Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Star-studded soaps vie for Wed.-Thurs. slots

Two television dramas kick off simultaneously tonight, seeking to dominate the Wednesday-Thursday night scene with the end of Ko Hyun-jung’s “Daemul,” which won the grand prize at the 2010 SBS Drama Award.
“Sign” on SBS and “My Princess” on MBC are totally different in concept. While “Sign” is a medical crime investigation drama, “My Princess” is a romantic comedy featuring Korean royalty.

Medical thrills in ‘Sign’

Kim Ah-jung, left, and Park Shin-yang from the new SBS medical crime drama “Sign”

Set with the backdrop of the National Forensic Service (NFS), the 16-episode drama will have one main case, running parallel with three to four smaller ones.

Movie director Jang Hang-joon has turned to the small screen and said having 16 separate episodes for each installment will be an adventure in Korea, as viewers can download them one by one.

Actor Park Shin-yang plays Yun Ji-hun, a talented forensic doctor who teams up with newcomer Go Da-gyeong (Kim Ah-joong) and confronts Lee Myeong-han (Chun Kwang-yol), the chief of the NFS.

Park returns to television two years after appearing in “The Painter of Wind” (2008). He was in a dispute with the Corea Drama Production Association for his overly high payment in the 2007 drama “War of Money” and was slow to return.

Park said “Sign” is a drama with straightforward direction — seeking to uncover the truth through dead bodies.

“I have seen a lot of dead bodies prepared for this drama from two months ago,” Park said at a press conference Monday. “I was up all night conducting an autopsy on a dead body on Jan. 1.”

It is the first time for Kim to play such a hot-tempered character and she even interviewed real medical legal experts to understand the character better.

“They were very positive and cheerful people despite their heavy workload. I want to portray such humane aspects,” Kim said.

“Sign” is different from the famous “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” series aired on CBS in the United States.

“Unlike the ‘CSI’ series equipped with state-of-the-art gear in large labs, we will show the reality of the Korean NFS, where some 40 forensic examiners perform autopsies on thousands of corpses,” Jang the director said. “Only the deceased can tell the secrets of death and the forensic scientists are the only people who can read the ‘signs’ on the body. I want to raise awareness that these medical examiners are neglected.”

Romancing ‘My Princess’

Kim Tae-hee, left, and Song Seung-hun from the MBC royal romance “My Princess”

“My Princess” brings every woman’s childhood dream onto the small screen — becoming a real princess.

The drama starts with a movement to rebuild the royal household of Korea, assuming that King Sunjong, the last king of the Korean Empire, had a legitimate son.

Actress Kim Tae-hee plays Lee Seol, the real princess of Korea. She is an ordinary archaeology student who turns out to be a descendant of the Korean royal family.

Kim seeks to change her image from “Eom-chin-ttal,” or “mother’s friend’s daughter,” a term used to describe a prodigious child who can do no wrong, in “My Princess.” In the trailer, she even dances to Girls’ Generation’s new song “Hoot.”

“At first, I could not imagine myself taking on the role of a character like Lee Seol, but I am slowly adapting to acting like an impudent hussy,” Kim said at a press conference Monday.

Heartthrob Song Seung-hun plays her love interest Park Hae-young, a diplomat and son of the owner of a major Korean company. His character is chosen to be the tutor of the tomboy princess.

This is the first time for them to act together, but the pairing of the beautiful Kim and hallyu (Korean wave) star Song has already raised high expectations.

Song, who played masculine characters in the 2009 drama “East of Eden” and movies “Fate” (2007) and “A Better Tomorrow” (2010) is facing a challenge in a romantic comedy, in which he has not found success so far.

“Though Park’s character might seem perfect, it is full of holes. He is stubborn, snobby and reckless. He has many similar aspects as I have and it is comfortable to work with Park,” Song said.

Director Kwon Seok-jang of 2010 hit drama “Pasta” and scriptwriter Jang Young-shil who assisted on the scripts of “On Air” (2008) and “Lovers” (2006) will enliven the two sweethearts of the royal family.
(The Korea Times)

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