From left, actors Jeon Tae-soo, Yoo Ah-in, Park Min-young, Park Yoo-chun, Seo Hyo-rim and Song Joong-ki wave during a photocall of a press conference for upcoming KBS TV series "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" held at the W hotel in Seoul, South Korea on August 17, 2010. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
On August 10, statistics by AGB Nielsen Media Research revealed that SBS TV series "Giant" scored a viewership rating of 22.9 percent, beating MBC's historical drama by 1.6 percent. But "Dong Yi" brushed past "Giant" the following week by a difference of 0.3 percentage points, indicating that upcoming KBS show "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" is up for tough competition when it premieres on August 30. What are the elements that will be attractive for viewers?
Point of Attraction 1. Park Yoo-chun
The reason "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" has garnered attention since its casting stages is because of Park Yoo-chun's popularity -- the idol group singer will play the role of main character Lee Seon-joon from the original novel by Jung Eun-gwol. The novel, a bestseller which has sold over 500,000 copies since being published in 2007, is about the romance between four men and women set at Confucian academy SungKyunKwan during the Chosun Dynasty. Micky will play Lee the perfectionist, Song Joong-ki the sly Goo Yong-ha, Yoo Ah-in the tough guy Moon Jae-shin and Park Min-young the woman in man disguise Kim Yoon-hee who takes a state exam in place of her sick younger brother. Thanks to the hot popularity of the original novel, numerous simulations regarding the casting had floated on the Internet and the show received increased hype when Park Yoo-chun, who has almost no acting experience, was chosen to play one of the main characters. The fact that the singer has been enjoying great popularity throughout Asia from his career as a member of TVXQ may have had a considerable amount of influence on his casting since it will help the show sell overseas but director Kim Won-seok quelled possible concerns by saying, "He has a good voice and attractive features as an actor, as well as a good attitude when it comes to acting".
Point of Attraction 2. Synchronization Rate of Cast
Ultimately, casting is probably key to the success of "Sungkyunkwan Scandal". Bringing the characters to life -- the original novel has proven they are attractive -- will act as a safety bar for the show's viewership ratings which go up and down as if on a roller coaster ride. In that sense, the combination of the four main actors is quite appealing. Song Joong-ki, who has been acknowledged by both netizens and fellow actors as being the closest in person to his character from the original novel, perfectly reenacted his role as Goo Yong-ha by joking at the show's press conference that he "woke up even after staying up all night upon hearing Miss Koreas were going to be here", and revealing wicked and sly smiles in a preview clip for the drama. Park Min-young, who said she wrapped 20 rounds of bandages around herself to hide her female figure, originally has a mid-to-low toned voice and wears almost no make-up for the series, also showed the possibility of pulling off her role as a woman in man disguise easily by showing that she is close to a being bright boy rather than a beautiful lady.
A scene from "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" [KBS]
Point of Attraction 3. A cheerful historical drama with young people
Like "Dong Yi" which is set in the mid-Chosun Dynasty and "Giant" in the 70s to 80s, "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" too takes place at a specific time and place -- the Confucian academy SungKyunKwang during the Chosun Dynasty -- but it definitely differentiates itself in terms of concept being a historical drama about young characters. "We incorporated the romantic elements, such as the romance between four men and women and a slightly sexual love story, into the drama exactly the way it is in the original novel", director Kim Won-suk said. His words prove that the show is mainly targeted at females in the teens to thirties range and viewers who do not like the typical and serious historical dramas. How much of a change will "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" bring to the competition on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Reporter : Lee Ga-on
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Lee Ji-Hye seven@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>
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