Here is a spoiler-free review of “Doctor Cha”!
With its conclusion, “Doctor Cha” broke a rating record for JTBC dramas. It became one of the highest-rated dramas of all time for the broadcasting station. So let us dive right into the drama and talk about all of its aspects.
Note: this will be a spoiler-free review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
“Doctor Cha” is definitely one of the standout projects made by JTBC in 2023. Initially, I did not watch the drama as it began airing as I had a lot on my plate. But after hearing about all the good things many people said, I figured that I should tune in and see what the hype was all about. And I’m happy to report that I think I understand why the drama had so much hype around it, especially the hype that created a huge buzz weekly as each episode aired.
The drama is written by Jung Yeo-Rang, who has no other credits to her name beside a co-writing credit on a drama that is called “Five Children.” To be quite honest with you for this being the first time she’s ever written a script as the lead writer, this is a wonderful start. And honestly, better than what some established screenwriters have put out this year.
You can sense a bit of makjang Energy from the drama, and I think it’s attributed to the fact that she’s worked on a serial drama that had a lot of episodes. But it also has its own unique colors and unique way of approaching sensitive topics, which I think is part of the core reason why the drama found such massive success all around the world.
The drama has a fast-paced plot, which you wouldn’t think would be easy to keep up for 16 episodes. But I would argue that the screenwriter did more than a good job at making sure the 16 episodes were entertaining enough. And even in the episodes which were admittingly a bit slower, it was still fun to see because we were interested in what the characters were doing, and how certain conflicts played out.
I wanted to highlight how much I loved how the screenwriter approached a lot of the topics handled in the drama. I can’t speak more about it as I don’t want to give a lot of spoilers, but the very mature way of handling these topics made for a very fun watching experience. It seems to come from a point of maturity that is more or less difficult to find in Kdramas, even with ones that usually discuss infidelity.
The drama is also hopeful. It gives hope to the people who are watching it. It touches on how society views women in their 40s and 50s and how often they’re dismissed even when they have a lot to offer.
The characters are also very charismatic and are either easy to root for, or easy to hate. And while I would argue that the characters are very stereotypical in the sense that we have seen them countless times already, the actors do more than a good job highlighting their strengths and hiding their weaknesses. I really think that the actors did a wonderful job bringing their characters to life, so much so that they feel uniquely their own rather than feeling dated or stereotypical.
To note, you might not like the way the screenwriter handles some topic or conclusions in the sense that it doesn’t feel quite ‘cathartic,’ she approaches it from a sensible ‘realistic’ point so to speak, some fans definitely had issues with this, so I thought I should point it out, it’s a mature way of looking at things.
There are many layers to this drama that you might not catch on to easily, and there are many subplots as well, but all of them are handled with great care. It’s also mixed between the characters personal emotional issues and the patients issues as well, which makes for a very engaging experience. It doesn’t get boring, which is something that I think has become difficult with many of the Korean dramas that are 16 episodes long.
Performances And Chemistry
One of the highlights of the drama for me has to be the performances. I also don’t know where to begin praising, but I like the selection of the actors for the cast.
While I wouldn’t say Uhm Jung Hwa had great chemistry with any of her male co-stars, I still think she shared great synergy with them which are totally two different things, but that does not mean you do not feel attached to the drama. Some fans disagree with me and loved the chemistry she shared with the 2nd male lead.
Uhm Jung Hwa Puts on an emotional and engaging performance. I would argue it’s her best to date.
Even though she had originally started out as a singer and has found massive success in the Korean entertainment industry, she is also such an amazing actress. It was fun watching her. She portrays her role and her character so perfectly that you can’t help but feel attached to her and she does it so sincerely, if you didn’t know her as the diva that she is as a singer, you wouldn’t for a second doubt she’s a seasoned actress, the change of the type of energy she omitted for this role was magnificent to see.
Kim Byung Chul It’s too cute for words. He does play a bad character but this actor has such charisma that it makes it difficult for me to hate whatever character he does. He brings such a nuanced performance and a nuanced approach to what could otherwise become a very stale, annoying character that everyone would root to see fall.
Despite all of that, I couldn’t really hate his character too much because its him. He made me sympathize with him at times despite the fact that if you pause to consider everything that happened, it shouldn’t be something you feel. This is a point many netizens pointed out too.
In terms of chemistry, I don’t think that Kim Byung-Chul and Uhm Jung Hwa Shared the best chemistry, but I don’t know if I couldn’t say that this was the point. They are a couple who are at a cross in their relationship, and it would makes sense that they wouldn’t share the best chemistry. However, they do share great synergy and work very well together. They will convince you they have been married for a very long time.
Myung Se-Bin Puts on a great performance and she’s one of the highlights of this project. Again, she brings nuance to her character, which I think makes it worth watching because you sort of feel bad for her character, but at the same time, some of the actions she’s made are horrible and cannot be excused. This actress usually plays pitiful characters, so it was nice seeing her change it up for this one.
Min Wook-Hyuk will definitely get a lot of new fans through this drama. I can see him becoming one of the most talked about rising actors of the year 2023 even when he’s also been around for some time.
Now onto the rising child actors or young actors that were cast in the drama. Honestly speaking, this was one of the things that shocked me… just how good they chose everyone in this drama. Song Ji Ho has a bright future ahead of him. So A Rin was great as well.
Jo A-Ram had one of the best performances for a rookie female K Pop Idol I’ve seen in a very, very long time. When I first saw Jo A-Ram’s performance, I was convinced she was a talented rookie actress who has been working hard for some time, but when I took a look at her discography. I found out that this is only her second acting project overall. Her previous project was a minor role in a drama that happened some time ago. I was surprised and wondering why she hadn’t started acting sooner because she is just that good. She has an actress aura and can become one of the biggest rising Hallyu actors with the right projects. I expect she will be able to blow up in the future even more if she selects her projects carefully.
“Doctor Cha” has been one of the highlights of 2023. I can totally picture and understand exactly why people were obsessed with it.
I think part of the success of the drama depended a lot on the cliffhanger episodes that it had, so I don’t know exactly how entertaining or enticing that might appear if you were binge-watching it all at once. Regardless, I assure you will have a wonderful time watching it if you like k-dramas that talk about infidelity. This is definitely one of the better K dramas that were released in the year 2023.
So, have you seen this drama yet? What did you think of it? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.