As I said in the introduction. There’s nothing heinous going on with New Heart. While it’s not a memorable show, a show which makes you run right out to your friends (on in my case the blog) and say YOU MUST WATCH THIS RIGHT NOW! YOUR FUTURE AS A KDRAMA FAN DEPENDS ON IT! Nope. This is not one of those shows. This show is more the sort of show when you look over your watched list you go, “Oh yeah, I saw that one.”
I’m afraid this is not going to be one of my really long in depth show break downs as I just don’t have much to say about it. Actually, this may be one of my few ‘reviews’ which is actually a review.
I found that the show is your standard medical drama fair. Lone wolf doctor takes an the bureaucratic system fighting for the good of his patients in a world which only cares about the bottom line. Or if you think the plucky young resident is the hero?
Disadvantaged newcomer takes on the bureaucratic system fighting for the good of his patients in a world which only cares about status.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked a lot of the characters. They all were just… a little cutout-y. Not quite cardboard, as the writers tried to give them layers, but they were layers that we’ve seen before–no really new twists.
Lets meet them, shall we?
Lee Eun-sung- First year resident from d-list school. Orphan with cheery disposition. He’s the people person who overly cares for his patients. Since he’s from the d-list school, he’s considered little more than a male nurse. Tragic back story with first love. (Really? You don’t say? I’ve never seen that in Kdrama before.) He does have enduring qualities like making teddybears for everyone beefing up is stitching skills and a frunny addiction to Korean HSN (Home Shopping Network).
Nam Hye-seok–of course the complete opposite from Eun-sung, she is the number one student in all the country with money and prestige to back her up. While brilliant, she is cold, picky, and doesn’t care for people.
Choi Kang-gook–brilliant doctor who bucks the system at every turn. Family issues.
Min Yeong-gyoo–doctor who only cares about position and fame but doesn’t have the skills to back up his plans. I don’t get, if he’s such a bad doctor, how did he get to be in such a position of power? He couldn’t have suddenly turned into a bad during that one surgery. He was comically evil, but I enjoyed how he got his in the end.
Park Jae-hyeon–evil administrator. The one thing I really liked about him was how, even as the characters around him tried to explain away his actions, in an effort to redeem him, he, until the very end remained set in his ways and bitter. No eleventh hour about face for him that we see in other dramas. Although he did write that note to his daughter to learn from Dr Choi, I feel that at that point he was dying and she’d made it clear she wasn’t going to change her mind about being a cardiothoracic surgeon, so he figured she might as well learn from the best. Throughout the show, he never argued the fact that Dr Choi was brilliant, he just hated that entire section of the hospital, and Dr Choi in particular for never falling in line with his evil plans.
The one character I did think had a few more actual layers to him was Dr. Kim Tae-joon. He cared about being a doctor and his patients but that warred with is need to get ahead. He loved Dr Jo Min-ah, but he married the minister’s daughter for the help he would get with his career. Love or career. Patients or power? I liked the decisions he was forced to make. On the surface he was a total ass-hat, but underneath, there were hints of the crunchy layers I so crave for in my Kdrama characters.
Not only were the characters your run of the mill medical drama characters, so was the plotline. Does every medical drama feature bureaucracy and trying to overthrow said? There were some times while rewatching this, I’d be expecting a scene and realize I was thinking Brain (which was a much more interesting drama).
I found myself getting bored whenever we reached the behind the scenes machinations. Eh, been there, seen that. I was more interested in the patients, the case of the week. I learned if you know, have spoken to, or are in the same room as a doctor RUN! It’s only a matter of time before you find yourself on their operating table in some dramatic fashion, It’s kind of like the old show Murder She Wrote, you didn’t want to find yourself in the vicinity of Jessica Fletcher or you were going to die. Uh. Or murder someone. This insitance on finding patints within the doctors everyday lives rang fake to me. Old lady running the snack shop next door coughs? Yep, she’s gonna be a problem. Eun-sung suddenly has a favorite janitor? Watch out janitor you’re a-gonna-get-it. Famous actress having dinner in the same restaurant as the doctors welcome party? YOU’RE GONNA DIE!
Okay, so she doesn’t die. I’m generalizing.
I liked the relationship (our romance) between these Eun-sung and Hey-seok, the first year residents. It’s as if you put these two characters together you get one pretty awesome doctor. Throughout the course of the drama while Eun-sung only needed doctoring experience and for the people around him to not be so prejudiced, it was really Hye-seok who learned the most from him. She learned about love, patience, and how to be a more caring doctor.
There was never a lightning bolt of love between these two, they went from combatants to best friends to loves. One of my favorite kdrama moments was when he would call her and sing to her (yeah, this happened more than once) and she’d record it to keep forever-ever. She didn’t know it then that she was in love with him, but she just knew she needed to hear those words he sang to her.
Once she realized that it was him that she loved and not the movie star (although, did any of us viewers ever actually buy that relationship? The movie star and his arm grabby ways were just irritating to me.) she didn’t hesitate to chase him again and again. While it irritated me that he kept turning her down, I do understand why he did it. With the way that everyone treated him, he would always be a liability to her. Not to mention that with the hospital only hiring from the connected university, so once he finishes his residency, the chances of him actually getting hired at the hospital are less than none. Yes, him backing away from the relationship is overly sacrificing, but part of him is looking realistically at the future.
While the show wasn’t about their relationship, it was a big part of the storyline and I found myself, at the end, wishing we’d had a bit more closure of them as a couple. We got the snippet of them making it to their second year and bossing around the incoming first years, but when the screen froze and the episode ended, I found myself going “Is that it?”
I’m thinking about it–do I have anything else to say? Um. This is one of the stories where the hero a nice guy–even in the beginning. It kind of reminds me of Dr Champ. But then again, is Eun-sung the hero of this piece? I know he’s billed as such, and he is the one with the romance, but I don’t think he’s the lead. This isn’t his story, Eun-sung doesn’t grow or change at all. He basically ends as the same person as he started. Yes, he’s a better doctor, but he’s a first year resident, if he didn’t get better, he shouldn’t be a doctor. But personal journey? Nope, I’d give that to Dr Choi Kang-gook.. He gets just as much screen time as Eun-sung, but his path twists and changes as the drama goes. He starts as an arrogant doctor bent only on getting his father’s honor back. By the end he realizes what he and his family has sacrificed to get to that point and that there are more important things in life. In his work he’s also learned to be more of a team player and realizes that maybe he doesn’t know everything. It’s an interesting path.
Now this being said, I think Ji Sung did an awesome job in this. Before I’d only seen him as the neurotic chaebol in Protect the Boss. I’ve come out of this drama appreciating him and his skills. I look forward to checking out what else he’s done. Suggestions?
Am I recommending you go out and watch this? Eh. I don’t think you really need to, but if you do, it’s an easy going, if bloody path. This review makes it sound like I didn’t like it, and I did. It was fine. Entertaining even. In parts sad and cute. So if you’re looking for a nice medical drama? Give it a try.