“Our Blues” has recently concluded its run and here is a spoiler-free review of the entire kdrama.
While I will be avoiding all spoilers of the drama, I will still be highlighting an important thing I think most people should be aware of before going into the drama. So stay tuned.
Note: this is a subjective review. This is a spoiler-free review
The script and characters
“Our Blues” is penned by the renowned screenwriter No Hee Kyung who has written many kdramas you might be aware of. She’s often mentioned as one of the screenwriters popular actors would love to work with on a project.
This marks her first drama since 2018 and I loved it. I loved the way she wrote this drama and if I had to compare it to other slice-of-life kdramas, this one definitely shines as one of the better written ones if not one of the best.
“Our Blues” is a character-driven kdrama for the majority of its run, the characters run the show and dictate how things go around rather than being led. Their circumstances definitely led them to become who they are today but they now lead the show so to speak.
This meant that screenwriter No Hee Kyung had to get very creative with the drama’s characters to justify the 20 episodes which might seem a lot or intimidating to some of you.
The thing that should be clearly stated is the fact that “Our Blues” is an omnibus drama with a format you’ve likely never seen in a kdrama before. In this drama, every week [2 episodes] focused on a character or a collection of characters that are related to each other by circumstances, blood or love and sometimes, it was a combination of all of that.
So if you’re walking in expecting to see the four main highest billed actors run the show…. You’re in for a surprise, not only do they not run the show for a good portion of it, some of them don’t even make an appearance until like episode 4 or 5, and even then, its a small appearance for like a couple of minutes, it takes a while for us to get to what you’d believe is ‘the main course.’
Screenwriter No Hee Kyung relied heavily on the star power of “Our Blues” cast to get attention into the societal issues she wanted to discuss. Had this drama cast unknown actors, I highly doubt we’d be even having this discussion because some kdrama fans don’t like slow-paced kdramas or probably struggle to tolerate it unless its truly well-written and gripping and even with that in mind, there is still a chance people will get bored easily.
The stories of “Our Blues” are interesting. At times, they were infuriating but never stagnant. However, even that is dependent on how much you care for the said characters, so if it happens that you dislike a character or two, you might really struggle watching this drama.
Screenwriter No Hee Kyung focused on many societal issues in the drama, this includes discussions of suicide, family abuse and neglect, people with disabilities and how society treats them, teen pregnancy, divorce settlements and child custody, psychological health issues and so much more. Basically, whatever issue that comes to mind, she probably talked about it in this drama. This made it so that it doesn’t feel dull. Each week, we focused on a set of characters and were done with their stories and then on to the next.
Despite the fact that it could have easily gone side ways, it didn’t and it stayed true to showcasing as many characters as possible. This time, the screenwriter didn’t focus on making the audience particularly like or root for most of its characters.
Even when she was discussing an array of topics and issues they went through, she never once made excuses for the characters which I really respect. I didn’t particularly like Shin Min Ah or Lee Byung Hun’s characters but I was still interested in what happened to them.
This was beautifully done, she showed how fallible humans can be and how even people with the best intentions could hurt their loved ones. But it never came from a point of providing excuses or making it seem like we should pity them.
She also never once portrayed situations with 100% rosy outlook, because even people who would make it seem like they would be there for someone regardless of their mental health issues or disabilities, its never really easy to deal with or just a happy ending all around.
Every character felt so real and by the end of it, I felt like I knew them and could guess how they would behave. The character building she’s done this time is one of the best I’ve seen in a kdrama in a while.
Having said this, “Our Blues” never evoked the feeling of urgency when I watched it. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I never once felt like I was missing if I didn’t tune in exactly at that time. Since the stories could be so disconnected from each other on surface level, it didn’t feel quite joint. Despite that, whenever I watched it, I was having fun.
I think the older generation will appreciate this drama much more and might find that it provides a sense of urgency. “Our Blues” was never that dramatic when it didn’t need to be. Since some of the biggest hallyu actors were a part of it, the screenwriter truly took her time to tell the stories she wanted to say while keeping people’s attention there most of the time.
The performances and chemistry
“Our Blues” boasts one of the biggest star-studded casts I’ve ever seen in a kdrama in recent memory. You have actors that would have otherwise been the main leads take on either secondary or supporting roles in this drama which was admittedly part of the intrigue leading up to the premiere of the drama.
Kim Woo Bin notably makes his drama return for the first time in what I believe was 6 years. I was so happy to see him and he’s still as good as ever. It was so much fun watching him.
Everyone did so darn well, I have zero complaints, really. It was such a pleasure to see these actors transform into these interesting characters. In another reality, I would have never expected some of them to take on such roles but I am glad they did. I am glad some of them took on less-than-likable character roles. Some actors feel hesitant to do that but admire those who stray from that line and take on complex characters who aren’t that good or that bad. Some fans seem to be unable to distinguish between characters and actors which actually pains me but I am glad to see so many appreciate the different performances and acknowledge some characters were unlikeable even when they were played by some of their fav actors. Separate the characters from the actors, guys!
I also personally thought Min Ah and Byung Hun shared amazing chemistry despite the fact that I never personally rooted for the on-screen couple [due to their characters on screen] and you’ll probably figure out why if you see the drama.
Han Ji Min and Woo bin also shared good chemistry. I think there was discourse around this couple but I thought they made an interesting couple and matched so well together. Min Ah and Byung Hun’s chemistry is better but I think this couple also had good chemistry.
I’d say the chemistry between the entire cast members was great, from the brotherhood to sisterhood and romantic partners, I think it was a perfect combination all around.
“Our Blues” stands out as one of the best character-driven kdramas I’ve seen in 2022- thus far, not only that but the writing was heartfelt and heartbreaking at the same time.
Its a slow-paced kdrama so it is not for everyone but if you enjoy such type of kdramas, I think you’ll really appreciate this one. It stays consistent and interesting throughout. However, don’t expect the main actors to appear in every episode due to its format.
It doesn’t have the theatrics or exaggerations we’re used to in many kdramas but at the same time, it is super fun and super interesting. It didn’t have me at the edge of my seat waiting for new episodes, but it was always a nice watch and I think this is more than I can ever ask for.
The cast performances and chemistry was also top-notch and the variety of topics screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung discussed was to be admired. The attention she paid to the details and the portrayal of the realities surrounding so many issues was welcomed.
So these were my thoughts on the drama, if you happened to see it, what were your thoughts on it?
I think this is a very well thought out piece of review. I agree with it in that not all the characters are likeable yet I do want to watch the drama to see what happens to them. The 2 fathers of the teenage couples were horrible at one stage that I wondered what am I doing watching such a drama but I’m glad I persisted n they did come good.
I always like reading your reviews cos I they you write very fairly n you take it apart and look at it from every angle. Even when u like the actor u don’t excuse them for poor acting! That I really appreciate!
I was looking forward to Kim woo bin’s role in this drama because I’m seeing him in a kdrama after ages. He is just sooooooo cute in this kdrama. I’m bonkers about him. He has nailed it! Loved his acting, his shy character at first, his notorious character later, how he developed into a total cool guy later….. he is an eye candy!! Apart from this, the story line was very heart-touching! I cried a lot when kang ok-doeng passed away!! Oops… spoiler alert!!!