There’s always that one moment when someone recommends something out of the blue, you decide to check it out with no expectations whatsoever, and you end up with a pleasant surprise. Hyena belongs to that category.
Out of the many recommendations from various friends, two people mentioned this K-drama to me: one is a colleague who said that she and her daughter liked it; and another from a friend from the K-entertainment (and at some point, Alden) fandom who bravely described it as, “better than the popular ones”. This second one piqued my interest. I know her taste. She won’t recommend something that’s not, at the very least, interesting to watch.
Another factor: Joo Jihoon is in this drama. I’m still on Joo Jihoon Fangirl Mode after Kingdom 2 and the Along With The Gods movies (I’ll devote a separate blog for the movies I saw during ECQ) so Hyena really should be next on my list.
The premise might not sound too attractive for the general viewing public. The story is about lawyers, so the automatic reaction is, “legal drama = too serious = BORING.” At least, that was my initial apprehension. First of all, it’s not a serious drama in the sense that it’s actually a comedy to some extent. Half of the scenes are light and oftentimes cute. May kilig factor rin, but not in the usual Rom-Com fashion. It’s Rom-Com for adults. No pabebe kissing here, folks. Which should be expected because, hello, Joo Jihoon AND Kim Hye Soo. If you’re familiar with their work, you should never expect to see dead fish kissing in Hyena.
But since it’s a legal drama, it requires a lot of focus and concentration from the viewers, especially those of us who heavily depend on subtitles. I lost count of the number of times I had to hit ‘Rewind’ because I mistakenly checked my phone for incoming messages and missed a crucial line or two. And in this drama, every freakin’ line or two MUST be understood because you will miss the plot twist, you’ll end up asking yourself WTH just happened. Each episode is filled with that, and you must remember everything they said, who appeared in what episode and how did they fit in the story because it will all come back again at some point in the series. They won’t even help you with the usual repeated scenes in flashbacks which are, surprisingly and a pleasant one at that, quite few here.
I know it doesn’t sound attractive right now (of the ayokong mag-isip variety), but I sometimes think we need these types of dramas that stimulate our brains. Especially when we’re on quarantine.
Anyway, I’m amazed when I did my research and found that the writer is a rookie (although Hancinema listed two projects and her first one was another legal drama in 2015). I can’t believe that a rookie can come up with something as polished as this. She probably has a legal background, given that her two dramas are both about lawyers?
I also read that Hyena was first offered to Song Hye Kyo, who declined it. I’m glad that she did. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an SHK fan. But I simply don’t think she’s fit for the role. She could be feisty (see: Full House and Descendants of the Sun) but still a bit… sweet? On the other hand, Kim Hye Soo is just PERFECT for this. She’s a great actress, she’s sexy – at age 50, no less! – and she has electrifying sexual chemistry with Joo Jihoon. Well, both of them, individually, have electrifying sex appeal, regardless. It just blended so well on this drama.
As for Joo Jihoon, what can I say. That man has now entered my list of competent Korean actors who are not just pretty faces. The guy can really act. Such a dashing debonair, too. When women swoon over him, you just understand why. That innate Royal Aura still works even if it isn’t a sageuk drama.
Viewers of Kingdom would be delighted to know that the actor who played the bumbling Beom Pal is in this drama, too.
So. Dare I follow what my friend said and say that Hyena is better than the popular ones? I say, HELL YEAH.