It was forever ago when I first read a post on The Talking Cupboard about the 20-episode Korean drama Angel Eyes (2014) and added it to my list. When I was in a little bit of a lull and wanted a no-mess, wholesome drama, Angel Eyes was what I reached for. No regrets in checking this one out!
What’s it about?
Yoon Soo Wan (Nam Ji Hyun (young), Ku Hye Sun) and Park Dong Joo (Kang Ha Neul (young), Lee Sang Yoon) have intertwined fates before they even meet each other, with Soo Wan’s mother and Dong Joo’s father dying in the same accident. When they eventually meet, or rather, when Dong Joo builds up the nerve to talk to Soo Wan, nothing can stop the two’s developing friendship and romance. Nothing, it seems, except another tragic twist of fate involving Dong Joo’s mother Yoo Jung Hwa (Kim Yeo Jin) and Soo Wan’s father Yoon Jae Beom (Jung Jin Young), which forces Dong Joo and his younger sister to leave for America without a word. Twelve years later, Dong Joo, going by the alias Dylan Park, has returned to South Korea, his love for Soo Wan still strong. But twelve years is a long time, and there’s no guarantee that Soo Wan has waited for him. Furthermore, what is the dark truth lingering behind Dong Joo’s reason for leaving that could shatter the world of all involved?
This series has the best character introduction and set up of events in the the first two episodes compared to any other drama I have seen so far. Right from the start you care about Dong Joo and Soo Wan and their story; you get emotionally engaged with what happens to them (and their family) very, very quickly. Once the story is set up, the series never tries to drift from it; it doesn’t try to squeeze in unnecessary plot points to make the series more dramatic. Instead, it focuses on telling the story of Dong Joo and Soo Wan, and telling their story well.
Another thing that I really liked about this series was the fantastic acting! Nam Ji Hyun and Kang Ha Neul, who play the younger versions of Soo Wan and Dong Joo, do an absolutely fantastic job. I believe that these two actors play a big role in drawing the audience in right from the start. Ku Hye Sun Lee Sang Yoon, who play the older versions, keep the audience caring about their characters. I really liked the way that the younger and older actors were matched up; there was a good carry-over of mannerisms, which allowed the drama to flow well. Other great casting choices include Kim Yeo Jin as Dong Joo’s mother, Jung Jin Young as Soo Wan’s father, Kim Ji Suk as love rival Kang Ji Woon, Hyun Jyu Ni as Soo Wan’s best friend, and Yoon Ye Joo as Dong Joo’s little sister.
Finally, Angel Eyes has all of the elements to make it a fantastic series to get you pulled in and addicted. The characters are solid, likeable, and intelligent, so you’re not left feeling frustrated at stupid decisions or with characters missing obvious cues. There’s also a lot of tragedy in this series, and all of the actors bring real emotion to their roles to bring it alive; there are more than a few moments where you’ll probably need a box of tissues. However there’s also plenty of romance and humour to lighten the mood (I really loved the off-beat humour that Seungri and the other rescue workers bought to the series!).
This series has got some melodrama elements in it, so there are a couple of times in the middle where the episodes tend to drag a little. Bear with it, and it’ll come around good again.
I do feel that the ending of this series could be a little stronger, given how fantastic its first few episodes and set up is. The drama does push itself a little too much to cover everyone’s stories, so you get a bit of emotional whiplash in the last two episodes as we quickly switch between sad and happy moments. The final episode is also rushed. However, by K-drama standards, it’s still a decent ending.
Anything else I should consider?
This series has a couple of small surgery scenes in it that involves cutting open patients, a couple of images of organs, and blood. Although it’s not gory, and it only occurs a couple of times, it’s just something to watch out for if you don’t like that kind of stuff.
Story: 8/10: Although the story isn’t anything groundbreaking, it’s told in such a beautiful and straightforward way, you can’t help but enjoy it.
Characters: 8/10: Intelligent, well rounded characters, and plenty of cast chemistry to keep you coming back for more!
Angel Eyes is a straight forward, emotional, and engaging series. I love its intelligent characters and the talented actors portraying them. If you’re looking for a straightforward and lovable series to keep you occupied, I strongly recommend it! Overall, I give it a strong 8/10.