A wholesome and touching medical series that records the normal lives of normal people and does not include graphic bloody scenes and messy office relationships? Count me in!
Hospital Playlist is a medical series that follows the story of five doctors as the main characters as well as nurses at a Korean hospital called Yulje Medical Center. These five doctors have been best friends since medical school.
Lee Ik-jun is a surgeon specializing in liver transplants, who is lighthearted, fun, and popular. Ahn Jeong-won, a pediatric surgeon, is generous and caring. Kim Jun-wan, a cardiothoracic surgeon, seems cold and blunt but is actually sweet and soft. Yang Seok-hyung is an OBGYN who cares deeply for his patients. Chae Song-hwa, the only female in the group, is a kind-hearted and considerate neurosurgeon, one of the best in the country as stated in one episode.
Hospital Playlist has two seasons, both of which are on Netflix.
I can rant about this drama all day, but here are the five reasons why I think you should watch it, especially when you're in need of healing:
1. A different approach to medical dramas
I've watched quite a few medical dramas: Grey's Anatomy, The Good Doctor (both Korean and American versions), New Amsterdam, Doctor John, and Dr. Romantic. None of them could even come close to the bar Hospital Playlist has set.
Unlike other medical series, this one includes no bloody and gory scenes. Hospital Playlist revolves around the group's wholesome friendship as well as their individual relationships with other people. Each episode ends with a scene of them performing as a band in the basement of Seok-hyung's house, so you are in for a musical treat.
Fun fact: Chae Song-hwa, tone-deaf and always sings off-key, is portrayed by Jeon Mi-do, an award-winning musical actress in South Korea.
What I find amazing about this drama is that though it is filmed, produced, and aired during the pandemic, COVID-19 is not mentioned at all. It merely demonstrates the mundane lives of doctors and nurses. With COVID-19 being all over our lives, on the Internet, on the news, in our daily conversation, this drama is a fresh breath of air. It gives viewers a glimpse of what it's like to be normal, not the 'new normal'.
And that's comforting.
2. The OSTs are to die for
This drama is quite well-known for its OSTs. They are mostly the remakes of hit songs released in the 1990s and 2000s.
All songs charted well, with Jo Jung-suk's Aloha receiving Best OST Award at Seoul Music Awards, Melon Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, Genie Music Awards, and Brand of the Year Awards.
My personal favorite is their rendition of Canon in D.
3. The show focuses on all kinds of relationships
While it's natural for dramas to illustrate romantic relationships, Hospital Playlist goes beyond that. All kinds of relationships are touched upon: family, friends, lovers, colleagues, doctors and patients, parents of the patients at the hospital, etc.
Every relationship is explored deeply and wrapped up neatly. There is not one single second that does not contribute to the storyline and the character build-up.
ScreenRant believed that "the show can be referred to as the drama of Grey's Anatomy but with the friendship of Friends". But I respectfully disagree. The characters in Hospital Playlist are not entangled in messy romantic relationships, although fans are hoping the Song-hwa and Ik-jun to become an item.
4. Heartwarming stories telling you to have faith in humanity
This show attracts viewers because of its great plotline and captivating storytelling. Each episode includes witty and humorous scenes that guarantee to make you laugh out loud.
They also consist of truly moving stories, whose messages resonate with people of any age. They will make your heart melt and your eyes teary.
Case in point, in episode 6 of season 2, the drama touched upon interns and how they tend to screw things up at work. The episode started with the hospital going into March, also known as the season where everyone is the busiest, not only because of work but also because they have to clean up after the interns. The interns, as expected, made a lot of mistakes throughout the episode. They were sorry and felt incompetent. But they were not scolded harshly. Other doctors, nurses, and patients were understanding and empathetic, saying that mistakes do happen, especially with newbies, and gave the interns words of encouragement. The show did not stop there. It went further by showing how even fellows and professors have made mistakes and are trying to improve every single day.
As a fresh graduate who has done a couple of internships, I was deeply touched.
5. Hospital Playlist shows you that there is still life when you are in your 40s
As a matter of fact, your life is only beginning.
The five main characters are acclaimed professors in their 40s. As a hardcore K-drama fan for nearly 10 years now, I have had this impression that the entertainment industry glorifies being young and dreads growing old. If you grow old, you have to do it gracefully, otherwise, your life ends there.
This drama changes that. It shows that no matter how old you are, you are worthy of love. You deserve to have a shot at happiness.
With Jeong-won, Jun-wan, and Song-hwa, who have never been married before, the show sets them out to find love, and two of them have found partners who they want to commit to.
With Ik-jun and Seok-hyung, who have experienced heartbreak and divorce, they are giving love another try.
When you're in your 40s, you are expected to have life figured out and settle down. But life comes in multiple shapes and sizes. Just because it's the norm doesn't mean you're abnormal and strange when you're not following it.
Whew, that was a long rant. I really hope you'd give this drama a go because it has been an emotional support and stress reliever for me during this challenging time. I came to it wanting to escape from the reality but instead was inspired and empowered to face real life with hopes and faith. I am convinced Hospital Playlist would do the same thing for you.