Korean cable TV shows just how good television can be with the absolutely mesmerizing "Padam Padam...The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats" from jTBC. While the title may be a bit cumbersome, the show itself is anything but.
Forget "Boys Over Flowers." Forget "Scent Of A Woman." Forget "Sorry, I Love You." Forget "Secret Garden." Forget "Spring Waltz," "Winter Sonata," and everything in between. Forget every other drama you've ever seen, because it simply DOES NOT GET any better than this. Before I saw this drama, I didn't know how good television could be, and I've been watching for 41 years. The acting, the directing, the script, the pacing, the cinematography, the music - it all works, on a level of unprecedented quality, and comes together in a synergy of talent that makes everything else pale in comparison.
It would be enough to say that in the role of ex-con Yang Kang-Chil, Jung Woo-Sung gives the performance of a lifetime, reminding me of a younger version of Mark Harmon, but it would leave too much unsaid. The entire cast, including veteran actress Na Moon-Hee and Miss South Korea 2001 Kim Min-Kyung, all turn in performances that set new standards for their work and, here in the U.S., would virtually guarantee them Emmy awards, if not require the creation of a special category simply so that their combined talents could be properly recognized. "Boys Over Flowers" alum Kim Beom is visibly pushing himself to keep up with the rest of the cast, with very gratifying results. Na Moon-Hee, most famous for her role in "My Lovely Sam-Soon," plays the illiterate, completely uneducated mother of Kang-Chil with such conviction, I may very well have to bow down to her as a patron goddess of acting. Newcomer Choi Tae-Joon takes up the role of the ex-con's out-of-wedlock son as if he's been acting with this cast his entire life - a feat that is certain to ensure him legendary status among Hallyu's elite, especially since this role is his TV debut. And I would be most amiss if I didn't mention the leading lady who brings out the best in Kang-Chil, Han Ji-Min, playing Jung Ji-Na, the daughter of a police detective. She brings such complexity to the character, while exuding a beauty that seems to transcend flesh and bone.
But let's get back to the plot. That's right, a cop's daughter in love with an ex-con who claims he was framed twice is what the story revolves around. But wait, it gets better. The man who framed Kang-Chil: a judge's son & criminal prosecution attorney. The man whose murder Kang-Chil was framed for: Ji-Na's paternal uncle, her dad's younger brother. Needless to say, tension and conflict are not at all lacking.
Some try to categorize it as a supernatural drama, others as a romance, and still others as a suspense thriller. In truth, Padam Padam defies all genre categories because it includes everything and meshes it together seamlessly. There are moments of extreme beauty and joy, alternated with ugly moments of equally extreme sorrow or injustice. Melodrama, romance, comedy, action, suspense, supernatural, crime, family - this drama truly does have everything and balances it so perfectly, so seemingly effortlessly, it leaves this reviewer breathless and filled with awe. Padam Padam is the rarest of the rare, a flawless jewel in the world of televised entertainment. Missing this drama means missing out on what could very well be the most enriching TV experience of your life.
My Rating: 50/10 stars. Enough "WOW" for 5 perfect shows.
Drama Fever: [link]