KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Monday, February 1, 2010

On Air (2008)

On Air
(Mar – May 2008)

who’s in it
Kim HaNeul (Stained Glass, Secret, My Tutor Friend – film)
Park YongHa (Story of A Man)
Lee BumSoo
Song YoonHa

what's it about
A peek into the process of bringing a Korean drama to birth, from the writers to the directors to the actors and their agents. We follow the growing pains and heartaches of successful female drama writer Song YoonHa and her loyal drama PD Park YongHa as they try to produce a great kdrama starring mega-famous actress Kim HaNeul, who is of course a mega-famous actress in real life as well. HaNeul is good enough in this role that never once does it feel like she’s just playing herself.

Going by the title, I initially thought this drama was going to be about radio broadcasting. I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t.

21 episodes


wildcard factor
Song YoonHa – she’s a likeable actress but her character did have a tendency to be grating. She was the main character so your enjoyment of the show may depend on how relatable you find her. In the end, I decided her delivery of this flawed and sometimes childish writer turned out to be heartfelt and endearing, but it would be a lie if I didn’t admit that, in a way, I preferred to see Kim HaNeul on screen more. Even though Song YoonHa did have good spark with Park YongHa, I thought Kim HaNeul had fire.

after the first episode
I knew almost right away that this one was going to be a very good drama and looking behind the curtains of the Korean entertainment world is always fascinating, whether factual or fictional.

gave up

snoozer moments
There was an abundance of flashbacks and those had a tendency to dawdle.


what didn’t work
This may just be a personal quirk of opinion, but I really didn’t think Kim HaNeul and Lee BumSoo worked or created a vibe between them that I could enjoy. It actually made me squirm sometimes. The man is attractive, charming and a great actor, and so is Kim HaNeul, but there just wasn’t anything there between them, from where I was watching. It was weird and it felt a little klutzy.

what did
Park YongHa was very irresistible as the good-hearted but no-nonsense director carrying his first major drama and turned out a performance that was very believable.

what made me want to gouge my eyes out
Nothing really.

what kept me going

I really couldn’t figure out how this drama wanted to see the four main characters end up...and I wanted to know if the drama they were making within the drama would be a success or failure. It sure didn’t sound like any drama concept I’d ever want to watch! It sounded like it would be a ratings failure, actually.

Other factors:
predictability It was but there were a few surprises
engrish No
originality It found its own ways to stand out
eye-candy HaNeul is a beautiful lady
hair and fashion Not striking one way or the other

is it worth trying to find?

total enjoyment factor 

total disdain factor

why this review is completely biased
As the story progressed, I really started to enjoy Park YongHa’s portrayal of the director a lot.

could a non-kdrama fan like this

A good, all-around drama. The story had a purpose and whether or not I liked the way all the cards landed for everyone, having personally favored certain people over others, I can’t deny that one of this drama’s more appealing traits was actually the very fact that it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. It respected its characters and gave them the ending that made the most sense to the people in it, not necessarily the ending I was wanting. I liked that a lot.

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