My Love From The Stars (also known as You Who Came From The Stars) starts us off a good year in K-drama land with Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun. When the drama premiered, it received a rating of 17% for its first episode due to the fact that the story started off really strong and captivating with excellent special effects. It then gradually increases and ended with 29.6% for its finale.
My Love From The Stars has captured a lot attention before airing because it is the first comeback drama after 14 years from A-list actress Jeon Ji Hyun, and it is the second time that she and Kim Soo Hyun work together after the most talked about on-screen kiss they shared in the hit movie The Thieves (Jeon Ji Hyun doesn’t do kissing scenes and she has only ever done it with Hugh Jackman and Kim Soo Hyun). We also have Kim Soo Hyun who happens to I-don’t-know-for-sure-what but possibly a good eye for projects, or probably saved the universe in his past life that so far any projects he is in, it becomes a big hit and garners fantastic TV ratings in Korea.
Korean Title: 별에서 온 그대 / Byeoleseo On Geudae
Official English Title: My Love From The Stars
Also known as: You Came From the Stars / Man From the Star / My Love From Another Star
Genre: Romance, comedy, fantasy
Total Episodes: 21
Broadcast Network: SBS
Broadcast Period: 18 Dec 2013 to 27 Feb 2014
Air Time: Wednesday & Thursday @ 22:00
Director: Jang Tae Yoo
Screenwriter: Park Ji Eun
Original Soundtrack: My Love From the Stars OST
Link: Official Website
Official DVD: YesAsia
The story begins with a UFO landing in the Joseon period in the year 1609. The arrival of the UFO causes atmospheric disturbance to the surroundings that the palanquin flew out the hands of the carriers and was in danger of falling off a cliff. Suddenly everything freezes in time and a man in all black is seen walking towards the palanquin and pulls it backwards. The man offers his hand and saves the 15 years old widow Seo Yi Hwa (Kim Hyun Soo) from the palanquin.
We are then brought back to the modern time, where that man – the alien now called himself Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) is seen doing an interview with someone, or with the audiences and telling us his story. He tells us that he was brought to Joseon in that UFO, that he is from a planet that is very similar to earth, and the earthlings named it KMT 184.05. Through Min Joon’s narration, we find out that he has lived on earth for around 400 years. He has learnt to control his powers, and has adapted to the earth’s magnetic field, gravity and water. His senses are 7 times more powerful than humans; thus, he hears, sees and senses things he does not want to. Even though he can eat any kind of food, but he cannot mix them with the earthlings’ saliva or blood. To be safe, he always eats alone. Min Joon’s current identity is a professor in a university, and he is returning to his planet in three months when the once in 400 years meteor showers hit earth.
Chun Song Yi (Jeon Ji Hyun) is a Hallyu Superstar who possesses beauty and money, but a brain. Due to her busy schedule since young, she hasn’t quite gained the general knowledge of anything; therefore, she is constantly getting herself in trouble, saying wrong things on the internet all the time. Her agency wants her to quit playing SNS, but that is her way of trying to connect to the world because she doesn’t have many friends. She has a pursuer named Lee Hwi Kyung (Park Hae Jin) and a close friend named Yoo Se Mi (Yoo In Na), who is secretly in love with Hwi Kyung. The three have known each other for 15 years from school.
How do an alien and a superstar have any relation one might ask? Easy! You make them neighbors! After an incident of mocha seeds (rather than cotton seeds), the whole nation makes fun of her lack of common sense and general knowledge. Upset Song Yi waits at the elevator to her apartment when Min Joon joins her. She then leaves him with a long-lasting bad impression that marks their first meeting.
Due to several incidents, Song Yi keeps invading Min Joon’s life that gradually, he starts to develop feelings for her. The feelings becomes so strong that he would risk his life to save her from Lee Jae Kyung’s (Shin Sung Rok) threats.
The plot is quite simple actually, an alien with superpowers that falls in love with the heroine. It’s a lot like Superman, but only it’s better because he doesn’t wear an undies outside (Frau might kill me for saying this, lol). In contrast to Lex Luther, uri Jae Kyung has plentiful hairs and a bad habit of spinning his ring. Oh~ did I mention I love seeing Do Min Joon’s multi-era looks and especially love him in Joseon costume? 🙂 The fashion in the drama is to die for, wish I can own Min Joon’s closets (
and his wealth) although I’ll pass on the colourful shoes. 😛
The script writer did a remarkable job in writing the characters and in the way she presented the story (I supposed the director gets credit for that too). It still has flaws, but the flaws are overshadowed by how great the other elements are. The show hit the jackpot because the story captivates us and the characters connect with the audiences. It makes us laugh out loud with Song Yi/Min Joon and cry along with them. It also makes us care for them.
It really helps that Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun’s on-screen chemistry is convincing and natural. When shooting began, it usually takes a few episodes for the main leads to become comfortable with each other and during those times, their ‘distance’ is inevitably obvious on screen. However, due to the fact that double Hyun have previously been acquainted with one another in The Thieves, so their on-screen interactions was very natural, convincing and comfortable to watch since episode one. The dynamics between Min Joon and Song Yi is superb, it makes me fell in love with both of them almost instantly. Whenever the two are together, the screen lights up with sparks, and their interactions in every scene are way too enjoyable to get enough of. Apart from them, I also love most of the side characters especially Hwi Kyung, Yoon Jae, Bok Ja and Lawyer Jang. They are so funny, cute and loveable.
— Spoiler Alert —
Jeon Ji Hyun is excellent in her performance because she breathes life into Song Yi and made her unique, the same goes to Kim Soo Hyun. There are people who thinks Kim Soo Hyun was lacking in portraying Min Joon, and that he pales in contrast to Ji Hyun, but we should keep in mind that he is playing an alien. We can compare Soo Hyun’s alien potrayal to what we have imagined, watched or read from other stories or movies, but there is no absolute basis on how alien is to behave, so it is up to Soo Hyun’s interpretation of the character as well as Writer Park’s description of Do Min Joon (if there is any extra information given to the actor) to help Soo Hyun shape the character into his own. In my opinion, it is unfair to say he pales in comparison to Jeon Ji Hyun – one is playing a loud character and the other is the complete opposite – so who do you think will grab move attention? The answer is obvious – of course the loud one. To be fair, I do think there are times when I find Jeon Ji Hyun went overboard and comes off exaggerated in her acting. For example, the chicken-like voice and aegyo she puts on when she asked Min Joon to teleport to her room.
Initially, Do Min Joon is emotionally shut-down, or I should say he is highly in control of his emotions; therefore, a lot of the time Soo Hyun’s facial expression is subtle, and easily missed. This perhaps give viewers the false impression that he is expressionless if one doesn’t pay attention closely, and thus this is probably why it takes a longer time for viewers to connect with him. Soo Hyun also chose to speak in a monotonous manner that I believe could be one of the reasons why at first people find his acting plain. After all, not everyone likes “a stoic expressionless character”. On the contrary, I was already intrigued by Do Min Joon from the very beginning because I personally find stoic characters interesting to watch. I love the process of them gradually go through change or character development, as well as learning to open up their hearts, and become animated after interacting with the female lead.
I like the idea that Do Min Joon is 100% the opposite of Kim Soo Hyun, so it becomes challenging for Soo Hyun (who in real life is always all smiles and bubbly) to transform into a stoic, quiet and ‘boring’ Do Min Joon. Yes, Do Min Joon is boring before he met Song Yi. He lives his life in routine and in a sea of calm for god knows how long until this weird, sassy and arrogant national goddess Chun Song Yi changes all that. She makes his life interesting and shows him how to love. Song Yi can be annoyingly invasive at times and pushy, but she’s also lovable and hilariously comedic that you just can’t bring yourself to fault her. What I like about her is her kick-arse and optimistic attitude since I’m not one who loves melodramatic, pessimistic or weak female characters; thus, Chun Song Yi is my perfect heroine. There really isn’t anything to nitpick on Do Min Joon in my opinion – he is smart, rich, knowledgeable, and loyal to his loved ones and has good manners. Both of them aren’t the sulky melodramatic type so I’m pretty happy with their character set up.
There are so many gems sprinkled in this drama that I could not possibly address it all without getting overly wordy. Just to name a few, at the end of each episode, we always get an epilogue that convey a side story for our leads – this comes across as refreshing and unique for the viewers. At times, the epilogues give us extra information whereas other times it would be a scene that touches our hearts. I love writer Park’s humour when she cracks an in-joke/meta, or writes a parody that is related to the casts’ past projects or about the latest dramas. The show also makes you look forward to the cameo appearances in each episode – it was lovely to see a mini reunion of Soo Hyun with his ex-costars like Suzy (Dream High) and Jung Eun Pyo (The Moon That Embraces The Sun). It has fantastic cliffhanger at the end of each episode too, but this becomes insignificant if you watch it all in one go.
This show is a true romance + comedy as it really does concentrate mostly on its romance, and aimed to deliver us the comedy. In K-dramaland, a show usually becomes extremely mellow after it goes over the half way mark of its total episodes, and it can become emotionally draining to watch. However, Stars did not become mellow or sad until episode 19. I am 90% satisfied with the ending for the Stars couple – they are cherishing ‘the moment’ they have together rather than worrying about the forever, as the message Writer Park tries to convey. The 10% dissatisfaction lies in the fact that my heart bleeds for Min Joon when … (oh crap, I nearly wrote a spoiler). Well he would have no regrets, but I just hate thinking about the ‘but’. 😥
As for the flaws, people complained that the villain’s storyline is weak and dragged on too long. I would have to agree, but I also think it is trivial for this show because its focus is on the romance. Lee Jae Kyung exists as a plot point to create conflicts and helps to push the couple together; it also existed so that Hwi Kyung gets his fair share of character growth. My gripe with the drama lies in the strings of unanswered questions created when the writer tried to introduce more conflicts or limitations into the storylines.
Ideally, I wanted Min Joon to eventually become human, start a family and grow old with Song Yi. But scientifically and realistically (OS: but it is a fantasy!!!), he should remain as an alien because evolution takes million of years to happen; therefore, it would be unreasonable that he evolves into ‘a human being’ after only 400 years. Although we can also argue that maybe alien can evolve at a faster rate, who knows? There are probably other universal/galactic mechanisms involved too, but unfortunately this is as far as my scientific mind can go in discussing on this point. It would also become impractical for the writer to go in-depth since this is clearly not her focal point for the drama.
So these are the not-so-important flaws in the drama, but they aren’t significant enough for me to write off the show since there are so many good stuffs weighs over the bad. This show truly is one easy to love and extremely hard to hate drama. Most importantly, the cinematography is absolutely stunning, even after it went on live shooting. I must say I was very impressed because usually the quality of a K-drama deteriorates when it runs behind schedule. This drama really sets a preceding record in terms of quality, and proves that extension doesn’t always ruin the drama, as the drama’s pace did not get affected by the extension like viewers had feared. The drama also inspired many artists and that made me a very blissful collector of fan arts and videos (1) (2).
In conclusion, My Love From The Stars is truly a fan-STAR-bu-lous drama backed by amazingly talented casts and BTS crews with beautiful OST. It’s a must watch fun drama!
A Message for Stars Lovers:
Writing up this drama review sucks the life out of me because I find the more I love a drama the more it becomes difficult to write and do it justice. I find myself re-writing it over and over, unsatisfied with everything I write. The fact that Stars has so many lovable, fun and special moments, I had to restraint myself from sharing it all in the review. I did not want to include any spoilers because I want those who has not seen it to enjoy and be surprised by it on their own. It was a torture not having to mention any spoilers in the review. *Major mental breakdown*
Well if I can’t do it at least you guys can. You guys can share what you love about it in the comment section. I look forward to read about it ~ ❤
Image source: credit to its owners