Welcome to Samdalri: Welcome to Samdal-ri
January 28, 2024 6:26 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

After suffering a fall from grace, a photographer returns to her hometown and bumps into her childhood friend — rekindling an unfinished romance.

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Zapzee Review: A Warm Journey of Rediscovering Oneself -- "Sam Dal (Shin Hye Sun) could be considered the most successful individual from the fishing village of Samdal-ri, Jeju. A celebrated photographer collaborating with international magazines, her life takes a nosedive when she discovers her boyfriend cheating with her assistant, who then leaks their private conversation and falsely accuses Sam Dal of power abuse. Witnessing her life crumble, Sam Dal flees to her hometown to escape from those coming after her. However, she didn’t really want to return to Samdal-ri, not just because of her wounded pride and the villagers’ gossip, but mainly because of Yong Pil (Ji Chang Wook), her best friend and ex-boyfriend, still residing there."

NME review: End the year with this comfort watch - A small town girl with lofty dreams is forced to return home after her life in the big city suddenly falls apart -- "From the get-go, Welcome to Samdal-ri wears its story on its sleeve: It’s about two people bound together by fate, yet fundamentally different, learning to love in ways that set them free. Both of these characters also have their own complex relationship with the town of Samdal-ri itself – it’s the lighthouse to which all lost souls flock, whether they want to or not. Samdal-ri also stands as the constant reminder of the death of a great love. For Sam-dal, being back finally forces her to confront the vulnerability and loneliness pervading her life. Young-pil, on the other hand, finds his wounds scraped and bleeding – for the same person, all over again. Yet, this makes the dynamic between Shin Hye-sun and Ji Chang-wook all the more potent."

India Today Review: Ji Chang-wook's drama is warm and fuzzy -- "'Welcome to Samdal-ri,' the latest K-drama featuring Ji Chang-wook as Cho Yong-pil and Shin Hae-sun as Cho Sam-dal, takes viewers on a poignant journey through friendship, dreams, and the enduring ties that bind us to our roots. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Jeju Island, the drama unfolds the lives of two childhood friends, Jo Yong-pil and Jo Sam-dal, portrayed with undeniable chemistry by Ji Chang-wook and Shin Hae-sun, respectively."
posted by oh yeah! (2 comments total)
The false-accusation/public-pillory-ing plot probably landed differently for me in the wake of the recent tragic death of actor Lee Sun Kyun after the Incheon police threw him to the wolves of the press and public opinion over his alleged marijuana use instead of investigating the people he said were blackmailing him over the fake accusation. (Looks like the eye of justice has turned on the Incheon police and the blackmailers now, but I'm not holding my breath that the next idol/actor accused of something scandalous by Korean standards yet legal won't have their career and/or life destroyed.)

In this genre, I think I enjoyed Hometown Cha Cha Cha more. It's a good cast and a pretty location though, so, good show overall.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:41 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

oh yeah!, I agree with you about the celebrity cancel culture there. I ended up liking this show a lot, but I was frustrated with a lot of its pacing and focus. Sam-dal spent too much time crying and generally revealing how little she'd been there for her friends at the start. I did not care in the slightest about their feint to a love triangle with Sang-do and really wished, instead, that they had spent more time on the sisters' plot lines. I want a full spinoff with Dolphin Center Guy, Younger Sister, and Overly Mature-For-Her-Age Niece!
posted by TwoStride at 3:19 PM on February 1

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