[Review] King of Dramas – 드라마의 제왕


Following an accident that occurs during the production of his last drama, top drama producer, Anthony Kim (Kim Myung Min), finds himself without any backers and out of a job.  Let down by working on the same project and with a ruthless producer, Newbie assistant screenwriter, Lee Go Eun (Jung Ryeo Won) gives up her dream of working in television. After struggling for several years, Anthony Kim is eager to be on top again and finds a sponsor in a wealthy Japanese business man.  He convinces Lee Go Eun that he wants to turn her script into a number one drama.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to watch Kim Myung Min in a drama but I’ve only seen him in movies until now.  He’s got all these facial expressions that sell whatever role he’s playing not to mention that incredibly charismatic voice of his.  I’m not sure if it was the way Anthony Kim was written or how he was played (probably a bit of both) but you’re drawn in by him.

That would not be the case if you had to deal with him in the real world.  Some view him as ruthless, others see him as determined.  He brushes off his past failures to find success again but in a world that is as equally ruthless as he is, can you really blame him for the way he is?  I liked that he is such a multi-layered character as he’s very practical about the business and the ratings game and at times a little superstitious (e.g. his ring).  He can promise fortune and fame for anyone who works with him because he’s figured out the drama formula that draws viewers in.

Tell that to the starry-eyed screenwriter, Lee Go Eun.  When she first worked with Anthony Kim she had all these hopes and dreams but this 2nd time around she proves that she won’t be pushover.  She’s a much-needed but tricky asset that Anthony will need to maneuver.

Watching Jung Ryeo Won in History of a Salaryman changed my opinion of her as an actress and now seeing her in this drama made me realize that I really like watching her playing quirky characters opposite veteran actors rather than actors her own age.  She’s just hilarious to watch.

And there’s Choi Si Won, who plays the arrogant top star, Kang Hyun Min.  Early on in the drama, I thought maybe he was trying his own brand of Cha Seung Won’s Dokko Jin but he’s not experienced enough as an actor yet to pull it off.  Even as I’m writing this, I hear his annoying laugh echoing in my head.  Sure, he’s an exaggerated caricature but Choi Si Won is not at the level yet where he can play those delicacies.  On the other hand, Kang Hyun Min’s Lina Lamont-voiced girlfriend was far more entertaining.

It’s kind of a shame to see him pitted against Kim Myung Min as the differences are glaring.  Not only are they on different levels but entirely different planes BUT he does improve as the drama goes on.  And while not an ideal candidate to play the role, he was still effective in it.  I have a feeling his acting will improve as time goes on.  Just hope he doesn’t take any advice from his fellow SM buddy, Yun Ho.  (And now, I’m remembering that they were both in Poseidon together.  Ugh, the horror.)

Playing to and playing with the egos of all these characters, the drama explores all the different facets of the entertainment world and the ups and downs they could experience.  At times the plot is a little contrived but Kim Myung Min and Jung Ryeo Won sell it so well that you just want to go along for the ride.  It’s also inconceivable that one production could have all these issues but I liked that we could get to see all the issues that could arise from pre-production through the last episode.

Anthony Kim and Lee Go Eun add the romantic comedy element to the drama but I also looked forward to the scenes between Anthony Kim and SBC Drama Head Nam Woon Hyung (Kwon Hae Hyo).  One has morals and the other doesn’t but yet they’re not so different from each other.

The drama does make a couple of missteps though.  I wasn’t entirely happy about the story of Oh Jin Wan (Jung Man Shik) and his rivalry with Anthony Kim.  It seemed so anti-climactic.  Oh Jin Wan was relishing in seeing Anthony languishing and adamant about not letting him win but he just kinda gives up at one point as the drama shifts the focus to Anthony’s medical issue.

Which brings me to the other disappointment of the drama.  The drama is trying to drive home the fact that there is something poetic about him losing his eyesight but it would have been more poetic if he was a director or a cinematographer.  As a producer, I’m not convinced that he’d have to give up producing dramas and it felt as if the drama lost some of its momentum with this storyline.

Despite the disappointments, the drama gives the viewer glimpses into the different phases of a drama production and the various hurdles they faced was done pretty realistically with the occasional dramatic license.  Although the frequency of problems they faced was a little unrealistic, it helped the drama move along at a good pace throughout.



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