Drama Special Series Season 1: White Christmas

Drama Special Series Season 1: White Christmas (2011)

8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 4,545 users
Reviews: 47 users

Susin High School, nicknamed "Prison High," is an elite boarding school attended by the top 1% of students in the country. Their stellar marks are the result of constant pressure and a strict punishment system, to the point where students avoid from any activities outside of studying and even study on weekends. Furthermore, their only vacation days are the 8 days from Christmas Eve to the first day of the New Year. read moreDuring this time, the students and faculty leave the school and the school becomes empty.
However, seven students decided to remain at school on winter break after receiving an anonymous letters stating that someone will die. To accompany them, a teacher is forced to remain at school with them. But on their first night, a psychologist called Kim Yo Han joins them after being involved in a car accident nearby. In addition, because of the snowstorm , the roads are closed and he is forced to spend the winter holiday with them. However, at a time when everyone else is celebrating Christmas Eve, the students realize that the anonymous letters they each received was not the result of a harmless prank; and there is a murderer in their midst.

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alienshore7
40 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jan 17, 2013
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I finished this drama special last night (this morning) at around 1:00 am. There was so much adrenaline pumping through me that I wanted to write my review right then, but at the same time I had to digest this masterpiece for a while first. Because this is a masterpiece, and here's why.

First, I will say that if you like Kdramas, this one is absolutely unique in the entire genre. I've read more seen over 100 and nothing even seems to have been made on the same planet as this. So it definitely has the uniqueness factor - check.

Secondly, because it was a special rather than a full drama, it has a nice short run time of only 8 episodes, so it is great for those with ADHD or who like Kdramas but not the fact that they tend to be so long. Actually, my only real complaint about this drama is that there isn't more of it!

Of course, the first two positive things I've said about this drama are just shallow fluff and not really the reasons I called it a masterpiece. But they are good reasons that I think this is the ultimate drama for introducing noobs to Kdramas (particularly American noobs as those are the kind I know best).

But now on to the real meat of the matter -- why is this a masterpiece, and not just a Korean masterpiece, but possibly a masterpiece of television, period?

1. VISUALS! Did I say visuals? Oh, and visuals. This is one of the most singularly beautiful (and eerie) things I've ever watched. The PD is Kim Yong Soo and going foward I will watch anything he directs (he directed Equator Man, which while it has its plot flaws, no one can deny its cinematography is stunning). Every camera shot is perfectly framed for maximum visual and emotional impact. At times it felt more like watching a series of paintings or artistic photographs pass by rather than film. The visual harmony between the stark modern architecture, the snow, the shadows and even the physical characteristics of the actors themselves and how they are framed in each and every shot demonstrates tremendous forethought and superior aesthetic awareness. I could have watched this drama with the sound and subs off and still enjoyed it; that's how beautiful it is.

2. Acting. Considering the youth of this cast, the acting was quite good, and this drama could not have been pulled off without their sublime efforts because the claustrophobic, character-driven nature of this drama requires great acting. I read on Dramabeans that when the kids were cast that the writer cared more about physical type (because the visuals and theme were that important to her) than acting ability and that most of the actors were considered relatively inexperienced at the time; although, we know most of them very well now (Woo Bin and Sung Joon, for example). I found this revelation startling in light of the brilliance of their acting in White Christmas.

3. Music. Much like the visuals, the music was also all perfectly thought out at every moment to achieve maximum emotional effect. And for we English speakers, there is deft use of some popular tunes like AC/DC's Back in Black, Arcade Fire's Wake Up and Massive Attack's Teardrop (aka the theme song from House), just to name a few. This actually is my favorite soundtrack of any Kdrama I've seen because much of the music was recognizable and that just added to the overall impact of how well it was used to increase the emotional impact of the scenes and theme, rather than just as background music like so many soundtracks. The soundtrack in this drama practically takes on a life of its own and White Christmas would not be the same without it.

4. Theme & Writing. No bones about it, this is a DARK drama and not for the faint of heart. But once again, what makes it great is that it is not dark in the usual twisted crazy parent, birth secret, killing for money, insane makjang way of most dark Kdramas. This is dark because of the theme and the theme is a very simple and universal one relatable to anyone anywhere (that I am not going to go into here because I don't want to give anything away). Much like with the visuals and the music, the writing was also very focused in this drama, without any of the meandering, unfocused, repetitiveness that plagues the live shoot portion of so many Kdramas. Sure it was only 8 episodes, but every scene, every word, of those 8 episodes was perfectly thought out to elucidate the main theme with nothing extraneous and nothing left out either. EXCEPT....

There was one flaw in this otherwise perfect drama and it's a pretty major plot hole that occurs in the last episode that sent my bulls*** radar pinging. And despite my great love of this drama I refuse to let the writer off. If you've seen it, you probably know what I mean. However, I understand why the writer had to do what she did for the overall structure and theme of the drama, and, therefore, I forgive her. Because, in the wake of this glorious tour de force, I am willing to let a little final-hour-what-the-f**ckery slide.

In summation, watch this drama! You will NOT be disappointed. And if by same crazy miracle you are, there is a scene in episode 6 where all the guys take their shirts off, so hold on until there at least!
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Melwill28
68 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 13, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
I loved this drama. It had everything; love, hate, fear, death. I was extrememly interested in the psychology aspect of the drama as I am a psych major. I gave it all 10's b/c the story was amazing, the acting was perfect, the music was awesome (had a lot of songs that I listen to), and it overall messed so well that I will watch this over and over. I have recomended read more this drama to my friends at work and will to any1 else that I know. I loved the concept that was born and how it all played out. A wounderful question that I have myself been trying to answer since I work in behavioral mental health. Whomever thought this up has a very analytical mind and knows how to go beyond the boundries set for experiments in the psych field. It is a very fine line that can be crossed at anytime. I probably like this more because it is based on a topic that I am interested in anyway. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (24)Recommendations

These two dramas give off very similar vibes. They are both on the more serious side, plot-focused with an actual lesson to learn from.
Whenever I think of one, I automatically think of the other.

Jungle Fish 2 (which is not really related to Jungle Fish 1, so you can watch it by itself) is about a girl who has died, and her group of friends try to find out why. It reveals a lot of hidden secrets about the school they go to, and about how many flaws there are the school system.

White Christmas is also focused on a group of people who are working together to try to get out of a horrible situation (It's hard to explain without spoilers). The students in both of these dramas face different but similar problems, and have similar yet different back-stories of their own.

I highly recommend watching both of these!
Recommended by Toppiyo
They both explore the concept of whether "psychopaths" are born or made.
Recommended by NAT

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Comments (139)

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  • Reply
    msa 29 days ago

    HOW DID THE DOCTOR DISGUISE HIMSELF AS THE TEACHER? ASDBSJJSKS

  • Reply
    AnanyaS Dec 3, 2016

    Perfect!! Had me on the edge of my seats the whole time.

  • Reply
    mini Oct 8, 2016 - edited

    All I want is this drama to be recreated by different director, he was the biggest flaw of this drama and why im not rating it 10/10. With the same actors ofcourse, I wouldn't mind Baek Sunghyun to be switched to someone else as he wasn't very good actor. Some of the others were a bit lacking too but i've watched their newest works and know that they are now way better. I wished Jo Youngjae's story to be explained,

    • Reply
      winterBlossom 22 days ago

      me too. I was so looking forward for his story... I thought they will explain everyone's story even the doctor's and the teacher's.

  • Reply
    Nams Oct 5, 2016 - edited

    My usual 3 questions, Please anyone answer me
    1. In romance? If yes how good?
    2. Happy ending/Sad ending/Cliff hanger?
    3. Worth a watch?

    • Reply
      sugaryday Oct 5, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Nams Oct 5, 2016

      I do love Rom-Com and sweet innocent kinda stories. But am also a huge fan of mysetry/Psychology and Thriller series. SO im gonna give it a try! Lately I have been watching too me love stories thats too sweet to handle :P Need some kind of different touch for now! Thansk for the prompt reply!!! ^_^

    • Reply
      choimari Nov 12, 2016

      1 - No.
      2 - Neutral/Open-ended
      3 - Yes!

  • Reply
    minyoung Jul 21, 2016 - edited

    I dropped it in episode 3. I couldn't get into it. It was boring. There were no chills or anything and I expected that

    • Reply
      Emily Oct 14, 2016

      I know this comment is a little old, but I think you should give this another try. Things are kind of stale until the fourth episode or so when you find something out and it kind of cracks the drama wide open. This is a really good one, don't give up too early~

    • Reply
      Reavel Nov 11, 2016

      Hmmm so I will try again. Thank! I guess I was distracted by all the models. lol!

    • Reply
      sanasoufi Dec 21, 2016

      So let's waste 4 hours? Only 8 episodes, so atleast 6 should be watchable. If half of the drama is boring....what's the point?

  • Reply
    MilenaDias Jul 17, 2016

    O vilão poderia ser a coisa mais fantástica deste drama...
    O drama me prendeu até que o vilão fosse revelado. A partir disso, ficou simplesmente chato. Neste tipo de filme, série ou drama, o vilão é a estrela. Ele precisa ser assustador o suficiente ou misterioso o suficiente. Mas não senti nenhum tipo de vibração negativa neste drama. A partir do episodio 5 comecei a pular partes só para ver o fim. Vale a pena assistir, mas péssimo ator para o verdadeiro protagonista da história. 7/10

  • Reply
    sharreb Jun 30, 2016

    Wow the cast...

  • Reply
    Kanra Jun 26, 2016 - edited

    I can't get this drama out of my mind.

    • Reply
      Misha Aug 9, 2016

      Same. I always come back to it no matter what. I also watched it the entire thing 8 times in a row. I just love it that much.

    • Reply
      Kanra Aug 9, 2016

      I need to rewatch this. It is one of only two stable 10s on my list. Such a memorable drama.

  • Reply
    Taylor Jun 21, 2016

    omg I'm loving this! Its so good. I had to stop mid-way through the first episode though. Saving this jewel for when my cousin gets here. I'm going to make her binge watch it Friday with me. haha See if we can figure out everything together. xD lol

  • Reply
    Kanra Jun 20, 2016

    A very interesting drama. Not at all what I expected, but amazing nonetheless. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something psychological with a lot of emphasis on the ties between characters and human nature.

  • Reply
    LenkaKarbanova Jun 11, 2016 - edited

    Hi, can anyone tell me what's the name of the song playing at 1:02:00 http://kissasian.com/Drama/White-Christmas/Episode-1?id=5322 when Yoon Eun Sung is going to kill herself please?? I can't find it anywhere :/

  • Reply
    rheabiel May 24, 2016 - edited

    My ratings would be between 7.5-8/10. I finally got to watch this after years of hesitation. I avoided this drama cause I feel like it wasn't good enough as what most people who have watched this claimed to be but Lee So Hyuk is in here (he is the reason why I am always looking to watch this drama), well, I have mixed emotions. It was good but not that great. It was good but lacking. They could have done a lot better in the psychological aspect and emotions of the students and put so much thrills and chills. It was confusing at times, what the story wanted to aim. At first it was "who sent the letter and why", then "who killed the teacher and why", "what is the doctor aiming to get", is the drama about "the twisted personalities and problematic lives of the students"?. I feel like it was all over and towards the drama, it made less impact on who wrote the letter though it was the main reason why the have remained. It was also quite lengthy. They could have cut some unnecessary scenes. It was getting boring on some episodes. An the acting, I dont wanna complain on the students since I know their rookies and I believe though some are lacking, they deliver and made it believable but for a veteran, the doctor's acting wasn't believable and convincing. His emotions, his facial expressions, his body language, I don't know, I could even say that he is the reason why this drama lacks the thrills it supposed to have (not that it dont, but it was lacking). He should act like a serial killer if he is one. He could do that while still acting like a professional psychologist. I have seen actors acted psychologist and twisted and they deliver. I could even think Matsuda Shota a Japanese actor from Liar Game could fit the role perfectly, I mean his character in Liar Game could fit here perfectly, the acting and all. He really somehow ruined the drama for me, that doctor. He only smirks and give that awkward smile to show his evilness but nah, its done lously. Well, those 7 guys made this series watchable, I didn't regret watching it. I have learned some things and enjoyed it somehow. I just don't quite understand the ending about Lee So Hyuka and that little boy.

    • Reply
      nynex Jun 2, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      rheabiel Jun 2, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      kyuubi Jul 6, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Faa May 9, 2016 - edited

    where can i watch this?

    • Reply
      wookie1023haji May 13, 2016

      you can watch it at dramanice.to

    • Reply
      Hessa May 16, 2016

      Viki.com
      They have it licensed worldwide.

  • Reply
    wookie1023haji May 3, 2016

    IM GONNA WATCH THIS BECAUSE MY OPPA SOO HYUK IS HEEERREEE ~
    LEMME HEAR THOSE SEXY VOICE AGAIN I AM THIRSTY

  • Reply
    nynex Apr 24, 2016

    Wow, that just completely screwed with my mind, and I loved every bit of it.

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    8
  • Aired:

    Jan 30, 2011 to Mar 20, 2011
  • Aired On:

    Sunday
  • Network:

    KBS2
  • Duration:

    1 hr. 5 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.7 (scored by 4,545 users)
  • Ranked:

    #81
  • Popularity:

    #171

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