Dr. Jin (Kdrama)

Original Title: 닥터진

When I reviewed JIN early in the year, Julyssa mentioned that they were making a Korean re-adaptation with Jaejoong. Now, I’m not an avid watcher of Kdrama, mainly because I tend to feel they stretch storylines to fill their longer format, but I was really intrigued by how the historical aspects of JIN would fit into Korean history.

For those not in the know yet, Dr. Jin follows Jin Hyuk (Song Seung-Heon), a young and successful surgeon who ends up traveling back in time to the Joseon period in Korea after he finds a weird fetus-shaped humor inside a mysterious patient.

For a viewer of the original Japanese adaptation, the changes are stark. The poorest choice, personally, was switching the Miki/Nokaze bond, which created a romantic conflict of interest in the Japanese version. In Dr. Jin, actress Park Min-Young plays both Jin Hyuk’s girlfriend Yoo Mi-Na and Joseon medical assistant Hong Yong-Rae. It just… it banalizes the human aspect of Jin as a character when you simplify his relationships, who he should love and why.

The setup of the show also makes for important character changes, the Mi-Na/Yong-Rae character is a little bit too judgy and self-important, especially when — still in present day — she emotionally manipulates Jin Hyuk to perform a surgery he has already labeled impossible. When he doesn’t, she leaves in a huff and puts herself in danger, leaving us with the unsatisfying feeling of rolling our eyes at them.

Dr. Jin also suffers from pacing problems, sometimes rushing through scenes and others that drag and you’d wish they were over. However, things would be bearable if Dr. Jin had some emotional punch. Each episode, it leaves me cold. Though, I guess we could say that’s a problem of combining some of the political intrigue from JIN 2, which leaves less time to develop things emotionally.

The technical aspects of the show seem fine… wardrobe and make up — though people nowadays almost ALWAYS feel too modern for period stories. The acting is a little bland at times when scenes begin to feel stagnant, but it’s passable.

If you’ve seen the Japanese adaptation already, I suggest you skip this one, because it’s almost torture to watch. If you haven’t yet, you might find enough in the story to keep you watching — even more so if you’re a fan of anyone in the cast.

Otherwise, no. I can’t recommend this one.

You can watch Dr. Jin over at Viki.

Rating: ★★¾☆☆ 

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

14 Responses

  1. Camiele says:

    I’m not gonna lie, from the get-go this show was suspect. I kinda love the detailed surgery scenes. And I reeeaally dig Jaejoong on this and the dude who plays Young Rae’s oppa is BAWS. But two decent-good characters does not a good show make. In all honesty the stars I would’ve given would’ve been for Jae, Rae’s bro, and the surgeries. Makes me wish I would’ve seen the original.

    AND YET… I WILL CONTINUE TO WATCH THE SHIT OUTTA THIS SHOW!!! I am irrationally entertained by it!

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, you will be BLOWN by the Japanese version. Like, literally, Miki Nakatani’s Nokaze is the backbone of JIN and then the body is built upon her. It’s excellent writing and acting.

      • Camiele says:

        @amy, You know what, that doesn’t surprise me that much. As much as I’ve fallen into Korean culture, I was first introduced the Japanese culture and I tend to find their dramas more… complete? Mature? Something about them is sharper. I’ve enjoyed the couple of Kdramas I’ve seen, but I probably won’t be surprised by how good the original is. And, besides, it’s sort of a general rule that orignals are better than their remakes (about 95% of the time).

        But… I’ll finish this version first just for the lulz (because I laugh at least three times in every episode… Trufax) and for Kyung Tak and Young Hwi. I’m waiting for the inevitable beat down that Kyung Tak gives his step brother and Dr. Jin (because they’ve made Jae’s character really wound so tightly, he’s just so ready to kill AT ALL TIMES). Also what I feel is an inevitable showdown between Kyung Tak and Young Hwi. This reeks of best friends who didn’t know they were enemies, ne?

        • amy says:

          @Camiele, I wouldn’t say Jdramas are always a win… they do have some real DUDS in their list – since they’re SO many, there’s bound to be plenty of bad ones. This summer, the list of dramas seems to be a little meh, but I have a feeling that’s the general view on the summer tv season. Even in the States, summer season is to premiere shows that didn’t make it to the Fall lineup.

          But at least in Japanese dramas you can watch 4 episodes, and you’ve sorta seen half the show almost, so you can make up your mind whether you want to continue. In here, you gotta watch 8 episodes (or 10 or 13 or 28!!) to decide whether to like it or not. With that amount of investment, feelings run amok xD

  2. Jara says:

    Hey Amy,

    Thanks for this review. I just watched episode 1 a couple of weeks ago. You’ve articulated why I didn’t like it. I hate the Miki/Nokaze change too. What is the point now. Also, too much got in the way from the timeslip to the first brain surgery. It just seems like they are going out of their way to be sufficiently different from the Japanese series, even when arbitrary changes make no sense.

    I’ll probably still stick with the series though, because I like the cast.

    It’s a shame, because God of Study (which remade Dragon Zakura) showed that Korea can adapt Japanese dramas really well.

    Cheers!

    • amy says:

      @Jara, hi!

      I think the people adapting Dr. Jin took Nokaze for granted. She’s actually the balancing force to Jin’s god complex (which Jin Hyuk doesn’t really have), and is the force behind Jin’s decision to advance medicine in Edo, all through Series 1. Then, of course, things shift… but we follow why it does, and it makes the impact of the ending much more emotional.

      In here, Jin Hyuk just seems to be going through the motion… just because he’s stuck in the period and has nothing else he can do.

      Thank you for the comment ;O

  3. Julyssa Diaz says:

    What if the drama gets better as the weeks go? We are just at the middle of it…

    • amy says:

      @Julyssa Diaz, no time. You gotta give me the goods, and if it hasn’t showed up halfway through, the road is not worth it.

      • Camiele says:

        @amy, HaHaHa! Amy’s a fickle TV show watcher! But I get where you’re coming from, though. But what’s weird is you gave the show half a star more than I would have… and yet I can’t stop watching it… HaHa!

        • amy says:

          @Camiele, I hate it a lot… but it would unfair to rate it based on my watching the other. At least it’s not a shot by shot remake, cough like Dragon Tattoo cough.

  4. Camiele says:

    So… I stopped watching at episode… 12, I think. I just couldn’t with Dr. Jin and his ridiculous ability to cure cancer and syphilis, oh, and cholera. And also, Young Rae… REALLY got on my very LAST nerve. However, Younghwi and Kyungtak both need a handclap of praise, because their side story and their performances were fucking etch as hell. This really was more a show about friendship and betrayal than this convoluted sci-fi love story it was trying to be.

    I know I’m hella late to leave a response, but I sorta had to sit on the episodes I saw… and the few clips I saw of JJ secreting all manner of facial fluids in his emotional scenes with his dickhead pops.

    Anyway, my two scents… HaHa.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, HAHAHAHA. Your opinion on Dr. Jin looks a little bit like mine comparing the 2nd series of the Japanese version (which gets into the political and stuff), and just like your opinion, I thought Dr. Jin had his best scenes with revolutionary Ryomaden xD

      The sci-fi love story is done better in the Japanese version, in my opinion. I think they tried to change it because they didn’t want to make a shot by shot version of the Japanese adaptation, but in the process they lost the little sense that could have made. WATCH Jin. At least the first series, and then decide whether you want to make sense of the sci-fi love story. xD

      • Camiele says:

        @amy, HaHAHAHA!!! I probably will watch it at some point. I’m so backlogged with dramas I have to watch it’s like sinful… HaHa. So instead I give up and watch anime… HaHa!

        You know what, I think I absolutely believe the sci-fi love story romance thingy works much better in Japanese. I think Koreans are all about the dramatics, but in the end the guy gets the girl anyway, regardless of if everything is pointing to that not being the case. The main character most certainly ALWAYS wins (especially if he’s a big name). I’ve not seen any J-drama, but I’m willing to wager they don’t care, so long as the story concludes how it should.

        As far as THAT goes, my first full-on exposure to anything from my Asian brothers and sisters WAS anime, and therefore, Japanese culture, so I’m already kinda biased into believing that anything they do for the most part is better than their Korean counterparts (DBSK/TVXQ notwithstanding. That’s just a whole new level of newness that is only slightly relevant cuz JJ’s in this drama… HaHa). So when I DO finally manage to get all my shows caught up, I’m probably gonna delve into Jin and come back to you with my impressions ^^

  1. May 24, 2016

    […] Gosh and -surprisingly- Thomas Kim Hyunwoo who produced that god-awful Korean remake of Jin [1][2], Dr. Jin. Anyway~ she’s not! She’s as central as Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who […]

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