I think it has something to do with my secret childhood obsession with becoming a doctor but I am an absolute sucker for medical dramas. Having watched 산부인과 여의사 earlier in the year (definitely worth watching although the end is a bit....) I have been on the lookout for another medical-based Korean drama for a while. Enter Brain - well paced, intriguing, well balanced and believable, it follows the lives of a group neurosurgeons at the prestigious Chunha University Hospital.
The plotline centers around Lee Kang-Hoon (Shin Ha-Kyun) an exceptionally talented but equally exceptionally arrogant neurosurgeon from a poor background who basically had to fight his way, tooth and nail, to get to where he is now and his rival classmate, Joon-Suk (Jo Dong-Hyeok), who comes from a family of doctors and was, for want of a better phrase, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The relationship between the two doctors is significantly influenced by their interactions with Kim Sang-Chul (Jung Jin-Young), a renowned surgeon and well liked professor, popular with both his peers and his patients.
I have to admit I've actually become really fond of many of the supporting actors/actresses in this series. I know I'm fond of them because I can remember their names - I always take this as a strong hint! Choi Jung-Won presents a well developed character as feisty, confident yet warm hearted resident Dr Yun Ji-Hye. While a little wimpish at the start, her encounters with Lee Kang-Hoon give her the opportunity to shine and learn to stand up for herself. My real favourite however has to be Head Nurse Hong Eun-Sook, played by Im Ji-Eun. I confess, I am slightly biased as I have supported her since watching her in God of Study (공부의 신) but she never fails to impress, delivering a solid performance providing a depth to her character that is rare in the world of Korean dramas.
There are a number of things I really like about this drama.
1. It doesn't really follow the stereotypical Korean drama plot (poor girl, rich boy, strange meeting, fall in love, horrible mother....you get me!).While still predictable in parts, as most dramas are, it still manages to captivate the viewer and the various twists in the plot make for interesting, somewhat unexpected events leaving us, as viewers, wondering what is going to follow...
2. It doesn't rely on eye candy. Now, first things first, I'm not saying that the actors in this drama aren't attractive - they are! - but I just don't get the feeling that they're relying on their looks rather than their skills as actors. Consequently, this results in a much more conclusive presentation. There are no huge bursts of overacting nor does it feel fake or "cold".
3. As already mentioned, I'm a sucker for medical dramas and a big fan of Im Ji-Eun!
I'm generally rather disappointed with the lack of press dramas such as Brain receive just because they don't have a 'pretty' line up.... *cough* Pretty/Flower Boys in the Ramyun Shop *cough* I wish people would look beyond the gleaming white smiles and cute faces of the likes of Cha Chi-soo*. I mean, it's not that I dislike Pretty Boys in the Flower Shop, I do like it and I'm watching it at the moment - I guess it just frustrates me that awesome dramas like Brain get sidelined and pass under the radar.... ><
This is only a mid-drama review so I won't say anymore but if you haven't seen it, you know what you should spend the rest of the day / evening doing!
*A further reference to the Pretty/Flower Boys in the Ramyun Shop drama.