As much as my life here in the UK is different, I am still basically the same person I was back home. I sing off-key to show tunes, I read constantly, I continue my eternal quest to find the perfect shade of lipstick for my skin-tone, and I fall in love with new TV shows.
While living in L.A., I developed a thing for Korean drama, thanks to the short-lived (on my cable package, at least) AZN channel which played them with English subtitles. I fell in love with the sweet, sappy and silly melodramas where everyone is too pretty to be real and an open-mouth kiss is a big freaking deal.
The other day, I was playing around on Buzzfeed when I came across an article about a recent K-drama called My Love From the Star (or You Who Came From the Stars, depending on your translation) that was so popular in Korea and China that it literally ruined lives. Read the article to find out why, but obviously when they provided a link to a streaming site where I could watch the show, I totally clicked it on it….and got absolutely sucked in.
The basic story is that 400 years ago, an alien fell to Earth and was unable to save the life of a young girl who befriended him. Stuck without a way to get home, he lived through the next four centuries, amassing knowledge and wealth and a hell of a book collection, but without making any connections with the humans around him. Finally a comet is approaching that will allow him to return to his world. Everything changes, though, when a ditzy, rude, self-centered actress (the hottest start in Korea) moves in next door to him and he realizes that he’s met her before…he saved her life when she was twelve because she is a ringer for the girl he couldn’t save in the past. Of course, they start to fall in love, especially when her life is threatened and he has to use his powers (stopping time, teleportation, long-distance hearing) to discover who wants her dead and ensure her safety, all before his time on Earth runs out.
There is something special about this drama. The actors (who have apparently worked together before) have immense chemistry and unlike a lot of K-drama actresses who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag, this girl makes you root for her, despite all of her bad traits. For a writer of romance, this show is a lesson in how to create a flawed, but loveable heroine.
But what makes us love a good K-drama is the romance, and this show has it in totally believable spades. This isn’t a show where two people see each other across a room and fall into inexplicable love. And it’s not even a show where two people are stuck together in a contrived situation and resist falling in love until the last episode. There’s too much going on in this story for that kind of nonsense. This is a very real (well, except for the supernatural stuff) drama about two incredibly lonely individuals who are both hiding their true selves from the world out of fear of rejection, and how they discover the best parts of themselves only when they find each other.
I get inspired to write great romance when I see great romance, and this show has given me so much inspiration. I found myself actually sobbing during the last episode. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I will say that it doesn’t end conventionally happy, but it does leave you with a smile. And the last big kiss…well, it’s one of the hottest and most visually stunning I’ve ever seen in a K-drama.
If you have an hour to spare (and a fair bit of patience for the stupid commercials that you’ll have to sit through), give the first episode of My Love from the Star a try, in particular if you are a fellow romance writer. Love, after all, isn’t just international…it’s universal.