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From the 2000s forward, the influence of Korean culture on films, music, and fashion has been prevailing. From family-centered Korean movies to bubbly K-Pop, the Korean Wave is surely not going to stop soon.

With the success of titles such as Parasite, Kingdom, and recently, Squid Game; the time for Korean dramas to be known globally on streaming platforms is now happening. In addition to this phenomenon is Apple TV+ with its first-ever K-drama, Dr. Brain.

In this SG news, we are exploring this new Korean drama that deals with the secrets of the mind.

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Live-Action Adaptation

Dr. Brain is a genre-blend of sci-fi and horror, centered around a premise that is typical of  Korean dramas. 

The series is a live-action adaptation of a webtoon series by popular webtoons, Hongjacga, who is known for his thriller background. The series is produced by Apple TV+ and is helmed by director Kim Jee-Woon who is known for his horror films A Tale of Two Sisters and The Uninvited. 

The six-part series is centered around the brilliant brain scientist, Dr. Sewon Koh who is also played by Parasite actor Lee Sun-Kyun.

The title is a blend of different genres with its polarity mostly focused on the balance between science fiction and crime thriller. The webtoon which inspired the series was a massive success internationally and has accumulated a fan base, all of which are excited to see Sewon to be adapted into live-action.

Mysteries of the Mind

According to Kim, the series delves deeply into the mysteries of the mind which is explored throughout the webtoon series. 

“I’m very delighted that a Korean webtoon is gaining a lot of attention outside of Korea. Whereas the webtoon is much more fast-paced and about mystery and the crime thriller, the TV series adds more components to it, such as family narratives, meaning, but there are also some heartwarming sentiments to it,” said Kim in a media briefing.

Synopsis

Dr. Brain is a sentimental adventure that is centered around a brain scientist who is driven to discover the capabilities of new technologies in infiltrating the subconscious and the memories of the brain.

Driven by his desire to access the memories of his family’s mysterious death and recovering the pieces of these memories is the main goal of the protagonist throughout the series.

This process is what they called “brain syncs”, the scientist taps into the brains of other individuals to hijack their memories and consciousness during the time of their incidents.

The ‘brain syncs’ is basically the most important part of the series as it is the glue that pieces the story together. This technology also adds drama to the journey and character arc of the characters.

Existentialist Journey

“While we glance at Sewon, he attempts to understand himself through these brain syncs and he discovers his emotional inadequacies, so he tries to find tranquility with himself through these brain syncs,” Kim explained. 

“And furthermore, we have the overall narrative of family, so I suppose this is a really groundbreaking approach to life-based on genuine science discussion.”

According to Lee, his character is basically alexithymic, which means he has a hard time understanding his emotions and is, therefore, unable to express them in a  healthy way to others. This lack of emotional understanding is a result of a lot of traumas he experienced in his life.

Director Kim said that Dr. Brain is an emotional story of an existentialist who is discovering the layers of his identity by picking up the pieces of himself when he is accessing the memories of other people. 

Kim also said that this drama series is a unique take on the typical Korean drama which sprinkled a little bit of science fiction and thriller elements to it. 

Dr. Brain was released on November 4 with all episodes available for streaming on Apple TV+.

If you’re interested in new Korean dramas and entertainment news, please visit The Straits Times.