Take a journey through time that will surely melt your heart as Ji Chang-Wook returns in the futuristic romance Melting Me Softly, his first drama since being discharged from the military in April 2019. Directed by Secret Garden’s Shin Woo-Cheol, Melting Me Softly premiered on September 28, starring Suspicious Parner’s Chang-Wook and Won Jin-Ah (Life) as the main leads, promises a relationship between the two characters that proves some things are worth melting for.
The first episode begins with irresistibly charming TV program director, Ma Dong-Chan (Ji Chang-Wook), visiting a mysterious laboratory that experiments with freezing humans alive. He’s the kind of PD who films the most popular variety shows that do extraordinary things to get viewers’ attention, so he’s understandably intrigued by the idea and science behind the project, and offers his help to the doctor by providing his own body as a test subject.
Meanwhile, Go Mi-Ran (Won Jin-Ah) is a quirky young woman who’s struggling to find a serious job, but is crazy enough to test games for variety shows. Where she has a hard time finding success in her career and love life, Dong-Chan is winning awards, has a girlfriend he loves, and makes sure to live his life in a way that he won’t regret when he’s old and grey. See how different their lives are?
Dong-Chan’s grandiose dream—to film something no one else has—sets him off on a search for another person willing to join him in the freezing experiment. At first, everyone thinks he’s crazy: his boss refuses to give him the filming permission, and even his girlfriend tries to convince him to give up on the idea. However, Dong-Chan proceeds to look for a partner, and sees it in the face of Go Mi-Ran.
After a ridiculous quarrel with her boyfriend Hwang Byeong-Sim (Baro, a former member of K-pop group B1A4) in the park, Mi-Ran finally gets to talk to Dong-Chan about the experiment. He tells her it’s a chance to be a part of history that might have the power to cure people someday. Still, “in the name of science” isn’t enough for Mi-Ran to risk her life. We’re not sure what actually makes her change her mind and join later, but it’s bound to be revealed in future episodes.
At the tail end of the episode, it goes back to the mysterious laboratory, where everything seems shrouded in conspiracy around the suspicious murder of a former doctor who took part in the experiment in America. There are seven minutes left until the thawing when everything seems to go terribly wrong, leaving you on the edge of your seat and just as confused as the doctor assistant, wanting to know what will happen next. Don’t worry, we gotchu!
While some dramas build the storyline slowly with each episode, others set the tone for what’s to come with just the first two. Melting Me Softly does a bit of both with a layered storyline that establishes itself without reducing the characters, allowing our curiosity to stay put.
The second episode starts off chaotic as characters are in a state of shock and panic with very few minutes left before the thawing takes place. In an unfortunate turn of events, Mi-Ran and Dong-Chan go into comas, and the families almost give up hope. The emotional state of their relatives is explored in a way that is personal and relatable. Time passes quickly, and just like that, twenty years pass by. Without giving much away, the drama finally comes around to its important plot point with Dong-Chan and Mi-Ran waking up in pain from the doctor’s experiments, but this is just the beginning! With these utterly confused characters, we are left to see how they make peace with their bizarre situation.
Melting Me Softly forms a perfect balance of lighthearted banter in the first half of the episode with a thrilling ending, allowing viewers to get a sense of how the narrative is eventually going to unfold over the course of the drama. While playing with time is a common trope, the show seems fresh both in the storyline and its characters. Mi-Ran’s playful and kind nature fits perfectly with Ma Dong-Chan’s ambition, and the imagination in the details makes it easy for viewers to feel like part of the story.
If you’re looking for a fun and fantastical drama, Melting Me Softly seems to be the perfect starting point! Plus, the pairing of Ji Chang-Wook and Won Jin-Ah is only going to make it so much more worth the watch. Melting Me Softly is available on Viki with new episodes weekly.
Cover Image: Melting Me Softly (tvN)
Written by Monica Boyadzhieva & Sayantani Banerjee