Review – My Love From Another Star

Review – My Love From Another Star

I absolutely loved this show! The premise was cool:  a hip, uptight alien gets distracted by human business and looses his ride back to his home planet.  And for the record… what’s up with that?  They’re advanced enough for space travel but don’t bother with communication devices?  Did anyone ask him if he wanted to stay?  Nope.  Did any of his fellow aliens even bother to see what was going on with M.I.A. Alien?  Nope.  He was like the kid in Home Alone… maybe they realized he wasn’t there after the ship had already taken off.  Anyways, I digress.  Alien boy is stranded on earth in the Joseon Era and hangs around for 400 years, until present day.  He meets a wacky actress and romance and silliness follow.  Adorable rom-com.

And yet… somewhere around episode 17 or 18, I lost all interest in what was happening.

————— SPOILERS FOLLOW ——————-

So, am I just a crazy fickle viewer who has been jaded by too many K-Dramas?  Possibly.

Let’s start with all the things this show had going for it.  Exhibit A:  The Female Lead.  Gianna Jun.

Hysterical.  She cracked me up repeatedly.  I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this very thin, very pretty woman just Spazzing Out all over the place.  Singing to her hairdryer (off key and loudly), attacking her cell phone, scaring her assistants and fans, sashaying here and there only to flounce onto the ground later and beat her fists on the ground like a small child.  She was fearless in her acting – she just went for it.  Almost all of my love for the show stems from this gal.

The rest of my love was reserved for their super-sweet apartments.  The alien is rich cause he’s been around long enough to amass money.  The actress is rich because she’s an A-Lister.  And so they both live in ridiculously huge, awesome apartments.  Next door to each other.  Hers, of course, features many full size pictures of herself (so weird, but I’m used to seeing it now… however, the massive selfie of her face on the bedroom wall was hard to swallow.)  Her pad is all tricked out and modern and gorgeous.  And alien-boy’s is too (his bedroom in particular is uber-modern and I loved it), though he has a private library where he keeps all his old school knickknacks and memorabilia from the past.  There is a distinctive European quality to this library… possibly stemming from the white folks in the oil paintings.  I really enjoyed that the creators/writers made full use of the fact these two love birds were neighbors.  From encounters in the elevator, the hall, spying on each other through the walls, video door monitors, visiting one another,  unexpectedly dropping in or just hanging out of their side-by-side balconies.  The neighbor aspect to the romance was cute and well done.  And I also enjoyed that this romance did not indulge in the rich/poor angle… almost everyone was wealthy in this show.  Equal status footing.

Most of the side characters were fun and gave us a little more perspective on the main couple.  I liked that even the best friend of the actress liked to post mean things about her online.  And those two guys in the track suits!  Dude!  The younger brother of the actress revealed the domestic side of her character.  She seemed much more human when he was around, or when she was being consoled by her bestie in the bookshop.  Some of the side characters were paper thin and one dimensional.  The mom and estranged father of the actress.  The alien’s lawyer friend (I always like seeing this actor, even when he’s not doing much for the show) was only used as a sounding board for the alien to bounce questions off of.  I never felt these two men had a serious friendship.  That could be because I never got a firm grasp of the personality of the alien.  Maybe he was too otherworldly… maybe it didn’t translate between species.  Maybe his character was just weak.  Whatever.  He was the cute “straight man” to the fall down actress.  They balanced each other out nicely.  And in a rom-com, that’s about all that is generally required.

Other character of note:  The bad guy.

I didn’t expect a serial killer in this rom-com.

It was sorta lame, if you really think about it… but I don’t encourage you to think about much of anything for this show.  It’s an alien romance drama!  Just go with the flow.  The serial killer was fun and added a lot of excitement.  I thought the casting was spot on – Shin Sun-Rok rocked.  If they had him walking around in a sweater with bangs over his forehead, I wouldn’t recognize him.  Slick back his hair and stick him in a red suit… instant evil.  The man even enjoyed putting animals down!  Yikes.  Ridiculous but enjoyable baddie.

What I didn’t especially enjoy where the back flashes.  At first I thought it would be fun.  I thought… oooh, we’ll get to see him in various eras, sporting various costumes and such… but no.  Just Joseon.  It got old really quick.

The wasted opportunity for comedy gold by killing off the rival actress early in the series left me bummed.  Some of the most hysterical scenes were the cat fights between the female lead and the other A-Lister.  They’re the ladies in black in the photo below, ruining a wedding portrait by trying to out-model each other.

Best Wedding Photo Ever.

And let us not forget our second female and male leads.  SIGH.  I didn’t really get either of these characters.  And I really wanted to like both of them… but I couldn’t be bothered to care one way or the other.  They could have both died in a car bomb after finally hooking up in the back seat and I probably would have shrugged it off.  I will say even as boring characters, they were used to decent effect to move the plot forward and create tension between our main couple.  Also, I admire their dedication to unrequited love.

Yoo In-Na, you should never have agreed to make this drama. Fire your manager immediately. Don’t you know you’re a leading lady and not a useless prop?

I get paid to work with books.  So you throw in a character with a big library who reads in bed and you’ve got my attention.  And yet… our alien friend is obsessively reading and re-reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong.  An award winning children’s book, no less.  But how in the heck did he come across it?  He just happened to be browsing the kids section one day?  It’s not The Little Prince, ya know.  Not that they ever bothered to explain the plot of the book.  His journals seemed kinda childish and vague, too.

Gather round, children. This is the story of how Candlewick Press impresses me with overseas marketing techniques.

On a personal note – I don’t find the actor Kim Soo-Hyun pleasing to the eye.  He looks like a teenager to me.  So, it was hard for me to take him seriously as a professor… or a being with 400 plus years of collective knowledge… or, as they say in the k-dramas, as a man.  Since it was a fluffy fun rom-com, it didn’t bother me very much.  If this show had asked for me to use brain cells, however, it would have caused an aneurysm and knocked me out within the first hour or two.

Once the main couple got together, I lost interest.  I found myself reading blogs and reviews and browsing around my favorite sites as episodes 17-21 played in the background.  They just weren’t entertaining as a couple.  They were entertaining as a possible-couple.  Once they got together, the “teenager” aspect of Kim Soo-Hyun started to bother me.  I cringed every time they crawled in bed together, even though they managed to stay fully clothed.  Yick.  So, I jumped ship.

Still, I will whole-heartedly recommend this drama.  For 17 hours it had me laughing and enjoying myself.  Okay, the last four hours were a drag, but so what!  That’s more than 75% success rate, people.   We’re going to go with two thumbs up.

OVERALL RATING:  8.5/10

 

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