Worlds Within (2008) is ostensibly about the reality of the broadcasting industry in Korea that produces and oversees popular television dramas. However in my opinion another show that came out the same year on the same subject, called On Air, with Kim Ha Neul and the late Park Yong Ha, was actually a bit better and a more honestly written and executed Korean drama, and it received 3 times the ratings Worlds Within received, although it didn't contain a fraction of the romance seen in Worlds Within. Go figure.
What this drama really is about and should have been titled instead is The Hyun Bin And Song Hye Kyo Love Story. Their romantic and sensual scenes together are really the highlights of this drama, especially for their die-hard fans; it's just sad that their romantic relationship off-screen didn't last because they looked oh so perfect together as a couple at the time, and every scene they were in together in this drama it was obvious they had a personal relationship off screen -- the vibes were unmistakable.
Recently I read a news article on American actor Burt Reynolds and he stated that decades later he still missed Sally Field and wished he had never broken up with her. Somehow I wonder if twenty - thirty years from now Hyun Bin might look back over his life and realize the same thing, that he let the real gem of his life slip away too, Song Hye Kyo.
Not long after this show was made Hyun Bin had to face going into the military to do his required defense duty for his country for two years and they split up. He entered the Marines. It made big news at the time and fans all over the world cried. What can one expect? These two are in the Top Ten of Korea's finest actors list and we fans like to see our favorites together, on-screen AND off-screen!
The Story: Jung Ji Oh (Hyun Bin from Secret Garden, and Hyde Jekyll and I) is a successful production director of Korean television dramas, with a steady stream of hits under his belt, while Joo Joon Young (Song Hye Kyo from Autumn In My Heart and That Winter The Wind Blows) is a down to earth but rather aloof producer who had a past romantic history with Ji Oh during their college years, but they broke up when falling for other people at the time.
After finally breaking up with those partners and finding themselves working at the same studio as professionals years later, they decide to get back together again and renew their former romantic relationship. However it's not destined to be a very easy path: there are always jealous people who interfere, including family, in addition people in the entertainment industry often seem to care more for career first, and personal relationships, marriage and family second.
Joon Young is a daughter from a rich family; and she has difficulties in her relationship with her mother (played by Na Young Hee from My Love From Another Star) who lives a luxurious lifestyle involving gambling and affairs with many men. These big problems with the relationship of the person closest to her are reflected in the dramas Joon Young works on - which are described by critics as austere.
Ji Oh, in contrast, is a son from a poor family of farmers, and he loves his mother (played by Na Moon Hee from Padam Padam) dearly. His dramas seem to touch people's hearts more, hence their success compared to the ones Joon Young is involved with making. What a difference a good mother can make!
When the couple get back together their partnership seems good for both of them at first, and Joon Young becomes a happier person and starts to make warmer, livelier dramas. This change in her doesn't sit well with her controlling mother, who now has less power over her daughter since she is involved with a man she cares about and who cares about her.
The couple move into the same apartment together and the sparks are flying, as is evident in the video above (not surprising that I consider Hyun Bin to be the best kisser in the Korean entertainment business - go take a look at his four minute kiss in the 2010 film Late Autumn!).
Ji Oh's pride is so deeply wounded by the harsh interfering treatment of Joon Young's mother that he decides to break up with Joon Young, even though he still loves her. Joon Young is deeply hurt and doesn't understand the reason for their break-up. Ji Oh is bothered by their differences in wealth, values and personality. Many problems arise between the couple which test their love for each other, including other people playing for their affections.
Then Ji Oh suffers an eye complication which requires an operation. He has to cut back on his drama making schedule. This results in our couple coming back together, solidifying their love for one another, and after he is healed they end up combining their talents to make a good drama together. Finally some smart things are happening for them.
Competition in the station arises when Song Gyu Ho (Um Ki Joon from Dream High, Scent Of A Woman, Masked Prosecutor), an ill-mannered, sarcastic director, takes over some dramas while Ji Oh is indisposed, and leaves employees overworked and unhappy. However, his attitude isn't considered a problem by big wigs at the station since his dramas always make high ratings, hence money.
Gyu Ho casts a new actress, Jang Hae Jin (lovely Seo Hyo Rim from Scent Of A Woman, Master's Sun, That Winter The Wind Blows) in his drama, and the two fall in love (though I had to wonder what she saw in him before he changed!). However, because Gyu Ho's father is running for President in the next election, the two are forced to break up to protect his reputation.
Later, Hae Jin becomes a better actress and is soon embroiled in dating rumors with her co-stars, while Gyu Ho looks on from a distance, sad and wounded. In the end, these two also get back together and decide to tie the knot. Will Ji Oh and Joon Young do the same?
Good acting in this drama helps make up for any deficiencies in the script, which when it's over and you look back, will not seem to you to be one of the best you've ever seen; however if you love these charming actors it's a definite must see anyway. Along for the ride playing others in the industry are some favorite character and veteran actors, such as Kap Soo Kim (who played the father in A Tale Of Two Sisters) and lovely Kim Chang Wan (from the film Postman To Heaven and K-dramas Who Are You? and My Love From Another Star).
For those of you who sometimes complain K-dramas don't have enough passionate kiss scenes in them, you can watch Worlds Within and receive a nice supply to counterbalance all the stiff, open eyed kisses in other K-dramas. Enjoy!
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