What Helped ‘The Equator Man’ Come Out on Top?
When MBC’s The King 2Hearts, SBS’ Rooftop Prince and KBS2’s The Equator Man first stepped up to the starting line for a three-way race, no one expected The Equator Man to come on top.
It was actually said to be the weakest drama in the lineup. Most believed that The King 2Hearts and Rooftop Prince would be battling it out for the win.
Between the two, the most weighed on The King 2Hearts. It was armed with the popularity of its 40-percent-rating predecessor, The Sun and the Moon, brought in a star-studded cast with Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won and drew participation from renowned staff such as producer Lee Jae Gyu and the Hong Sisters.
It was a game already said to be won for the drama, but Park Yoo Chun and Han Ji Min’s Rooftop Prince was picked out as its biggest and most probable contender.
In the beginning, everything went as expected. One month later, however, the drama at the top turned out to be not The King 2Hearts or Rooftop Prince, but The Equator Man.
The drama isn’t planning on letting go of its grip on the crown anytime soon either, as it continues to garner ratings near 15 percent. The King 2Hearts and Rooftop Prince are trailing behind with ratings just over 10 percent.
In its beginnings, The Equator Man came in with ratings between seven and eight percent. With its steadiness, however, it managed to slowly pack on the ratings to become the strongest drama in the time slot.
Where does The Equator Man’s power come from?
The first source is its simple story. The Equator Man is mainly about Kim Sun Woo’s (Uhm Tae Woong) revenge, among stories of betrayal, birth secrets, a woman’s resent and unfulfilled love. It may seem complicated, but all of the peripheral themes can be absorbed into the main theme of revenge.
Most of the characters, including Lee Jang Il (Lee Joon Hyuk), Jin No Sik (Kim Yeong Cheol) and Choi Soo Mi (Lim Jung Eun), are all related to Kim Sun Woo’s revenge. Han Ji Won (Lee Bo Young) is the only character free from the theme. Betrayal, revenge, love and resent all mix in the interactions between these roles.
This simple story becomes even clearer with the neat methods it uses in advancing. The dialogue between the characters is so concise it’s almost dry. There are no scenes that are thought to be too much, and the pauses that find their way into the dialogue and actions add strength to the flow of the story.
The drama is also very viewer-friendly. No matter which episode you start on, you can pick up on the overall story. The story features flashbacks to the past that are timed nicely so that viewers who are watching the drama for the first time can continue watching without getting confused. This characteristic can prove to be effective in picking up the channel-surfers who are still undecided on what to watch at that time.
The explanations provided through dialogue on every situation continue to remind the viewers of the story. They may be a bit redundant, but the great acting skills of actors Uhm Tae Woong, Kim Yeong Cheol and Lee Bo Young make the same story something different every time. Because the personality of each character is so unique, it helps in clearing out the progression of the story.
The producer, writer and actor all show great teamwork behind these factors in making The Equator Man get its game up.
Producer Kim Yong Soo isn’t a well-known producer. Last year, he managed to gather some interest with the eight episode KBS2 drama White Christmas, but that was about it; he has no big hits on his filmography.
Instead, he’s a veteran that has continued to work with short pieces such as those for the TV Classics series. Through The Equator Man, he’s showing off what he’s learned through his career with the effective use of restraint and pauses.
Scriptwriter Kim In Young is a star writer who wrote for such hits as Women in the Sun, Truth and A Delicious Proposal. She never made it as a really big star, however.
She was always known as a writer who covers common and conventional stories. The Equator Man also is conventional, but because it sheds all of the unneeded parts usually found in other stories, it’s succeeding in walking the tightrope with a neat tension. No one knows whether Kim In Young will make it big through The Equator Man, but no one will be able to disagree now that she is a great writer.
The cast isn’t studded with as many stars compared to its competitors, which feature the trendy Lee Seung Gi, Ha Ji Won, Park Yoo Chun and Han Ji Min. The cast for The Equator Man even sometimes comes as a bit humble. Uhm Tae Woong, Lee Bo Young and Lee Joon Hyun, however, are the ones who all fit perfectly into producer Kim Yong Soo’s directing and writer Kim In Young’s story.
In some sense, The Equator Man is the drama that fits modern viewers’ viewing patterns the most. More viewers are realizing this, and are continuing to join in the fun. The Equator Man’s viewership ratings are thus expected to continue on the rise for some time, perhaps even until the end.
Photo credit: KBS
- Uhm Tae Woong 20120427 The King 2Hearts 20120427 Rooftop Prince 20120427 The Equator Man 20120427