Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim
What would it be like if a character inclusion changed the whole genre of the series? Many will probably lose interest due to its nonsensical story development. However, the twist may add new fun to the series as long as its protagonist keeps trying to overcome his dark fate. Here, we’re talking about the 2016 series W that has the power to draw in viewers long after its release. If you love watching Big Mouth, the drama about falsely accused lawyer Park Chang Ho, we recommend you to watch Lee Jong Suk‘s 2016 series W as it won him the Grand Prize at the 2016 MBC Drama Awards.
W surprised viewers with its stunning creativity and bold choice of narrative as the series follows a man in the virtual world meeting a woman in reality. One day, a cardiac surgeon named Oh Yeon Joo (played by Han Hyo Jo) heads to a webtoon studio to meet her father (Kim Eui Sung). There, she accidentally gets sucked into the world of a webtoon and saves an injured man named Kang Chul (Lee Jong Suk) — which begins everything that unfolds in the story.
The drama follows what happens between the two within the webtoon world as whatever they do reflects in the following webtoon chapter. Kang Chul gradually grows fond of the mysterious girl who appeared before him, with the dreadful family tragedy still haunting him. As Kang Chul owns a cable network, he launches a new crime program to track down the murderer who killed his family. The drama lays out various genres like romance, fantasy, and mystery from the beginning and flows with a speedy storyline.
Kang Chul thinks things have not been the same since Yeon Joo appeared in his life. He suddenly got slapped, kissed, witnessed her vanishing and inexplicable return. Plus, it’s also strange that Yeon Joo seems to know everything about him.
Turns out, strange things happened to Kang Chul because Yeon Joo was looking for ways to return to reality. She also doesn’t have a clue about what’s happening around her, although she knows a lot about her father’s webtoon. However, she discovers that she can go back to reality through the device of “continue” that pops up whenever a chapter ends. Therefore, the two strive to achieve a happy ending in the story despite facing multiple difficulties.
Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo both do a fantastic job of portraying the characters from different planes as they navigate their destiny and work together to overcome their crisis. Lee Jong Suk was just the right man to play the spotlessly handsome cartoon character, and he did a decent job of depicting the complex emotions the character felt whenever he traveled between the two planes. Han Hyo Joo also does a great job of playing the intelligent yet laid-back woman who helps Kang Chul navigate his life.
The show also provides an interesting take on the meeting and collaboration between a webtoon character and his fan in real life. It embodies the two worlds with various ideas by including scenes where the webtoon gets rewritten on the author’s tablet as the characters talk and decide to do something. The latter half of the drama features a device called “the door of boundaries,” which distinguishes the two worlds by directly showing the difference between them.
There are scenes where the two planes merge together. The villain’s hand breaks through a monitor to threaten the writer and steals his face from the real world. Here, the show powerfully portrays the moment he loses all his almighty powers as the absolute creator and moderator of his story.
We also must pay attention to the fact that time passes differently between the two worlds. The show features yet another powerful scene where everything pauses in the webtoon world when Kang Chul realizes everything.
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.