Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Cho EK
Mixed genres are the vogue nowadays. So, because now the audience has higher standards, it is never enough to capture the viewers’ eyes with a single genre. The same goes for romance as well. Therefore, many new productions attempt to include freshness by adding heart-pumping suspense, bloodcurdling horror, or sometimes surreal fantasy to the genre of romance. Now on tvN and Netflix, You Are My Spring is a ‘thriller romance’ that surprised viewers by introducing a character who chooses to die at the very beginning of the show after confessing his murder.
If you feel like you’ve had enough of rom-coms, it’s time to watch a romance mixed with different genres.
Flower of Evil (2020)
tvN Flower of Evil marked the beginning of a new genre often described as ‘a chasing series that is emotionally dense.’ The drama questions ‘What would you do if you come to know that your beloved husband is a murderer?’ and tells the story of a couple who cannot but deceive and doubt each other. From the beginning, it provides intense suspense with the breathtaking tension between the wife who knows nothing and the husband who fakes his identity. But deep down, the drama focuses on the essence of love. The dark secrets lie under the veneer of happiness, and as soon as it unveils, great pain and despair engulf them. It holds the perfect balance between romance, mystery, and suspense. Lee Joon Ki and Moon Chae Won’s performance, which showed a desperate romance, is excellent as well.
When the Camellia Blooms (2019)
KBS When the Camellia Blooms is the story of Dong Baek (Gong Hyo Jin), a single parent who lives in a small provincial town, Ongsan, filled with prejudices. Police officer Yong Shik (Kang Ha Neul) expresses his unchanging love toward her by endlessly supporting her. He tells her that he can grant whatever wishes she has by saying, “Ask me anything, even a hundred or a thousand a day,” with a pure heart.
There is not only romance that makes the viewers smile. Around Dong Baek and Yong Sik, who grow love despite the circumstances, there are the Ongsan people who make the two main characters and the viewers laugh and cry. And until the very end, the ultimate mystery surrounding the serial killer’s identity, Kabuli, adds to the tension in the thriller. This heart-stopping yet sweet drama has portrayed every character so beautifully. In particular, Hyang Mi, who sacrifices herself for Dong Back and leaves a flower language of ‘forget-me-not,’ plays an impressive role in the whole production.
Cheese in the Trap (2016)
tvN Cheese in the Trap is a TV adaptation of a webtoon of the same title. It depicts the romance between Yoo Jeong (Park Hae Jin), a senior who seems to be perfect but somewhat sketchy, and Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun), the only one who can see through his true face. Centered around Hong Seol, the young people on campus are busy earning college credits, filling in their resumes, and preparing for their new jobs. Meanwhile, a secret surrounding Yoo Jeong’s past and present life unfolds. In particular, when Yoo Jeong, the perfect guy, turns out to be a sociopath, the drama offers thrilling suspense within the romantic setting. Also, as it was based on a popular webtoon, it got a heated response from the production stage. For example, Seo Kang Joon and Lee Sung Kyung received huge appreciation because they looked so similar to the original character from the webtoon. Park Hae Jin appeared in the movie adaptation, followed by the TV adaptation as Yoo Jeong, who has an eerie side behind a gentle face.
I Hear Your Voice (2013)
SBS I Hear Your Voice is a fantasy romance that depicts the relationship between Soo Ha (Lee Jong Suk), who can read people’s minds, and Hye Seong (Lee Bo Young), who witnesses the murder of Soo Ha’s father. Hye Seong, who has always been interested in social justice as a child, becomes a relatively secular public defender as an adult. She seeks Soo Ha’s help to win the trial after learning the fact that he can read what the accused thinks. On the contrary, it is refreshing to see her as the main character of this romance because she is a character who does not wish her partner to find out about her true feelings. The actors’ passionate performance adds to the fun of the drama, which combines fantasy and a fierce legal battle. In particular, the chilly presence of murderer Min Joon Guk (Jung Woong In) is outstanding.
Master’s Sun (2013)
In the summer of 2013, SBS Master’s Sun must have chilled the viewer’s temperature a few degrees. The drama combined romance and horror and presented a stingy, arrogant man and a tearful psychic as its main characters. The realistic ghost makeup and special effects also add to the charm of the genre of horror. The drama tells the story of Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sup), the CEO of a mall, and Tae Gong Sil (Gong Hyo Jin), an employee who can see ghosts. Together, they become perfect partners to comfort the lost souls who have many untold stories. In the drama, when Tae touches Joo, she can no longer see the whiny ghosts. The two’s light touch gradually leads them to have a deeper and sweeter relationship.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.