The Medical Drama Issue!
There are so many medical dramas out there. At first they came about after a small copy-cat type effect when one station produced one, the rest followed... and now they've settled in as a sub-genre of K-Drama.
These dramas aren't always medical based, but usually have strong links to hospitals and the people who work there. These have become so popular that there's always at least one medical drama airing at any given time. So without holding back, here are the top 5 medical dramas!
5. Yong Pal
Yong Pal was a drama that aired in early 2015,starring Joo Won and Kim Tae Hee (who has been mentioned before twice) for 18 episodes (having been extended by two for it's obvious popularity). It follows Joo Won in the role of Tae-Hyun, a rookie doctor in desperate need of money for his sister medical treatments, taking on illegal call-out emergencies treatign criminals of their wounds. He adopts the pseudonym Yong Pal. After a near run in with the police and interest from other doctors in the hospital, he works his way into the system of the hospital as a full-time doctor on the twelfth floor - an off limit area strictly for elite patients. There, he's put in charge of a different kind of special guest - Han Yeo-Jin - in a coma and dying for the past few years off in an apartment sized section of the twelfth floor, complete mystery surrounding her accident and past, only knowing that she is the daughter of the chaebol family who own the hospital.
A lot unfolds between these two, and it's really hard to say much without giving away the best part of the plot (although it doesn't take long to come out in the main portion of the drama). It's a must watch for those who haven't seen it yet and keep up with medical dramas, however for first time viewers it might not be as thrilling and entertaining as the dramas to come - earning Yong Pal the fifth place on this list!
Starring Ahn Jae Hyun and Kim Hye Sun (of the drama Boys Over Flowers), Blood aired in 2015 and was based around the idea of Vampires, Blood, and Hospitals. The drama starts off showing us the troubled past of the main character, played by Jae Hyun, Park Ji Sang. He saved a girl when he was a only a boy himself from wolves, and this was a turning point for himself when he realized he wasn't such a beast. It's around this period in his life that his mother was killed.
The character Yoo Ri Ta is a surgeon, niece of the Taemin Hospital chairman, and is regarded by most of her colleagues as arrogant and selfish. Her personality clashes with the new doctor, Ahn Jae Hyun, while she tries to figure him out... More than once nearly discovering his secret. As Ri Ta slowly falls for Jae Hyun, Jae Hyun has a battle of his own against another in the hospital who turns out to be someone they're not - evil and calculating, and wants to kill Jae Hyun.
This drama wasn't my favorite, but it is for sure a great drama. It weighs all the subgenres and threads the plots well together.
3. Doctor Stranger
Doctor Stranger is a complex K-Drama airing in 2014 for 20 episodes. It stars Lee Jong Suk and Jin Se-Yeon. In this drama, it follows Lee Jong Suk starting off as a child named Park Hoon. His father is a world-renowned surgeon, and as part of a deal between the two countries, South Korea allows him to be sent to North Korea as part of a deal and to heal their supreme leader. Park Hoom becomes kidnapped in the process and they're both never allowed back home. In North Korea, Hoon is raised to become a doctor like his father using all means possible whether operating blindly on prisoners, with his left hand, under anesthetic, or whatever it was they could think of. These cruel practices lead to Hoon becoming a genius, but somewhere between then his girlfriend Song Jae-Hee - also a doctor - is kidnapped and locked in a concentration camp because of crimes committed by her father. Through rage Hoon does somethign stupid leadign to the death of his father. This leads Hoon to blindly return to South Korea through whatever means possible.
Once he enters South Korea, he joins a hospital as a surgeon. Everyone is wary of his due to his history, but all Hoon is interesed in is earning money and finding a way to rescue Jae Hee. While thus unfolds, drama within the hospital occurs between Hoon and a rival doctor. Another doctor arrives on scene who looks exactly like Jae-Hee, launching the sub-plot of the drama. The other lead in this drama is the character Oh So-Hyun, daughter of the chairman, who takes a liking towards Hoon.
This drama is great for anyone who enjoys action-packed plots and being on the edge of your seat. The let down with this drama is the slowness of plot towards the middle.
I would have put this first as this drama is one I enjoyed the most. It's a medical-Historical drama airing in 2012 for 24 episodes, meaning it contains medical aspects in a historical setting, and although the medical aspects don't have complete hold of the reigns, it is still a medical drama in it's own right. It stars Lee Min-Ho as General Choi Young - a Goryeo warrior, leader of the kings guard and Kim Hee-Sun as Yoo Eun Soo - a modern day plastic surgeon.
The drama begins with King Gongmin of Goryeo marrying Queen Noguk of Yaun, unifying the nations. Queen Noguk, in Goryeo, is victim of an attack, and with the medical knowledge of those days would have died. These people believe in the heavens and heavenly doctors, so when a mysterious portal soon after opens up on a far corner of their land, the king orders Choi Young to enter. Comically, he comes out the other end where now stands a famous landmark in Seoul - modern day South Korea - and finds himself close by to a Plastic Surgeon press conference. He holds up the press conferences, taken in by the 'heavenly' surrounds and kidnaps Yoo Eun Soo after he makes her prove she can heal the queen. Yoo Eun Soo belives Choi Young to be a mad-man, and when taken through the portal believes she's hallucinating and she's really on an illegal film set that doesn't have medical insurance. Under pressure, she heals the queen under the impression she'll be set free once the queen is better.
When the queen awakens again, she's desperate to go home now realizing there's something more than a film production gone-wrong here. Choi Young had sworn with his life to return the doctor, so when the King orders against this swear on request of his ministers, Choi Young feels he needs to uphold his promise putting himself in line of Eun Soo's rage when she swings a sword, piercing him straight through the abdomen. Now that Eun Soo has to stay, she heals Choi Young despite her fear of him and longing to escape. Brewing in the background of all this is the greed of a minister who wants the heavenly doctor all to himself. Throw into this drama fantasy elements with the portal and super-human powers, you have all you'd ever want.
The relationship that blooms between Choi Young and Eun Soo is beautiful and truly is my favorite Historical and medical K-Drama. They never have an 'intimate' relationship which fits well into the times, and they only kiss once and that's in front of a crowd to prove a point and save each others lives. The actors and actresses had amazing chemistry and you really enjoy watching them as a couple.
1. It's Okay, That's Love
Jo In-Sung plays Jang Jae-Yeol and Gong Hyo-Jin plays Ji Hae-Soo in this romance-medical drama focusing more on the mental health aspects of life rather than the physical. It aired in 2014 for 16 episodes.
Jang Jae-Yeol is a world famous author with an arrogant personality. He has obvious symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They meet by chance, setting off their relationship. Ji Hae Soo is a psychiatrist on her first year and doesn't believe in love or have a good track record in relationships. Jang Jae-Yeol buys the apartment Hae Soo lives in to spite her in their strange relationship and becomes closer to her and the other doctors who live there. In doing so they both grow to learn each others demons and heal each other - bringing to light Jae-Yeols trauma that causes him to hallucinate and see a high school aged boy, symbolic of himself reliving the life Jae Yeol experienced as a child. This represents how Jae Yeol wishes someone would have helped him as he's helping the young boy. It later becomes apparent that Jae Yeol has schizophrenia. Jae Yeol helps Hae Soo in her relationship trauma and sex-phobia in engaging in her only healthy relationship as of yet while showing it doesn't always have to be sunshine when they are together.
This drama is simplistic plot-wise, but is an emotional one and targets the issue of mental health - which is on the quiet in South Korea due to the large problems they have with it there. This drama was the first of its kind, however since its airing there haven't been any more like it. This earns first place for its overall message - which I wish there was more of in medical, or just regular dramas!
SUPPLEMENT #3 OUT ON 18/11/15, ISSUE #4 - THE PUBLIC SERVICES ISSUE - OUT ON 22/11/15