Truth (Korean TV Series)
YA Entertainment // Unrated // $99.99 // January 8, 2008
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted February 6, 2008
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Graphical Version

The Mini-Series

Truth is a Korean television drama (K-drama) from the South Korean broadcasting company MBC and it first aired in 2000. The series has common attributes to other K-dramas, but unfolds with a few twists and turns and plenty of drama, romance, love triangles, mystery, intrigue, greed, and jealousy. The general premise is about four people and how their relationships unfold after a sequence of lies are set in place... and how the truth behind the deception affects them. All in all, it is a compelling drama with an easy story to get into and a good selection of characters.

The main story begins in the final year of high school for two of the primary character: Lee Ja-young (Choi Ji-Woo, Stairway to Heaven, Winter Sonata) and Lee Shin-hee (Park Sun-Young). Ja-young is a smart and talented girl with a bright future ahead of her. She has consistently ranked as the number one student and hopes to go to a good college. The catch is that she comes from a poor family and lives in the basement of Shin-hee's family. Ja-young's father works for Shin-hee's father, who is a powerful senator. Shin-hee is opposite of Ja-young. She lacks book smarts and makes up for it by being a rich spoiled brat.

The relationship between the girls has never been very good. Shin-hee resents Ja-young. Since her family moved into their home, her father has compared Shin-hee to Ja-young -- whose academic ability is far superior. To make matters worse, her mother also pressures to do well so that she can brag to her friends. Shin-hee decides the only way to succeed is to cheat. She bribes Ja-young to help her cheat, who reluctantly agrees. Eventually the truth comes out and Shin-hee's mother encourages Shin-hee to continue the charade, while Ja-young's mother welcomes the bribes. The icing on the cake comes prior to SATs. Shin-hee does not stand a chance and her mother makes an offer to Ja-young's family that they can't refuse, which includes getting her troubled brother out of jail. In the aftermath, Shin-hee gets into a good college and Ja-young must wait a year until she can take the SATs for herself.

When the testing taking drama becomes ancient history, new drama unfolds: enter Jeong Hyun-Woo (Ryu Si-won) and Park Seung-Jae (Son Ji-chang). Hyun-woo is the handsome and charming heir to the Jae Sung Group, which means in social circles he is quite the catch. Shin-hee has had her eyes on him for many years. She is determined to make him fall in love with her. However, by a chance meeting, Hyun-woo falls in love with Ja-young. Adding to the drama is Seung-Jae. He works for a private security firm and hopes to be a rich businessman. He is devious and will stop at nothing to attain his goal. He mistakes Ja-young for Senator Lee's daughter and starts a relationship with her -- thinking he can use her to better himself.

As the series progresses, Hyun-woo and Ja-young fall in love. The relationship is complicated by Shin-hee, who schemes with Seung-jae, to break them up. Seung-jae is fueled by greed, as Shin-hee makes him considerable promises to enlist his help. Furthering the issue are everyone's parents. Hyun-woo's parents do not want him to marry a poor girl. Shin-hee feeds them false information about Ja-young, so that they believe she is after their money. Furthermore, Shin-hee and Hyun-woo's parents want their children to get married. The desire is fueled by greed, as the Park and Lee families will both benefit from the union.

Truth's most attractive quality comes from its drama. While the content has similar attributes to other K-dramas (e.g., love triangles, scheming, memory loss, etc.), the drama plays out in a juicy manner that is hard not to enjoy. The developments are soapy, melodramatic, and most importantly, play out well -- from Shin-hee's constant lies and manipulation of those around her to Seung-jae's dark personality and willingness to do anything and everything to get what he wants to Hyun-woo and Ja-young's adorable, yet troubled relationship.

Another great aspect of Truth is the leading cast. Notably, Choi Ji-woo is excellent as the primary leading female. She is adorable and gives her character the right personality and it is hard not to want to see her succeed. She is also very capable when it comes to handling the emotional and melodramatic moments. Across from her is Park Sun-young, who makes for an excellent villain. She plays out her character with a grace that makes her easy to dislike, but at the same time leave you felling sorry for her. As for the leading males, they are also quite good.

Overall, Truth is a strong series that K-drama fans will not want to miss out on. While it shares similar fundamentals as other shows in the genre, there is enough to offset it from others, complete with some intrigue, jealousy, mystery, scheming, and more. It is a fun ride that will be hard to put down after you start.

The DVD

Video:
This release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is excellent, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are represented very well.

Audio:
The audio is given in Korean 2.0 stereo sound. The track is dialogue driven and has limited use of the surround/stereo capability. The music sounds good; it is dynamic and vibrant. For non-spoken language options, there are English subtitles.

Extras:
For extras, there is a featurette and a preview for another series. The featurette is entitled "Side Dishes" and it runs for 54:16. The featurette is made up of clips from Truth and has fun facts and trivia (presented via subtitles). The featurette begins with a montage of clips from the series and an explanation of the word "truth" and "honesty" as it applies to Korean language and culture. As the featurette continues, more facts and trivia are presented of a similar nature. The K-drama preview is the first twenty minutes of the show Mr. Duke..

Final Thoughts:
Truth is a K-drama based upon the notion of lies, deception, romance, and four individuals who lives collide after a sequence of lies are set in place. The general premise is supplemented with scheming characters that are willing to do almost anything to get what they want, and two people destined for each other who are willing to face all obstacles to love each other. For a K-drama, Truth delivers intense melodrama and likeable characters that will pull you in and not let go.



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