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Starring: Lee Seong-jae, Kim Min-jeong, Eom Tae-woong, Kim Bin-woo
Director: Kim Jong-hyeok
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2006




Subtitles: Chinese
Format: 16 VCDs
Distributor: Innoform Media




Abandoned as a child, Yun-jae was later adopted and brought to Canada. Today, he is a successful lawyer. After finding out that his trusted colleague and his girlfriend have both betrayed him, he loses the will to live and jumps off a cruise ship. However, he is rescued along with Hee-ran, a popular singer from Korea who jumped off the cruise ship at the same time. They develop a liking for each other.

San-ho grew up in a family that was so poor that his parents were forced to abandon his older brother. He becomes Hee-ran's manager with hopes of becoming successful. He is also in love with Hee-ran. San-ho looks for his brother Yun-jae in Canada and brings him back to Korea. After meeting his mother who has Alzheimer's disease and frivolous and irresponsible brother, Yun-jae regrets being reunited with his family but decides to stay in Korea to help his family with their debts.

Yun-jae meets Hee-ran again only to find out that he and his brother have fallen in love with the same woman...


The story started off like a whirlwind, bringing all the key players of the drama series to the same place at the same time.

Apparently, it all appears to be pretty reasonably well-sequenced till the landscape is changed back to the homeland, Korea. The plot began to develop more and delve deeper into each key character to make each more wholesome. However, it is a pity that the scriptwriter has let himself so helplessly caught in the tangles of web spun, that succumbed to the point of being drowsily draggy.

Of the typical elements that all Korean drama series should have, “Stranger Than Paradise” revolves love triangle, family ties and domestic affairs. The English translation of the title may signify that sometimes the path taken by Man in reality has often proven itself to be more unfamiliar than what Man has often imagined about the heavenly place of the dead in peace lie.

The three key lead roles are relatively unknown to the local fans here. At a quick glimpse, the lead actress resembles a beautiful Hongkong actress (Wen Bi Xia) of the 90's while the bespectacled gentleman can be easily mistaken as one of the Taiwanese brother duo (Xiao Chong Xiao Bai), now successful music producers.

The lady is indeed a sweetie pie and an eye candy; effortlessly have the two guys to fall head over heels with her. Out of the two guys, there is always one who is often outplayed by Lady Luck, getting into troubles and troubled by financial straits.

Special compliments to the veteran actress who portrays an Alzheimer patient but a pitiful mother, holding on hopes to see her elder child, whom was given up for overseas adoption since young. I do not know her name, despite she is a familiar face often featured as somebody’s mum in Korean drama series.

To summarize, too many on the plate simply spoils the whole lot. This unfortunately had occurred to this 16-episodes series. Good-timed pace and essences of the plot are crucial to deliver a captivating story. Too much nitty-gritty details defocus and de-excite the falls and peaks of the plot development.


Review by Alicia Tee


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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm


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