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Hospital Playlist Review – Doing Things a Little Different


This year has been eye-opening for me especially when it comes to shows and entertainment as a whole. From avoiding K-drama like the plague to now diving from one show to another, I think I’m a convert. And pushing me over the edge is a particularly excellent medical drama Hospital Playlist.

I have been fortunate because I came in pretty late on the Korean drama scene. This has afforded me the time and patience to be selective about the shows I watch. While I was disappointed with The King: Eternal Monarch, leaving it in the middle to see Hospital Playlist was the right decision.

And that point is what amazed me when I first started watching the medical drama, The King was an elaborately laid out story while Hospital Playlist was a self-contained series. Hospital Playlist felt like a doctor and cheery version of Black Mirror, in that you could watch any episode in the list and not feel the need to watch the whole show.

Doing Things a Little Different – Hospital Playlist and Its Formating.

lee-ik-joon-cast-hospital-playlist-starHospital Playlist is one of the finest shows ever.
Image Source: Netflix

I have spoken in ad nauseam about my love for Crash Landing On You but that show was also an elaborately planned drama, executed to perfection. Then there was the Hospital Playlist where the main group of friends and their friendship was the only carryover factor in this almost feature-length episodic series.

Hospital Playlist accomplished something pretty unique, it made every episode a self-contained story. The plot point raised in the opening few minutes of the show were tied up by the end of each episode. Once I was acquainted with the main group of casts there was no need for me to worry about the main story, instead, I was just able to enjoy every single episode.

Yes, there were some patients, romances, and remnants of some long-lost story thread in the final few episodes but those were never in focus. It was only about the five friends and how close they’ve become in over two decades, their lives as parents, sons, and possible brothers-in-law.

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I was so surprised when the first episode was over, and almost every Korean drama I’ve watched has surprised me. But this was the most dumbfounded I’ve ever been, for the first time I finished the first episode of a show (any show) and there wasn’t a lingering storyline to try and hook me into the next episode.

Obviously, there are the next episode promos at the end of each show but as a retaining tool, the series did not use a cheap trick on me. When the first episode was over, I was happy to jump into the next one because I fell in love with the cast as well as the supporting cast.

For once a director, writer, producer, cinematographer trusted their story and the way they told the story was enough to retain the viewer. To be honest, watching Hospital Playlist was like watching a movie saga, a 12 movie long saga.

“Like a Broken Record” – Cast and Supporting Cast Were the Driving Force

This is a point I’ve peddled for the last few weeks, a Korean Drama goes as far as their cast and especially supporting cast takes them. I wrote extensively on this point when talking about Itaewon Class, touched on with Descendants of the Sun and Crash Landing On You, but no one did it better than Hospital Playlist.

From Choo Min-ha getting embarrassed and almost running into a wall to Jang Yun-bok‘s tear-jerking hug with Chae Song-hwa, I lived for those moments while watching this show. The level of supporting talent on display for this show was, frankly, unfair.

While the leading 5 characters brought in the early viewership, the supporting cast and their relationships with the leads are what helped the finale become the ninth highest-rated show in Korea. There is not much I can say that can even come close to the acting excellence on display with the supporting cast of Hospital Playlist.

But one thing I will say, Lee Ik-joon, played by Jo Jung-suk, made me fall from my seat laughing when he quoted Parasite (Jessica jingle). Also, those father-son moments had me making faces, I am ashamed of it all, I blame you Jo Jung-suk.

All kidding aside, Hospital Playlist is one of the finest shows (period) I’ve ever watched. While I will still rank Crash Landing above it (first love, what can I say), this show came closest to knocking it off. Well, it might be able to, considering Hospital Playlist season 2 is listed for release in 2021.

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Last modified: November 19, 2020