Hot K-drama Doctors to beat Descendants Of The Sun?
Park Shin Hye's new action-packed drama Doctors may be a hotter hit than Song Joong Ki's Descendants Of The Sun
Just as the sun is setting on the Descendants Of The Sun (DOTS) phenom, another hot new Korean drama is poised to take its place as the next Hallyu torchbearer.
Doctors, now airing in South Korea, has already raked in 19.2 per cent in ratings and is set to hit the 20 per cent milestone in the coming week.
DOTS averaged at a stunning 26.27 per cent.
Doctors is a medical romance-drama between gangster-turned-doctor Yoo Hye Jung (Park Shin Hye) and her ex-teacher-turned-boss Hong Ji Hong (Kim Rae Won), as they deal with office politics and scars from the past.
CHEMISTRY: Park Shin Hye's character Yoo Hye-jung enjoying a romantic ride in the rain with her love interest, leading man Kim Rae Won's Hong Ji-hong. PHOTO: VIU
So what exactly is driving its popularity in Korea? Here are four things that are making Doctors a better watch than DOTS...
1. SOLID SCRIPT
The unpretentious central romance is couched in a bigger arc, as Hong, rightful heir of the hospital, prevents a takeover by greedy doctors, while Yoo uncovers the cause of her grandmother's death in the hospital 13 years ago.
DOTS' popularity was boosted by its phenomenally good-looking cast, but it also featured an abysmal script.
This is unlike Doctors' compelling plot, which does not pack too much in nor pretend to be more than what it is. And it is definitely not a fluffy, fairy tale whirlwind romance taking place during a humanitarian mission in a fictional war-torn nation.
2. PARK SHIN HYE FINALLY TURNS BADASS
The 26-year-old actress first caught international viewers' attention through the 2013 Korean drama Heirs, where she played a maid's daughter who spends around 20 episodes or so rejecting the love of her mother's employer on the basis of status difference.
In Doctors, however, Park does a complete reversal.
She is headstrong, does not let injustice slide and tackles gangsters to the ground - with no stunt double.
At a press conference last month, she said that the character Yoo is unlike any she has played before.
It looks like Park has finally stopped being typecast as the passive, lovelorn heroine. Bonus points for being infinitely less whiny than DOTS' female lead Song Hye Kyo.
3. A RELATABLE ANTAGONIST
How often do viewers of a Korean drama relate to and root for the female lead's rival, in this case, jealous Jin Seo Woo (Lee Sung Kyung)?
This is drastically different from DOTS, which turned antagonists into caricatures that everyone loves to hate - foreigners of unknown nationality, evil simply because they innately are, complete with terrible acting.
In Doctors, Jin watches Yoo effortlessly taking all the things the former worked for, before getting back at her.
Thankfully, writer Ha Myung Hee developed her backstory and her resulting personality, that of a sheltered woman whose parents made her hyper-aware of her initial headstart in life.
4. KIM RAE WON'S FLIRTING SKILLS
The age gap between the two leads could have caused Kim to come across as a creepy old uncle, but the 35-year-old's acting skill made him more like a protective oppa (big brother).
His Hong is assertive, but does not push Yoo around, guiding her while giving her room for her own self-improvement.
Most importantly, he delivers cheesy lines like no one else can. DOTS' lover-boy Song Joong Ki needs to take notes.
- Doctors is available on viu.com or Viu mobile app, with subtitles, for free. Catch the latest episodes first on Viu Premium, as fast as eight hours after Korea's telecast, every Tuesday and Wednesday and enjoy unlimited downloads for offline viewing while on the go.
"She is very kind and generous. Her fight scenes are so good. We are all very impressed by her."
- Actor Kim Min Seok on Doctors co-star Park Shin Hye
Doctors airs within 24 hours of its original broadcast in Singapore on ONE with new episodes every Tuesday and Wednesday, 8.10pm on ONE (Singtel TV Ch 513, 604 and StarHub TV Ch 124, 820 and 823)
Also on ONE, Fans can catch-up with the two-day Doctors TV Marathon Special! on July 30 and 31, from 12.45pm to 7.30pm with 12 episodes back-to-back.
Doctors vs DOTS: What fans say
"I like (Doctors) because it's more realistic. A hospital setting, adolescent problems and romance... I can definitely relate to it better than a war situation like DOTS."
- Sarah Tan, 21, student
"DOTS is the only Korean drama I watch. I like Song Hye Kyo and the actors are generally either cute or hot."
- Ruby Chen, 21, student