K-drama ● Review: W – Two Worlds Apart
English Title: W – Two Worlds Apart
Korean Title: 더블유
Director(s): Jeong Dae-yun
Screenwriter(s): Song Jae-jung
Studio: Chorokbaem Media Released: 2016
Runtime: 16 episodes, ~1h each.
Starring: Han Hyo-joo, Lee Jong-suk, Kim Eui-sung
My Verdict: Amusing series as the main character is dragged into the webtoon world. Excessive plot conveniences but still enjoyable.
● Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk) was an Olympic gold medalist in 50m pistol shooting. One night, when he was not at home, his family was murdered and he was convicted as the murderer. One year later, his conviction was overturned. Ten years later, he is head of JN Global and a multimillionaire, determined to catch his family’s murderer.
● Kang Chul is actually the main character of the webtoon W by Oh Sung-moo (Kim Eui-sung), a popular series that has been running for years. His daughter Oh Yeon-joo (Han Hyo-joo) is a surgeon and, one night, at the point in the webtoon when Kang Chul has been stabbed, she is dragged into his world and she saves his life.
● Travelling to alternate realities is hardly a new idea but the series handles this well enough, at least initially. Despite the author wanting to finish off Kang Chul and the webtoon, he just refuses to die. Oh Yeon-joo, who is a fan, continually travels between the real world and the webtoon world and tries to help Kang Chul. It is intriguing and even trippy as the events in the webtoon world are translated to the page in the real world.
● Without elaborating and therefore spoiling the series, certain elements of the webtoon have not been planned out. This is an obvious joke on writers who don’t plan out their work and this lack of direction is a problem the characters from both worlds have to face. This is fine in itself since it is part of the story. However, this goes on for too long and the story relies too much on certain plot conveniences. Up to a point, it is part of the joke but the problematic lack of direction within the webtoon then extends to the series as a whole. In this sense, the series loses momentum but there is constant action and obstacles the main characters have to face, so it is at least amusing in that regard.
● Some may consider the characters to be insufficiently complex. But since they are generally relatable and it is arguably a plot-driven series, this is not a huge problem. Of course, there could be more character development but at least it avoids the pretentious over-emphasis on characters and their relationships. For example, the romance between Kang Chul and Oh Yeon-joo is thankfully not overdone. If anything, it could be a little stronger.
● Visually, the series is also thankfully not pretentious. It is not over-stylized. The colors, lighting and editing are fitting. The elements that are stylized, and they have to be given the nature of the series, are the comic panels of the characters and their environment. These are nicely rendered. The transitions between photorealism and comic art are also excellent. They occur often enough but are not overused.
● Despite the flaws in plot progression—that is, it relies too much on plot conveniences—the series is entertaining and enjoyable.
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