JTBC’s newest kdrama is here! “Thirty Nine” and here are my thoughts on the premiere.
“Thirty Nine” was a drama I was excited about, setting aside the amazing star-studded cast, the story sounded promising and its written by screenwriter Yoo Young-A who has many credits to her name including some of my favorite Korean movies of all time.
Despite my excitement, I didn’t expect to love the premiere this much. It was so fun to watch. We’re up to a good 2022.
Note: this article is a first-impression review, it doesn’t mean this is the writer’s final thoughts on the drama. This is a spoiler review.
The first thing I liked was just how much chemistry the cast has with each other, Son Ye Jin, Jeon Mi Do, and Kim Ji Hyun share great chemistry and do feel like they’ve known each other for ages already, this really helps with the immersion in the story. Honestly, everyone has good chemistry with their partners too.
I didn’t expect the drama’s story to get so dark so fast and it broke my heart. I wasn’t under the impression that there was going to be a death in the story but there is and the screenwriter has already told us its happening and not a ‘teaser’ or will-it-or-will-it-not kind of story.
I liked how raw and real it felt, there wasn’t that glitz and glamour that you’d see in kdramas about such topics, it was grounded and whats better was how it felt suitable for 39-year-olds, exactly what it is. I hate it when production companies use tactics that should be kept for high school type of dramas and apply those to romance dramas of older-than-average people in kdrama land, it just doesn’t feel right. You can tell this is a grownup drama made by and for the grownups.
This means this is could also deter some viewers, I suspect the younger audience [13-18] not to care much about this drama, I don’t think it was made with the purpose to make everyone like it and that’s okay too. I think there is beauty in such types of dramas but it must be done a certain way.
This brings me to my next point.
Screenwriter Yoo Young-A has a mixed track record when it comes to dramas, her movies are absolutely amazing but the same can’t be said for her dramas. Her drama scripts always feel like they were meant to be movies, not dramas, I think she needed to work more on making sure the scripts she has are suitable to be made into dramas.
I can see glimpses of hope already because “Thirty Nine” is only 12 episodes long. Personally speaking, in relation to dramas about imminent death especially due to disease or cancer, I feel like they shouldn’t be milked as much as you would with an average kdrama, i.e. making it long. It would be a disservice to the topic and its seriousness if you attempt to drag on a plot about a character’s imminent death for engagement and viewership, it just doesn’t feel right.
Especially with such type of plot where its purely about human interactions and just average everyday life scenarios.
Having said this, thus far, I personally am on the fence about Jeon Mi Do’s character, Chaeyoung. I don’t like her and I especially don’t like Kim Jin-Seok. [please know I am discussing the characters, not the actors]
I’m a bit worried about the direction that the screenwriter plans on taking with this character, I don’t want it to end up as a sort of empathetic look regarding why people choose to cheat especially since they have been doing it for a couple of years regardless of how much its affecting his home life.
And the fact that she told him to divorce his wife and she’ll take care of his child, the audacity to want to ruin a child’s life because you want to be with a married man, even if you knew him first.
And Kim Jin-Seok is even trashier for his behavior, the audacity of both of them. I am sorry, but as someone who has been through a similar thing, I just don’t take kindly to cheaters. I seriously hope the screenwriter doesn’t attempt to excuse their cheating or explain it, just treat it for what it is, cheating.
So far, I love everyone’s performance. Jeon Mi Do is…. This woman…. Where have you been all my life? The fact that she only began acting in dramas now is such a shame, she’s sooooooo good. I just love her acting, she has a bright future ahead of her. I also especially like Kim Ji Hyun’s performance, I usually see her play intimidating characters, so to see her play such an innocent and calm character so well was so nice. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better cast, shout out to Lee Moo Saeng one of my fav ahjussi actors and to Lee Tae Hwan too.
So these are my thoughts on “Thirty Nine”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.
Thanks for your review. The drama is well-made, everything feels solid – performances, script, directing. But I am not sure what to expect anymore – all cards are already on the table so to speak. They formed all three couples in the first 2 episodes, we know who will end up with whom and they even announced the death of one of the main characters. And we could even watch the preview of the funeral. All this within the first 2 hours..So what is in store for the next 10 episodes? All their previous lives as a flashback or the last days of Chaeyoung…I kinda feel I am losing interest because all seems predictable from now on. I can be wrong of course and they will surprise me, let’s see.
My problem here is on the production/writing team. On episode 2, the doctor revealed the cancer to her friend and not to the actual person with the disease?! This is ethically wrong! Chan young should be the first person to know this!
Also, the dermatologist Kim Seon-woo is popping everywhere! He was at the newly opened Chinese restaurant, and also at Kim Jin Seok’s office. What a small world! I know that’s what the writer wants us to see, but as a viewer I find it a bit awkward that whenever Cha Mi Jo appears, he’s also in the same space.