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Posts Tagged ‘Lee Jung Jae’

So, I’m watching Sandglass, that great k-drama from 1995. I’ve watched eight episodes and I thought I’d write a mid-point review, but I feel so inadequate to the task. What can I possibly say about a classic piece of television? It didn’t just average viewer ratings of 50%; it shaped Korean television and the very consciousness of a nation. I simply do not have the knowledge to do justice to the context and impact of this important work.

If you’ve seen both Sandglass and Eyes of Dawn (MBC, 1991-1992), you’ll know that Sandglass is the younger sibling of the latter. The same team of writer Song Ji Na and Director Kim Jong Hak was responsible for both. (Let’s just ignore the fact that they were also responsible for the recent risible Faith, shall we?)

Both Sandglass and Eyes of Dawn are epic in the true sense of the word; human drama of operatic proportions set in dramatic moments of real history. Both are hard-hitting and unsentimental (even, brutal). Neither is an ‘easy’ watch. Both were ground-breaking in terms of scale, which shows in extraordinary production values (Sets? What sets. That stuff looks like the real thing) and a creative product that transcends criticism. Both are great, unforgettable television, comparable with epic historical cinema from anywhere in the world and bearing scant resemblance to the mindless and carelessly cobbled-together fluff that sometimes passes for historical k-drama nowadays.

[click for some (non-spoilery) thoughts]

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