Sunday, 29 June 2014

K-drama review: Queen In Hyun's Man 인현왕후의 남자

 (Disclaimer: I do not own any of the pics in the post.)

Drama: Queen In Hyun's Man/ Queen and I/ 인현왕후의 남자

Language: Korean

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Time Travel, Fantasy

Main Cast: Yoo In Na and Ji Hyun Woo

Year: 2012

Total episodes: 16

This show...SO much cuteness! Queen In Hyun's Man is definitely one of my favorite dramas ever. Yes, I find it that adorable.But before I go into the review, I'll give you the very, very brief historical background info one needs to be able to enjoy the show (although they do provide it in the begining). About 300 years ago, when Korea was under the Joseon Dynasty, King Sukjong had demoted and exiled his queen, Queen In Hyun, in favour of his concubine Lady Jang. Basically Queen In Hyun was exiled and Lady Jang became the new sitting queen. Later on, he regretted his actions, and reinstated Queen In Hyun as his queen again, demoting Lady Jang. Mind, this is an extremely general jist of the history; if you want to know anything at all more, please look it up online on better sources than me! :)

The show's story begins thus:

Love Yoo In Na is this role.
In present day time, Choi Hee Jin (Yoo In Na) is a struggling actress who finally lands a leading role in a saguek as Queen In Hyun. All is good in the world for Hee Jin and her best friend/manager Soo Kyung (Ga Duek Hee), hoping that this role will generate a better fame and money filled future for both of them.

The only woe (more like a minor irk) in Hee Jin's life is that she is playing Queen In Hyun to her ex-boyfriend's King Sukjong. Her ex, Han Dong Min (Kim Ji Woo) is a charming Hallayu star, rumoured to be a notorius womaniser (much to his manager's dismay).
As annoying as he can get to Hee Jin, he is hard to be mad at.
He had dumped her shortly after rising to fame because he couldn't risk damaging his Hallayu star reputation by dating a struggling actress but is now back in the scene because he "can't forget Hee Jin" and because he will make her a famous actress so that she can match his social standing, leaving them able to date happily. Yeah, Dong Min has an ego the size of a dinosaur. Hee Jin doesn't care so much.

Back in the Joseon times, in King Sukjung's reign, Queen In Hyun is in exile and is supported by very few loyal people. Among them is a scholar and administrator Kim Bong Do (Ji Hyun Woo).
In Joeson garb. Hot.

In modern garb. Still hot.
Bong Do's family was tried and killed when the queen was exiled but he was spared as the king was quite fond of him (although, if you ask me, what an odd way to show fondness, that). He has dedicated his life to protecting Queen In Hyun, forming enmity of people who want her dead like Right Minister Min Am.

One day, he is given a talisman by a former maid of his (now dead) wife, Yun Wol (Jin Ye Sol).
She is now a popular gisaeng but is still loyal to, and nurses an unrequited love for, Bong Do (because, who wouldn't?). This talisman transports to the future (skip about 300 years) Bong Do everytime his life is in danger where he meets Hee Jin.

I won't tell you the story because what's the fun in that. But let me promise you that it is a very good watch. I have seen a lot of Korean rom-com and time traveling shows, where a nobleman from the Joseon lands up in the confusion of modern Seoul, meets a pretty girl and falls in love with her.
Time travel tales: Joseon nobleman and modern day girl.

 What is unique about Queen In Hyun's Man though is it's attention to detail. Every story line is beautifully and intricately woven together, the characters are consistent, and there is logical explanation bestowed on us audience whenever possible. Also, our hero, Kim Bong Do, is not your avarage time-traveled-and-very-out-of-place guy. He is super smart (with a really high IQ I'm guessing) who happily adapts to his new surroundings and manages to not let that muddle his Joseon life too much. Ji Hyun Woo has done absolute justice to this role. His comic timings, his melo scenes and his gorgoues smile...*sigh* Enough reason to watch this show, seriously!
Kim Bong Do spraying water on rival out of jealously and sticking his tongue out. Awwwww!
 Choi Hee Jin, our beloved heroine, is also very nice, round and well fleshed out character. How often do you think I watch a drama with the presence of a really hot male lead and actually like the female lead as well? Hee Jin is very bubbly, but not annoyingly so and what I love about her is that, well, she has self respect damnit. Just because her Hallayu star ex tries to come back to her doesn't mean that she goes running to him. She is such a lively character. Yoo In Na is perfect in this role. Plus, of course Ji Hyun Woo and Yoo In Na's chemistry is wow (they began dating in real life shortly after the show wrapped up).

Supporting characters are also flawless. I really like the character consistencies and none of the characters, not once, seem to be doing something or act in a way that didn't seem justifiable considering their characters type.

I really liked the way Queen In Hyun's Man handled the juxtaposition of the old and new, the two different timelines. In the scene where the below screenshot is from (episode 16), this is all the more evident.
I really like this show and I highly recommend this show. Watch it; it's honestly good. Everything from the plot, to the cuteness (and there is a ton of it), to the way the story unfolds itself, to the hotness personified Ji Hyun Woo, to the rest of the cast (lol) to the soundtrack of the show, everything is brilliant. The writer hasn't wasted a single moment or a bi line of the story.

I obviously rate Queen In Hyun's Man a 10/10. :D

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