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Are family dramas' glory days over?

2008/10/09 | 5273 views | Permalink | Source

Gone are the days of Sunday night soaps and romantic comedies, as what appeared to be a blip in the SBS weekend drama line-up turns out to be something of a trend.

The highly popular family-oriented series "First Wives' Club" signaled a shift from the usual syrupy romances that SBS used to churn out. The result was a huge success.

Ending on a high note last Sunday with nationwide viewer ratings of 40.2 percent (AGB Nielsen Media Research), the hit SBS drama revealed an untapped market.

But will SBS' winning streak continue? The major broadcasting channel is willing to test the waters with yet another family drama. Starting tomorrow night, the new weekend series -- titled "Glory of the Family" -- explores the tangled and less than perfect lives of the illustrious Ha family. Centered on the filial granddaughter of the household Ha Dan-ah, played by Yoon Jung-hee-I, and her twin brothers, this drama is significantly weightier and more traditional than its predecessor.

"I think this drama will showcase the importance and pros of an extended family", said actor Jeon No-min, 42, at the press conference on Monday.

Slated to play the morally upright twin brother of the family, veteran actor Jeon stressed the pedantic nature of the upcoming drama.

Yet the series is not entirely devoid of comedy. Co-star Kim Sung-min, who is taking on the role of the playboy twin to Jeon's character, is set to bring in laughs via an unlikely romance with tomboy singer-turned-actress Maya.

Kim won audiences over with his portrayal of a wicked and selfish husband in the hit drama "Fantastic Couple" (2006). Skilled at playing the cad, Kim looks like he will have his hands full keeping up with his loud and vivacious co-star.

But Kim and Maya's romance is a mere sidebar to the family-oriented series, which focuses on the granddaughter of the family, Ha Dan-ah.

"I wanted to write a story about a very backward woman", explained scriptwriter Jung Ji-woo. "I wanted to see how a woman who cannot speak up for herself and likes to sew could survive in modern society".

Jung's backward character Ha Dan-ah will be played by actress Yoon Jung-hee-I. Yoon rose to fame in the popular SBS drama "Love in Heaven" (2005) in the role of a sweet and filial daughter. And it looks like she has been typecast, yet again, into an equally sugary part.

As a counterpoint to Yoon's innocent character, co-star Park Si-hoo is starring as her love interest.

"My character is a bad guy with irresistible charm", said Park, 30, at the press conference.

Inklings of a potential romance between Park and Yoon's characters will take root in the first few episodes of "Glory of the Family", with the passing away of the head of the Ha household and the ensuing traditional funeral rites.

The preview screening showcased the expansive funeral procession.

"I wanted to revive the significance of our dying traditions", said director Park Yeong-soo-I. "I worked hard to capture that".

"Glory of the Family" starts airing tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on SBS.

By Jean Oh

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