In the sea of premieres, here is another kid on the block aka Doctor Stranger and it has started with total awesomeness. The heart-pounding thrills and action peppered with heartfelt emotions serves us the right amount of entertainment and fun, with the brilliant pace, making the drama totally compelling. I had this City Hunter and The King 2 Hearts feeling while watching the show which is definitely a good sign. Directing is by the PD of City Hunter and that explains a lot of feels and I can see so many actors from that show here as well. A nice mix of genres — action, romance, comedy, medical, political — makes it similar to The King 2 Hearts.
The story has epicness written all over it. It does sound very fantastical and larger than life but the narrative is flavoured with depth and heart, that makes it captivating. Firstly, I loved the arc of father-son duo, which made me really sad when later the father sacrifices his life for his son. A definitive plus is the acting, with Kim Sang Joong giving a brilliant cameo appearance, giving a strong foundation to the drama. I also like that we have the added story of our hero Park Hoon’s mother, again resonating with City Hunter. Also, I loved when the bodyguard to the super-ambitious security official-turned-prime minister showed signs of humanity. With that single scene of the lollipop, the show really made a strong point of the emotional tie that he would have with our hero.
Next comes the love story between Hoon and Jae Hee. I do wish that we would have got more time to relate with their relationship, but it was really sweet and I’m rooting for this couple who faced so many hardships and obstacles of life and death and still, they were determined to be together. Especially, our hero, who kept on working in that horror-medical-institute just with the determination to find his love, and now after coming to the South, he is still searching her. I’m hoping that with him joining the hospital, he will realise the importance of being a doctor, which understandably he has ignored since his main goal is to find and save Jae Hee.
All these relationships and arcs generate an emotional swell that draws you in. The drama is not without an occasional dash of humour — like the scene with Hoon dancing on a KPOP number, or the later scenes when he is dealing with that gangster patient. We are still to see the hospital scenes and the remaining leads, but I was swooned by the entry scene of Park Hae Jin. On a side note, the surgery scenes were too much for me to watch, I hope they’ll tone down this.
I loved the whole chase scene when Hoon and Jae Hee run from the north guys — it was nicely done with lots of thrills and urgency. The cinematography is beautiful and I’m not in love with the OST yet, but it was good. This show requires a huge suspension of disbelief, only after that you can believe the picture painted by it. I’m amazed by the fast pace at which things were happening and there was no time wasted anywhere. Storywise, I really hope that we will not get the episodic-case-of-the-week scenarios which are as boring as watching grass grow.
All in all, an impressive and gripping premiere — a smart blend of action-thrill-romance-comedy flavoured with heartfelt emotions.