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[drama 2006] Special Of My Life 내 인생의 스페셜

Guest Solly

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Hi Creidesca

For some reason, I can't open your clubbox this morning. Is it down at the moment? I look forward to download more "Special of my Life". Hope it will be up soon.


it should be working fine, I've been uping things all morning.

EP 6 LQ is now there as well.

if you have problems, use this link to get to my cb: http://clubbox.co.kr/creidesca/

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  • 2 months later...
Guest xosandy


내 인생의 스페셜 (The Special of My Life)

Miniseries [February 6~28 2006]

8 Episodes - MBC

PD: 이재원 (Lee Jae-Won)

WRITER: 박경수 (Park Kyung-Soo), 이천형 (Lee Cheon-Hyung), 노은정 (Noh Eun-Jung)

CAST: 김승우 (Kim Seung-Woo) as Park Gang-Ho, 명세빈 (Myung Se-Bin) as Yoon Hye-Ra, 성지루 (Sung Ji-Roo) as Baek Dong-Goo, 신성우 (Shin Sung-Woo) as Jung Hyung-Seok, 강은비 (Kang Eun-Bi) as Yoon Ye-Rin, 백일섭 (Baek Il-Seop) Hye-Ra's Father, 박주아 (Park Joo-Ah) Kim Boon-Rye, 김뢰하 (Kim Roi-Ha), 김영옥 (Kim Young-Ok) as Hyung-Seok's Mother, 김학철 (Kim Hak-Cheol) as Man-Bo, 최종원 (Choi Jong-Won), 안석환 (Ahn Seok-Hwan), 이형철 (Lee Hyung-Cheol), 장동직 (Jang Dong-Jik), 정동환 (Jung Dong-Hwan), 최지나 (Choi Ji-Na)

THE SHOW [7.5/10]

It was January when we reported about the accident Moon Jung-Hyuk and Han Ji-Min suffered on the set of the MBC Miniseries 늑대 (Wolf), which ended up into a series of delays, pushing the show from a possible May return to what looks to be November now (and by all accounts the Drama we get might be completely different than the few episodes of Wolf we were able to see). Perhaps the best possible example for those who wish the industry went to a full-fledged, American-style 사전제작 method, shooting the entire show before broadcast, unlike what usually happens in Korea. And with Go Myung-Hwan's serious accident on the set of 해신 (Emperor of the Sea) and Jung Hae-Young's pregnancy affecting her character in 변호사들 (Lawyers) last year, along with the recent accident Seo Do-Young suffered on the set of 봄의 왈츠 (Spring Waltz), a debate which had been raging for years within the industry has now exploded into a full on war even the mainstream press has become interested in.

Most of those who favour the 'pre-shot' approach note how the quality of the shows will increase, as with more time and attention to detail all the problems which often surface with Trendy Dramas or other 'on the fly' shows will slowly but surely disappear. Of course there's also people who disagree, as shooting an entire Drama before it airs will mean they have no chance to change anything to fit with the audience's requests; it will be harder to secure investment and use PPL (product placement), and of course some of that 'wild' atmosphere Dramas often create to secure the attention of the viewers -- in some ways similar to the production methods of the Hong Kong film industry in its Golden Age -- might slowly vanish. That it could eventually brings us to a world of finely produced empty vessels with nothing to say, like all the CSI clones and bland sitcoms infesting American TV.

One of the examples those against this 'new' production style bring up is Eight Peaks' 비천무 (Bichunmoo). Adapted from the popular manhwa which gave us Kim Young-Joon's 2000 film of the same title, this was a China-Korea co-production starring Joo Jin-Mo and singer and sometimes actress Park Ji-Yoon. Already completed over a year ago, and screened in the Chinese Market (with a DVD already out in Hong Kong, sadly with no Korean tracks, which is the original one), the Wuxia Drama still hasn't found a home in Korea, as Historical Dramas have been experiencing a downward spiral in terms of ratings after the feats of 대장금 (Dae Jang Geum) and 태조왕건 (Wang Gun). Replacing Wolf right in the middle of an intense ratings war with SBS' 서동요 (The Ballad of Seo Dong), MBC's 내 인생의 스페셜 (The Special of My Life) was facing the exact same problems of its much more 'prestigious' counterpart, still without a station and with very little hope of surfacing in the near future. Completed before broadcast, the show not only marks the first (in order of broadcast, that is) serious attempt at working within the boundaries of this 'pre-shot' concept, but that is also one of its main charms. Replacing the '15 hours a day, 6 days a week' frenetic schedules of the current system and using a shorter, Japanese-style format of 12 Episodes instead of the usual 16 to 24, Special ended up on MBC by coincidence, but it made people -- those who watched, at least -- forget Wolf pretty quickly.

I admit I wasn't too excited by this Drama when it was first mentioned by the press. The combo of Kim Seung-Woo and Myung Se-Bin made me think this would be a melodrama, genre which is certainly not Kim's forte -- and Myung only works in preppy black comedy mode. Problems didn't finish there, as PD Lee Jae-Won's previous works didn't exactly promise well: the Hwang Shin-Hye/Ahn Jae-Wook romcom 천생연분 (Perfect Match), which if it weren't for Lee Ju-Hyeon's vibrant supporting performance would have been a complete waste, and especially last year's 세잎 클로버 (Three Leaf Clover), Lee Hyo-Ri's embarrassing debut in the TV Drama field. But then again I didn't look at his supporting work, which often tells you more about a PD's style. Lee worked on the fantastic Historical Drama 홍국영 (Hong Guk-Young) and Kwon Seok-Jang's excellent 앞집여자 (The Woman Next Door), works which are much more useful to explain what happened with this little gem.

Edited down from 12 to 8 Episode, for no apparent reason other than MBC's hunger for ratings and their decision to start 넌 어느 별에서 왔니 (Which Star Are You From) as soon as possible, Special shows the potential of pre-shot Dramas, and why it's becoming such a huge trend in the industry. Of course I'm not saying you can't make a good Drama using the original Korean system, or the kind of hybrids which are surfacing now (half pre-shot then the rest on the fly), method which started with historical dramas several years ago, but has become popular recently with the increase in production values and the advent of overseas location shooting. But if the writer isn't as talented as people like Noh Hee-Kyung, In Jung-Ok or Kim Ji-Woo; if the PD isn't quick on his feet and able to adapt to every new situation, while at the same time giving the show its own colour, like a Park Sung-Soo or Park Chan-Hong, then problems begin.

There's plenty of writers who would benefit from the pre-shot system, especially in the comedy field. How much better would 마이걸 (My Girl) have been if it didn't lose itself in a third act full of redundant attempts to circumvent cliches (attempts which didn't quite succeed), because of the pressure of ratings? How much would a LK (Lee Seon-Mi/Kim Gi-Ho) work become without teenagers asking to focus more on pretty faces who can't act, ruining Dramas like 달콤한 스파이 (Sweet Spy)? At first this idea of the pre-shot Drama seemed only viable for things like 다모 (Damo), which needed time to take full advantage of its excellent crew and give the script justice. But hybrids like 연애시대 (Alone in Love) have shown production values aren't the only things this format can improve.

It might be a pleasure lost on those not familiar with Korean Dramas, and even feel ordinary to those used to Western TV, but one of the biggest pleasures of watching Special was its lack of urgency. There's no 'shocking' revelations uttered in the last 3 seconds of an episode, you never feel like the writer is waiting for feedback from netizens to write the next episode, or that the TV Station will cut the show in half because of low ratings (although they did cut it down, we knew from the beginning we'd get 8 episodes). The atmosphere is very relaxed, production values are more in line with a mid-budget film. There's nothing really flashy here with a few exceptions, like the subway accident on Episode 1, but there's also a welcome lack of those little problems plaguing Dramas shot on the fly, like faulty continuity and the repeating of the same two songs every 10 minutes.

8 Episodes is not much to deal with, and because of the rushed editing (by MBC, not the Drama's producers) at times you feel like you're losing important parts of the show (thankfully it will broadcast in its entirety on cable, so if a DVD release appears, that's probably the version we're going to get), but Special is tremendously tight, from the script, to the balancing between action/suspense and character development. Most importantly, unlike comedies turning into melodramas or viceversa, this is a black comedy through and through, in the vein of Jang Jin's work (although not as well written). We meet four 'imperfect' characters: Park Gang-Ho (Kim Seung-Woo), who after losing his wife is trying to save money to move abroad -- using not too 'legal' means, at least on paper; Yoon Hye-Ra (Myung Se-Bin) has been a prosecutor for years, but she's really no different from a traffic cop, doing errands for big suits and reprimanding small time scoundrels; Jung Hyung-Seok (Shin Sung-Woo) is a corrupt lawyer in the making, and Baek Dong-Goo (Sung Ji-Roo) a 'No.2' looking to receive a warm welcome from the family after years spent in prison. They all experience how difficult living can be, and in some way find the easy way out, or at least what looks like one. The 'special' of the title might not only refer to the nature of the show, but also to the question this easy way out poses them: what's really special in your life? Money, friends, your job, success, happiness? What?

As I wrote before, it feels like Kim Seung-Woo made an U-Turn after getting married. I don't know if becoming a father made him change his outlook on acting as a profession, but this is one of the many good choices he's made in the last year or so. Mixing dramatic acting with the silliness of black comedies which made him a pretty decent draw on the big screen -- best of them being the glorious 라이터를 켜라 (Breakout), although Cha Seung-Won, Park Young-Gyu and Lee Moon-Shik are the ones carrying the film -- this is one of Kim's best performances, and makes me look at his next projects (melodrama or not) with much more confidence. Also, finally, a Myung Se-Bin performance she can be proud of. Hye-Ra, in contrast with most of Myung's Drama Queen roles, is goofy, insecure and with enough bitchy charm to make her stand out.

And despite Shin Sung-Woo's tendency to go overboard and Kang Eun-Bi's usual embarrassment [she did win an audition for 몽정기 2 (Wet Dreams 2), but this is acting. Not mugging] the rest of the cast improves things considerably, especially as it features many black-comedy regulars like Kim Roi-Ha, Choi Jong-Won and Baek Il-Seop. Yet, the best thing about this show is Sung Ji-Roo. Finally getting a leading role -- just like in the black comedy 손님은 왕이다 (The Customer is Always Right) -- after years of excellent supporting parts, he makes Dong-Goo one of the most memorable characters of recent years, not just your usual dumb gangster with an heart of gold. Seeing him run away in a pretty impressive (by TV Drama standards) car chase with Choi Jong-Won, while a remake of 80s rock classic 세상만사 by Songolmae loudly surrounds the proceedings is one of the many 'special' things about this little Drama.

I don't know if we'll ever get to see the full 12-eps version, but so far this is one of the highlights of the season. Well written, well acted, creating suspense without going overboard, making you laugh without begging for it, and with witty dialogue from beginning to end, The Special of My Life takes everything that CAN be special about Korean TV Dramas, tossing what sometimes makes them a little less special out of the window. And it was just supposed to be a quick fix....


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  • 11 months later...
Guest gotgod?

the ending for this drama was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disappointing!!

this drama was good until the very end. the ending made u feel incomplete or something wasnt answered. it didnt give viewers the satisfaction that most dramas give at the end. how sad. LOL!

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