Scene from 'Hospital Playlist'

Scene from ‘Hospital Playlist’

JUST A THOUGHT: “A solved problem creates two new problems, and the best prescription for happy living is not to solve any more problems than you have to.” —Russel Baker


HIGH ON K-DRAMA:  Thanks to the wife, I have now become more acquainted with Korean novellas, their heroes and heroines, their actors’ personal histories, anything that is Korean at all, over and above kimchi, samgyeopsal, and japchae.

I have noticed something, however. Cecile has shown keen interest in watching Korean medical dramas.

It started long before the country-wide and worldwide scare against corona virus or Covid-19 hit us to the very core.

For some reason, she says Korean medical dramas are so expertly produced, very well-acted, and sounding every bit scientific, if also technical.

Some scenes, specifically those that show surgery in the operating room, can be so graphic, bloody, or gory, that they can turn off the more sensitive viewer.

One time, during dinner, I was watching an early episode of “Kingdom,” a period series, when I caught an entire village gobbling up what looked like a delicious soup and meat dish.

A peasant woman was scooping the thick soup out from a big, boiling cauldron when the ladle she was holding accidentally fished out a bloated human finger from the hot soup.

Turns out the entire community had been devouring human flesh, made from the meat of a person who had been missing for days.

Cecile explains watching bloody scenes is all a matter of exposure, of getting used to it. They must be part and parcel of the program’s educational nature.

Indeed, there’s much the ordinary viewer can learn about medical histories, procedures and conditions just by watching such programs.

'Dr. Romantic'

‘Dr. Romantic’


SHIFT IN TELEVIEWING: Daytime and nighttime viewing fare at home has changed from homegrown teleseryes to Korean dramas such as “Dr. Romantic,” “The Good Doctor,” “Hospital Playlist” and “Doctor Stranger.”

I’m sure there must be others out there that I may have missed, taking note that I merely glance on the TV screen using my peripheral vision. In the beginning, yes.

With quarantine extended, stretched out for months, renamed and reinvented, there has been no choice but to swim right into the present milieu of TV watching at home.

The above mentioned programs are all Korean-made medical dramas, big hits in their home country. I understand that “The Good Doctor” has been adapted by Hollywood’s ABC television network, using an all-American cast.

It just shows how pervasive, how effective the show has been, and how universal its message. Netflix also carries many Korean dramas, from where we subscribe through the courtesy of a family friend.


CAPSULE REPORT: Just what are these medical drama programs all about? I turn to the internet for capsule reports.

In the US version, “The Good Doctor” is set in a neglected, deserted, ill-supplied and crumbling rural hospital. The hospital is in the predominately poor, black section of post-apartheid South Africa which was previously called the homelands.

Comes now a fresh medical school graduate with high ideals who dreams of making a difference.


“DR. ROMANTIC” is a 2016 South Korean television drama starring Han Suk-kyu in the title role.

The ‎20 (+ 1 special)-episode series was first shown in ‎South Korea, then beamed worldwide.

He is cast as Master Kim, an idealistic doctor who’s also a mentor to young resident doctors who look up to him as a model and father figure.




“HOSPITAL PLAYLIST” tells the story of five friends, now promising young doctors, who try to relieve their college band days by reviving it in the middle of their hospital duty. Playlist boasts musical numbers for greater entertainment value.


“DOCTOR STRANGER” is a 2014 series that tells of a young doctor who flees North Korea for life in the south, where he finds and follows a woman who looks exactly like the woman he lost track of during his escape.

“Doctor Stranger” is not in any way related to “Doctor Strange,” the 2016 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

In the film, Strange learns the mystic arts after a career-ending car crash.





Source: Manila Bulletin (