I finally got my hands on a copy of 18 Again (happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee!), and to say I was delighted was an understatement. Lee Do Hyun was vulnerable and relatable and amazing, and Kim Ha Neul was a new-to-me discovery I thoroughly enjoyed. Come see if you’ll want to indulge in purchasing 18 Again for yourself!
(courtesy of MyDramaList.com)
“After nearly twenty years of marriage, Jung Da Jung and Hong Dae Young seem to be well settled in their domestic lives. The proud parents of a pair of eighteen year old twins, the devoted couple have worked hard to build a happy home together. But what seems like an ideal life on the outside is really anything but. Fed up with Dae Young’s incessant nonsense, Da Jung is at her wits’ end. When Dae Young announces that he’s been fired, Da Jung gives up completely. Convinced life would be better without her husband in it, Da Jung wastes no time in filing for divorce.
Shaken by his wife’s decision to leave him and utterly disappointed in where life has taken him, Dae Young takes a hard look at his life. It doesn’t take him long to see all the places where things went wrong, and soon he finds himself regretting absolutely everything about his life. The moment the thoughts of regret enter his head, his body is instantly transformed into that of an eighteen year old, while his thirty-seven year old mind remains intact. Suddenly given the chance to re-do his entire life, Dae Young changes his name to Ko Woo Young and enrolls himself in his children’s school. Seeing life from an entirely different perspective, Dae Young soon finds that despite keeping his middle-aged brain, he still has a lot to learn.”
I came to 18 Again for Lee Do Hyun, and I’m so glad I did! This was his first main role and he knocked it out of the park, even winning a Best New Actor award for his work. The difficulty of playing a middle-aged man in a teenager’s body can not be overstated, but Lee Do Hyun made it look easy.
Kim Ha Neul was brilliant as the sweet but determined Anchorwoman Jung. She had prejudice after prejudice to work against, and she did so with a resolve and an optimism that I found enjoyable. Ryeoun and Roh Jeong Eui played the teenage twins well, and I loved watching their characters grow and change.
The most fun was Wi Ha Joon as the baseball player who falls in love with our spunky anchorwoman, and Kim Kang Hyun, Dae Young’s best friend who pretends to be his father when he reverts to adolescence. Wi Ha Joon has the BRIGHTEST smile, and he was a delightful second lead. Kim Kang Hyun fully leaned into his role as a supergeek who runs a successful video game company and frequently attends cosplay events.
Yoon Sang Hyun, whom I loved as Oskar in Secret Garden, fulfilled his role just fine, but he was the one I struggled to relate to the most. There was something inaccessible about his portrayal of the older Hong Dae Young, which made me sad, because I really wanted to root for this man whose family was everything to him.
Also, 18 Again would have been well-served by keeping it to 12 episodes. There were a lot of little filler stories, and some of them felt very preachy. The writer did do a pretty good job of working them into the story later, but I really feel they weren’t necessary.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Despite my cons list, I really think that 18 Again was worth watching. Lee Do Hyun was stellar, and it was really awesome to see him come into his own with this role and just rock it. Overall, I’d give the drama 8.5/10.
Until the next Freaky Friday (wrong show!), I remain –
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi