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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 26, 2010

'Chuno' actor's star power on rise, along with ratings

By Jeff Chung

Hallyu (the Korean wave) is catching its second wind with upcoming TV dramas that have strong plots supported with fine-tuned acting.

One such drama, "Chuno (The Slave Hunters)" just started. "Chu" means to hunt or chase and "no" means a slave. It is a period drama starring Oh Ji-ho ("Couple or Trouble," "Super Rookie") Jang Hyuk ("Tazza") and Lee Da-hae ("My Girl"). The series can be seen on Oceanic digital cable channel 80 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:50 p.m., with a repeat of the Thursday episodes the following Wednesday mornings at 9:50.

Oh Ji-ho, who made fan appearances in Honolulu during the Spring Honolulu International Film Festival in 2007, gives a stellar performance in his first period TV series. His previous roles have generally been light and comical, but I think he has finally found his niche in "Chuno." His popularity has skyrocketed since the series started and ratings for the show have come in at 30 percent and up.

I like that this series is filmed outdoors using new cinematography techniques that produce vivid colors. Mixed with well-choreographed martial art sequences, the show looks more like a movie than a TV series. It wouldn't surprise me if this series was remade into a film later on.

The series has 24 episodes and last night's fourth episode can be seen Wednesday at 9:50 a.m.

Song Tae-ha (Oh Ji-ho) is a former general who was framed by a jealous subordinate and turned into a slave who is being chased by mercenary slave hunter Lee Dae-gil (Jang Hyuk). To add to his suffering, Tae Ha's wife is killed by Chinese Qing dynasty soldiers, but his son survives in her arms. Tae-ha gets revenge on the Qing soldiers, only to find out after the fight that his son is dead.

Lee Dae-gil is a man of nobility who falls in love with his slave's sister, Hye Won. In anger, her brother, Kim Seong-hwan, burns down Dae-gil's house. Hye Won thinks her beloved Dae-gil died in the fire.

Her brother becomes a wealthy merchant and arranges a marriage for his sister, Hye Won, but she runs away and meets Song Tae-ha and falls in love with him. However, Dae-gil reappears and the love triangle ensues.

Tae-ha is also on the run, trying to save the son of Crown Prince Sohyeon, the last surviving heir of royal lineage. Other ambitious royals want the child dead so that they can take the throne, so they send Hwang Chul-woong (Lee Jong-hyuk) to kill Tae-ha, who had once been Gen. Tae-ha's subordinate.


'Smile, Honey'
Episodes 31 and 32
Today at 7:45 p.m.: Manbok gives Jungin permission to leave his house with the family. Junggil is actually disappointed Manbok told his family to leave. With nowhere to go, Jungin and Sungjun take their parents to Jisoo's place. Sanghun inadvertently lets out that Geumja and he got Manbok's permission to marry because Geumja was pregnant with Hyunsu. Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m. Manbok can't believe it when the doctor tells him he has stage-three liver cancer. Hyunsu helps out Jungin's family at Jisoo's restaurant. Geumja rushes Junggil to finish the transfer of ownership on his old house. Junggil feels a bit betrayed when Manbok treats his family to a barbecue dinner after his family moves out.
'Love You 1,000 Times'
Episodes 27 and 28
Sunday at 6:45 p.m.: Gang-ho tells Chairman Park that he's not interested in Soo-jong, because he's in love with another woman. This news upsets Hyang-sook enough for her to hit Gang-ho. However, both Chairman Park and Soo-jong like Gang-ho's honesty and decide to invest in the company. Meanwhile, everyone is worried about Gang-ho disappearing. In the end, Baeksan gets the investment and Gang-ho gets permission to marry Eun-nim. Sunday at 7:45 p.m.: Geum-ja goes to Eun-nim's grandmother's house to ask her to be a surrogate one more time. Eun-nim's grandmother chases her off. Gang-ho finally gets his family's blessing to marry Eun-nim and their families meet. Eun-nim's father worries about how to pay for the wedding. Nan-jeong is shocked by the way Chul blows her off every time they bump into each other.
'Wish Upon A Star'
Episodes 5 and 6
Monday at 7:45 p.m.: Tae-gyu checks in on the kids when he hears Indigo's crying and finds out Red works part-time at a sauna when, in fact, Red gets a job at a bar. Joon-ha finds out Red's been fired, and asks Gangha and Jaeyoung to give her job back. Tae-gyu offers to help out Red at the Sauna. Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.: Red runs into Gang-ha, Joon-ha and In-gu at the bar, but Gang-ha ignores her. Joon-ha confronts Red when she comes home and Orange overhears their conversation. Red decides to quit her job at the bar, and begs her boss to rehire her. Red also goes down on her knees and begs Gang-ha to let her stay for another month.
'Will It Snow For Christmas?'
Episodes 11 and 12
Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.: Gangjin takes Jiwan to his new house and proposes to her. Jiwan meets Youngsuk in front of the house and proudly tells her that she is dating Gangjin. Chunhee sees Gangjin playing the guitar for Jiwan over the phone and gets worried. Chunhee tries to leave, but Junsu holds her back and says that they won't be able to stay together again if she leaves. Jiwan is devastated when she hears that there has been a fire in her mom's house. Thursday at 7:45 p.m.: Three years have passed, and Gangjin is living with Youngsuk, pretending to be Jiyong. Jiwan asks Gangjin what they really are and suggests that they run away together. Taejun helps Chunhee when she falls down on the road and takes her to Jiwan's hospital. Jiwan calls Gangjin in front of Chunhee and asks why they cannot be together when they love each other so much.

Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD TV, which televises Korean dramas with English subtitles in Hawai'i. You can reach him for comment at 521-8066 or at jeffchung@kbfd.com.