Updated: November 5, 2021
“Hospital Playlist” is a Korean medical-musical series, starring, Jo Jung-suk (as Dr. Lee Ik-jun), Yoo Yeon-seok (as Dr. Ahn Jeong-won), Jung Kyung-ho (as Dr. Kim Jun-wan), Kim Dae-myung (as Dr. Yang Seok-hyeong), and Jeon Mi-do (as Dr. Chae Song-hwa).
It’s a hit, crowd-favorite show written by Lee Woo-jung, directed by Shin Won-ho, and broadcast through the TVN Channel and Netflix. Its second season ended on September 16, 2021 with a nationwide viewership rating of 14.1%. It also won the “Best Drama” at the 2020 Brand of the Year Awards.
According to a survey conducted by Joy News 24, “Hospital Playlist Season 2” was selected as the #1 “Best Drama of 2021”. It was participated by 200 entertainment industry employees, broadcasters, reporters, and content producers.
Here are the key points that set “Hospital Playlist” apart from other Korean shows:
1. It portrays the human aspect of healthcare workers.
“The moment we take off our surgical gowns, we’re back to being just like anybody else.”
Being a doctor is rewarding but it is one of the busiest, most demanding, and hectic job in the world. Night shifts, paperworks, and urgent calls are just some of the pressing workloads that healthcare workers face and often easily creep into their personal space.
Their worklife is complex that they need to be alert at all times and ready to respond to emergency situations. As physicians work long hours at the hospital, having time off is often difficult.
“Hospital Playlist” is more than a medical drama that incorporates “life” into the incredibly busy career of doctors. It highlights the life’s up and downs of healthcare workers amid the noise and haste. It emphasizes the humanity of doctors, showing that they are emotional beings, too, who struggle with burnout, fatigue, failures, and frustrations.
The drama portrays that beyond their medical expertise, they also feel anxious in dealing with life-and-death situations, pain as they pronounce a patient dead in front of the family, and struggle between being objective versus empathetic.
The moment they take off their hospital gowns, they go back to their personal lives as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, or friend. Just as the rest of us, they seek life outside work—food, camping, love, karaoke, time alone, or bonding with family and friends.
2. It illustrates an inspiring strong female character.
One of the powerful and adorable characters of the show is Dr. Chae Song-hwa, performed by Jeon Mi-do, and the only female lead among the five major casts. Her character illustrates women empowerment with good leadership and influence.
Dr. Chae is a famous and competent professor of Neurosurgery in Yulje Hospital whose name pops up on search engines. She performs hundreds of successful brain surgeries, checks residents’ papers thoroughly, attends symposiums, and still manages to come to work on time.
She is considered perfect by her colleagues for her competence, good personality, and people skills. Despite being nerd and workaholic, she knows how to have fun. She goes camping on weekends, plays the guitar, eats like a king, and has a strong desire to be the vocalist of the band even if she is tone-deaf and has no sense of rhythm.
Moreover, she is crazy around her bestfriends, laughs so hard with Dr. Lee Ik-jun’s jokes, and acts as the “emotional pillar” of the group. She is also a reliable friend whom you can talk to and help you in tough times.
Intestingly, she is admired not just in the hospital, but also by viewers. She inspires medical and non-medical students alike to study hard, focus on the goal, be diligent, and resilient.
The fearless character of Dr. Chae, portrayed by Jeon Mido, stands out so well that the actress received the “Best New Actress” award at the 2020 Brand of the Year Awards, 2020 Asia Artist Awards, 2020 Asia Contents Awards, and 2021 APAN Star Awards.
3. It reflects the reality of life, death, and relationships in a hospital setting.
“Hospital Playlist” is not just a drama that educates the viewers about medical terms, illnesses, and practices, but it also narrates simple narratives through the perspective of patients.
It walks us to a place brimming with various relatable stories—the hospital where people face the fear of the unknown, anxiety floods the mind, hope is grim, and where the brevity of human life is intently and soberly pondered upon.
It unravels the different journeys and struggles of patients—financial burdens, letting go or clinging to hope, intense anxiousness, depression, and fighting for life.
“When you’re old, all sorts of thoughts cross your mind,” the drama states, expressing the reality of old age and importance of relationships. It reminds us that at the end of the day or when life is at stake, family is what matters the most–the only relationship that will patiently endure our pain, protect us from a bad fall, embrace our shortcomings, accept us for who we are, and walk with us persistently.
4. It covers a good blend of drama, humor, medical knowledge, and musical entertainment.
Despite the drama’s medical theme, it is spontaneous and balanced with humor and fun. It makes the viewers laugh, sigh, smile, and cry buckets while the love stories give you the thrill and excitement.
As it embarks on hospital adventures, it also entertains musically through a group of doctors that performs on weekends. They named their band as the “Gongnyong Ridge” with one main vocalist, two guitarists, one drummer, and one keyboardist.
Each song performed always relates with their personal life or the life at the hospital, which adds to the warmth of the show. The OST is so good that it was well-received by listeners.
Specifically, the song “Aloha” by Jo Jong-suk won five times as the Best OST at the 2020 Melon Music Awards, 2020 Brand of the Year Awards, 2021 Genie Music Awards, 2021 Seoul Music Awards, and 2021 Golden Disc Awards.
5. It highlights a healthy and genuine friendship among five doctors.
One main highlight of the series is the friendship of five doctors. They met and became best of friends since they entered medical school and worked together as competent doctors in the same hospital. Despite their busy schedules, they find time to gather in one place and perform music together.
The story of five doctors in their forties, namely, Dr. Lee Ik-jun, Dr. Ahn Jeong-won, Dr. Kim Jun-wan, Dr. Yang Seokh-yeong, and Dr. Jeon Mi-do is one “friendship goals”. It compels one to ponder thoughtfully about the value of genuine and lifelong friendships. It makes you realize that life is lonesome when you don’t have someone to lean on.
They know each other’s weaknesses, scold one another like real siblings, fight for food. and annoy each other like kids. And yet, they perfectly sync when they perform a song and help each other analyze and find a solution to their problems.
To read more about the five most loved doctors and why they are friendship goals, click here.
DRAMA RATING: 9/10
“Hospital Playlist” is one of the few crowd-favorite Korean drama series. It is a light, warm, realistic, and educational drama that merges life into the noise and haste of modern medicine. It uniquely stands out as one of the best.
Although the drama has already ended, you can watch the five main casts in a new variety show named as, “Mountain Village Playlist”. It premiered on October 8 in Korea’s TVN Channel.