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Sharing Because Necessary

Cait Yatta!
So over the last couple weeks I watched the entirety of The Great Doctor, a Korean historical time travel kung fu fantasy soap opera (a genre I never knew I desperately needed). It's streaming on Netflix and consists of 24 episodes.



I also never knew how much I needed Lee Min Ho in my life. Yowza.

The story is basically a Korean knock-off of Outlander, but...crackier. In 1310 Korea, the new king's wife is almost killed by an assassin, which could start a war with China, but luckily there's a "door to Heaven" where the great physician Hwata went a thousand years ago, so the king orders the General Choi Young** of his royal guards to go to Heaven and find a super doctor!

**Bonus, most of the characters in this are real Korean figures, so I guess an American analogue would be if Thomas Jefferson sent George Washington to go find a doctor for Ben Franklin. (Or something. Look, my analogues could be worse.)

Turns out "Heaven" is 2012 Seoul. Oh medieval Koreans, thinking a giant stargatey worm hole goes to Heaven!

Anyways, Choi Young quickly runs into a monk listening to his ipod and asks for a doctor. (I love that old monks apparently never change.) The monk is like, Dude, go to a hospital. Or, hey, there's a medical convention at that convention center over there, how about that? Turns out the medical convention is for cosmetic surgery, but whatever. Choi Young walks around in bewilderment for a little, finds his way into a lecture theater where Dr. Eun Soo is giving a presentation. He gets quickly escorted out by security, because apparently tall men in leather armor carrying swords is unsettling. Not having any of this shit, he quickly escapes, goes to the doctor, and explains that he needs her to heal the princess. Eun Soo, being a 21st century person is all Dude WTF, but by then Choi Young is 100% done with all of Heaven's wackiness so he slices a guy's throat and then makes her sew it up to see if she can do it. (Note: Medieval dudes are often dicks.) Horrified, she quickly applies some anesthetic and does some stitching, and Choi Young's like, Awesome, let's go save the princess! By that time a SWAT team has been called, so Choi Young throws lightning at them with his hands**, grabs a SWAT shield (because how handy would one of those babies be in 1312??), and back to the wormhole!

**I didn't know having super powers used to be a regular thing, but apparently it was. There are a few different characters with "inner energies" that pop up.

AND THEN FOR THE NEXT TWENTY FOUR HOURS THERE IS HIJINKS! EXCELLENT FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY! INTRIGUE! SUPER POWERS! MAD SHIPPING!!

Seriously, though, imagine Game of Thrones if it were G-rated and NOT trying to tear your heart out of your intestine every season.

Now, Eun Soo is actually really annoying and whiny for the first nine episodes, to the point that you're like "Why does anyone put up with you?" I don't know if they changed writers or what but in episode 10 she suddenly becomes bearable and increases in likablity until you're about as smitten as Choi Young in the end.

Also also: Even though they have "previously on" bits before each episode, there's usually a flashback shipper video in the middle of each episode, expanding as Eun Soo and Choi Young deal with their UST. I now feel that the mid-episode shipper video is something that American shows are keenly lacking.

The one drawback to the show is that it is translated by someone who knows either English or Korean rather less well than I know Italian. There are often ridiculous syntax errors, and sometimes comical misuse of colloquial idioms. (My personal favorite is when a character, confronted with evidence of his treason, says "What is this bolt of the blue?") Not gonna lie, one of the most entertaining aspects for me was just mentally rewriting the dialogue. For instance, a phrase used over and over again in addressing the main character is calling him "Woodalchi's Choi Young." I'm pretty sure the translator confused possessives and the best English translation would be "Choi Young of the Woodalchi" which sounds properly impressive, formal, and old-fashioned. You also get intermittent notes with the subtitles and awkward times, so it's only around episode 3 that you confirm that the Woodalchi are elite royal guards. Similarly, towards the end Choi Young starts calling Eun Soo "Imja" and there's a note saying that "imja" means "'you' with intonations of great respect and intimacy." If you miss this then it's like he suddenly just gave her this random nickname.

Anyways, the show is the best most cracky thing and I want everyone to love it too, cos I need to share my squee. >_>

Here, have a fanvid, set to the love theme (the same song that plays on all the mid-ep ship videos):

Comments

( 9 comments — Add your .02 )
browngirl
Jan. 23rd, 2014 07:01 am (UTC)
This was a thing of glory to read at 2 AM, or really, anytime. :)
caitri
Jan. 23rd, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
*L* You need to watch it! And squee with me!!

(Seriously, I've been trying to figure out how to write fic for this show I love it so much.)
morfin
Jan. 23rd, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC)
Is it dubbed or subtitled?
caitri
Jan. 23rd, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Subtitled. I just double-checked since Netflix does sometimes offer alternate audio if they are available but in this case there's no English dubbing. (We usually forget to check, although in the case of one anime the English dubbing was much better than the Japananese voices.)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
perfect!
Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! Very well said ;-) And I think subtitles are best so that way you are not deprived of hearing my boyfriend's sweet voice :-)
caitri
Jan. 23rd, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: perfect!
Good point!! He does have a very nice voice!!
avictoriangirl
Jan. 23rd, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
*is intrigued*
caitri
Jan. 24th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
I think you're one of the people I know who would *really* love it, tbh. Choi Young is a really great romantic hero. *G*
avictoriangirl
Jan. 24th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
It is now officially in my Netflix queue. :D
( 9 comments — Add your .02 )

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