared too

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)

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7 thoughts on “Angel Eyes: Love At First Sight (Watch It!)

  1. Hi J, I ran out of shows to watch (can you believe it?!) and started Angel Eyes because of KHN. And I FOUND LSY! Yay! So good looking, manly yet cute with the most irresistible dimple! Goodness, I can look at him forever. I’m one of those with an aversion to GHS from Flower Boys’ days (both her & LMH’s hair put me off the show) but think I can ‘tahan’ her in this show. She reminds me of Song Hye Gyo in this show somehow.

    Back to the show, I will continue watching it but I think it’s going to be rather ‘drama’ with PDJ trying to be the ‘suffering in silence’ hero, and YSW?? Not sure what she’s going to be but I hope it’s good.

    Let’s continue the discussion 6 eps down the road. Hope I’ll still be on the bandwagon.

    ps. I totally cannot get SLA :)p

    1. Hey Teri! Sorry for the super late reply, it’s been crazy around here o.o YES about everything you wrote about Angel Eyes and its cast! She reminds me a tiny bit of Song Hye Gyo, but the latter definitely looks less dead-fish-eyes. Hoping things will change and yes, I’m so onboard this wagon and can’t wait for episodes 5 and 6. I need my fix!!

      PS Woahhh really? I’m curious on the why, though I get it that this show is a hit-or-miss with folks. I love it, but I realize that I do from a distance? Like an artwork which I admire and laud for its finesse, but don’t necessarily remember and keep close to heart.

      1. No need to be sorry, you seem to be leading a hectic and rewarding life. So enjoy it while you can, before you’re sucked into the mundane daily working life :)p

        SLA – First off, I’m not a fan of noona-dongsaeng romance. Call me old fashion but my max is prob 5 yrs diff (and I’ve already upped this from 2 yrs…lol). Thus, I’m oredi put off by the years difference. Whatmore, the show seems to be milking the sexy potrayals. It may be artistically filmed but I think many are watching it only for the sex part.

        Hmm….now that I put it in words, it may not be the drama that puts me off, rather than the people watching and their expectations (I read the recaps and cmmts). I dun mean you, of course, but majority. Anyway, it’s only my thoughts. Dun ‘crucify’ me please!!

        I’ll stick to AE & LSY……

        1. OMG no one is going to crucify you for speaking up about SLA!! Haha especially not me. I totally hear ya, except there’s barely any sexy scenes frankly haha – the eroticism or whatever people call it is actually more through the gazes, glances and whatnot. Sexually charged, but nothing kinky. I’m not iffy about the age gap, but I totally understand what you mean and your personal preference (plus, this show totally doesn’t skirt around it so even more so).

          “…ather than the people watching and their expectations” -> HA! I totally hear ya!!! And this is exactly why I am not reading or following any blogs that write about the show. Whatever little I’ve glimpsed, honestly there’s enough write-ups out there to gain a PhD on the show haha, but honestly my issue is more that some folks come off sounding really territorial and elitist about the show. I get it that the show is like an art house film, but who is to judge that only a certain type of people are “worthy” to watch the show? So yeah, I deliberately choose to be uninformed on this and its been rewarding :)

          I will get to watch episodes 5 and 6 of AE tomorrow, yay yay yay!

          PS You’re scaring me about the working life… :p

  2. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i know i should feel guilty for taking you away from studying… but gosh darned it i’m SO HAPPY you’re watching this show!!! ^^ and so honored that my incomprehensible first impressions post gave you a little nudge in the show’s direction tehehehee! ^^

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