What one thing do you think of when I say the words surgeon and vampire? Maybe… blood? So, if you were going to write a Kdrama about a vampire who is a surgeon, what would you call it? How about… Blood?
Park Ji-Sang is the new, chief surgeon at Taemin Cancer Hospital. He’s renown for his surgical abilities, performing difficult procedures most doctors wouldn’t even consider. Young, handsome, and slightly aloof, Ji-Sang is hardly someone you’d peg as a vampire – but he is – a vampire in search of the person responsible for the death of his parents. And if that’s not overwhelming enough, he and his best friend, medical researcher Joo Hyun-Woo, are busy trying to find a way to make him human.
Ji-Sang’s parents were part of a four person medical research team that accidentally developed a virus they named VBT-01, “vampire virus, basic type”, the symptoms, of which, make the infected person into a stereotypical vampire – craves blood, low body temperature, skin burns in the light of dawn, eyes sensitive to UV rays, no sense of taste, super strength… and when they get angry they get the usual pointy fangs, sharp fingernails, and their irises turn green while their veins are more pronounced against their pale skin.
How can a blood thirsty vampire be a surgeon, someone who deals with blood on a daily basis? Well, brilliant Hyun-Woo has developed a medication that suppresses Ji-Sang’s natural desire to consume blood. As long as he keeps taking his pills, the hospital personnel has no reason to believe Chief Park is anything other than an emotionally reserved surgeon.
Yoo Ri-Ta is an egotistical, yet talented, surgeon who isn’t too happy about being assigned to newly-appointed Chief Park’s team. Her parents died when she was a young teenager so she was raised by her uncle, the owner and chairman of Taemin hospital, and her aunt, the assistant director. Ri-Ta is outspoken and tends to be a bit bossy. She’s the kind of person you like to see get put in their place by authority, and Chief Park has no problem doing just that.
Lee Jae-Wook is the charming new hospital director. He is an intelligent, talented surgeon with a dazzling smile and easy-going charm. Director Lee opens a wing at the hospital, ward 21A, with plans to treat, free of charge, homeless cancer patients who have no family. He then brings in a team of pharmaceutical workers to develop and test new drugs on those poor people while refusing to allow the doctors at the hospital any information as to what is going on there. One by one, strange things begin to happen to the ward 21A patients, some of the hospital staff, and even the head of the pharmaceutical team. Park Ji-Sang is determined to get to the bottom of it all with a little help from Joo Hyun-Woo, Yoo Ri-Ta, and the son of the man responsible for making him a vampire.
Ahn Jae-Hyeon plays Park Ji-Sang. He first appeared on the Kdrama scene in December of 2013 in My Love From the Star. Just two short months after that ended he was co-staring in You’re All Surrounded. After a quick seven month breather he assumed his starring role as the personable vampire surgeon Chief Park. Perfect casting. They made him look just like a kind vampire.
Yoo Ri-Ta is played by Ku Hye-Sun, arguably best known for her role as the bullied teenager, Jan-Di, in Boys Over Flowers. However, as talented as she is, I just didn’t think she was right for this part. She seemed distracted, like she just wasn’t putting her all into it. And, honestly, I really didn’t like the character Ri-Ta, either. Ku Hye-Sun is a pretty actress but for some reason the make-up/hair folks made her look more vampire-like than Ahn Jae-Hyeon. Her hair was way too dark for as pale as they made her skin. The only color on her face was an extremely dark lipstick. Don’t let my dislike of her role/performance in this discourage you from watching her in other things, though. I loved her in The Musical and Angel Eyes.
Lee Jae-Wook is played by Ji Jin-Hee. He is absolutely perfect in this role… pleasant, handsome, sly. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he was the first actor hired and they assembled the rest of the cast around him. His acting and looks are superb, definitely my favorite part of this drama. I enjoyed him in He Who Can’t Marry but Director Lee is a character he was born to play!
Just a quick shout out for two lovable supporting characters – researcher Joo Hyun-Woo, played by Jung Hae-In, and Luuvy the robot. The drama certainly wouldn’t have been as good without them!
I think the make-up artists and the special effects folks did a fantastic job with how they made the vampires look – not frightening, just creepy enough to be unsettling. I was also impressed with the writer’s idea of having the vampires be humans who had been infected with a virus. These vampires were “made” through chemistry, not a bite on the neck. I also thought the little side notes, that appeared at the bottom of the screen when the characters were taking about medical issues, were a good idea. I’ve seen other Kdramas do that, as well. It’s a very nice service to viewers not of the medical profession. Yes, the explanations are in Korean so that doesn’t help me, but I cheat by using the subtitles. The fact that all the dialogue is written in English, including the big medical words, gives me a chance to check out what the characters are talking about by pausing the show, typing the word I don’t know into the search bar of the internet, and reading all about it online.
Blood‘s soundtrack didn’t score high on my “good things about this Kdrama” list, although I will say the music that’s played while the vampires fight is wonderfully intense and adds strength to those great action scenes. Even though I love Tiffany’s voice I wasn’t impressed at all with the song she sings called Only One. In my opinion it just isn’t one of her best. However, there is one song I really liked – the instrumental one played with the opening credits. It’s perfect for this show. It sounds just like Chief Park Ji-Sang’s personality… like, if a character turned into a musical score, that particular song would be a reserved vampire surgeon.
There’s some pretty scenery when they go to Jeju Island but other than that, most of the drama was filmed indoors.
What does deserve a “three cheers” mention is the visual effects. Watching normal looking people instantly change into vampires is impressive. But the best thing is the fighting. There isn’t enough to characterize it as an action Kdrama but the vampires’ fights are amazing. Stuntmen? Maybe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the actors had received some special martial arts/fighting training just for those scenes. Some of it’s even shown in slow motion to help us see how cool it all is. And the choreography is outstanding! Really, really good!
Blood is a pretty good way to use 20 entertainment hours. I really think you’ll enjoy it, especially if you like vampire shows. It’s not a Kdrama without flaws but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Very original plot
Character Director Lee
Character Joo Hyun-Woo
Luuvy the robot
Most of the soundtrack
Character Yoo Ri-Ta
Ku Hye-Sun make-up/hair