Freitag, 7. Juli 2017

Scholar Who Walks The Night

밤을 걷는 선비 (Scholar Who Walks the Night) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on MBC from July 8th to September 10th 2015. It consists of 20 episodes and is based on a webcomic.

Story: When the Goryeo Dynasty collapsed vampire Gwi helped the first King of Joseon to build his new empire. In return, he was promised to be honored by the King's descendants but 200 years later, Crown Prince Jung-hyun tries to get rid of him. Jung-hyun visits a guardian vampire with his best friend Kim Sung-yeol in order to stop Gwi with a secret plan but the evil vampire finds out about it and fights the guardian vampire while imprisoning Jung-hyun. Trying to help his friend, Sung-yeol gets to the place where the guardian vampire lives - and is turned into a vampire by the guardian to fight Gwi. While the guardian passes away, Sung-yeol is going through the process and wakes up 3 days later only to find himself turned into a "monster" and his best friend to be executed along with his father. Gwi also captured his fiancée and first love, Myung-hee and Sung-yeol goes to find her but is too weak to beat Gwi. In order to let him live and fight against the evil vampire controlling the kings of the Joseon dynasty, Myung-hee choses death in the underground palace.
For the next 120 years, Kim Sung-yeol goes into hiding and tries to find Crown Prince Jung-hyun's memorandum that supposedly has the secret plan in it. In order to find it he asks book seller Jo Yang-sun to search for it. Yang-sun, a girl who dresses as a boy for reasons she herself doesn't know for sure, starts to look for the book in any place but can't find it at first - instead she finds herself falling for the good-looking scholar who happened to save her live quite a few times.
To be honest, this is just a summary of the beginning as I don't want to include too many spoilers but this whole story has way more to it than I expected at first. I'm not the biggest fan of vampire romance, and this is also paired up with historical things (I'm still trying to figure out when exactly the story is set but I assume episode one plays around 1592 or 1600 (since the 200 years were probably not exact) so the main story takes place around 1820) but I found this story to be surprisingly interesting. Yes, it is a lot of cliché but at least the vampires are not sparkling in the sun (sorry, no offense meant, I used to love Twilight when I was younger until I realized that a huge part is actually rather funny). Of course the good vs evil was obvious and to be honest this is highly what this drama is based on. Surprisingly the love triangle was not as bad as I thought - in fact I suspected there would be one but in the end there wasn't anything. I liked a lot of elements of this story after all, especially when Hye-ryung was brought in. Also the political issues and curruption which definitely existed. After all it was a solid storyline to me and I liked it for that reason.

Cast: Lee Joon-ki as Kim Sung-yeol. I know this guy is in a bunch of historical dramas even though I did not watch many so far but I actually quite liked him in this drama. However, it sometimes shines through that the character is from a webcomic/manga because some expressions were overacted to fit the description from the illustrations. I still quite liked his acting though.
Lee Yu-bi as Jo Yang-sun. If I ever saw her in any drama before I definitely don't remember her but I think her acting was actually not bad. She looked really young to me though so I spent half of the time trying to figure out how old her character might be. Anyway, I found her acting to be very good in this role even though the character was by far not my favorite.
Shim Chang-min as Lee Yoon. I think the character really was something Chang-min did well. While many people say he can't act I didn't find this bad at all, rather a reserved Crown Prince who couldn't show his feelings because he had to keep a certain emotional distance. As a character, there was one very quick.. development about his future wife that confused me. While at first he didn't really know her it seemed that he definitely loved her just a few episodes later and I was really confused because of that.
Lee Soo-hyuk as Gwi. When I first saw him in a drama before I was sure he would make a good vampire. Holy crap, I was so right with that. I loved him as Gwi even though I also have to admit that sometimes the webcomic villainish feel came through for me. Still he did really good in this role of the vampire thirsting for power.
Kim So-eun as Myung-hee/Hye-ryung. I actually quite liked her as Myung-hee, a kind-hearted young female just in love with a scholar. As Hye-ryung, her acting was cold for reasons but I couldn't really believe everything about that.
Jang Hee-jin as Soo-hyang. Overall I found her acting good but towards the end I did get the feeling - just a little bit - that she had enough of her character for some reason. However, she still delivered a solid enough performance for me.
Choi Tae-hwan as Ho-jin. Oh that poor thing broke my heart in the end! I loved the character and I think Choi Tae-hwan did a good job portraying him, especially the loyalty towards Kim Sung-yeol. I can't really criticize anything about him.
Yeo Eui-joo as No Hak-young. I absolutely loved his acting, too. He was for sure one of my highlights in this drama and I hated Gwi for doing that to him! (don't mind me, I'm just weird). In all honesty, he makes the drama even better.
Lastly, Han Jung-soo as Baek In-ho. The more I think about it, the more I feel like he definitely was made for historical dramas because he really seemed like someone who could've lived during that time (to me). I adored his acting even though he didn't have enough screentime by far but he was just a side character in the end.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack was good but not entirely great. Of course they featured quite a lot of good and famous singers but some songs were overused. I still like G.NA's "Don't Cry" but it will forever be connected to this drama for me. Is that a bad thing? Not really. And it's a nice thing to remember her like this as she probably won't have a comeback anymore due to a certain scandal.

As you can tell I quite enjoyed the story and most of the acting in this drama. I didn't really have high expectations because usually I don't like historical dramas a lot, and vampire stories that are not about crime are totally not my cup of tea anymore (actually) but this drama still was quite good and could become my favorite vampire romance drama. Yes, it did have a few WTF moments, especially during the action scenes because it lookes so overdone but it was okay in the end and I still enjoyed it even though I think the final fight was just.. too fast? I don't know.
Recommended to vampire love story fans and fans of fantasy meets historical. And of the actors, you won't be too disappointed.

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