Western Series You Think Could Be Adapted Into A Drama
When I started the 30 Day Drama Challenge, I expected Day 13 to be unlucky, too tough to answer. In fact, it was easy to answer. So easy that I came up with two good candidates:J-Dorama: Black Books
This is not an excuse to plug two of my favourite comedies. Well, not just an excuse to plug two of my favourite comedies. Watching the compilation above solidified my conviction that a Japanese adaptation could really work. The slightly surreal nature of Black Books antisocial vibe seems a better fit for Japanese Drama than Korean, I think. Also, the 9-11 episode run of a J-Dorama would be ideal, allowing the show to stay sharply funny to the end, without running the concept dry. I started off with a very clear image of who should play the Dylan Moran character:
Odagiri Joe would be great, I think, and his Drama Juhan Shuttai features Yasui, a character who embodies A LOT of Bernard Black, as in this clip:
Another Japanese character who reminds me strongly of Bernard Black is Takumi, the unforgettable male lead character from one of my favourite comedies, Date. Smug, insular, hard to like and burdened with a crushing superiority complex in the fields of literature and movies, there is a lot of Bernard Black in Takumi.
Not only does Takumi display many of the key Bernard Black characteristics, but I think Higashide Anne’s performance in Date shows she could pull off the Fran character. She showed herself capable of displaying the right mix of desperation, fragility and silliness, I think:
So there you have it: Take the bitter, jaded cynicism of Juhan Shuttai‘s Yasui, the bookish reclusiveness and neuroticism of Date‘s Takumi, meld them into the smoky bemused detachment of Odagiri Joe’s Iokibe, and you have a viable J-version of Bernard Black. Besides Higashide Anne, Matsushita Nao’s earnest, amiable awkwardness in Hayako Sensei suggests her as a possible Fran. I haven’t seen enough J-Doramas to have a clear picture of a J-Manny, so I’m very open to suggestions.
K-Web Drama: The IT Crowd
One thing that struck me about Juhan Shuttai was how curiously analog Japan still is in many ways. Korea, on the other hand is possibly the most wired country on Earth. I think a short web series would be the ideal setting for a Korean version of The IT Crowd, and based on his performances in Beautiful Gong Shim I’d love to see Namgoong Min in the Roy role. Choi Siwon could probably pull it off too, going by his She Was Pretty performance. Lee Dong Hwi seems like a potential Moss, while Lee Yeol Eum or Dasom could work as Jen – especially given Web Dramas tendency to cast idols. There is another possibility, one I offer very reluctantly, solely in the interests of being ruthlessly objective.Wang Ji Won is older than my other suggestions, nearer Jen’s age, and is capable of displaying the sort of fish-out-of-water naivete and credulity that marks Jen.
I would love to hear your views on this, dear (putative) readers: Do you think either or both of these would work, and if so, who would you cast?