original published date: 17 December 2020
Welcome to the new series on my little blog that I have decided to call - Best of Kdrama 2020 where I will talk about the Korean Dramas that were the highlight of this year. I am kicking off year-end celebrations with Eighteen Again, a drama that has won my heart and taken a spot in one of my favourite dramas of all time.
What Is It About
A man named Hong Dae Young in his late 30s has lost his spark and enthusiasm for life due to responsibilities that started when he was 18. After his wife declares that she wanted a divorce and then lost the job he never liked, he regrets his life decisions and wishes he could go back in time to when he was 18. That night, he turns into his younger self and has been given a chance to re-do his life once again.
Why You Should Watch It
1. Better than the source material
Eighteen Again is a remake of Matthew Perry and Zac Efron's movie 17 Again, and just on the basis of that I was very hesitant to get into the drama but oh boy did this drama prove me wrong!!
Yes, cringe moments were bound to happen given that the main character suddenly turns the age of his daughter and son, and half the age of his wife. Adult lusting after an 18-year-old is as creepy to me as people thinking that he likes his own daughter. But they really handled all of this properly and didn't take the cringe-route that the movie took.
Instead of being shallow and funny like the movie, this is a lighthearted drama about life, family, love, and regrets. It is about celebrating relationships and realising what we have despite the hardships.
2. The writing
As I mentioned, Eighteen Again is a drama about love, life, relationships, and family. It is a journey of a guy who (like so many of us) loses himself in providing for his family and just trying to exist. He becomes so drowned in his own hardships that he doesn't even realise he was neglecting his family, and not giving his best.
It is only when no one recognises him as an 18-year-old, and his own family he treats him like an outsider, he realises what's truly important in life.
But this drama is more than just a profound theme. It is also about the little things - the little moments and relationships that we take for granted. Even if all of our struggles and hardships are different, we all have had moments like Hong Dae Young and the writers did a phenomenal job of exploring those moments.
Eighteen Again is packed with amazing storylines, lovely characters, and good dialogue. Even when the drama talked about life it didn't come across as preachy or lessons from some self-help book.
3. It will make you cry but it will also make you laugh just as much
There were several moments in the drama that made me very emotional. At one point, I had to pause the drama for a little crying session. The comedy was also very well done. It was a perfect combination of funny and real moments. Overall, a very well-balanced drama.
4. Good cinematography and really fantastic OST
I think I am getting too spoiled by kdramas these past few years because they are outdoing themselves. And it is making me want to wander around Seoul, trying to catch a falling cherry blossom petal or walk in the rain while music played in the background.
The cinematography and OSTs of Eighteen Again are absolutely wonderful. It added an extra layer to the depth and feel of the drama. From start to end every scene of the drama was well shot and every OST fit very well with the scenes.
5. Cast and their characters
The drama, for the most part, was through the eyes of Hong Dae Young, but the writers actually made efforts to include us in the world of other side characters. Admittedly, some more than others, like his daughter had a very prominent story arc, while his son's character was not well flushed out. But it was still one of the few dramas where side characters were not just there for spoofs, they had real emotions, real struggles, and real moments.
The cast is full of great actors, so needless to say you can expect some good acting. Especially the main leads, Kim Ha Neul, Yoong Sang Hyun, and Lee Do Hyun.
6. Lee Do Hyun
Listen, if any of the reasons I have stated above did not appeal to you, I hope Lee Do Hyun will. Honestly, watch this drama just for him.
If you are wondering why his face looks so familiar? It's because he has been around for some years, playing many different characters we have liked in the dramas but somehow no drama (not even in Hotel Del Luna where he played IU's first love - a character that was loved by all) did justice to this gem of an actor.
I am not exaggerating when I say he outshined every single actor in the drama. Even Yoon Sang Hyun (amazing actor who has decades of acting over him) was overshadowed by Mr Do Hyun.
Please don't get me wrong obviously we expect Yoong Sang Hyun and all the senior actors to be fantastic, which obviously they were, but there is something about Lee Do Hyun that shined so much that it overpowered others.
And I am not saying this because he is devastatingly handsome with a smile that managed to melt me every single time. I am saying this because there is just something about the way Do Hyun made me immerse in his world and care for him.
Both Yoon Sang Hyun and Lee Do Hyun played the same character of Hong Dae Young and both did an incredible job in making me root for the character but there was just something about Lee Do Hyun's portrayal of Hong Dae that made me miss him when he was not around.
In conclusion, watch Eighteen Again for Lee Do Hyun if not for anything else he is a fantastic actor and I am glad he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
In order to have a good life, you don't need a million dollars, you need to find love and have a good career. If you lose balance in either of the two, you will lose the balance of your life. This is what this drama is in a nutshell.
Even though I have written about a thousand words on Eighteen Again I have so much more to talk about but I will just say this: if you are looking for a drama that is lighthearted, character-driven, feel good, make you laugh, and make you cry you should really add Eighteen Again to your list.
Eighteen Again taught me that you don't need to find a time machine or turn back time so you can make your dreams come true and live a regret-free life. Maybe you will never have a life exactly how you imagined it, but you can have a different version of your dreams because there is no expiry date to make your dreams come true. So live life to the fullest, forgive, appreciate, and love the people in your life...including yourself.
Is Eighteen Again in your list of 2020 dramas? What K-drama was your highlight this year?
Please look forward to more year-end content from me. I am available in any of my social links in this blog and of course, here! Come talk dramas with me.