W is a 2016 South Korean television series, starring Lee Jong-suk and Han Hyo-joo. It aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 22:00 (KST) on MBC from July 20 to September 14, 2016.
The series received praises for its fast-paced plot and unique storyline, and topped Content Power Index (CPI) rankings.
I have very high expectations of any show that Jong Suk is in, because his works have never failed to impress, ranging from idol dramas (Pinocchio) to sitcoms (High Kick Through The Roof), and in any character he takes on.
It also helps that the story plot for this drama sounds very fresh. Although we have often toyed with the idea of time-travelling (especially in recent years, think Rooftop Prince & Scarlet Heart: Ryeo), the concept of crossing fictional and real worlds is something pretty new in K drama-land.
Cast – What can go wrong with Lee Jong Suk as your male lead? I sound very biased (actually I am), but he was the most suitable candidate for his role as a witty, charming, and absolutely endearing manga character (Kang Cheol). It’s hard to imagine anyone else taking it on, not even Gong Yoo and Lee Min Ho, our other top candidates for chaebol roles. Jong Suk’s chiselled good looks also helps audiences imagine him as a guy who just walked out of a manga – there is really nothing to criticize about him being cast in W.
However, he does steal the limelight from Han Hyo-joo, whose character (Oh Yeon-joo) is easy to empathize with for her strength and emotions, but often overshadowed by Jong Suk. The chemistry between both actors is also commendable, despite it being expected from Jong Suk, who always works well on screen (and off!) with his co-actors.
LJS & HHJ @ script reading!
Plot – I often call this a no-brainer because it’s a given that good dramas have good plots, but this one really had me hooked from start to finish. Every episode brings with it an unexpected twist and promises to rip you apart emotionally. I can’t even describe the full plot because it’s full of surprises. It really shows how much effort the scriptwriter put in to make sure everything flows throughout, with no plot loopholes at all. I even had no issue with the ending (which is really rare because K-dramas do such a terrible job at wrapping things up), although some people will beg to differ.
Characters – Some dramas are really very stingy about giving all characters the air time they deserve, and I’m glad to say W is not one of them. Every character – well, almost – is endearing in their own way, and exists in the drama for a good reason. My personal favourite (besides Kang Cheol of course!) is the father, Oh Sung-moo (played by Kim Eui-sang). I would even say he is the main protagonist of this show, instead of Kang Cheol, because a lot of the plot progressed thanks to him.
Original Sound Track – Good music helps to add to the climax and emotion in every episode, and W‘s OST hits all the right notes. My personal favourite is Without You by N (VIXX) and Yeoeun (MELODYDAY). Listen to the full album here:
This is probably one of the rare few reviews where I would say that there is absolutely nothing to criticize about the show. Really.
Even if you’re not a fan of Jong Suk and Hyo-joo, or hate chaebols and manga characters, this drama is for you. Okay, some people may say that HJ’s acting really turns them off at some times, but I promise it’s not as bad as they make it out to be.
This drama throws in both romance and chills in all the right places and in all the right amounts. Nothing is excessive, and everything ties up nicely from start to finish. It makes you question your existence and life’s purpose without being overbearing, while letting you feel heartened by the little pockets of warmth and love given by all the characters.
If you’re not thoroughly convinced that you should watch this for its amazing execution, you could still watch it for Jong Suk’s handsome face and give this show a thumbs-up. This is one of Jong Suk’s best works and if you miss it, it’s really your loss.