A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a change of pace from all the action dramas I had been watching and began looking for a great love story. But with no new ones out in their entirety, at the time, I chose to watch a really old show (for the second time) called My Love Patzzi. Then When Time Stopped came out with its last episode and I quickly turned that on, hoping for romance but not a lot was there. However, I can tell you with 100% certainty Where Stars Land is definitely it! Yep, this is the romance drama I have been hoping for!
The story is about some of the men and women who work at the Incheon International Airport. On average, one thousand planes take off and land at Incheon Airport each day. The average number of administrative staff is 60,000 each day and the average number of passengers who utilize this airport every single day comes to about 200,000. That adds up to 260,000 people who pass through and work at this airport each day. At first, colleagues Lee Soo-Yeon and Han Yeo-Reum rub each other the wrong way but that initial bumpy relationship begins to blossom into something warm and sweet the more they get to know one another.
The rumor circulating about Lee Soo-Yeon is that he’s mean, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Soo-Yeon is a soft-spoken, respectful young man who keeps to himself. He eats alone and has never attended a company dinner. There isn’t anyone at work he’s close to or anyone even willing to pretend they are close to him. Some people are aware of the fact that he has a handicap but people say that happens to be his social skills. He graduated from KAIST with a perfect TOEIC score and he had the highest interview score when the airport hired him. He was an intern for three months and has been on the job for only one month. Soo-Yeon is a loner, preferring to be in the shadows. He enjoys working behind the scenes quietly and out of sight as much as possible, wishing there would never be an instance where people would pay attention to him. His work file declares he has a level one disability, meaning he needs a walking assistance device, yet to look at him there is nothing wrong, in fact, he is unbelievably strong. There is definitely something special about the man.
Han Yeo-Reum had been employed in the Traffic Department of the airport for a year but just received a transfer to the Passenger Service Department. She is a bit resentful that although she has been employed by the airport much longer than Lee Soo-Yoon, he has been asked to be her mentor. “I barely got hired with points for attending a provincial college and I must start with all the tasks that others consider beneath them,” she grumbles. She has been disciplined by administrators for using kicks, chokeholds, and swearing while on the job. Two months after she started working at the airport she gave her boss a roundhouse kick and received a warning for it. In describing herself to others she claims she is “a troublemaker”, “full of lame excuses”, often “gets lost”, has “rational anxiety syndrome” and a “chronic inferiority complex.” She’s definitely a handful, in fact, one of her supervisors insists she is “a walking time bomb.” She’s also sweet as can be, has a warm smile, is very sympathetic, and works tirelessly.
There are other airport employees important to the story.
Seo In-Woo is the Team Manager of Airport Planning and Operation.
Yang Seo-Koon is the Team Manager of Passenger Services.
Kwon Hee-Seung-Joo is the Head of the Passenger Service Team.
Choi Moo-Ja is the Security Service Team Manager.
Oh Dae-Ki and Na Young-Joo are partners on the Security Service Team. Another key character is the man who runs the Fox Bride Star Cafe, Mr. Jang. He is the man who knows all about Soo-Hoon’s secret and helps with his disability.
For information about the man who plays Lee Soo-Yeon, actor Lee Je-Hoon, you can check out my Tomorrow With You review.
You can find out about Chae Soo-Bin, the actress who plays the part of Han Yeo-Reum, by going to my review of I’m Not a Robot.
Soo-Yeon and Yeo-Reum’s romance is compelling and sweet, totally enjoyable. But there is a sub-couple (I made up that word) that adds sexual tension and uncertainty to the flavor of the story – Security Team Members Oh Dae-Ki and An Young-Joo. You’ll enjoy watching their work relationship unfold into a complicated personal one.
Where Stars Land is the second collaboration between screenwriter Kang Eun-Kyung and director Shin Woo-Chul who worked together on Gu Family Book in 2013.
Interestingly enough, the lead parts in this show were first offered to Hyun Bin and Park Shin-Hye (who are the leads in the new Kdrama Memories of the Alhambra, which began airing a couple weeks ago). When they both declined, Park Bo-Gum and Bae Suzy were approached to see if they would be interested in playing the male and female lead, but they also said no thanks to the offer. Silly people… they missed out on being part of a really excellent drama.
The show began its run with a not so bad 5.9% rating and steadily kept gaining viewers until it reached its highest nationwide rating which happened to be episode 30 and 32, both with a 9.7%, which was 5th place overall in programming at that time . Not bad. It shows the drama was good enough to continuously gain more viewers as it went on. I can’t help but wonder if this drama would have pulled in more viewers if the stars had been one of the other two couples that were first approached. As amazing as those other stars are I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part of Lee Soo-Yeon than Lee Je-Hoon and Han Yeo-Reum was characterized perfectly by Chae Soo-Bin! Maybe more viewers by others actors/actresses but certainly not any better acting.
A big thumbs up goes to Where Stars Land’s special effects team. Because of Soo-Yeon’s disability there are some really good special effects in this show! I think you’ll like them.
There is a glaring mistake towards the ending episodes. It is such an obvious mess up I don’t know how someone working on the show didn’t catch it. Or maybe they did catch it but couldn’t do anything about it so they just prayed we wouldn’t notice. There is a pretty bad fog that shuts down planes both landing and taking off so Lee Soo-Yeon and Han Yeo-Reum are assigned to go out and purchased food for the passengers stranded in the airport. Looking through the airport windows you can’t see a thing but it’s clear skies at the supermarket where Soo-Yoon and Yeo-Reum are. “OOPS!”
Where Stars Land’s music isn’t bad, it’s just not extremely great either. Here are a few songs worth mentioning… My favorite on the soundtrack is Told You So crooned by Jeon Sewoon. Let’s see, how would I describe it? Maybe an up-beat soft pop ballad. Yeah, that sound about right. The next on my favorites list is In the Summer sung by Fromm. Her voice is just right for that soft little song. 1415 is responsible for the beautiful vocal in the ballad Nothing to Worry, and we get the encouraging words “Life is too short to cry” in the song Mystic World sung by O.When.
The setting for this story is, of course, Incheon International Airport which makes for a refreshingly unique and interesting background. When was the last time you saw a drama whose plot centered around people who worked in the airline industry? The outside lights of the airport at night are exquisite and take the shape of a fox face. I think you’ll enjoy the look of this show. Also, the Fox Bride Star Cafe may be small but it has big significance in the story. In fact, the drama’s first working title was “Yeowoogakshibyeol” which is literally “Fox Bride Star.”
I like the characters, I like the actors, I like the storyline, I like the setting… it’s a wonderful show. If you’ve been looking for a good love story but have come up empty, your search is over with Where Stars Land. It’s romantic and carries with it a wonderful hidden message… as Han Yeo-Reum’s father instructed, “There are no coincidences in life. Everything that happens in life, has a reason.”
Interesting “super power”
Great special effects
Original backdrop (setting)
Great chemistry (characters and actors)
The inconsistent fog “oops”