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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shoot for the Stars (SBS TV Series)
Shoot for the Stars (SBS TV Series)
YA Entertainment // Unrated // April 18, 2006
List Price: $94.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted February 20, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Mini-Series

Shoot For the Stars is a Korean television drama (K-drama) produced by the South Korean television network SBS. The series first aired in the end of 2002 and finished its sixteen episode run in early 2003. It is a soapy melodrama about finding love and going for one's dream. For a K-drama, the show is very much on par with others in the genre, complete with love triangles, sinister characters, and plenty of eye-rolling moments. Overall, Shoot For the Stars is a decent drama that fans of K-dramas will appreciate, but at the same time it is not the strongest. There are several weaknesses and drawbacks that leave this show somewhat limited.

The story behind Shoot For the Stars is about love and happiness, and what some people will do to obtain it. The show's two leading characters are Han So-Ra (Jun Do-Yeon), the leading female, and Ku Sung-Tae (Jo In-Sung), the leading male. So-Ra is twenty-nine and quickly approaching thirty. She has no direction in life, career ambition, or education. She lives with her good hearted brother Ba-Dah (Park Sang-Myun), who encourages her to go to college. But she usually spends her days having fun and not studying. Sung-Tae is a young twenty-three year old who has been trying to get by in life. He hopes to become a famous actor. The problem is that he is dyslexia and cannot read.

The show has several important supporting characters. Ba-Dah is So-Ra's good hearted brother. The only thing he wants in life is to see everyone closest to him find happiness. He is truly a kind soul. He works two jobs as a driver and a smalltime manager of young aspiring actress, Jung Yae-Rin (Hung Eun-Hee). Yae-Rin is a beautiful girl, who wants to become rich and famous, as well as be at the side of a powerful man. She is willing to do whatever it takes to reach her goals. Kim Do-Hun (Lee Seo-Jin) is Ba-Dah's partner. He helps manage Yae-Rin's career. He is young and ambitious. Like Yae-Rin, he is willing to bend his morals to get what he wants, although Yae-Rin is willing to bend them further. Do-Hun has been involved with So-Ra for seven years. He is the one she hopes to wed.

In the beginning of the story, Ba-Dah, Do-Hun, Yae-Rin, and So-Ra travel to the Busan Film Festival with the hope to get Yae-Rin a part in a movie. While at the hotel, So-Ra accidentally sets the room on fire, ruining Yae-Rin's expensive outfit and destroying her script. The accident, of course, occurs after a rather goofy meeting between So-Ra and Sung-Tae. The situation put Ba-Dah, Do-Hun, and Yae-Rin in quite the pickle. Fortunately, Sung-Tae is a huge fan of Yae-Rin and was familiar with her script and able to help her reproduce it. For this act, Ba-Dah offered to help him if he ever had a need. Days later, Sung-Tae comes to Seoul because he lost his job at the hotel when they found out he was dyslexia. Ba-Dah takes him into his care and agrees to help him become an actor, with So-Ra helping out.

At this point, the series had little plotting or scheming, and really not much exciting content. The general pace of the story was slow and had little drama to be interesting. However, after the show's long setup finished, the story's pace changed. It kicked into overdrive with plenty of soapy, over-the-top melodrama. The show's villains revealed their true faces. Both Do-Hun and Yae-Rin do what they must to get what they want, which is pretty dark. Do-Hun swindles Ba-Dah out of his life savings (money he was hoping to use for Yae-Rin and So-Ra's futures) and buy out Power Entertainment's debt to become the new CEO. What really makes this dramatic moment enticing is what happens to the other characters as collateral damage.

Yae-Rin also shows her dark side when she leaves Ba-Dah's care. She forces Do-Hun's hand to sign her to Power Entertainment and make her a big star. The amazing part is that she betrays Ba-Dah and convinces him to support her. Throughout the rest of the series, she continually plays the bad guy, but still keeps on everyone's good side. Except So-Ra, who sees Yae-Rin for the person she really is. The drama focuses on betrayal, backstabbing, conspiracies, and the various things Yae-Rin and Do-Hun will do to keep at the top. This aspect of the show was done fairly well. It is over-the-top, but nonetheless enticing.

Another huge part of the show is the relationship drama. Beyond the drama that came from So-Ra and Do-Hun, which was pretty intense for a couple episodes, there is a So-Ra, Yae-Rin, Sung-Tae love triangle. So-Ra and Sung-Tae start to fall in love, but there relationship is considered taboo. First, she is seven years his senior, which complicates matters slightly. Ba-Dah does not approve of their relationship. Second, as a rising star, Sung-Tae having a relationship with his manager So-Ra is too much of a scandal. Third, Yae-Rin is a problem; she adds the complicated third wheel to the relationship.

What works for this show is the drama, pure and simple. There are a lot of great situations, which mostly involve the villains backstabbing the good guys in one way or another. These moments are soapy and over-the-top, but they deliver enticing entertainment. As for the other dramatic components, such as the So-Ra and Sung-Tae relationship, they do not work quite as well. I had problems with the chemistry between these two characters. At times, they were great together, but more often than not, it just did not feel right. Individually, I did not care a whole lot for them either. Most of the time, they felt too whiny and it just got hard to stomach after a while. On the flipside, I thought characters like Ba-Dah were great, very sweet and sincere.

Overall, Shoot For the Stars was a decent K-drama. It had some strong points, but also a lot of weak points. I really did not care for the show's pace, which jumped around quite a bit. Sometimes the show would get really good with lots of eye-rolling drama and other times purely lackluster content that I had to force myself to sit through. For the most part, the characters never grew on me and tended to annoy me more than anything. In the end, Shoot For the Stars is a soapy melodrama that is best reserved for fans of the genre.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is not great. Some of the episodes looked fine and others had noticeable visual distortions and problems with color representation. In general, the picture was too soft and not a clear and crisp image. I was displeased with how the video looked, but despite the glaring visual problems, the mini-series is still viewable and it should not ruin the experience.

Audio:
The audio track supplied is in Korean 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The dialogue comes off a little flat and some of the soft spoken actors/actresses are a bit hard to hear. But the track is generally audible for most characters. The music sounds good; it is dynamic and vibrant. The only problem is that the same tracks are used over and over again.

For non-spoken language options, there are subtitles in English provided. There are a few grammatical errors and odd word usages, but for the most part the subtitles provided were easy to follow.

Extras:
For extras, there are two bonus episodes included. The first episodes of the K-dramas Something Happened in Bali and Spring Days are included. These episodes are good introductions to these K-dramas. Considering their high price tag, it is a nice extra.

Final Thoughts:
Shoot For the Stars is a K-drama about two people in love, who face various obstacles in finding happiness with each other. Through their trials, they face vindictive two-faced characters who will stop at nothing to stop them and get what they want. In regards to the content, the show delivers a lot of over-the-top melodrama. I loved the two-faced characters and the situations that came from them. On the flipside, I did not really care for the main characters and their romantic relationship. I felt they lacked the chemistry seen in other K-dramas with the leading characters. Overall, Shoot For the Stars is a decent K-drama that tries to be more than it is. If you are a fan of K-dramas, then this series is worth renting.

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