Despite watching hundreds of Korean films, I have never watched any K-Drama, until now that is! Last night I watched the first episode of Iris, the popular thriller from 2009 starring Lee Byung-hun. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long. Perhaps I didn't want to be disappointed, I hold Korean cinema up to such a high standard! So what did I think? Well, I enjoyed myself watching it, and I will watch more, but I definitely will not recommend this to people if I'm trying to get them into K-Movies. I kind of enjoyed myself despite myself. It was cheesy, flashy without being as sleek as its feature length counterparts. It was also very fetishistic, I know Lee Byung-hun is a good looking guy but it was like his skin was incompatible with clothing, it seemed to expel it constantly.
The first episode provides necessary exposition, military school, college, cute romances etc. Knowing that the age of the stars is around 40, this was a stretch and a little grating but I imagine that as the series progresses, this will become less of a problem. The show exhibits a somewhat different aesthetic than I am used to, it's very crisp but it does look like TV. It's long too, are all K-Drama episode 65 minutes long? I think it's interesting that shows only go on for one season, I like that format, the stakes are just gonna be higher, I hope.
I want to see some other K-Dramas too before I make up my mind about them, I know there are some that are meant to be very good. Iris just seemed like an easy introduction, it features a few stars I know (Lee Byung-hun, Jeong Joon-ho) and it's full of action/spy/thriller elements.
I'm curious to see where this goes.