Continuing on my Lee Min Ho kick, after watching City Hunter, I then started The Great Doctor (also called Faith). This drama is a historical fiction story, and it was the first historical fiction drama I have watched. The pros: Lee Min Ho is just as cool in this show as he was in City Hunter, the lead female role (played by Kim Hee Sun) is a strong, humorous character, and there are some fantastical elements to the show that make it interesting. On the other hand, there are some characters who are just a bit too cartoonish, and this show really emphasized the fact that I know absolutely nothing about Asian history.
After watching him in City Hunter and The Great Doctor, Lee Min Ho is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors to watch. He’s fun and dry (which is my kind of humor). I also really enjoy watching his action scenes. In this drama, he plays the general of the King’s guard in Korea in the 1300s. Though he looks a bit young to be in such a high position, this was part of the role he was playing, so it all works out.
Having Kim Hee Sun play opposite of Lee Min Ho seemed like an odd choice when I first started the show, mostly because she is so much older than him. But I soon grew to love her. She was out-spoken, funny, and didn’t take any nonsense from the men in this male-dominated time in history. Kim plays a modern day plastic surgeon who is kidnapped by Lee’s character and brought back in time to save the Queen who has been injured and looks likely to die. Kim’s no-nonsense attitude has the men of the 1300s left at a loss for words as they don’t quite no how to handle this woman who doesn’t seem to play by any of society’s rules.
I found it interesting that they chose to include fantastical elements in this historical drama, such as a portal between time periods, and the ability of some of the characters to use an inner energy to enhance their natural abilities. At times it seemed the creators were uncertain just how much of a role these fantastical elements should play in the show, so there were some inconsistencies. However, I am a sci-fi/fantasy fan, so I was okay with the inclusion of these elements. The only thing I would have liked to see done differently would have been for the creators to figure out the logistics of these elements beforehand to minimize the inconsistencies that occurred.
One of the main problems I had with this show was that some of the characters were a bit too cartoonish to be taken seriously. In particular, this guy:
Sorry. But there was no way to take anything he did very seriously. There were parts in the show where we, as the audience, were supposed to feel bad for him and his hardships, but it was nearly impossible when he looks like he has been taken straight out of an anime and dropped into a live-action show.
Overall, this show taught me that I know absolutely nothing about Asian history. I felt I was missing out on some crucial elements of the show because I didn’t have any contextual information. It actually encouraged me to do some research to learn about the figures in the show and the roles they played in history. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect of this show, but it definitely did inspire me to fill in some gaps I had in my knowledge of world history. As someone who studies culture as a profession, I am always grateful for opportunities to enhance my knowledge of other cultures.