We are back, baby. We are actually going back, to 2013. Good Doctor is the name of the Korean drama of the now Americanized series The Good Doctor, but let me tell you what. The series, if you decide to watch it, does have a lot of the same elements, and you can see where the writers took inspiration for the ABC series. Still, it is it’s own storyline, and, please don’t tell anyone, but I like this version a little better. I can understand why the series cannot be exactly replicated, both for copyright issues, as well as different culture belief and what is shown in the series would not really be tolerated by viewers here in the United States. But, I digress, let’s get to the review!
The biggest difference I saw was the Shaun inspiration character, named Park Shi-On is the younger brother, to Park Yi-On. We actually see more violence, with Shi-On’s mother, Oh Kyung-Joo believing his mental issues are curable, keeps taking him to the hospital. His father, Park Choon-Sung, claims he is not the father of the child in much ruder terms, and hurls a frying dish at the mother as she cradles Shi-On. He says Shi-on should be locked away. Yi-on tries to defend his mother and brother, but Shi-On’s rabbit is thrown. So many rabbits killed for this series.
The flashbacks continue at the start, where it shows Yi-On trying to get his brother to socialize better. A group of boys say they will be friends if Shi-On goes into an abandon mine and get an old bearing. Oh god, there is a cave in. Both brothers are trapped, and we see a rescuer performing CPR on Yi-on. Another flash back reveals, like before, the brother bought a toy set, and told the sibling with Autism he will become a doctor, before messing up his hair.
We then meet Choi Woo Suk, the Glassman character. One thing I do love about the Korean version is it shows Shi-On actually showing his skills as a child to Woo Suk, drawing in great detail the anatomy structure at the age of 7, reading books and speaking the words to himself. You actually see the chemistry of the two characters developing, even if it just is in a minute or two of clips. You see how much guidance the Director has for Shi-On, and why he wants to add the extraordinary boy to his staff list.
We get to see Shi-On in action as a board falls, spraying broken glass on a young boy named Hyeon Woo. Unlike with The Good Doctor, Good Doctor reveals medical procedures using a voice over, like Shi-On is thinking and we hear his thoughts. Sorry, my lovelies, it kinda eliminates explaining what is going on with the procedures, so there will not be any Medical Mumbo jumbo this time. Of course, we will be back at that once The Good Doctor returns. Choi Woo Suk speaks more honestly about Shi-On’s issues, admitting he will have difficulties, but he also explains who Shi-On can do for the hospital. Of course, he is late, but is saving a kid’s life, so hopefully they will be more understandable.
One thing I absolutely love is the sheer amount of cast. We have 4 to 5 residence/doctors in training, we have 4 nurses we see constantly, and the meeting room has about 20 to 30 people. In the casting list, a total of 24 people are shown as regulars, and 18 additional named characters. You almost need a board and string to keep track of them at first, but by episode 3, you will have it down. The ones who seem most against Woo Suk’s choice for new staff members are Ko Choong-Man, Lee Hyeok-Pil, and Kim Jae-Joon. They are excited that if Shi-On does not prove himself in the first 6 months, Choi will step down from his position, much like Glassman.
What isn’t included in the American version is how cut throat and ruthless these men are to make Shi-On leave. It’s starts by spreading rumors over his skill, or lack thereof, even though he saved a child’s life. He makes the rest of the staff uneasy, and parents worry. The biggest story line difference is the hospital Shi-On works at is pediatric focused. This makes sense in character development, as he wants to help children survive to adulthood, because his brother couldn’t. Still, it makes sense that they would switch it to a more general series because they might lose a patient, and us Americans might not be ready to watch that. Luckily, that is not the case in this episode, and the doctors are able to save Hyeon Woo who recovers just fine.
We get to meet the Lead Doctor, Kim Do-Han, and the second in command, Cha Yoon-Seo. Both are rough around the edges, and is not afraid to call people out with insults. They are the Melendez and Claire characters, though I do like how they seem to like each other, but not really because Do-Han is engaged to General Manager Yoo Chae-Kyung. Another thing I love is it shows the Do-Han and Yoon-Sea getting drinks after work. And Yoon-Sea gets really drunk, stumbling home, somehow breaking into Shi-On’s house, and passing out on his bed. That’s how the episode ends.
I meant to just do a few episodes and write the reviews, but I will not lie- This series is a master of cliffhangers, and I found myself constantly saying, “I’ll write a review next episode, I need to know what happens.” Each episode is about a hour and 20 minutes, and I watched 8 episodes back to back before forcing myself away. There are only 20 episodes in the series, but the pacing is a lot faster, storyline wise, than it’s American counterpart. I’m addicted, and hope you will take the time to track it down, and check it out for yourself.
I hope you all enjoy your holiday break, and cannot wait to see what The Good Doctor has for us in the New Year. Be safe, and enjoy yourselves, and as always, stay shiny!