11.30.2012

The Men of "Vampire Prosecutor"

Watching Korean dramas is liking drinking a sloe gin fizz; you think you're not hooked.  You tell yourself you can stop whenever you want.  You justify the growing obsession by saying you don't watch them all the time.  But the fact remains that once you find the K-Drama which fits you, it's over.

I first had that experience with The Great Queen Seondeok.  It's a period piece, complete with powerful female politicians, lavish palaces, and fabulous clothes.  I didn't stand a chance.  I typically avoid K-Dramas because they're too "dramatic" at times (reminding me of soap operas), and they often tend to lean towards sappy.  I don't do sappy.

Historically speaking, Queen Seondeok of Shilla had a violent reign.  Ergo, it wasn't easy for writers to make her story sappy.  They tried at times, but it just didn't work.  They sure kept the next-level drama in, though.

And now...thanks to Netflix, I'm hooked on Vampire Prosecutor (also available on Hulu).

We'll start with Prosecutor Min Tae Yeon (Yun Jung Hoon) who runs a specialized team.  He's a man I admire; though bitten by a vampire and having become one himself, he only drinks from the dead and continues on with his job as a prosecutor.  He pursues the guilty relentlessly, but is aware and flexible enough to adapt to gray areas of the law.  It helps that he can walk in daylight and touch holy objects, and that he has some atypical vampiric abilities.  The smell of a victim's blood allows him to see how they died.  Drinking the blood allows him to actually relive their last moments.

Needless to say, very helpful in his line of work.

The actor is a also very handsome man (none of the promo shots do him justice).  Yun strikes me as being very sophisticated and dignified, which is why I often want to slap the wardrobe stylist.  The man's a prosecutor. I need to see suits and briefcases with some consistency, please, especially since this show gives non-Koreans a peek at how the South Korean judicial system operates.  Very serious stuff.

So whenever they try to make Yun look Korean idol chic or whatever, it's very difficult to take him seriously as both a prosecutor and a vampire. He holds the lives of defendants in his hands, thus the scarves, leather jackets, and skinny jeans have got to go.

Now let's move on to Detective Hwang Soon Bum (Lee Won Jong).

Fifteen to twenty years from now, he's the sort of man I'd want to marry.  He looks like a grown man, talks like a grown man, and eats like a grown man.  He knows Min is a vampire, but safeguards that secret.  He's utterly hilarious, but shrewd and street smart.

An experienced detective, he knows all the tricks of the trade, where the snitches are, which mob bosses you really want to avoid (especially when their corpses turn up), and how to look good for the bigwigs at work (he really wants to advance his career).  I absolutely adore Detective Hwang; he brings a sort of humorous gravity to the show.  Where Min is reserved and rarely flashes that utterly disarming smile of his, Hwang always has the audience ready to double over laughing.

And because the universe undoubtedly has a twisted sense of humor, Choi Dong Man (Kim Joo Young) would be the man I'd actually end up with.  Choi is the group's tender, gentle-natured sweetheart, which is important because on procedurals like these (especially the supernatural/sci-fi ones), the role of group "sweetheart" typically goes to a woman.

But Kim was cast as the darling who makes coffee, runs labs, hacks into cell phones, dreams about going on vacation, and trips over his own two feet while walking on a flat surface.  Though Detective Hwang mocks this poor boy somethin' fierce, the two are clearly attached.  Hwang lets Choi borrow money and Choi will do things like link arms with Hwang as they walk down a hall.  It's so cool to see because straight men on American TV never, ever do this.

I would characterize these two as having an uncle-nephew relationship; Hwang is the burly beer-drinker while Choi is the youthful, eager assistant (they also have the same taste in women).  And because Choi is that young, bubbly guy, it makes more sense to dress him in all "chic" clothes to satisfy the young audience (which the stylist does).

This is a great show.  This is a really, really great show.  If you have access to Netflix or Hulu, Vampire Prosecutor's the way to go (season 2's already out on dramafever.com, by the way).

10 comments:

  1. Unfortunately I can't get into Kdrama's, I tried with Iris, and several of Rain's drama's but half way through a glaze of boredom sweeps over me. Maybe because I was never a soap opera person to begin with, but the vampire plot of this drama gives me hope, so I will check it out.

    Korean movies I can watch them all day, but I'm more of a movie person anyway.

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    1. I can only watch Kdramas if they are historical (because I'm a lover history and fabric/traditional clothes, hanboks then to amaze me. My favourite Kdramas are the ones that have the prettiest hanboks), have amazing female characters, or star my favourite actors (and this depends).

      I understand you on Korean movies. They tend to be more grown that Kdramas, I can watch Korean movies all day.

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  2. I'm afraid to really get into dramas. I have so much work to do in order to properly establish myself that I'm wary about additional distractions (I gotta read my manga and stuff!). But I'll take your word for it on VP.

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  3. I should've clarified that this is more of a criminal procedural. Because the legal system here is different and because the prosecutor is a vampire, it adds a new dimension to the genre. Though classified as a K-Drama, most of the familiar elements are missing.

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    1. I watched the first episode of season one. Its a vampire/CSI/Law & Order type deal. Or that is what I picked up from that one episode.

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  4. I can't stand soap operas, so I don't think I'll be participating.

    But this:

    The smell of a victim's blood allows him to see how they died. Drinking the blood allows him to actually relive their last moments.

    This is what I mean by being creative. This ability, in the context of this show, is damned useful. I've been so beyond vampire storytelling that I don't think I'll ever find my way back, but every now and then, I read something like this which makes me smile.

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    1. Vampire Prosecutor isn't a soap opera. It's just classified as a K-Drama because it's Korean and a drama, which is going to problematic as shows like these increase.

      There's some definitely addictive creativity on this show.

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    2. And about some Korean Tv series being classified as either dramas or sitcoms...I think they might have to change that some day in the future, as a few writers are adding more diversity and creativity in their series, distancing themselves from the K-drama cliches/formula.

      I'm very selective now with K-dramas...I only watch a handful each year or can go a year without watching any. Movies are a different story :)
      The only K-drama that I'm seeing currently is "A Wife's Credentials", which might be viewed as sappy, but not in a bad way to me, it's about adultery/married life and kids education (academics). I don't recommend this series as it's not fully subbed yet :( But I really like it.

      When I saw Vampire Prosecutor's promo pictures for the first time a couple of months ago, I wasn't interested in seeing it. It seemed a bit stereotypical or something and the guy looked so weird...and vampires are not my thing. But I trust your taste ;)

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    3. They need to do something about the promos and marketing because the only reason I bothered to watch the show was I read the Netflix member reviews. That's when I found out about what made this show different, and it live up to its acclaim.

      Too bad it's too late for the title 'cause....*shakes head*...damn.

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