Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dae Mul Review (2010)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

In an unexpected twist of fate, reporter Seo Hye Rim (Ko Hyun Jung) ends up announcing her husband's death on live television and eventually ends up getting fired after becoming quite emotional over the matter.  Kang Tae San (Cha In Pyo), an ambitious, up-and-coming Congressman, is intrigued by her story and convinces her to run for public office. Ha Do Ya (Kwon Sang Woo), a righteous public prosecutor whom Seo Hye Rim randomly met long ago, happens to see her again and becomes interested in her, becoming her strong support in her ultimate quest to become the first female President of Korea.

*Spoiler warning*

This drama hit the ground running with an international crisis brewing in Southeast Asia as a South Korean spy submarine is detected in Chinese waters. The flash-forward used at the beginning of the drama worked out nicely for introducing Seo Hye Rim, the key figure around which this drama revolved. It also gave the viewers something to anticipate and to help imagine how the story would get to that point. The second episode then jumped back to the present day where we are introduced the Ha Do Ya, a high-minded prosecutor who crosses paths with Seo Hye Rim and strives to help her on her journey. The drama is generally well written with good pacing and plenty of events and obstacles to keep viewers entertained and entralled for hours.  It's almost exclusive focus on politics at times makes me wish they had elaborated on the romance aspect a bit more.

Ko Hyun Jung's portrayal of Seo Hye Rim is excellent. As a political newcomer, she quite convincingly got across her naivety and political ignorance early on. It was fun to see her character transition and evolve as her time in politics began to lengthen. Kwon Sang Woo's Ha Do Ya is equally inspirational.  In fact, some of my favorite scenes are the early arguments between a hot-headed Ha Do Ya and his frustrated superior trying to walk a careful tightrope - I always got a kick out of those scenes! Cha In Pyo, playing Kang Tae San, seemed a little bit overzealous and overly serious but I suppose that was probably how his character was written. Perhaps it would have been nice to have him lighten up a little. I would say Jang Se-Jin, played by Lee Su Kyeong, was likely the weakest among the 4 main characters.  While her addition certainly added  a more pleasant face to the mix, her acting came up a little short in terms of clearly expressing her character's internal struggles.

As a political drama, it was inevitable to expect anything other than a mix of regal sounds and that of anticipation and excitement in the soundtrack. While they certainly complemented the drama nicely, I didn't find that anything was particularly remarkable. Just a simple, solid soundtrack that gets the job done.

This was a pretty inspirational series and I enjoyed the story from beginning to end. The incident with Ha Bong Do was quite sad and I was really quite moved by some of those scenes. Seo Hye Rim's ability to jump past her hurdles no matter the difficulty always keeps a sense of hope alive which likely inspired audiences to keep watching to see how she approaches her challenges. There was a consistent, confident direction throughout the story and Ko Hyun Jung and Kwon Sang Woo definitely helped to solidify an already strong drama.  Quality-wise, I would definitely say this is a solid drama although there is certainly room for improvement in a couple of areas as I mentioned above. Aside from those more minor issues, this drama is definitely a good drama to watch, although I must warn that the entire drama is about politics, politics, politics - so make your own call about that.

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