Finally. A story that isn’t about chaebol (family-run business empires) clans or a rich boy falling in love with a poor girl.
If nothing else, this reason alone makes it worth checking out this new suspense/romance drama.
The first episode of W-Two Worlds starts off with a bang and had me gripping the edge of my seat, or rather, bed.
The storyline revolves around former Olympic shooter and gold medallist Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk of I Hear Your Voice and Pinocchio) whose family is killed by an unknown assailant with, ironically, some rather sharp shooting skills.
No thanks to a politically-motivated prosecutor, Chul is painted as the prime suspect, spending a year in prison before being released after an appeal due to lack of evidence.
All alone in his grief, he comes home to an empty house, and vows to find his family’s killer.
The drama then sees him going on to become the successful CEO of a venture capital firm, a multi-millionaire who lives in a penthouse and drives fast cars.
Enter female lead Oh Yeon Joo (Han Hyo-joo, Dong Yi) a cardiothoracic surgeon in her second year of residency, who hopes to become a skilled surgeon one day.
With her parents divorced, she lives with her mother but keeps in touch with her father, a renowned webtoon artist by the name of Oh Seong Moo (Kim Eui-sung, Six Flying Dragons).
Seong Moo’s webtoon series W has generated a cult following for the past seven years, with Yeon Joo and her boss being ardent fans as well. (A webtoon is an animated cartoon or series of comic strips published online.)
The drama’s intensity and suspense increase when Seong Moo suddenly disappears one day while at work, after trying to kill off the main character of his webtoon.
That’s when it gets really interesting, and where two parallel worlds collide as Yeon Joo finds herself somehow pulled into the world of W.
This 16-episode MBC drama is indeed a very creative piece written by Song Jae-jung, who is known for her time travel dramas Nine and Queen In-hyun’s Man.
Each episode is a winner on its own, with elements of surprise, comedy and enough suspense to keep viewers glued and highly anticipating the next instalment.
The parts where Yeon Joo has to do something crazy or dramatic in order to return to her own world are pretty amusing too.
Under the guidance of director Jung Dae-yoon (She Was Pretty), Lee’s performance here is arguably one of his better ones, in comparison with Pinocchio or Secret Garden.
However, I feel he still needs to work on improving his delivery when portraying extreme emotions like rage and deep pain. A romantic at heart, Yeon Joo’s character is a bit of a scatterbrain but she still aims to become a great surgeon one day.
Han’s show of bewilderment and confusion from being transported between the two worlds – at the most unexpected moments – is well executed and actually endearing.
Seasoned actor Kim demonstrates laudable acting skills as the artist who has suffered from low self-esteem and depression ever since his wife and daughter moved away.
He plays a talented but tormented character who has lost control of his own creation. In later episodes, we see him taking on a sinister role which he carries out convincingly.
Supporting performer Park Soo Bong’s (Lee Shi Un) role as Seong Moo’s assistant is a big plus factor in the drama. His believable portrayal of fear and nervousness as he witnesses shocking changes involving his boss is definitely commendable.
As for the romance angle, yes, there are enough scenes to make many young women want to kill to be Yeon Joo, but some moments are a tad too similar to those seen in some recent dramas (hint: Descendants Of The Sun) and even then, fall short of possessing that awww factor.
Is there chemistry between Chul and Yeon Joo? I wouldn’t say it’s nonexistent, but I wouldn’t say it’s fantastic either. But yes, they can pass off as a cute screen couple.
As a whole, this drama’s main draw is not so much in the romance, but the refreshing storyline, clever plot development and riveting moments that make it one of the best dramas I’ve seen so far this year.
W-Two Worlds airs every Thursday and Friday at 8.55pm on Oh!K (Astro Ch 394).