Where Stars Land is a South Korean television series starring Lee Je-hoon and Chae Soo-bin. It aired on SBS from October 1 to November 26, 2018 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 22:00 (KST) for 32 episodes.
Can you do a good job when you embark on a profession for which you were not destined?
Lee Soo Yeon ( Lee Je Hoon ) dreamed of becoming a pilot, but his poor eyesight shattered his dream. He goes to work at Incheon International Airport in the general planning department, but harbors a secret that leads him to keep his distance from his colleagues.
Han Yeo Reum ( Chae Soo Bin ), the new airport duty officer, is full of enthusiasm and wants to do her best. But her clumsy nature makes her a threat to the passengers and to herself.
Can Soo Yeon undo the damage Yeo Reum causes at work?
“Where Stars Land” is a 2018 South Korean Viki Original series directed by Shin Woo Cheol.
Review: by epicurious_aussie (link)
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I’ve been on a Lee Je-Hoon binge the last few weeks, after being impressed with his work in Move to Heaven, Taxi Driver and Signal [all of which are highly highly recommended].
So, I started watching Where Stars Land and on its face, I expected there would be much to like. I love slice of life dramas, I enjoy romance series and I love airports. I think there is natural drama and excitement to airports so the idea of having a romance, slice of life drama set in an airport felt like a dream combination for me.
Unfortunately, I was left very very disappointed by this series. Easily the worst drama I have seen since I started watching.
I think, fundamentally, the problem is the series didn’t know what it wanted to be. It dabbled in a little of slice of life, a little romance, some comedy, some gangland/mafia crime, superhero action, and some sci-fi/fantasy destiny tropes. It fails in all of these genres and by the time I reached the end, I felt like none of the outcomes and endings were deserved or well-earned for any of the characters because no time had been devoted to exploring any of them in any meaningful way.
What is worse is the extremely ableist mentality that permeates throughout the series. I get that the ML’s disability is a catalyst for much of the drama but it has been portrayed in such a way that I felt suggests that someone with a disability cannot live a meaningful life unless they somehow looked and acted ‘normal’, a term that was used quite a bit throughout the series. I get that the ML struggles with this and has for a long time but none of the characters made any efforts to inspire and encourage him in any regard other than to hide himself, and his disability and to blend in. Separate from those huge problems, some of the plot points were just nonsensical (I’ve tried to set them in spoilers, but not working for me). I’ve listed some of them below.
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- As a romance, I just didn’t buy the connection between ML and FL. They didn’t devote enough effort into it other than a few past meetings and all of a sudden ML confesses his love for FL.
- FL’s past struggles with bullying and self esteem, how it affected her later life and relationship with her parents is dispensed with a few lines a couple of flashbacks
- No explanation as to how a children’s book writer/restaurant owner knew and connected ML with a genius cybernetics professor who created prosthetics that would impress Tony Stark
- Inconsistencies in the strength of ML’s cybernetic arm and the causes of its malfunction – is it strong emotion or rage or heart excitement?
- No exploration of the relationship between Team leaders Yang, Choi and Seo even though there were allusions that they had a past together
- No exploration as to how Team leader Yang knows Mr Jang, and reasons why she’s so devoted to helping ML other than a brief reference to her brother that’s never mentioned again
- Inconsistencies about when and how the FL lost touch with her father, even though he appears to have still be in touch with her right into adulthood because he had her photo on his phone which he showed ML – but when she finds out ML knew her father, she asks him to tell her stories?
- It is never clear what happened to FL’s dad – is he dead? Why did Mr Jang take over the restaurant? What is Mr Jang hiding from?
- The older brother antagonist was very one-note and his redemption arc felt weak. Right throughout he seemed hellbent on destroying the ML and we are just meant to believe in the last few episodes that he did it to protect him all along?
- The hard disk with incriminating information is mentioned but never used to bring down the gang – so they just let the gang continue to cause trouble?
- The FL’s best friend basically spent the whole series third-wheeling in a way that was neither charming nor romantic, especially after she made it clear that she was in love with ML
- The drug trafficker story is never resolved
- The story between the older brother and his father is never explored or resolved
It’s probably an unfair comparison but I kinda expected this would be something similar to “Hospital Playlist” but set in an airport. “Hospital Playlist” was also slice of life but in the space of 12 episodes (per season) it managed to navigate a huge cast of characters and drew them out in the course of drama that felt real.
Two mild positives in this series – I did like Team leader Yang (Kim Ji-soo) and Oh Dae Gi (Kim Kyung-Nam) – I thought those characters were well drawn and the actors did well with their limited material.
That’s all I can think of for now. Apologies again for the rant. If you’ve made it this far, thank you.
And to anyone who is a fan of this series, I’m sorry if you’re offended, that wasn’t my intention. I came into this series with every expectation of enjoying it but it just didn’t happen. No element of it worked for me.
Would love to hear others’ thoughts.