The meet-cute: hilarity ensues as a 400+ year old alien possessing super powers and a not-the-sharpest-crayon-in-the-box actress find out they are next door neighbors through a one-sided argument on an elevator. Throw in a heavy dose of drama, fate, and the seriousness of life (both alien and human) and add in a tear soaked pinch of unrequited love. Yes drama land, I would like more, much more of this show.
You From Another Star (or You Who Came from the Stars, or My Love from Another Star. Seriously, this show has some major name confusion right now depending on which site/translation of the title you are reading), premiered on December 18th . The show is airing on SBS on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the timeslot recently vacated by Heirs, and will run for 20 episodes. Off to a strong start, I see great things in this drama’s future. Time to ramble on. Cheers!
Meet the Players
The Actress: Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun)
Cheon Song Yi is the face of the Hallyu Wave. A famous actress and world star, Song Yi’s major downfall is her lack of book smarts (which would not be that terrible except she regularly broadcasts her stupidity to everyone and their brother through her social media account). Good friends with fellow actress Yoo Se Mi and chased after by Chaebol Second Son Lee Hwi Kyung, Song Yi still lives a rather lonely existence due to her fame. Rounding out her life is a money grubbing Mother and a distant younger brother. Very much in tune to how much the public loves or hates her, Song Yi is emotionally influenced and therefore often isolated by her volatile public image.
The Alien: Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun)
Do Min Joon landed on earth in 1609 and has been stuck on the third rock from the sun ever since. Min Joon’s home planet is very earth like, which would explain why he apparently adapted so well. Possessing the powers to stop time, super hearing, and telekinesis, Min Joon has spent centuries living among humans with a resolve to not interfere in their lives.
The Wannabe Boyfriend: Lee Hwi Kyung (Park Hae Jin)
The second son of a Chaebol family, Lee Hwi Kyung has money, a powerful family, and good looks. However, he does not have what he wants most – a relationship with his longtime friend Cheon Song Yi. Hwi Kyung has tunnel vision when it comes to Song Yi, always willing to drop anything and run to her rescue no matter the reason.
The Best Friend: Yoo Se Mi (Yoo In Na)
Yoo Se Mi is an actress that is good friends with the much more popular star Cheon Song Yi. Se Mi has a major crush on Lee Hwi Kyung; which is constantly overshadowed by Hwi Kyung chasing after Song Yi. Often cast in secondary roles, Yoo Se Mi seems to play second fiddle to Song Yi in both love and work.
Shin Sung Rok plays Lee Jae Kyung, the murderous older brother of Lee Hwi Kyung.
Kim Chang Wan portrays Jang Young Mok, Min Joon’s friend and the only person thus far in the story to know that he is an alien.
Our Story thus far
Warning- Spoilers Ahead
Hallyu Star Cheon Song Yi creates a buzz of negative press when she posts a historically inaccurate bit of information on her social media site. The storm of criticism that follows this incident causes the actress to be sent to school…literally (because the media also dredged up the fact that even though she is enrolled at a university, she never attends).
Shortly after Song Yi’s SNS fumble she runs into her new neighbor. Initially mistaking him for a stalker fan, she scolds him until she realizes he lives next door. Who is he? None other than our alien Do Min Joon (bot of course no one outside of his dear friend Jang Young Mok knows he is an alien).
Min Joon works as a college professor, and as our story begins, finds out the meteor he was been waiting 400 years for is set to appear in 3 months -which means he can finally return to his planet. With an expiration date on his lengthy stay on Earth, the last thing Min Joon wants to do is leave an impact on the humans around him (through a flashback we learn that Min Joon once meddled in the affairs of humans when he first arrived on earth, only to see his interference bring on bad situations for the people he tried to help. Ever since then he has resolved to let fate decide the course of those around him, not his super-duper time stopping powers).
Meanwhile, while talking with Jang Young Mok, Min Joon reveals a vision that he had 12 years ago. In his vision he saw the same girl that he met when he first landed on earth in 1609, or at least a girl that looks exactly like her. He later visited the place in his dream, a street in Seoul, where he ended up saving the girl from a car accident. After that he never saw her again. Young Mok promises to try to find the girl for Min Joon so he can see her before he goes back to his planet.
Hwi Kyung proposes to Song Yi but is turned down (once again, apparently this is not the first proposal on his part). Demanding an explanation, Hwi Kyung is treated to Song Yi’s hang-up regarding the man that saved her from a car accident 12 years ago. Hmmm…this sounds familiar. Unfortunately she cannot remember his face, but he has always stuck with her nonetheless.
On the first day of class Song Yi meets her professor – none other than Min Joon. Song Yi does not take the class seriously (book learning is not this girls thing), and ends up turning in a plagiarized paper. Min Joon, with his super memory, recognizes her plagiarism immediately and fails her in front of the entire class (who promptly post video of the incident on SNS). Song Yi’s already scandal plagued life goes from bad to worse; it is painfully evident that all of the public criticism is weighing heavily on her.
Later, Song Yi ends up visiting Min Joon’s apartment in a drunken stupor. While there she drops her wallet. Min Joon finds her wallet the next day and opens it – revealing a picture. He is shocked to see the girl in his vision smiling back at him in the photo. Min Joon rushes to find Song Yi. Dragging her out of a beauty salon, he demands to know who the girl in the picture is.
Me likey this setup. A lot. I was curious how this drama would work having heard the premise prior to the premiere; I was thrilled to see that the out-of-this-world plot point was woven into the story effectively without completely dominating the show (at least as of episode 2). The main characters are interesting and fleshed out so far, and I am hooked on the hookup to come – there are major Queen In Hyun’s Man feels coming out with these two main leads.
Song Yi is an interesting character -street smart but a moron when it comes to anything besides her chunk of common sense and acting talents. She has a weird sort of aura that makes me want to cheer her on; especially since she is at the mercy of the public (though being at the mercy of the public is kind of self-imposed on her part), and she honestly seems confused how people can hate her so much (the tears got to me, I admit it). Song Yi is so dependent on how much people like her she is essentially a victim of loneliness caused by her massive popularity (and as the pendulum of public opinion swings, her lack of popularity). This character has many shades -from an idiot to a full out b***h don’t mess with me girl, to a frustrated daughter, to a lonely woman who can’t seem to make lemonade when lemons are pelted full speed at her head by former fans. I like her.
Min Joon’s character cannot not be interesting, after all he is a freaking alien. I am a huge fan of how the writer’s set this character up as someone who has super human abilities but will not interfere with fate, having been burnt in the past. This element of living amidst humanity but always apart makes for a sad and lonely character that fits in nicely with Song Yi’s own loneliness (albeit coming from a different source). This shared loneliness between the characters plus the potential reincarnation/fate storyline is a pretty strong setup for their future relationship.
The secondary characters Lee Hwi Kyung and Yoo Se Mi are not nearly as interesting as I would like them to be (granted we are sooo early in the story this could change). Hwi Kyung comes off as desperate for Song Yi’s affections despite years and years of being turned down (um, give up already), while Se Mi appears as the weepy best friend who is constantly overshadowed by her Unnie in love (um, give up already).
Hwi Kyung’s murderous older brother piqued my interest, mostly because I did not expect him to suddenly answer his cell phone and get all Bond Villain on us. The only thing that was missing was sharks with laser beams on their heads and the woman on the other line saying something about being a spy. I am guessing big bro is going to be a major villain in this show, which is kind of laughable considering the fact that there is a guy running around who can stop time. I think I know who would win in this fight…unless big bro has some kind of anti-alien powers device. At which point, I want to know why he is not a Bond Villain.
Overall, I am happy with the first two episodes. I have been watching a fair share of sub-par dramas lately so I am ready for some good storytelling that is a little off the beaten path in terms of plot elements. The first two entries in this drama gave me a lot of hope for what is to come – good characters, an interesting love story, and time stopping super powers. Wow-it feels like Christmas came early this year! Cheers!
Pop the bottles because Soo Hyun not only found his way under my Christmas tree this year; he decided to be under there and ready to set it a blaze after the holidays are over! I love the way that Soo Hyun is playing Min Joon– this distant character that I am constantly intrigued by but I feel “nothing” for. I don’t feel for his loneliness because he does not care about the fact of him being alone. I find it very interesting that he “feels” something so deeply when it comes to Song Yi and her past lives (I guess that is the best way to phrase it, yes?). I cannot wait to see more of him and the job Soo Hyun will do– I can forgive you for Moon Embraces the Sun now.
The most fascinating thing to me is Hyung (Lee Jae Kyung) and Min Joon’s BFF (Jang Young Mok).
Hyung is a scary murderous thug who I absolutely love the darkness of his character. If the writing plays out right he could be a pretty good villain because he already got me intrigued in 2 episodes! I am curious how this relates to his young brother and Song Yi. I am a bit concerned because finding out that family members are thugs is never fun, especially when they have no qualms about “taking care of business”. I love it!
Min Joon’s BFF… How did he come to know Min Joon is an alien? We all know at Stone Cities Ekun loves a good bromance and theirs is one that is through and through. I hope the show reveals more in relation to their back story, but it is nice to see that Min Joon has at least one person he can rely on.
Second Lead Characters: Lee Hwi Kyung and Yoo Se Mi need to stop already. I don’t dislike either one of them (yet) but building up false hope in a love that is not meant to be gets tired real quick. I just hate to see people suffer needlessly when there are other single, sexy, FREE people in the world who will be willing to give you what you want in life. *Sigh* Despite their silliness, I am fully ready to take on shenanigans and foolery of these two in the name of “love”.
I hope that everyone else out there gets an opportunity to tune into this drama. Even if you wait to marathon it, do not let it slip under your 2014 (Even though the show premiered in 2013 it will be a 2014 show)! An incentive for you Soo Hyun Lover… You’re Welcome. Peace!