The new Friday-Saturday offer from SBS is… different to say the least. But that’s the best possible. This is one of those rare science fiction dramas in K-Dramaland, but it’s so well produced and has such great (read: natural) effects as if you were watching a big budget movie. That plus the great drama, exhilarating action, and the story that promises not to be so dry, and you’re guaranteed to be amazed.
“Alice, “With Kim Hee Sun. and Joo Wonis a time-traveling story that remains anchored in human relationships. In 2050, people are figuring out how to travel in time and using them to travel back in time for various personal reasons. To avoid giving too much away before the spoiler break, just know this is an atypical K-drama and this is to watch if you love great acting and rich plot (and really, who doesn’t?) .
Here are a few reasons why this “Alice” premiere should be on your to-watch list:
Warning: major spoilers ahead
The complex and gripping plot
The story begins with Yoon Tae Yi (Kim Hee Sun) and Yoo Min Hyuk (Kwak Si Yang) from 2050 back to 1992 to get your hands on “The Book of Prophecy,” a book that supposedly predicts a sad end to the journey through time. While Tae Yi discovered in 1992 that she was 12 weeks pregnant. Min Hyuk, who happens to be the father, asks her to abort the baby as she (and the fetus) were exposed to radiation on their journey through the wormhole and would continue to be exposed until 2050 on the return journey. Tae Yi, who cannot take her in. The life of one’s own child takes off by itself, hides and remains in 1992 permanently.
Unfortunately, the radiation has already affected the baby’s brain development, resulting in the child lacking certain social skills such as empathy. But while the child, Jin Gyeom, exhibited disruptive behavior in his youth (he injured animals and insects without fully understanding the effects of his actions), the adult Jin Gyeom (Joo Won) seems to have a better understanding of what behavior is acceptable and which not, since he has normal grief and pain when his mother is murdered one night.
His mother’s death may have been the determining factor in Jin Gyeom’s decision to become a police officer. The next time we see him, he’s already a lieutenant and has even managed to build stable relationships with co-workers and friends. One day a strange case surfaced on the team’s radar: a missing child who suddenly returned home unharmed three days later. According to the child, she had spent the entire time with her mother, except that the mother was allegedly on a business trip in Europe. And then suddenly Jin Gyeom’s world becomes much more complicated.
Jin Gyeom is advised of time travel when things don’t make sense about his cases – the appearance of high-tech drones, tiny bullets that have never been seen before, and an adult suspect whose ID shows they are only supposed to be five years old be old. He also finds a futuristic-looking card on the adult suspect, a card he once saw in his late mother’s belongings.
Oh, and this futuristic card can do that too:
With the basics for so many rich storylines, “Alice” is guaranteed not to be your ordinary action, thriller, and suspect hunt. So much depth has to be broken down here, such as the ethics of time travel. Future people can pay an organization to go back in time to “heal” certain wounds. But of course people take advantage of this and we see someone going back in time to murder their abusive brother. It’s a gray area that requires a lot of policing, and I hope the drama addresses it directly.
Another story that is full of drama is the relationship between father and son. Min Hyuk doesn’t know that Jin Gyeom is his son, the very same son he spent part of these episodes shooting. And given that Jin Gyeom is now a greater threat to her organization, Min Hyuk is even more determined to “take care of him.” There is so much tension in this relationship that we know it will only be explosive.
Oh, and there is the thing about the mother who looks. With her last breath, Tae Yi Jin Gyeom warns that if he ever sees anyone who looks like her, he should avoid her at all costs. However, when Jin Gyeom encounters an accurate look years later, he gives up the warning and gives her a tight hug. Who is this woman? Why do she and Tae Yi look the same? Why do they even have the same names? And do we get some romantic vibes from this “reunion”? The drama isn’t going to get weird, is it?
Find someone who looks at you the way Joo Won looks at Kim Hee Sun. Unless you are the mother. Then no.
Also a bonus point for the drama because no time has (yet) been spent discussing the mechanisms of time travel. And I’m really glad they avoided this as it just opens a can of worms that are filled with potential action holes. For example, by changing the past, are they creating new timelines? Is there a main timeline with different branches, or are they parallel timelines? And does changing the past make it possible to change your own history? As I said, a can of worms that, to be honest, are best kept in the can.
The first class production
The production of this drama is really good. I’m not just talking about what everything looks like (and they really do Well) but specifically how smooth the entire CGI is.
And what about the futuristic technology? Hopefully we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, but just this face-modification device is enough to look forward to 2050. An item that makes us obsolete in the blink of an eye? Take all my money!
It’s not just these post-production embellishments that make for a great ride. The action scenes themselves are pretty cool too, and the actors do a great job pulling them off.
Kim Hee Sun fights here in stilettos. Not exactly practical, but very bad.
The excellent show
As cool as the production is, the drama would be pretty easy without good actors driving the plot forward. And the actors are Well. This is Joo Won’s first drama since he was discharged from the military, and there’s no rustiness here. He makes Jin Gyeom appear callous and human at the same time – he always shows just enough restraint to point out his emotional deficiency, but never swings in the direction of creepy or psychopathic.
And the man looks like you know, doesn’t hurt:
Kim Hee Sun is pure exaltation. She goes through a lot in the first episode alone, recording a breathtaking action scene, tackling the ups and downs of motherhood, and finally dies in an emotional scene. Her acting is so subtle that you can’t help but let yourself be drawn in and experience all of the emotions along with her character. Particularly noteworthy is the scene in which she sits across from an imprisoned Jin Gyeom. Her character, Tae Yi, believes that her son did not murder his classmate, and yet there is this little twinge of despair because she knows what her son is capable of. And when Jin Gyeom denies it, her expression becomes a little lighter. It’s just so detailed and real, Joo Won and Kim Hee Sun do such a great job, they alone are reasons enough to check out Alice.
Watch the first episode of “Alice” here:
Do you see “Alice”? Are you as impressed with the premiere episodes as I am? Which part / which scene did you like the most? Let us know in the comments below.
Currently watching: “I-LAND, “”Go straight ahead, “”Count your lucky stars, “Alice”
Always favorite: “Kill me heal me, “”defendant, “”Hotel Del Luna”
I’m looking forward to: “History of the Nine Tails” With Lee Dong Wookand Shinhwa Eric and Yoo In NaThe upcoming drama