I am a busy gal and simply do NOT have time to waste on a drama that doesn’t push all the right buttons for me. I have been lucky though that in all this time there have only been three dramas I didn’t finish watching. I thought I would start with these as a more unusual approach to drama reviews. After all my life is precious…

Stairway To Heaven (SBS)

Story:
Han Jung-Suh (Choi Ji Woo ) and  Cha Song Joo (Kwon Sang Woo) were childhood friends who grew up together and helped each other through tragedy until he goes abroad to study and her father remarries an actress who is cruel to her as is her step sister. Years later when Jung-Suh and Song Joo are to reunite, Jung-Suh falls foul of an accident caused by her stepsister and loses her memory. With everyone except her stepfamily thinking her dead, will she ever reunite with her true love?

Cast: Choi Ji Woo, Kwon Sang Woo, Kim Tae Hee, Shin Hyun Joon, Lee Wan

Year: 2003/4

Genre: romantic drama

Reason I started to watch: everyone said it was a classic and a must-see. (The last time I listen to that reason I promise)

Reason I stopped: a mix of boredom and growing intolerance to cliché and someone spoiled the ending.

In 2003 when this drama began, it was a massive hit. Final ratings at  45.3% were well above the 38.8% average and the main theme song ‘Bogoshipda’ (I miss you) sung by Kim Bum Soo is still seen as the most romantic song in a drama. The problem is, that 7 years on, every scenario from the drama has been re-used and rehashed and worn out and taken away the very thing that gave it its popularity in the first place. It was a trendsetter for tragic romance. This drama was the birthplace of all things cliché or the summation of it depending on your point of view.

The cast all look good, but the side characters like Shin Hyun Joon, who plays the stepbrother, had more complexity and depth than the more simply written main cast. The evilness of the stepmother is done well, Lee Hwi Hyang being a well-respected and experienced actress, but Kim Tae Hee loses a good opportunity with the stepsister to create any sense of complexity or sympathy.

I quit watching I think more because I just couldn’t care less about anyone except the stepbrother and even then after 10 episodes I just couldn’t go on. I might have continued if the ending hadn’t been spoiled for me, but knowing what was coming simply took away all will to live through any more episodes.

Merchandising:

http://www.yesasia.com/global/1004071530-0-0-0-en/info.html   the couple necklace
http://www.yesasia.com/global/1004095753-0-0-0-en/info.html  the snowflake necklace

http://www.yesasia.com/global/stairway-to-heaven-english-subtitled-sbs-tv-series/1004027299-0-0-0-en/info.html   the drama with English subs

Cast:

Kwon SangWoo – recently married and now a father is often seen as a reliable box office pull in the past. Appears serious and solid and was actually one of the first actors I encountered in Korean Film when I saw him in ‘Volcano High’. I miss the days when everything was new and shiny and the roles he picked didn’t all have the same feel to them. Recently pipped at the post by Jay Chou for a Hollywood role as the sidekick Kato in the new adaptation of ‘The Green Hornet’ and with his last drama project not the expected big hit, he has to regain some popularity lost to the younger generation.

Choi JiWoo – There is no denying she is massively popular still, particularly in Japan due to her role in Winter Sonata with Bae Yong Joon. She has elegance and charm, which I think, will endure and she does have enough sense and talent to select roles she is capable of fulfilling. ‘A Star’s Lover’ her last drama, has been released in Japan with great success.

Shin HyunJoon – This is the first of three dramas he has co-starred in with Choi Ji Woo, (well OK one was a cameo) though I always knew his as the actor from ‘Bichunmoo’ the second Korean film I ever saw.  His younger self in this drama was played by Lee Wan who is Kim Tae Hee’s younger brother.

Kim TaeHee – Stairway to Heaven was the big fame booster for her and although she is pretty and does well in the CF side of the business is limited in her actual level of ability, something she is aware of and has spoken about in interviews. She is keen to improve though, and perhaps with more time and experience this can happen for her.