Monday, March 9, 2015

Drama Review: Healer

It's been about a week since I finished Healer and I still have trouble with what I should write about it. But I'm determined to review this beast once and for all. Mostly because I've made it a mission to review all the dramas I've watched (in the present/future). But also because Healer ran away with being a phenomenon on its own.

I briefly talked about the series in my Mid-January Drama Watches post and remembering how excited I was to watch the show. The biggest reason I believe is just how different it is. My usual go to dramas are rom-coms because they're fluffy, fun, and take my mind off the blah-ness of everyday. I still love rom-coms and would choose that over other genres, but it was nice to watch other things that aren't always a laugh and a half.

Healer had a lot of fans by the time I watched it, and most of them are extremely excited about it too. It was a mania show, and the Dramabeans comment count shows that. So being the curious person that I am, I started watching it. It swept me off my feet in a way that other dramas haven't done.

Now that I'm done with the drama, I don't think my level of love for it is as high as others, nor as it was in the beginning. It probably shouldn't have dwindled as much as it did. For one thing, I actually found the story very compelling. It hit the right notes in all the right places. The story actually got better as the drama progressed, something not many dramas can claim for itself. The pace was kept tight and the layers keep on getting deeper by the minute. It was also, as far as I know, an original story (not based off a webtoon as per trend these days), so kudos to the writer.

I did think the ending was too perfect for my liking. Such a complex problem that spanned several decades was neatly wrapped in a couple of episodes, I didn't buy it. I kind of wished one of the good guys died in the end because everything was just too happy. I want tears, dammit.

The performances were overall great. Yoo Ji-tae especially hit it out of the park. He's a seasoned veteran for a reason. The younguns performed well enough but did leave me a bit hanging. You know those characters who were done so well you can't see anyone else in the role? This wasn't the case for me. I loved both Young-shin and Jung-hoo as characters, but there was just something missing with the performances especially in the latter episodes. Park Min-young looked like she's thinking a lot when she acts (she's not the only one), and Ji Chang-wook has a tendency to overact, which I'm guessing is derived from his many previous makjangs. Perhaps I've just been spoiled by more naturalistic actors. Maybe they're just really tired. I'm not sure.

It's sad that the drama didn't fare well ratings-wise in Korea, though. We just have to accept that dramas are least likely to hit 20% and getting into mid-late teens is now considered an achievement. But getting an average of 7,6% for such a fantastic drama on a public broadcasting channel is a bit sad. (If this was a cable show, it's considered a runaway hit.) Times a changin'. At least Healer gets a mania status in the international community.

All in all, I did really enjoy the drama. I didn't leave it wanting for more. So far, I have yet to feel any withdrawals from it, and I doubt it's going to come anytime soon. It was a well crafted drama that scored high on technicality but just didn't pull me at the heartstrings as much as others seem to experience. Maybe my heart does belong in rom-com world. At least there's plenty of those in kdramaland.

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