Upcoming Dramas: Looking Beyond You Who Came From the Stars

Who’s suffering from You Who Came From the Stars withdrawals after it ended this Thursday? Do you feel an alien-sized hole in your heart that you just don’t know how to fill? (Yes, I’m looking at you, Ducky and La Petite.) Well, dramaland waits for no one, so it’s out with the old and in with the new: action-thriller Three Days will be attempting to fill the (very large) shoes of You Who Came From the Stars when it premieres next week on March 5th.

In addition, God’s Gift – 14 Days will debut in the SBS Monday-Tuesday slot on March 3rd while tvN will continue the chain of dark suspense thrillers with serial-killer mystery series Gap Dong, set to air in April following Emergency Couple in the Friday-Saturday slot. Looks like suspense thrillers will be the 2014 kdrama theme. With three new shows of the same genre coming up, it’s a good time to have a look at what separates them from one another. There’s nothing like a major departure in theme to pave the way for post-Stars rehab, right?

We previously posted the first Three Days teaser and character posters and covered the basic synopsis: President Lee Dong Hwi (Son Hyun Joo) is missing and bodyguard Han Tae Kyung (Yoochun) must fulfill his mission and find him, despite the sudden death of his father shaking the very foundations of his previously-unwavering dedication to protecting the country. In connection, Tae Kyung’s suspicions regarding his father’s death and subsequent investigations lead to the reveal of far more than he had expected by uncovering a conspiracy against the president. With so many enemies around him – including the Blue House staff and various men of importance whose loyalty to the president is clearly suspect – who can Tae Kyung trust? With an actor as much of a chameleon as Son Hyun Joo as the president, I can’t help but wonder about the president himself as well.

The official posters and teasers definitely have the slick, Hollywood spy-action movie vibe – talk about a change-up after the romantic comedies that have occupied this slot for the past half year (Master’s Sun, The Heirs, You Who Came From the Stars). The drama recently held its press conference, where leading ladies So Yi Hyun and Park Ha Sun look chummy (how adorable is it that they appear holding hands?) and the men all look sharp in suits. We also have Son Hyun Joo and Yoochun upping the cute factor with a bro hug – would it be too much to ask for a president-bodyguard bromance? Please?

The drama has already been sold to China for a record price – even higher than that of You Who Came From the Stars and The Heirs – so the anticipation for it (and Yoochun’s popularity must factor in) is certainly high.

Reasons to watch:
1. Cast – Park Yoochun, Son Hyun Joo, Park Ha Sun, etc. If this cast brings their A-game, we could be in for something really good. I’ve liked Yoochun in his past dramas (barring I Miss You, which I just cannot bring myself to watch); the man seems to have a Midas touch when it comes to picking projects.

2. Chemistry – Bromantic hug aside, when a veteran like Son Hyun Joo has nothing but good things to say about Yoochun, it bodes well for cast chemistry. On top of that, I had wondered whether Yoochun and Park Ha Sun will have romantic chemistry, but they look rather cute in the making video for the poster shoot:

3. Action Suspense – Yes pleaseeee. Taut mystery thriller series are few and far between in kdramaland and I can always use more of them.

Over on the SBS Monday-Tuesday slot, Lee Bo Young will also be returning to dramas after a stellar 2013 in which she headlined hit dramas My Daughter, Seo Young and I Hear Your Voice before getting married to long-time boyfriend Ji Sung. Like Three Days, God’s Gift – 14 Days will offer quite a departure from the romantic comedies and romantic melos that have been prevalent of late; we get a darker spin on the time-travel plot with mother Kim Soo Hyun given the chance to save her young daughter (who was kidnapped and killed) by jumping back two weeks before the incident. It’s a race against time for her to find the culprit and prevent her daughter from dying again. Talk about high stakes.

She has a number of male helpers in private investigator Ki Dong Chan (Jo Seung Woo), her lawyer husband Han Ji Hoon (Kim Tae Woo) and Hyun Woo Jin (Jung Kyeo Woon), a detective who is also Soo Hyun’s first love. She may find something in common with Han Tae Kyung of Three Days, however, since everything suggests that nobody, not even her group of helpers, can be trusted. It almost seems a waste that she’s surrounded by attractive men and doesn’t have time to do a thing about it, doesn’t it?

Something about the sound of a laughing child in the background of the teaser seriously creeps me out. Actually, scratch that; EVERYTHING about the teaser creeps me out. The highlights video reveals more of the plot (which can basically be summarized as “suspicious individuals, conspiracies and dubious motivations abound”):

The main cast and PD attended the press conference a few days ago and all I can think when I look at the pictures (well, once I get past Jo Seung Woo’s no-comment suit and Baro’s interesting top, anyway) is, “Aww, look at adorable little Kim Yoo Bin!” Don’t let anyone lay a finger (again) on this little girl, Lee Bo Young!

Reasons to watch:
1. Jo Seung Woo – Jo Seung Woo! I love the man, but Horse Doctor takes some patience to get through, so I welcome the sight of him in a (hopefully) more exciting drama. Considering the “trust nobody and no one” theme of the drama, I’m already hoping that he won’t be the crazy kidnapper/killer. Noooo. Don’t be the killer, don’t be the killer…

2. Kim Yoo Bin – Did I mention that this little girl is adorable? Watch her in Mandate of Heaven or as the quiet little girl in Oh! My Lady and she’s guaranteed to charm your socks off. The thought of someone daring to harm her breaks my heart already.

In a bit of a departure for tvN, which has made a name for itself in the past few years by putting out quality romcoms, Gap Dong is a serial killer mystery inspired by the real-life infamous Hwaseong Serial Murder Case, a case which remains unsolved. In this fictionalized take, the serial killer Gap Dong resurfaces after twenty years to begin a new killing spree when the original case passed its statute of limitations.

Ha Moo Yeom (Yoon Sang Hyun) became a detective in the violent crimes unit in order to catch this killer and clear his father’s name; his father was once the prime suspect in the case and ended up committing suicide. Echoing the pattern of the other two dramas, we learn that suspicious characters are ever near – psychiatrist Maria Oh (Kim Min Jung), who has a suspicious interest in Gap Dong; Detective Yang Chul Gon (Sung Dong Il), the original detective on the Gap Dong case who zeroed in on Moo Yeom’s father as the main suspect, Ryu Tae Oh (Lee Joon), a genius barista who has a psychopathic disposition and Ma Ji Wool (Kim Ji Won), a webtoon artist whose webtoon becomes a vital clue after she is kidnapped and the story chillingly fortells Gap Dong’s crimes.

Credit to uploader

Eek. I have a feeling it’d be a bad idea to watch this one at night.

Reasons to watch:
1. Bone-chilling story – Now, I may be as chicken as they come (the whistling in the teaser gave me goosebumps already), but that doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy a well-told story murder mystery that’s high on tension and thrills. I unabashedly admit to being a sucker for the genre; I might just need a hand or two to hold while I’m watching, that’s all. *cough* There’s something extra creepy about serial killings and add that to the fact that it’s inspired by a real-life case… there’s quite a bit of potential for this to be an entertaining ride.

2. Sung Dong Il – After his scene stealing outings as Dad in the Reply series, it’s easy to forget that Sung Dong Il is just as good at turning on a dime and dialing up the “sinister” factor. He’ll also be reuniting with Yoon Sang Hyun in this drama (they were previously in Can’t Lose), though the relationship between their characters here will presumably be far more antagonistic.

So, with all those choices on the board, what’s your poison? Three Days was the first to catch my attention, but now that we have more information about God’s Gift – 14 Days and a glimpse into Gap Dong, it seems like I might have to borrow whatever time machine Lee Bo Young is using so that I can catch all three. Hmm, worth a thought.

From SBS, Topstarnews, Naver, Sports Chosun (Three Days), SBS (God’s Gift), TV Report (Gap Dong)

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