Secret Garden (시크릿 가든) is a 2010-2011 Korean romantic/fantasy drama that has the basic framework of any other Korean romantic drama, but adds things that makes it different and just that much more refreshing. It stars Hyun Bin, Ha Ji Won, Yoon Sang Hyun, Kim Sa Rang, Lee Philip, Lee Jong Suk, Yoo In Na, and Kim Sung Oh. The summary is as follows:
The drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won, an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im, a poor and humble stuntwoman whose beauty and body are the object of envy amongst top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies.
You know what bothers me? Even though summaries give you a hint of what goes on, it's really not that accurate. I don't know why I started this drama, but I do remember that I began it approximately two weeks before my arrival date in Korea (yes, I'm in Korea now and have been for the past two weeks). No wait, I was stuck on hulu.com for dramas because of the good quality of the videos; the commercials I could ignore and if I could see the pores on the actors' and actress' faces, all the better. Anyway, the summary didn't really pull me in though it did intrigue me. What? Romance and some fantastical idea all in one? O_o So I decided to try it out.
First off, the acting's superb. The switching of the bodies showed their talent and when Joo Won reverted back to his 21-year-old self, that was a testament as well. The plot was great as well, even though it seems a bit generic at first. I mean, it's a poor, orphan girl who gets noticed by some privileged guy. Then you learned a bit more: it's a stunt woman (who's pretty kick-butt if I may say so) who has a firefighter for a dad with a CEO for a lover and to-be husband. There are plot twists and I love how the roles are reversed where you see the guy going against the very fabric of his being and chasing after the girl. It's so romantic. Personally, the 17th and 18th episodes are my absolute favorites and you know what? The ending isn't all happiness and butterflies in a meadow full of blooming flowers. They're together (which is what's important - it seems like the main theme was how love could surpass all in the end solely by itself) and it shows a bit of life after marriage, but - well, you'll see. ^^
Anyway, I highly recommend it. One more thing: the body-swapping seems completely random at the beginning, but it all makes sense towards the end (sort of). :) It also links in references to fairy tales via Disney princesses which is sweet.You can watch it on hulu (but as hulu doesn't stream outside of the US, I finished it here).