The much awaited drama, Scarlet Heart Ryeo, finally aired and I’m…. not liking it. There are a few different reasons why I didn’t like it and I won’t deny that I’m probably a little bias towards it since it is after all an adaptation of popular Chinese drama, Bu Bu Jing Xin. I think they did mention they were using the novel and not the drama – but either way, the novel and the Chinese drama is pretty similar.
First of all, way before the drama aired, I was already worried due to the casts. Sure, it’s great eye candy – but whether the actors have the capabilities to bring out the individual roles is a different thing.
It’s impossible for me not to compare Scarlet Heart Ryeo with Bu Bu Jing Xin. As much as I try to, I cannot help it. So I’m pretty sure people get annoyed at me trying to pinpoint all the things Scarlet Heart Ryeo didn’t manage to get right, but that’s okay. I understand and even I think I might sound a little overbearing when discussing about this drama.
THOUGHTS & DISCUSSION
I considered and think about it for a long time and I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible for the drama to be the same as BBJX. I think I expected too much initially and didn’t think far ahead.
Firstly, the historical events are not the same. In BBJX, it was set in Qing Dynasty during Kangxi’s rule and the story revolved around the political fights between the princes of that time. However, the Korean version is set in Goryeo during King Taejo’s rule. The important factor here is that the princes’ conflicts are no longer the same.
Even though, technically, the main conflict is the battle for the throne – but the subplots in the drama can no longer be the same as the original novel.
Which brings me to the next factor – does this also mean the princes’ ending is no longer the same?
As this is a historical drama, they will certainly maintain a certain amount of accuracy to original events and don’t really have the freedom of creating their own events.
That means that nothing is certain. The only thing which is certain is that 4th prince, Wang So, will eventually become King.
My concern is whether the drama can make the historical events as memorable as the original novel/drama.
It can have different subplots, I can live with that – but whether they would have a subplot which will have a strong impact on the story, like how 13th prince was under house arrest, or how 4th and Rouxi were forced to separate due to a conspiracy, is still not known yet as of now.
Looking on the bright side, I guess it’s a good thing as even though we watched BBJX or read the novel, we don’t know how this version will turn out, since the historical events are different after all. And the drama/novel was at least 90% all about the historical events.
I could see the effort put in to make the characters similar to the original but only some worked, and some didn’t.
The most important character is Hae Soo. After watching the 3 episodes, Hae Soo is nothing like Rouxi yet. Rouxi came across as sassy, confident and intelligent. However, I’ve yet to warm up to Hae Soo.
Yup she did appear confident at times, but I can’t get rid of the feeling that Hae Soo feels like your typical modern drama female lead transported back to history. Rouxi knew her history and while living in the Qing Dynasty, she used her knowledge of history to her advantage, by choosing how to act and behave to different people.
Hae Soo is nothing like Rouxi yet. Let’s hope this is just for the first few episodes. Acting wise, I find IU a little awkward at times, but pretty watchable so far.
Next is 4th prince, Wang So. 4th prince is known to be ‘cold’ and cruel and I think Lee Jun Ki is a reasonable fit for the role. It’s still a little different from the original 4th prince character but I guess I can live with it.
Lee Jun Ki was charming in his role – and I am captivated definitely. If there was one thing I wished I could change is, I wish kdramas stop thinking all ‘cold’ guys are always acting like assholes.
I didn’t like how 4th treated Hae Soo. In the original, even though 4th was cruel and cold, he was quite the gentleman if I remember correctly. I don’t recall him acting like an asshole towards Rouxi. I wished they had maintain this aspect because it was what made 4th charming for me. Somehow 4th character in this version feels like your modern day chaebol drama male lead.
But still, it’s bearable because Lee Jun Ki is doing a great job so far.
8th prince Wang Wook is pretty similar to the original. The nice, kind gentleman who helps Hae Soo out. I’m pretty pleased with 8th actually so far.
Kang Ha Neul is actually doing well. I was worried about him initially because I wasn’t confident he could bring out 8th’s character, but looks like I was worried for nothing.
I have mixed feelings about 10th prince, Wang Eun. I think that 10th has too many aegyo, so it feels a little off somehow. In the original, 10th was simple-minded and had a quick temper. Even though, 10th in this version seems similar, there is way too much aegyo. On a side note, I think Baekhyun is actually pretty watchable.
I’m not going to worry too much about 10th yet because his character is only important in the initial episodes, according to the novel. If he has a bigger role in this version, then maybe I’ll talk about it again in future episodes.
Hong Jong Hyun is actually pretty good at being 3rd prince. I would say he’s as good as Lee Jun Ki is at playing 4th.
There wasn’t much on the other princes yet but I’m keeping my eyes on 13th and 14th princes. They were both crucial in the original novel and I’m wondering how this version will play out their roles.
Watching the 3 episodes though, 13th and 14th of this version feels like worlds apart from the original version but there are still more episodes so we shall see about that.
Am I the only one who thinks the drama is actually moving at a slow pace? Or is it because I watched BBJX, so I feel this way? I don’t know but it just feels like there hasn’t been much plot development going on.
And personally, I think that there has been too much bloodshed going on. One of the reasons why I loved BBJX was the court sessions. It’s like watching the princes’ battle each other in terms of wit, while they all fear the Emperor.
But then again, since historical content is different so I guess high chances are that the plot would differ greatly as well.
So basically, I didn’t like it that much. They say the higher you got your hopes up, the higher the disappointment.
It feels vastly different from the novel and it’s a little slow. However, it’s not exactly bad. If I were to comment on it as a drama on its own (without linking it with BBJX), it’s watchable but not addictive.
However, if I were to comment on it as as adaptation of BBJX, I would say it’s not up to my expectations and didn’t live up to the novel.
I’m still going to watch this obviously and will try my very best to stop looking at it as a BBJX adaptation. As much as I don’t really like how the story is going, there is no reason for me to not watch the eye candies in it ❤ I’ll watch it for them!
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