Series Impressions: Argon

It took me a long time to finish Argon. The reason for the dawdling had nothing to do with the caliber of the acting or the writing or the production, or being too busy to find the time. I just found it so difficult to see Kim Joo-hyuk onscreen, so vital, so intelligent, human, and real and know that this was the last time I’d get to see him at work in something new and challenging. At times it was distracting me from the story, so I needed to take it slowly.

This is a shorter piece, only 8 episodes long, but that works in its favor. A longer show full of back-stabbing and corrupt politicos and business-types, and the news organizations who bend over and take it from them would be almost as depressing as thinking about a favorite actor’s final work. But there could have been a little more work put into the individual storylines; it’s almost as if this was a Season 1 for the show, with a Season 2 (or more) planned where we’d learn more about how Cheon Woo-hi’s scab-turned-legit-hire reporter grows into a force to be reckoned with under the mentorship of sage Kim Joo-hyuk. I’d watch that show, and wish that I could.

This might not make my favorite’s of the year top honors, but it’s worth watching a team of veteran, talented actors put their heart and soul into telling us that doing the right thing is difficult, but not impossible (some of the time).

#argon, #cheon-woo-hui, #kim-joo-hyuk, #park-won-sang

Halfway point in Argon – Observations

I have to say, this drama is never going to be easy to watch; I don’t think I’ll ever be reconciled to Kim Joo-hyuk’s untimely death last year and watching him so full of vitality, a fit and elegant 45, so vibrant and intelligent onscreen is a constant reminder of how fickle life is, and it stings.

I got sucked in right away and watched the first 2 episodes (of course, with tvN’s signature irregular episode lengths) and was about to let the 3rd auto play when I looked at the clock and reminded myself that this is only 8 episodes long.


The role of a newsman with integrity and on-camera gravitas for his specialty news program is one that fit Kim Joo-hyuk like a glove. So too does that of the frustrated widower who’s unsure what to make of his unhappy and grieving 15-year-old daughter. His acting is seamless, effortless. I’d watch his broadcasts every show because I know they’d be that good. But he’s working for a network that seems to be more interested in sponsorship and deals than journalistic integrity, and it’s going to be a tough fight. Lee Seung-joon, who normally plays best buds or weak-willed types, is his competitor/rival/semi-boss as the director of the main nightly news program and pretty darn good at raising your hackles. The company’s predeliction for not rocking their advertisers’ or majority stockholders’ respective boats makes me think too about uneasy relationships in news broadcasts here and abroad — not comfortable thoughts.


Cheon Woo-hui, who I’ve enjoyed in a number of films more than in dramas, is the newbie reporter who joined the company as a scab during a strike, so the animosity she faces from the other staffers is not hard to fathom, nor is her inclination to keep her head down and mouth shut, working solo trying to find something/anything that will give her a leg up and earn her the respect of her new boss, Kim Joo-hyuk’s character. There are times I wish she’d be more forthcoming but I can understand her reticence — it’s both cultural and a byproduct of those working circumstances.

The lobbying for stories and visibility are — so far — fairly typical, but interesting. I’m interested to see what happens next, and I am enjoying the stories of the supporting cast as well, but I’ve got to pace myself. I’m going to try and savor Kim Joo-hyuk’s last performance.

#argon, #cheon-woo-hui, #kim-joo-hyuk, #lee-seung-joon, #netflix, #park-won-sang, #tvn

Netflix link to Argon

Here is the link for Argon in Netflix. I hope that it’s available for you but if not, no worries. I’m happy to wait so we can watch together.


#argon, #cheon-woo-hui, #kim-joo-hyuk, #netflix

OMG! NO!!!

Kim Joo Hyuk has died in a car crash! It’s not true is it?!?!?!?! I’m devastated!!

#in-memoriam, #kim-joo-hyuk

A Fairy Tale Setting for an Adult Fairy Tale

We spoke of rewatching this just a few weeks ago!


Written for the Korean Quarterly

Full disclosure: “Lovers in Prague” is one of those dramas that will always have a top position on my life list of favorite dramas and I hope that you will say the same thing when you have finished watching it as well. I’ve pressed it on friends who have grown weary of their diet of increasingly predictable and hyper sexed Spanish-language telenovelas and they’ve fallen on it with the eagerness of the long parched finding an oasis of pure water, then they email me after every episode to proclaim their love. “Ah! This is how romance is supposed to be!”

Yes, it’s that good.

Why does this drama resonate so? Let’s explore the many things that it does so well, beginning with the authentic flavor of its opening episodes in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Too often dramas or movies are set…

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#jeon-do-yeon, #kim-joo-hyuk, #lovers-in-prague, #review

My 2009 homage to Kim Joo-hyuk

Every word true… (except the ‘no woman’ as he’d found his lady love and they were very happy.) 


Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of any woman who gets to spend time working with Kim Joo Hyuk in a movie or drama – even more so if they’re his character’s object of affection. That must be why I find nothing but flaws when it comes to most of his costars.

Currently, I’m watching him shine in “Terroir,” as wine connoisseur Kang Tae Min, but the clutzy, “sassy,” annoying and somewhat stupid character bestowed on his leading lady, Lee Woo Joo, played by Han Hye Jin (trying her best) is making Tae Min and me suffer. She’s not good smart enough for him, she’s not charming enough for him, she’s not sexy enough for him… I want more. I want a leading lady who will make him shine.

Sure, he’s smiling in this picture (above), and ever so bravely, but I imagine him feeling more…

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Sad news to report: Kim Joo-hyuk’s passing

Early this morning it was reported on the Korean news wire that Kim Joo-hyuk died as a result of a car crash just a few minutes from his home in Seoul. There are details on the Korea Herald, but caution, there are photos of the accident scene as well.

There aren’t words enough to describe how sad this news is, so I’ll just say “Good night and Godspeed, dear Sargeant Choi.”

#in-memoriam, #kim-joo-hyuk

He’s back! (But will he be subbed?)

Yes! Our favorite police sargeant is back, this time as a news anchor, in Argon. Please, please, somebody sub this Kim Joo-hyuk drama!

#argon, #arogon, #cheon-woo-hui, #kim-joo-hyuk