After so long, we finally get to see Park Hyung-sik (Suits, Hwarang, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon) in a drama comeback! He will be starring in Korean drama Happiness directed by Ahn Gil-ho (Stranger, Memories of Alhambra), alongside Han Hyo-joo (W Two Worlds, The Beauty Inside) and Jo Woo-jin (Goblin, Chicago Typewriter, Mr. Sunshine). Here’s what we know about the new K-drama:
The title could be a little misleading
It says Happiness, so you’d think you’d get a lot of serotonin boost from watching. But in truth, this show is actually a thriller! The story is set in a near apocalyptic future, where things are definitely not as happy (pun intended) as people want them to be.
Happiness takes place in a time when infectious diseases have become a norm, and a new one threatens to end life as we know it. In a newly constructed apartment where the higher floors are for sale and the lower floors are rented out, the series depicts the subtle psychological battle and the class discrimination that occurs.
Yoon Sae-bom (Han Hyo-joo) and Jung Yi-hyun (Park Hyung-sik), two police officers who are also long-time friends, are also trapped in the apartment, fighting for survival as fear and distrust spread amongst its residents. And only Han Tae-sook Jo Woo-jin, a lieutenant colonel from the health service command, has an idea on how to stop the outbreak.
A few similarities with other K-dramas?
When you think about it, based on the synopsis, the show bears a similarity with other K-dramas like Sweet Home, which was set in an alternate apocalyptic universe where a “disease” that turns people into monsters is rampant and the characters are confined in one building.
However, for Happiness, it sounds like the diseases are closer to reality, with the characters actively looking for a cure while trying to survive.
It’s a little too real
“End life as we know it” sounds too familiar, doesn’t it? Some fans may think it’s a little too soon for a show to delve into the psychological, political, and economic chaos borne from the spread of infectious diseases, because we are still living that reality after all. But maybe this show could provide some sort of catharsis? We’ll see in the first episode.
Park Hyung-sik as a former baseball player
The drama is Park Hyung-sik’s first show after being discharged from the military earlier this year. He revealed that he faced an obstacle during his first day of filming. “As this was my first time being on-set in a long while, I was a little rusty with the camera angles, and even got teased by the director. But the good filming ambiance allowed me to immerse myself in the character swiftly.”
He plays a baseball-player-turned-police-officer Jung Yi-hyun, who has romantic feelings for his long-time friend Sae-bom. When the outbreak forces them into confinement in the new apartment building, he works hard to protect Sae-bom and the other residents.
Han Hyo-joo as a police officer
Like Park Hyung-sik, Han Hyo-joo is also making her small-screen comeback through Happiness. Her last drama was W Two Worlds with Lee Jong-suk five years ago. This will also be her first time filming a modern suspense-thriller show.
She plays Yoon Sae-bom, a member of a special police squad, who is decisive and determined. As soon as she moves to her new apartment, the outbreak happens and she gets stuck in the building with her friend Yi-hyun and the other residents. According to the actress, her real-life personality was similar to her character in the series. “I didn’t have to specially act in character, as that’s how I naturally am.”
Bonus: High school students Han Hyo-joo and Park Hyung-sik!
In some flashback scenes, we get to see these two actors in high school uniforms! Since their characters have been friends from high school, there would be some scenes where they reminisce about the good old days when the world of diseases wasn’t their normal. Hence, high school uniforms.
Donning uniforms, 34-year-old Han Hyo-joo doesn’t look a day over 18. “But when I meet younger actors who are in their teens, I still get a shock knowing they’re 20 years younger than me,” the actress confessed.
Meanwhile, Park Hyung-sik complimented both himself and his co-star for looking the part wearing school uniforms, mentioning his first and current impressions of her. “I thought she was goddess-like on television, but she’s really down-to-earth in real life, and now she’s like a close sister of mine.”
Where to watch
Starting November 6th, new episodes of Happiness will be available on the iQiyi International app or iQ.com at 12:00pm every Saturday and Sunday. There will be 12 episodes of the show thus far.