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Will 'Naughty Kiss' create magic?

2010/08/30 Source

By Han Sang-hee

A catchy storyline, plus likable characters, is a must for dramas. And this is probably why some are made into various versions in different countries, particularly in Asia. But to be successful they need a little more to create a stir among the smart and somewhat ruthless viewers today.

Following the comic-drama "Boys over Flowers" (2009, KBS), which was remade in Japan, Taiwan and Korea, a new comic adaptation, "Naughty Kiss", is awaiting its first airing next month, with hopes that it will attract viewers and also surpass its Japanese and Taiwanese versions.

"Naughty Kiss" first appeared as a comic series from 1990 to 1999 by Japanese cartoonist Kaoru Tada's "Itazura na Kiss" and was made into a television drama in 1996 and also a cartoon in 2008. The popular series was later remade into a television soap in Taiwan in 2005. And now it awaits its Korean remake with a star-studded cast this September.

The show brings two doll-faced characters back to the small screen: young stars Kim Hyun-joong and Jung So-min.
Kim will play the arrogant yet smart and athletic Baek Seung-jo, while Jung will appear as the heroine Oh Honey. Oh falls for Baek, who has better things to do than fooling around with an average classmate, but when he finds out that she is going to live with him and his family for a while, he feels a change in his emotions.

The Korean version faces fierce competition as the two previous versions were immensely popular among fans around Asia. Despite the pressure, producer Hwang In-roi was confident that the actors and his team will bring yet another successful comic-turned-drama, something he is already famous for.

"I tried hard to bring out the humorous parts of the original. But I still understood the need of a young couple heading toward a happy ending, so we'll see what the two will bring throughout the drama", he said at a press conference for the series last Thursday.
Dramas based on comics have been quite popular here, such as "Full House" (2004, KBS), "Princess Hours", (2006, MBC) "Gourmet" (2008, SBS) and "Boys over Flowers", and it seems "Naughty Kiss" has what it takes to relive those glory days. It has fresh-faced characters, a confident producer who already has a history of success in this genre such as "Princess Hours" and "Iljimae Returns - Moon River", and an attractive storyline that has been proven overseas.

The drama, despite its potential, still faces some hurdles before it first airs next month.

Kim may have proven his charms as the good-looking and warmhearted high school senior in his previous work "Boys over Flowers" last year, but his supporting role doesn't mean he will nail the main role, as well. While his character in the previous drama was mellow and required no dramatic scenes, he will have to turn it up a notch to pull off the arrogant and cocky Baek. The heroine Jung is no different in terms of experience. Her experience is quite limited: she appeared in this year's hit drama "Bad Boy".

Being aired during the primetime slot will also be a challenge for "Naughty Kiss". MBC has not produced any impressive soaps in its Wednesday and Thursday time slot since 2009, including "Iljimae Returns - Moon River", "Cinderella Man", "Triple", "No Limit" and "Hero - Drama", and now all eyes are on the star-studded series. Not to mention the burden of competition on the other networks. KBS' "Bread, Love and Dreams" is currently leading viewers' ratings with a whopping 40 percent, while "My girlfriend is Gumiho" (SBS) is following with 10 percent.

"Naughty Kiss" is heading down tough roads, for it will have to catch up with the two dramas without any support from its predecessor "Road No. 1", which is struggling with only 5 percent of the ratings.

Everything seems to be in place: the determined and good-looking actors, a confident producer and staff and a delightful storyline. But will these be enough to create TV magic? Viewers will have to wait and see at 9:55 p.m.on Sept. 1 on MBC.

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