While You Were Sleeping is a new K-drama that started airing this autumn. This drama tells the story of a woman who foresees the future in her dreams and a novice prosecutor trying to set foot in the world of jurisdiction. As these two try to save victims of future crimes, the mystery of their intertwining past slowly unravels.
I don't know about you, but this summary together with an amazing cast made me wait for this drama on the edge of my seat.
Suzy, who you might know as an idol singer and MC, or from her most popular dramas Uncontrollably Fond and Dream High, portrays the main character, Nam Hong Ju, amazingly well. Of course, this is my opinion and I admit, this is the first drama I've watched that she is starring in, but I have nothing to complain: I think her acting seems real and fits the story well. Some say they just can't like her, others praise her skill and think that she's improved quite a lot this year.
The interaction of her character with the others is well done, as well. While Nam Hong Ju has gotten used to dreaming about future accidents and crimes, she has never experienced her dreams to change. 'They won't change. Who would believe this craziness?' is what she says after trying to stop a guy from getting into an accident she saw in a dream. Thus in the beginning of our story, she feels helpless, she can't change fate after all. This doesn't stop her from acting on her dreams however as she tries to avoid her connection with Jung Jae Chan, the second main character, who moves in right across the street.
Jung Chae Chan is the novice prosecutor I've mentioned before. After moving into the house across the street from Nam Hong Ju, those two get closer each second. They struggle of course, but the love story is pretty much set.
What I like most about the romance aspect in While You Were Sleeping is that while it is obvious that it's going to be a love story, the two main leads start out as neighbours, they slowly grow on each other through comradery and friendship. This gives a realness and freshness to the romance I miss in other dramas quite fiercely.
Jung Jae Chan, the prosecutor who ends up getting involved in dreams that foresee the future and sometimes irrational actions to save the people around him, is portrayed by non-other than Lee Jong Suk. Knowing that he stars in this drama you might think – just like I did - that maybe While You Were Sleeping will be similar to Pinocchio and I Hear Your Voice, hell maybe even like W? And you are right, but you're also wrong.
While I Hear Your Voice is a supernatural drama focusing on prosecution and the protagonists of W do change the future, or rather reality - which very much sounds like While You Were Sleeping - this ongoing drama is unique and fantastic in its own way.
While You Were Sleeping focuses on character development and interaction and centers the supernatural aspects of the drama. I've watched the first 6 (60 min) episodes and even though the suspense is killing me, I'd love to see more of the work of prosecutors. As a prosecutor drama, it wouldn't compare to others, at least not yet.
However, the supernatural aspect of the dreams foreseeing the future and the protagonists fighting to change said future is amazingly well done.
On this note I'd like to mention the screenwriter, Park Hye Ryun, who has written quite a few of aforementioned dramas and the director, Oh Choong Hwan (You Who Came From The Stars, Doctors). Through their cinematographic expertise, they combine suspense and confusion perfectly to keep you on the edge of your seat while watching.
There's a lot of crime going on and even though all three protagonists' jobs are portrayed and necessary, the focus lies on the characters and how they deal with crimes as citizens, witnesses, or even victims. On one hand, I am disappointed just a tiny little bit about that, on the other hand, this is a new and fresh perspective that I've never seen done in a drama before.
The same is true for the mystery aspect of While You Were Sleeping.
To discuss this aspect of the drama I have to introduce our third main character, the police officer, Han Woo Tak, who is introduced to the story a bit later than the two main leads and is portrayed by Jung Hae In (The Three Musketeers). He's a good-natured fellow who tries to solve the mystery of their connection the most and quite frequently saves the day.
The three main characters are connected to each other. There's a cause and a reason for the dreams happening. The staff behind the drama lets the character's past flow into the story with ease without giving away too much. I've spent hours I should have studied or slept with wondering about all the questions that stay unanswered until now.
And I'm not the only one. I've seen other users write about their hypothesis in the comments sections quite enthusiastically: Is it their father's deaths that connect the protagonists? How is Woo Tak connected to the other two? Another question that arises is: What does it mean, to owe someone your life? With every answer given new questions arise without frustrating the viewer.
The mystery behind the dreams and the connection of the main characters really hooked me.
Obviously changing the future isn't enough trouble for the protagonists and thus every good story needs a bad guy. The bad guy of While You Were Sleeping is Lee Yu Beom. Lee Yu Beom is a prosecutor gone lawyer with questionable morals who has an ill-fated relationship with Jae Chan. His personality as with all characters seems real. Lee Sang Yeob, playing the anti-hero of the story, was able to make me dislike his character while also bringing forth my curiosity in just a few episodes.
While there are new perpetrators and victims in every few episodes just like in a crime story, I feel like Lee Yu Beom is going to appear quite regularly in the future.
Although the characters are openly distinguished as good and bad they are in no way portrayed as black and white. Even the supporting roles are well thought through and give depth to the story. It's really nice to see all those characters grow and feel real and human. Having met the other protagonists their lives have changed and I think this is shown really well in character development and dialogue.
All in all, While You Were Sleeping is thought through, beautifully written and put into scenery, as well as refreshing to watch.
What about you?
Are you watching this drama? What are your thoughts on the three's connection?
If you haven't started watching, has it caught your interest? What are you looking forward to? What keeps you from watching?