Topic: Family, Life & ExperiencesEmotions

Last updated: March 20, 2019

The Good Doctor, which is the most-watched drama of the Fall season. However it didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. The series, which follows a young surgeon with autism savant syndrome, it is based on the Korean show of the same name, which premiered in August 5, 2013 and ended on October 8, 2013. The Korean Good Doctor was an award-winning during its run, which lasted only 20 episodes. Through your American minds, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but the most popular and successful K-dramas are usually short, air about 10 to 24 episodes(some go up to 176 episodes for one season) for an hour or more that air twice a week, as the Korean Good Doctor did.

So the question is how do they compare to each other? What’s the same for the most part they stuck to the pilot script, even keeping the lead character’s name as closely they could to the Korean one. In the Korean version, his first name is Shi-on and in the American version, it’s Shaun. The pilot is almost a the same as the original one. With Shaun is en route to his first day at a hospital when he saves a boy who is struck by a falling glass sign with a procedure the paramedics on the scene don’t know. The boy just so happens to be taken to the same hospital Shaun’s going to, where Dr. Aaron Glassman, the hospital president and his mentor, is trying to convince the board that Shaun’s autism won’t be a hindrance on the job and he himself won’t be a liability. When a viral video of Shaun’s/Shi-on heroic deeds convinces the board to hear Shaun out.

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Shaun/Shi-on delivers the exact same speech, word for word, about how their pet bunny’s and brother’s deaths inspired him to be a doctor, which finally persuades the board to give him a chance. There are flashbacks to both of those aforementioned deaths in the Korean version as well, along with the abusive childhood and bullying Shi-on suffered at the hands of his father and other kids, respectively. However in both versions, the brother gifts Shi-on/Shaun a toy scalpel; medical illustrations float on the screen as our hero is thinking of or performing a procedure; Shi-on/Shaun befriends Yoon-seo/Claire and works under an arrogant surgeon who’s dismissive of him and is a total jerk. What is different for the both of them s since the pilot, The Good Doctor has deviated completely from the Korean version. The slight changes in the pilot sets the stage for The American Good Doctor’s own storylines. One very American thing is a post-coital hospital scene between Claire and Kalu in the pilot however in the Korean one there is no such hookup or scene due to the fact K-dramas are also far more modest in a sense. While Shi-on works at a pediatric hospital, Shaun works at St. Bonaventure which is a general teaching hospital, paving the way for him to treat a greater variety of patients and cases.

Shaun’s boss, starts warming to him a little more quickly over a handful of episodes, even allowing him to scrub into surgery at the end of the pilot unlike in the Korean version. It’s plot points like that that moves the American Good Doctor along at a faster pace. The action from the chaotic procedures to the dialogue and editing operates at a quick clip, creating a sense of urgency, versus the slow, steady pace which, like most K-dramas, lets the scenes and emotions sink in to draw you in. One major change is a storyline from the end of the Korean pilot. Which is Yoon-seo/Claire, drunkenly stumbles into Shi-on’s apartment, because it used to be hers before she moved, and falls asleep in his bed. The next morning which is the beginning of Episode 2 she wakes up to him brushing his teeth, in front of her. It’s the kind of thing that works in a K-drama but would not work in America. A different love interest is set up in the third episode of the American show, Shaun’s neighbor, Lea, who borrows his batteries and gives him a ride home after he misses the bus.

Then Lea buys him an apple after eating his last one during a vent-fest about their landlord and in a huge development for Shaun, he lets Lea hug him after he tells her had made a mistake that day. Which in the Korean version Lea do not exist. Here’s where things get really different: Shi-on and Yoon-seo later start dating and, by the series finale, are eventually living together. In contrast, Shaun and Claire are just friends, and Shaun has yet to date anyone. Though it looks Lea at the moment seems like the most likely possible love interest, but they’re working best now as a budding friendship. In conclusion the American version is not as horrible as I thought it would be but they Americanized the heck out of it. The American version it does not reach the magic that the Korean one attained.

I do not regret watching some of the episodes but I am not sure whether I should continue since it feels like they are going to make it like House or draw it out. I do not sense the heart and humanity that touched me so deeply in the Korean version in the American version. If you love the Korean version so much like myself, I would not watch this it will ruin it for you. But who knows maybe you might like the fast pace and lack of character in the American version.


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