[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Daily Dose of Sunshine" Episode 1
By William Schwartz | Published on
In one of the more questionable localized translation decisions of recent years, Netflix went with "Daily Dose of Sunshine" as the title for its Park Bo-young led drama about a psychiatric ward. Granted, the Korean title, a more literal "the morning also comes to the psychiatric ward" isn't that different. But "Daily Dose of Sunshine" implies quite a bit more schmaltziness than the target audience probably wants, as the drama is a lot closer to "It's Okay to Not Be Okay" than "Dr. Romantic" in execution.
Whether that's the intended approach here I'm not sure. "Daily Dose of Sunshine" brings back together the writing team for "Behind your Touch" of all things. Yes, that was the show about a veterinarian who use psychic powers by touching rear ends and yes, that only ended a month ago. Technically "Daily Dose of Sunshine" probably came first this being, for whatever reason, the next project the "All of Us Are Dead" directing team wanted to do in between bouts of zombie high school action.
The structure is also quite a bit more episodic than might be implied by all these other titles. More than any main character, Ri-na (played by Jung Woon-sun) is the main focus of attention this episode. Ri-na is a housewife who's been institutionalized for stalking a man. The full story is a bit more complicated than that, although given the attitude of Ri-na's mother (played by Cha Mi-kyung), it's hard to blame our lead character, rookie nurse Da-eun, for taking Ri-na at her word.
"Daily Dose of Sunshine" commits to an intriguing tonal choice by making Ri-na so much more interesting than the actual main characters in the opening episode. In a way this makes it easy to sympathize with Ri-na's motivation, her mental illness essentially being a desperate bid for attention. The irony of Ri-na being the envy of nearly everyone she knows, and thus isolated and quite unapproachable, is easy to understand in this context.
As of this writing there's no clear data from Netflix yet regarding just how popular "Daily Dose of Sunshine" is. I still can't get past how weirdly timed this show is in the lineup- "Doona!" came out only a couple of weeks ago, and that's not even counting the licensed weekly content. Although to be fair, "Daily Dose of Sunshine" is a very different show than what it's titled implies- not really straightforward cheer so much as bittersweet optimism that this, too, shall pass.
Written by William Schwartz
"Daily Dose of Sunshine" is directed by Kim Nam-soo, Lee Jae-gyoo, written by Kim Da-hee-II, Lee Nam-gyoo, Oh Bo-hyeon, and features Park Bo-young, Yeon Woo-jin, Jang Dong-yoon, Lee Jung-eun, Chang Ryul, Lee E-dam. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2023/11/03, Fri on Netflix.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea from 2011 to 2021. He is currently located in the Portland metropolitan area. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org, and is open to requests for content in future articles.