There was a quiet buzz around Nine: Nine Time Travels when it was first announced, but I didn’t pay much attention. Time travels were sooo last year *flips hair* and though I had nothing against either of the leads – Jo Yoon-hee and Lee Jin-wook – there was no desperation in my soul to watch the two of them grace my television. Plus I didn’t watch Queen In-hyun’s Man (gasp!), the most recent drama by this writers+PD team, so there was no particular pull for me. Man oh man, am I more than willing to eat some major humble pie.
Park Sun-woo (Lee Jin-wook) is the anchor for the midnight news hour of broadcasting company CBM. When he learns that his brother, Park Jung-woo (Jeon Noh-min), died in Nepal, he heads over to bring back his brother’s remains. There he discovers, among his brother’s possessions, a mysterious stick of incense.
Joo Min-young (Jo Yoon-hee) is a reporter for CBM and the other half of the reason Sun-woo headed to Nepal. She’s there on a gig with the broadcasting company, and Sun-woo proposes that the two of them marry (sans legal proceedings) then part ways after six months. The bright and bubbly Min-young has worn her heart on her sleeve the past five years (ever since she entered CBM), and Sun-woo claims he’s just making her dreams come true. But we all know the truth, eh? *wink wink*
Sun-woo learns the incense stick is a time machine that takes him back exactly 20 years – 20 years to the date and time – on which he burns the incense. Determined to fulfill his late brother’s wishes, Sun-woo takes it upon himself to go back in time and tweak a few things in his brother’s – and their unfortunate family’s – life. Alas, little did he know what that small tweak for his brother’s happiness would cost him. And thus begins the journey of the nine sticks of incense – nine chances to right past wrongs and right his own present, overturned world…
Oh, what would I have done without Korean TV and its love for re-runs? While lazing around on my not-so-comfy-yet-now-bearable comforter, I flipped to some random channel and caught the first episode of Nine. And then the second. And then I downloaded Episode 10 and watched Episode 11 live.
I’ve been doing a strange dance with Nine, going back to watch from the beginning while watching the live episodes at the same time. So I’m bouncing back and forth, and I really wish I could have just started the journey chronologically from the very beginning. If it’s this good the strange way I’m watching it right now, how much more cracktastically flooring would it have been if I’d seen it the way it was meant to be?
There are so many things I love about this drama, and I could probably write a good 10-page paper on it, so I’ll just hit some highlights. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible so y’all can enjoy it as much as I am right now.
First: The story and the storytelling. Now, all drama writers start off with great ambitions and lovely ideas in their heads. No one wants to make junk. But, as we all know, it happens. All the time. Every once in a while, though, we’ll get a show that is so tightly written and plotted, pinkblossom keels over. You know the writers had a clear command of their spaceship (yes, dramas are spaceships), that they set out a course and stuck to it. Watching the pieces of the puzzle slowly fall into place, you appreciate the intricate setup and resulting reward. Nine is a prime example of such forethought, dedication, and continued effort to remain on course.
All actions have consequences, but Dramaland oftentimes seems to forget that. Exhibit A: No matter how stupid the poopyhead is, he still gets the girl. Here in Nine, where the past and its alteration – or lack thereof – is the focus of all that happens in the present, the importance of actions and consequences is so clearly and masterfully explored. I love the way that time flows both in the past and the present. By setting up the past world – our characters in their little world 20 years ago – we get to see how directly related the past is to the present. The drama is so clever with the use of this juxtaposition. Deftly moving back and forth between the past world and the present, we see how changes in the past lead to new ‘memories’ being formed by the characters in the present. It’s both brilliant and a wonderful way for us viewers to track what’s going on.
Not being a film student, I don’t know too much about cameras, techniques, or the like. But I can appreciate the way that Nine makes use of screen splits and title/caption overlays. Seriously, I just love love loooove the way they split the screen, magnifying and shrinking respective sides and constantly giving us different angles of the same conversation.
The title/caption overlays with dates remind me a lot of Answer Me 1997, and I can say that I still appreciate those overlays for helping us keep track of where we are – both time- and location-wise. The ticking clock touch is reminiscent of 24, but it holds a different kind of appeal here in Nine because we only have 30 minutes (the length of time it takes the incense stick to burn – and thus bring Sun-woo back to the present), not an hour or 24 hours. [[mini SPOILER ALERT]] I love that those 30 minutes weren’t long enough initially, and then we couldn’t wait for those 30 minutes to end in Episode 13 (or even latest Episode 16). [[END SPOILER]]
We’ve only got 4 episodes left now for the live broadcast, and I have absolutely no idea where we’re going or where we’ll end up. My heart hurts in the best way possible for our OTP, and I pray that we can have a happy ending for them since I didn’t get to enjoy very many giggly squee moments. That’s right: the happy ending is not for their happiness but for mine. I demand a full-on wedding complete with honeymoon and a time jump to see them with five kids! But yes, how heartwrenching is the tagline on the main poster? “I turn back the clock nine times in order to win you back.” *heartbreak*
In short: WATCH NINE. NOOOOOW.
thanks for the review….I really wanted to watch this and I was waiting to marathon it once it got completed….
i’ve gotta say this one is one of the best ever in my book. WATCH IT. heheheee!! 😀
I was on board for this show when it was announced that the team behind Queen In-Hyun’s man would also be writing for Nine as well. Time travel is a fascinating theme to me and I love Jo Yoon-hee. Another winner for Song Jae-jung and Kim Yoon-joo! Pinkblossom, if you ever find yourself with some free time, consider watching Queen In-Hyun’s Man. A truly wonderful drama and one of the most swoon-worthy kiss scenes ever!
hihiii, Fay! ^^ *psst* secret! i’m not a huge fan of yoo in-na or ji hyun-woo lolol! buuut “nine” has just been so wonderful i have moved “queen in-hyun’s man” up on my watch list – a looot! i really like the new direction jo yoon-hee’s career has taken — she used to play such annoying, hate-fest characters 😉 have you been watching “nine”???
I promise, you won’t regret watching that drama.! And yes, I’m gearing up for the finale of Nine tonight. It has been a thrill from the beginning, but I swear, Dr. Choi makes the stupidest faces! And hey, Lee Jin Wook is mighty easy on the eyes.
dr. choi poooop!!!
lol so mature.
and mhmm i won’t deny lee jin-wook is miiiighty easy on the eyes!
Thanks for the insights for this drama. Will give this a try. 🙂 P.S. I miss the patch so much…
awwww we miss youuuuu, `Eun!!! have you joined the “nine” crew yet?! 😀 😀 what are you watching these days?? 🙂 🙂
awwwwww… I miss you too my patch friends!!!! Not yet, but I’ll be starting on it. keke… I’m watching I Summon You, Gold at the moment. XD
i cant believe you didnt watch Queen InHyun’s Man – you need to watch :):):)
heheheheee it’s on my watch list noooow, MEK!! ^^
Finally!! I’ve been waiting for someone to do a recap of this drama as I’ve been hearing a lot of things about it. Now I have to start watching. I’ve watched Jo Yoon Hee lately in a short drama and I like her. Thanks for sharing!!
I happened on this drama the second week of its airing so when I started there was only 4 episodes available ….. needless to say I was hooked ! I am fairly new KD so im not too familiar with writers or the actors, but since you mentioned the writers were from Queen Inhyuns man that just made me more happy that I am watching this because I really enjoyed that drama also. I hope you will be doing some money recaps soon – I am a big fan of you guys !!
so glad you’re still here with us, seattlite!! 😀 a belated personal welcome to the Patch! 😀 😀 oh my gollies don’t you LOVE “nine”?!?! i just can’t get over how fantasmic it is O_O hahahaa!
My reason…. Lee Jin Wook!!!!! ^^
hehheeee he’s such an awesome character in “nine”!!! but whenever i see him, the first thing i think of is “choi ji-woo’s ex” lol! we’re so glad you’re still gardening with us post-“seo-young,” startulle!! 😀 are you all caught up with “nine”???
I was curious so I watched the latest episode (16) – like I normally do – to find out if it is worth my time – and I loved it! Now I have to start from episode 1.
oh.em.gee. Elvie, you CAN’T watch “nine” out of order!!! hahahhahaaaa!! how far have you gotten??? 😀 a very belated personal welcome to our Patch!! i’m so happy to see all our MDSY family still here with us! 😀
welcome to the Patch, Delia Rago!! i LOVELOVELOVELOOOOVE it!!!! are you watching it live?! have you watched episode 19 yet?!
I haven’t watched QIM but it’s on my list and i’m planing to watch it after Nine ends.
I love Nine, i’m so hooked i can’t tell. it always surprised me, it makes me jump and worry… i love so many characters but i hate Dr. Choi.
But the best for me is Soon Woo. OMG Lee Jin Wook is killing me. what a leading man, so caring and handsome and he feels so real. i want one for myself 😉
“That’s right: the happy ending it’s not for their happiness but for mine.” It’s the same for me. I Need a happy ending, they deserve it, but i Need IT. Lol
antoniazc, we are long-lost dramaland twins for suresies!! from dylan mcdermott to “king of dramas” to “niiiine”!!! and i’m sure there are moooar in the closet heheee! ^^
I LOVE NINE. there’s nothing else i can say. really. hehehehee! but yesss dr. choi is for seriously creeper creepers — i’ve hated all of his characters over the years, but this one takes the cake. and SUN-WOOOOO~!!! i want one, tooo!!
have you watched episode 19?!?! ohemgeeee if i don’t get my happy ending… i can’t promise things will be pretty for the production team!
long-lost dramaland twins??? sure why not??? i’m sure there must be many dramas and actors that we loooooove in the closet 😉
this is my first time watching Choi so i can’t tell about his others roles but in Nine he’s doing an amazing job making me hate him so much!!!
i watched episode 19 and it left me with my heart broken in pieces and so afraid of what’s to come… i’m still praying for a happy ending, SW and MY deserve a happy ending with wedding and kids included
anyway i’m gonna miss Nine once it ended… what to watch next? maybe QIHM???
one of my earliest memories of choi is as the poopy dad in “autumn fairy tale”. and then he was even poopier in “winter sonata” and every drama since. >___< grrr mean face!
have you watched ep 20 yet? i think… actually, i'm still in a doozy… but i think for me, nine ended with ep 19…. oh i don't know my brain hurts. lol!
QIHM perhaps perhaaaps??? ^^
Dude like what took you so long?!!! 😉
a very belated welcome to the Patch, lisensei07!! 😀 😀 did you enjoy “incarnation”?!? it was defs a good outing for the entire cast 🙂 🙂 🙂
dude like yeaaah i wish i hadn’t taken so long!! hahahaa!!!
I think I hv to try this one while waiting the sub for The Queen of Office, hv been watching “when a man loves” but not so attractive anymore really the character of lead female is so bothering
WATCH IT, primimeri!!! 😀 😀 i watched the first episode of “office” and it was… different lol. not in a bad way, just more jdrama-like than kdrama-ish — i have no idea whether the tone changed since~ 🙂 but people seem to be enjoying it! 🙂 “when a man loves” is downright HILARIOUS at times — unintentionally, of course, but i just can’t watch song seung-hun without laughing 😉 and yeaaah shin se-kyung’s characters is just nutso.
please share if you start watching “nine”!! 😀
I’m also watching Queen of Office and so far i love it… so funny. sadly we have to wait so much for subs 😦
Yes! Yes! I so love QIHM it’s really really good! Now I so want to watch nine too! Let’s squee together!
i’m squeeeeing, dwarf! are youuu?!?! 😀 😀 😀
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hi, im afraid to watch nine after reading the reviews. i might watch it when i need a good cry. anyhow, can you rate/rank nine, im sorry i love you, and sandglass. thanks a lot
welcome to the Patch, king!! 😀 😀 😀
“nine” is defs not one you can just take lightly hahahaa ^^ but if you ever do get a chance, i’d highly recommend it!
as for ratings/ranking, i’m absolutely horrible at assigning concrete, definitive rankings or ratings — i’m just incapable of choosing favorites or giving grades hahaha! but. i would say that “nine” was a very refreshing watch in terms of it breaking from the usual kdrama… it’s got its good share of mystery and cleverness, and it’s one of the better shows out there in terms of being well thought-out and planned. that being said, i didnt quiiite have as strong an emotional connection as i thought i would — which can be good or bad depending on how you like to watch things! 🙂 it’s undoubtedly well done, but a bit more intellectual than emotional.
i actually haven’t watched “i’m sorry i love you” all the way through so i can’t give my impression of it, but it’s one of whitecarrot’s favorites! i do know that you’d better be ready with a kleenex box before you start it hehehee!
and last but ceeertainly not least: “the hourglass” aka “sandglass”. it’s so hard to give this one a ‘grade’ per se because it is hands-down undeniably one of THE classics of korean dramas. it’s not the usual cute fluff we see these days, nor is it super trendy or mind-bending like “nine”. i don’t know if i’d call it a ‘favorite’ or one i’d rewatch all the time, but there is no doubt that it is a classic and very VERY… impressive — and i mean ‘impressive’ as in it being wonderful as well as leaving quite an impression. it might be a bit harder to understand or relate to without a bit of understanding of korean society in the time period it’s set in, but even so i would say it’s a wonderful watch. 🙂 🙂
sorry i couldn’t give you hard numbers or a ranked list, but i do hope my incoherent ramblings were somewhat helpful hehehee! please(!) feel free to ask aaany questions or whateeever you’d like! welcome again to the family! 😀 😀