The monsoon season temps continue to soar here in Korea, yet all my favorite “summer dramas” are coming to a close. What’s a drama fan to do with all this free time? Hunker down with the A/C blasting and start a new drama of course! Read on for my first impressions of Familiar Wife, starring Ji Sung and Han Ji Min.
Bring on the Time Travel
When I found out this was a time travel based drama, it immediately went on my watch list. I absolutely LOVE a good ‘What if?’ story, done well of course. Sadly, I’ve been burned by other dramas in this genre. *shudders at the memory of Time-Slip Dr. Jin* But, thankfully, the cast, writer, and director of Familiar Wife all have numerous worthy dramas to their names. So I pushed play with a cautious optimism!
I’m not the type to get caught up in the science of making time travel work. Give me a plausible fantasy and I’ll run with it. A nearby star’s extinction, a homeless man’s prophetic ramblings, and an intermittently appearing toll-gate on a lonely back road form this show’s recipe for time travel. Believable enough for me, and points for uniqueness with the toll-gate! We spend most of the first episode leading up to the actual time-travel … or was it just a dream? Cha Joo Hyuk, played by Ji Sung, is more than a little sleep deprived, so he’s not exactly quick on the uptake. Which leads me to my next thought…
Don’t get me wrong here, I like my dramas formulaic…to a certain extent. But for those who might have recently watched Go Back Couple, there was an eerily similar setup. Overworked husband/dad (Joo Hyuk) is stuck in a low paying position, eking out a mediocre existence providing for his wife and kids.
Played by Han Ji Min, the nagging/screaming shrew of a working wife/mother, Seo Woo Jin, is doing everything selflessly on her own while blaming her hubby for never helping and being around.
Then there are the two best friends. One is a fellow co-worker personally acquainted with the plight of working dads. The other a college bestie, a beacon of freedom, basking in his singleness and offering a sympathetic ear.
Last but not least, the perfectly beautiful and talented first-love-who-got-away who has freshly arrived back in Korea from the US. She is an oasis of sweetness and subject of happy daydreams, propelling our haggard time-traveler to perhaps change his life’s path for the better. Will he succeed? Will life be better with the girl who got away? Or will predictability take over and Joo Hyuk yearn for his first wife and his old life?
Unlike Go Back Couple though, only Joo Hyuk is aware of and able to make changes to the timeline. So I have some concerns on how this will affect character development and choices going forward.
So, for a couple of reasons, I was totally reminded of Michael J Fox in Back to the Future when watching this drama. Our lead seemed to have a penchant for needing to run. Everywhere. He was always late, for various reasons, and I found myself just waiting to see him go sliding across the hood of a car. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve got 14 episodes ahead of me. I’m hopeful!
Woo Jin–You guys, I wanted to feel sorry for her, but I was just terribly put-off by this character. Her younger and present day selves were both loud and pushy. At one point, I was certain I had accidentally switched to watching the lead from She Was Pretty. Let’s just say that, normally, in this kind of storyline I’d be rooting for the original couple to stay together. Here? Maaaaybe not so much.
Okay, let’s talk Ji Sung, the actor, for a moment. Another reason I was anxious to check out this drama was specifically to see Ji Sung. I’ve been an avid K-drama fan for over 5 years now. But I’ve NEVER seen any of his dramas!! I know, I know … I don’t know how that happened either. Don’t worry though, Kill Me, Heal Me is on my short list. After my brief intro to him in this drama, I can see why my fellow fangirls sing his praises. He’s a very versatile actor, able to convey expressions and emotions superbly, and just has a charisma about him. AND he can do the splits. So there ya go!
All things considered, Familiar Wife is going to be a keeper for me. Messing with time travel always makes for an interesting plot, even with formulas and stereotypes firmly in place. If nothing else, I think Ji Sung is going to keep things entertaining.
I’m itching to push play on episode 3. How about you, drama fans? Will you join me in watching Familiar Wife??