Once Upon a Time in Saengchori was one of my favorite dramas of the 2010-11 (winter) season. A fun, quirky and totally underappreciated show, that flew under the radar for most people. It’s one of those ‘hidden gems’ I’m always thrilled to come accidentally by. 🙂 In her latest post Kfangurl mentioned that she had started watching OUaTiS, which made me realise I had never written a post about it, even though I fully intended to. Time to remedy that. 😉
Saengchori is such a strange drama, slightly OTT but oddly endearing at the same time. I’ve been thinking about a genre to put Saengchori in but can’t quite find anything exactly similar. It’s such a mix; drama/romance/comedy/mystery… with some supernatural/fantasy like elements thrown in. It also has a rather inventive use of drama-sickness as a plot device, ha. The humor is both ‘loud’ and very understated, which shouldn’t mix but does. Like I said – strange. 😀 The whole thing is ever so slightly off kilter in a way that seems to appeal to me. Obviously this is a drama made for my id. *g* All the stuff going on in Saengchori and in the currently airing Village, has me wondering if it’s altogether safe to visit Korean villages, LOL!
Many of the characters are drawn with rather bold strokes and I’m sure some of them come off as a bit too OT for everyone’s taste, but I found them wonderfully entertaining. In fact, I’m rather fond of them all, even Mr “palli, palli” Director Park and his screechy daughter Victoria (though there were times I dearly wanted to strangle her). XD I also have a VERY soft spot for Min Sung, our lead. *g* He is such an ass to begin with but things happen and he finally has to take a hard look at himself and how he’s been living up till then. Well, Saengchori is just the place to get one’s life throughly shaken up, with loads of hilarity ensuing, amongst all the “aaaawwww” and “brrr… that’s creepy!”. I do like the other half of the OTP a lot too. Eun Joo may not be all that smart but she is fun, kind hearted and loyal. There’s also a rather lovely 2nd lead, who’ll probably give cause to SLS for many. The petty rivalry between Ji Min and Min Sung made for many a guaffable moment.
TPTB are quite good at keeping the viewers in the dark about both the identity of the murderer and what is really going on in the village. Plenty of hints though, both red herrings and real. The drama also has quite a few fun little details sprinkled here and there, many of which I never caught the first time I watched it. Some of them culturally bound so I didn’t quite get them. References to other dramas (funny!) etc. Also, splashes of toilet-humor *rolleyes* but at least they kept it within the confines of acceptable so…
Like most kdramas OUaTiS has it’s flaws. The story doesn’t exactly drag but sometimes it seems to loose it’s focus while paying a tad too much attention on being clever. Some threads are left dangling as if the writer completely forgot about them and the ending is sort of abrupt. It’s like they got so into telling the story, that couple of episodes short of The End they suddenly realised there was only 20 epis to tell it and had to scramble. Not that it prevented me from enjoying the show to the fullest… more than once.