Sadly, Wish You has come to an end. Concluding with the same powerful music, cinematography, and beautifully sensual chemistry that made it a fast favorite for me, this drama left me satisfied and thirsty for more.
—Edited by TheFNGee
While 2020 has certainly left a lot to be desired, South Korea said, “Here, let’s make it better.” No one does dramas quite like they do, especially when it comes to web dramas. With only a limited amount of time to tell a story, they successfully manage to explore an entire plot. This year alone, South Korea has rolled out three amazing, well-crafted BL mini-dramas with the promise of more to come. Although South Korea is not new to gay dramas and movies, it wasn’t until 2020 that the genre has moved into the mainstream for them. Easily accessible by international audiences on subtitled subscription sites, these mini-dramas have opened up a whole new window of opportunities.
They are only getting better.
Wish You took viewers on a chemistry-laden ride that explored a burgeoning same-sex relationship amidst the often unforgiving Korean music industry. For those familiar with Kdramas, South Korea has a romance formula that has always been successful. Wish You is no exception.
From the moment the show opens, the camera work, the pacing, the sound, and the vividly beautiful scenes are a quick testament to its professionalism. Cinematography is the art of photography and visual storytelling in the entertainment industry. If a drama or movie can visually tell a story well, then half the battle towards success has already been fought.
Transitioning from one beautiful scene to another, Wish You uses both close-up and wide shots as well as dream-like color exposures to masterfully express the yearning and passion that defines both SangYi and Insoo’s characters. Often dark but somehow comfortable color pallettes denote both the fear of personal failure Insoo is trying to overcome, and the leap of faith Sang Yi is taking with his heart.
The Music And The Acting
Wish You is centered on the Korean music industry, making the music in this mini-drama much more crucial to the story it was trying to convey. When the show announced the casting, I was both excited and hesitant. Kang Insoo and Lee Sang are both K-pop idols familiar to the music scene but rookies when it comes to acting.
They impressed me.
Casting musicians to play musicians is always a bonus when instruments and singing are integral to a plot. However, I am combining the music and the acting in this review because they go hand-in-hand in this drama. Fortunately, Lee Sang and Kang In Soo are as impressive in their character portrayals as they are with their vocals. Lee Sang does an exceptional job telling a story with his eyes, while Kang In Soo’s perfectly placed smiles hide an obvious internal pain he manages to express to the audience. Beautiful and mesmerizing instrumental scores and well-written lyrics add depth to the scene transitions and the emotional tone.
When Sang Yi sits behind a piano to play, his entire face becomes a canvas of musical passion. He feels every note. When In Soo strums his guitar and opens his mouth to sing, the joy he feels transforms him. When Sang Yi and In Soo perform together, their romance is as vivid in their performance as it is when they are physically kissing each other. Music ties them together. Music is what made Sang Yi and In Soo fall for each other in the first place, and this drama utilizes it to support the acting and storytelling.
K-pop idol Lee Sang gets a section in this review because, for me, his portrayal of Sang Yi cemented what makes this drama so special. Sang Yi’s soulful looks tell a whole story inside a story. He offers up his entire heart and soul in his eyes. There is no mistaking his emotional conflict, the affection he has, and the love he holds close to his heart. I will miss the way his gazes made me feel. Kdramas are renowned for their use of stares and hand placement to express physical and emotional needs, and Lee Sang delivered so much more power than I was expecting from a rookie actor.
A chaebol is a large industrial conglomerate controlled by a family in South Korea. Chaebols have a lot of power, and they tend to be an antagonistic staple in Kdramas. While Chaebols are distinctly South Korean, everyone can relate to the need not to be controlled by someone else. We all feel the frustration the character feels when trying to break free of something that seems almost impossible from which to break free. In Wish You, In Soo’s disapproving Chaebol father has been trying to block his every attempt to become successful in the music industry. While we never actually see In Soo’s father, his influence is what motivates In Soo’s every move. During In Soo’s fight with his personal demons, Sang Yi’s belief in him bolsters the confidence In Soo already has within. Their romance is the stepping stone In Soo needs to keep moving forward even when his father makes it seem like an insurmountable obstacle. I love that; even though we never lay eyes on In Soo’s father, the viewers are still profoundly affected by his invisible presence.
A New Beginning
All of Wish You’s misunderstandings and obstacles center on one central problem—In Soo’s father—rather than conniving and jealous side characters. In a BL world largely saturated by toxic jealousy—especially with secondary female antagonists—Wish You is a breath of fresh air. Most secondary characters are supportive friends who help move Soo and Sang Yi toward a new future together.
In conclusion, Wish You is a beautiful drama. Although Kang In Soo and Sang Yi question themselves, they always have faith in each other. Saturated with Sang Yi’s soulful stares and In Soo’s swaggering confidence, Wish You leaves a lasting impression. The only complaint I have about this drama is that it deserves longer episodes, time, and attention. While it satisfied viewers’ needs for a short romance, there was so much more the producers and writers of this show could have done and choosing to devote more time per episode. By utilizing Kang In Soo’s and Lee Sang’s real-life vocal and musical talents, the drama vividly invokes romance through their shared interests and dreams.
The chemistry between the leads is fire, but I feel like there is so much more story this drama could have told. With only eight ten-minute episodes, the writers deny viewers a more in-depth look at the scandal and emotional upheaval that being in a relationship in the music industry can cause. Life in the music industry means always living under a microscope. I would have loved to see how In Soo and Sang Yi navigated a world plagued by Dispatch-outed relationships and social unacceptance, especially with the ever-threatening shadow cast by In Soo’s Chaebol father. The end of Wish You felt like the prologue to something so much more significant.
I hope one day, South Korea will bring us a full-length, in-depth, hour-long BL series that explore the ups and downs of being in a same-sex relationship. Until then, keep the mini-dramas coming, South Korea! They are certainly not completely disappointing me.
I highly recommend this series to everyone. It gave the butterflies in my stomach butterflies, but I wish there were another chapter. I need more of their story.
Keep a lookout for the movie version coming soon to Viki and WeTV.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]