This review is especially for the KDrama newbies here.
Usually, whenever a Kdrama newbie asks me to recommend a KDrama for her to watch for the first time, I always recommend ‘The Heirs’ or ‘Oh My Venus’ (that’s unless someone explicitly tells me that they like fantasy or fairy tales… for then it almost always is ‘Legend of The Deep Blue Sea’ or ‘Cinderella and Four Knights’). You see I am a firm believer in the power of romance, especially as a Kdrama genre (since they really do set the bar high), in converting a newbie to a veteran in a matter of days.
So why do I strongly recommend ‘The Heirs’.
Well, for one, because it is a contemporary, modern-day drama that captures all the emotions that Kdramas are meant to catch. The experiences, scenes and dialogues are modern-day real, the feelings of angst and the tug on the heartstrings are palpably real and the characters (although, rich and Chaebol-ish) are real, understandable and relatable. There is nothing unbelievable or outlandish here.
And then the star cast is phenomenal. Some of South Koreas top-of-the-line stars come together for this Kdrama. I mean, if you do not know and love Lee Min Ho (the king of romance), Park Shin-Hye (the queen of emotional melodrama) and Kim Woo Bin (the handsome man with the heart of a million women worldwide), have you really ever watched Kdramas? And if that wasn’t enough, there are the handsome Choi Jin-Hyuk and Kang Ha-Neul (who recently won the Baeksang for his role in When the Camellia Blooms), along with a string of several top-notch actors and actresses.
Then there is a storyline. Just a strong cast is never enough to pull a drama through to success (as one can see from the recent drubbing of The King, Eternal Monarch, and so it is a bonus that this one has an exciting albeit cliched rich boy-poor girl storyline, or should we say multiple storylines.
There are multiple stories interwoven seamlessly together in a manner that you get caught up in the trials and tribunals of every single character, his or her story and his or her journey.
And lastly, because it has fantastic locations, an amazing screenplay, memorable dialogues and most importantly, a cracker of a soundtrack. The show’s original OST is considered to be one of the best ones out there along with what can only be considered legendary, like the OST of It’s Okay That’s Love for example. Even if you do not understand a single word, you’ll find yourself humming to a signature tune or two, while some of you may even race off to find a viable download site. Yeah, it is that good.
There are a multitude more reasons why this should be your first Korean drama, but I will rest it here by saying this. Watch an episode, just one. And soon you’ll find yourself going up one by one, all the way to 20, without a wink of sleep.
Hope you don’t blame me for the puffy eyes and dark circles tomorrow, even though I do rate this drama a good, solid 9 out of 10. I do not find much that can or should be changed here.
For from the pace of the drama to the flow of the story, from the avalanche of feeling some scenes evoke, to your utter emersion into the story of how the two lovers are going to get through this… everything is spot on.
Don’t get me wrong, even though there is a decent amount of cute comedy (courtesy the characters of Lee Bo Na and Kang Min-Hyuk), this is most definitely a romantic melodrama. Romance is the central thread tying everything together for both the protagonists as well as the side characters.
And while at first glance it may appear to be a cliched damsel-in-distress and rich, hot rescuer kinda series, rest assured, the female protagonist is no blushing wallflower. What may appeal to you is also the male protagonist’s silent, inner strength, that goes so against the overt flamboyance and machismo of generic heroes.
It is a show that touches upon several social issues too, like the lives and pressures faced by rich kids, high school bullying, the emotional roller-coaster of grief and blame, romance across class-divides, high school politics, boardroom politics, emancipation out of toxic relationships, so on and so forth.
Suffice to say, you’ll get it when you watch it.