Lee Sin and Lee Gyu Won attend the arts school in a college. Lee Sin is the lead singer in a band who has a mean, tough personality. Gyu Won is a talented young artist who specializes in playing classical Korean instruments. Soon, Gyu Won falls for Lee Sin and his rugged personality...
Though many people keep on bashing this drama, saying what a disappointment it was, I actually really liked it. (Maybe I just rated it a maserpiece because I was pissed off at all the bashing. maybe.)
I think it was a nice, light story about college students with the typical Korean drama romance line. There were even some typical clichés that the screenwriter avoided, which always gives plus points in my opinion. For example the character of Lee Gyu Won. In my opinion, she wasn't typical at all. Rather on the opposite, I found her to be quite likeable. I mean, say what you want, but even as developed as Korea and Japan are nowadays, they have a completely different female image than we do. So in most Asian productions, woman tend to be kind of weak characters, who have to be protected or married off to someone. Even if their actual character is strong, they don't really stand up for themselves. My favourite example is always Makino from the Hana Yori Dango series, who starts off with a seemingly strong character but gets weaker and weaker throughout the whole series until she doesn't speak up for herself at all anymore, despite her being "so strong".
But Lee Gyu Won wasn't like this. She was truly a strong woman. She did not only stand up against other women, but against men as well, even against her own grandfaher (another thing that annoys me with Korean dramas - the protagonists, especially woman, never really stand up against their parents) and against Lee Sin. Though she didn't take the whole musical thing serious in the beginning she slowly developed a sense of responsibility towards the production and her own work, which I liked a lot.
Another big plus are the parents of both Gyu Won and Sin. As mentioned parents in Korean dramas tend to be extremely strict and stubborn, always placing their own wishes above the ones of their children. But in Heartstrings the parents weren't like that. In my opinion they acted like normal parents would; they supported their children with those things they really wanted to do and instead of being senselessly against their love interests, they were happy for them. These things aren't normal in Korean dramas, so as far as these things are concerned, Heartstrings was even kind of innovative.
Many also did complain about Park Sin Hye's acting and singing, but I really think that's up to everyone's taste. She has her way of acting and she definitely isn't the best actress out there, but she's cute - and honestly, if you don't like her why watch a drama with her in the first place? Same goes for Yong Hwa. His acting isn't all that amazing, but it's not as if he completely messed up his role. His role wasn't all that difficult, he just had to act being in love and being kind of arrogant. And in my opinion he could do that. Of course it's obvious that he couldn't play anything more difficult - but it's not as if he actually did try that. So why bash him?
Another good point of the drama was the whole musical aspect. Personally I really like musical dramas and there was really lots of awesome music in this one. I'm not the biggest fan of Park Sin Hye's singing, but Yong Hwa is a really good singer and the instrumentals, especially the combination of rock and traditional Korean music, were actually pretty good.
Aside from the love story between Gyu Won and Sin there were many side stories which made the drama more interesting. I had the feeling all the main roles were presented adequately. The problem with side stories in Dramas is often that they don't get the time and attention they would need to be really convincing and interesting, but in Heartstrings the balance was quite good. I really felt as if the Screenwriter wanted to tell not only Gyu Won's and Sin's story, but the stories of the people around them as well.
To sum it up I can just say that I really don't understand why people keep on bashing this and why the viewer ratings were so bad. Maybe everyone expected it to be something like a second "You're Beautiful" with Sin Hye and Yong Hwa ending up together, which it luckily wasn't. It was a drama that stood for itself and personally I think it wasn't worldshaking or anything, but fun to watch, nice and it simply gave me a good feeling in my stomach.
I was totally looking forward to Heartstrings because I totally love Yong Hwa. And because it was a music-drama, I already expected a superb OST, because - well - it has Yong Hwa and I love ALL the songs from C.N.Blue. At this point I was so right. The OST is lovely, I love all the songs, be it a fast song or a ballad. It was just perfect.
The story itself sounded interesting, even if it wasn't too spectacular. A bunch of college students who study acting, music and dancing. They all work hard to become famous and you see their everyday-life and the problems they have. The story revolves around the big 100-anniversary-show of the college and how some students try to snatch away good roles, only because they have good connections while also centering the love of Lee Gyu Won and Lee Sin (and two professors of the school).
But now to the casting:
Well, everybody seems to go crazy over Park Sin Hye, only I seem to be outside of that freaking world of PSH-lovers. She is cute and I love her as Go Mi Nam, but she didn't really impress me with her acting here. Or rather: With how she portrayed the role. It was sort of a less cute Go Mi Nam with more fakeness. I wasn't really happy with the character herself either, so I really don't get the hype around her. (But I still like her. <3 She really seems like a nice person.)
Yong Hwa was a great cast - he totally fit the role, even though he isn't the best actor yet, I think he'll do even better and better in the future. I was satisfied with his acting!
The other cast was pretty good, just that I was annoyed from the choreo-nuna. She seemed like a really weak character, so it wasn't the actress' fault, but sometimes I really wondered why she had to be added. It's not like she had such a big inpact on the story, except maybe to stop the story between Gyu Won and the director (which I definitely had supported!!!)
And last but not least: Min Hyeok. Our tiny little drummer. Isn't he cute? I mean, he and his Natasha were really great! Both acted so great and cute together. I liked both of them.
For the story: It wasn't all that strong. The beginning was nice, but I didn't really feel like it was a masterpiece. It was nice to watch, but somehow it felt like they didn't know where to bring the story themselves. There were problems, yes, but instead of a complete story, it felt more like episodes to me. Like, even if there wasn't THIS particular problem, they could still have ended up together and stuff.
And what was that ending? I know that they always have a BIG PROBLEM in the end, but for real? Was that a problem?
BEWARE, SPOILER FOR LAST 2 EPISODES:
Okay, so he hurt his hand. And it will take some time to recover. But seriously? What's the deal? She can still go away, it's not like they have to take off his hand and she'll need to be his new hand. Okay, she might not want to go because she practically destroyed his dream with her clumsiness, but still: What was the problem? I'd say: "Girl, what happened, happened. Go and make money, so I can have sugery. See you in a year." Or if I was her, I'd say: "You want me to go anyway to realize my dreams so... See you." This really wasn't worth all the tears and drama. It was only there to have the traditional BIG BIG PROBLEM at the end of the story. Ew. How awful.
So, "only" 4 stars. Considering some points it might seem stupid to give it so many stars, but I still liked this drama.
Both dramas are about musical production. In both, the teacher is an musical actor and motivates kids to do a musical. Also, these two dramas are very funny, have nice songs playing in the background, and the leading couples deal with some problems. Both also feature pop idols as the main characters.