K-Drama Review: “While You Were Sleeping” Weaves An Imaginative Fantasy-Romance Story That Does Not Lose Magic

While You Were Sleeping cleverly fuses romance and fantasy in a thrilling courtroom drama that leaves you wanting for more!

What the rest of supernatural themed dramas missed in the year 2017, While You Were Sleeping accomplished in full marks consistently. Lee Jong Suk, Bae Suzy and the rest of the gang put up a superb collective performance. It highlights the stable storytelling and unswerving focus to present the inventive picture.

At some point, I imagined the writer meticulously penning the script with a big board of connecting scenarios similar to how detectives work on criminal cases. The heedful writing contributes to the seamless linking of the mini conflicts up to the eventual climax.

  • Main Cast: Lee Jong Suk | Bae Suzy | Jung Hae In | Lee Sang Yeob | Ko Seung Hee
  • Network & Episode Count: 16 Episodes | SBS
  • Official Website: While You Were Sleeping SBS

*Originally published on Hellokpop in November 2017


Quick Review

  • Plot Trajectory: Consistently engrossing
  • Plot Pace: Nicely-done
  • Character Portrayal: Great main leads and supporting cast
  • Writing: Smartly written with rom-com kicks
  • Watch on a binge or intervals?: Either choices apply
  • Crowning Moments: Clever Writing | Remarkable Cast Portrayal | Endearing Love Pairing
  • Romance Addictive Meter:
  • Overall Rating:
  • Rewatch Value:
  • K-Dramas of Similar Vibe: I Can Hear Your Voice | A Girl Who Sees Smell


While You Were Sleeping Quick Plot Summary

Hong Joo (Bae Suzy) lives happily with her mother, who supports her unconditionally, with her strange ability to foretell what will happen in the future while seeing it in her dreams. She keeps a record of her visions, yet she is unable to change the course of the future.

In one of her dreams, she embraces a man, whom she has never met before in a snowy night.  The next day, the man moves across their house with his brother.  The man who appeared in her dream, Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk) introduces himself, but she shoves him away, not wanting to accept his courtesy call as a new neighbor.

What they do not know is how fate has long bound them with a connection – that links their dreams and memories.

while you were sleeping


Peak Points

The cast deserves an applause from suiting up to their personas at their very best every time they are captured on screen. The main love couple display an endearing on-screen romantic ride that never misunderstands. Ergo, there is no frustrating point related to the love trajectory.

Well Sketched and Utilized Cast

It is also soothing how the writing set expectations on how we will grow fond on the second lead, without promising a scheme to confuse the main love line. I think we will see more of Jung Hae In who played police officer Han Woo Tak in the coming days at K-dramaland, based on his memorable stint as a key player in the story.

This is by far the most laid back performance of Lee Jong Suk, one that I really enjoyed. His character brims with passion and warm heart, yet his clumsy nature neutralizes the picture perfect lead man I have grown tired of in fictional k-drama landscape.

Turning 180° from her previous weep fest project, Bae Suzy‘s feisty and candid reporter portrayal is reminiscent of her Dream High character. With maturity she gained through the years, her natural take on her role fits in exquisitely with the romance she built with Lee Jong Suk.

Making the most of their screen time, the minor characters supply the zest and support as the story traverses the bends and problem resolutions. Kudos to seasoned character actor Kim Won Hae who sprinted amazing renditions in seven dramas under his belt this year alone.

Nailing the antagonist position efficiently, Lee Sang Yeob cunningly suits up to a prototype villain who drowns in his own ambivalence as he refuses to understand the concept of remorse. His depiction for the most part challenged the hero of the story in engrossing breaking points before the story leans inevitably towards the “goodness always prevails” card.

while you were sleeping

Well-Narrated Plot

While You Were Sleeping introduces the fantasy twist of interconnected dreams as soon as it starts drawing the interest of the audience. As it moves along, the twist is tweaked in an appealing bind. Further explaining how the characters sharing linked dreams each have saved each other’s lives, triggering the strange phenomenon. The writer smartly injects the romance to the core metaphysical plot driver while presenting the legal cases from which the narrative flow is derived.

Bringing together the thrills of the legal drama premise and the fated love frosted story push the strength which mobilizes the addictive surge of the drama. Two thumbs up to the clear delineation of the heroes versus villain showdown that does not exaggerate.

Moreover, the quick-witted main leads maneuver the tale through their shared visions and are never stubborn to think ahead of the imaginary conflicts thrown at them. They patiently tackle together the maze-like answer to the final conflict.

Lastly, the parallel frames of the flashbacks and present situations are neatly pictured to provide the continuity of the side setbacks which delves on the back stories of the main cast. The woes presented in the narrative stems from the heroine’s visions of unfortunate events. Together with her lead men, they tackle the resolution of conflicts that mostly involve their lives at stake.


Series Afterthoughts

When you look back on the story, there’s no question on how it notched a stunningly crafted piece. But the supernatural premise and courtroom drama take most of the curves of the story. Hence, as much as viewers crave for more sweet scenes for the love couple, the fan service moments are a bit hampered.

On a sunny note, Jae Chan and Hong Joo’s romantic promenade is vibrantly designed with ample lip lock scenes to make us swoon along with the palpable depiction of fated love for the couple who realized years later why destiny brought them together when they were young.

While You Were Sleeping proves it deserves the hype it got prior to airing. The polished storytelling reflects why they lead the midweek drama race considering it was pitted against impressive dramas on the same time slot.

It switches from comic highs, courtroom thrills and heart-fluttering moments while treading on the exciting fantasy landscape.  If you are up for a binge, this is the perfect K-drama for you.


Photos: SBS

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