The drama series is set at a prison where a baseball player called Kim Je Hyuk who turns into a convict overnight and an elite prison guard called Lee Joon Ho and a variety of people experience prison life. The drama shares the lives and stories behind these prisoners as well as events that take place there.
Cast & Credits
Five years back, I switched from watching dramas that have already aired to dramas that are, as we put it, "currently-airing". We've all had that transition at some point, and to me, a good currently-airing Korea drama has two potential flaws - one, certain scenes are too boring so you skip over or skim over them; two, when you come back a week later to watch fresh episodes, you might not find the drama as appealing as you did last week. But once in a while, you find a drama like Wise Prison Life. A drama where you can't skip a single scene and cherish each and every moment. A drama where you come back to watch new episodes, dive right in and feel like you never left.
The script is so well-written. There is no strong intensity or urgency in the drama, but only in small doses. And the feels are so sweet, heartwarming and beautiful. I don't know how to describe it, but you'll understand if you have watched the Reply series. You would end up loving the smallest details and the entire journey would make you an emotional mess (but in a good way, thankfully).
Coming to characters, the writers have always been my favorites for the characters they develop. No wonder everyone wants to work with them! And Wise Prison Life has some of my favorite characters ever. And in one single drama! I loved every single character and their personal journeys as well as their shared journey. They are all so lovable and cool. I can't even pick a favorite! They're all so amazing and their friendship and their struggles make me cry even after finishing the drama. Kim Je Hyuk is such an inspiring character, not just because of his perseverance, but also because of his non-judgmental, humble personality. Joon Ho is the best friend one could have! I am so glad Jung Kyung Ho did not skip out on this one (let's face it, his role isn't as meaty as we would have all expected). He was perfect! His brother was hilarious! And OMG LOONY!!! And OMG LIT. PAENG!!! And...okay, I shall stop. Bottom line, all of them were so awesome, and I am overwhelmed.
Not only did this drama have a great OST, I also ended up discovering Kim Kwang Seok and his beautiful songs because of it! The rap intro OST was super lit. Mino and Yoon did a song for them too. I love them, they are one of my favorite musicians (and so is WINNER). In fact, I was really surprised when I saw Yoon in this, because I have had a huuuge crush on Yoon for a long time. But yes, this is not the time to talk about KPOP crushes! LOL. And Yoon did a very decent job here. The romance was perfectly incorporated in the story. It was not overbearing and neither was it lacking. I liked Krystal here and also the romantic interest of Jun Ho (who I'll not name because I have learned to keep my reviews spoiler-free. Mostly, LOL).
Overall, this drama is for everybody! It's a rare gem. Everyone must watch this!
I haven’t seen this much heart in a drama before. It’s beautiful and melancholic. Serene and hopeful. And ultimately: very important.
The drama has a reputation for being an easy, fluffy, heartwarming watch however that’s just one element of it. Prison playbook, in its core is a show about a couple of men in a bad place, who’ve done bad things but have good hearts. It’s about finding purity in the most unfortunate circumstances and seeking warmth in a cold, hopeless time.
There are some hauntingly dark and jarring moments but the beauty of the show is such that it overcomes its darkness with a good dose of laughter and love. There will be times when you have to pause the screen to let out a jolly good cackle and times when you can’t stop the tears because you’re so overcome by feeling.
All the characters are fully baked and beautifully developed, so much so, that you’ll find yourself forming a personal connection with each and every one of them. The story flows smoothly with "almost" no plot-holes and the writing is exceptional, giving attention to detail and a tight plot. Each episode plays with a range of emotions with never a boring moment. It’s far from a tension drama and develops very slowly, yet it managed to hook me in a way that I binged it as fast as I would do any crime-thriller.
The OST is perfect. The screenplay is immaculate. The acting is top-notch. Kim Hae Soo plays one of the best male leads in a drama in a way so natural and effortless that you can’t help but adore him.
The drama gives birth to one of the most iconic bromances in K-Drama history. There’s real brotherhood and friendship here. The relationships between characters are incredibly fleshed out and the side of romance is also well-done.
So over-all, Prison Playbook is an excellent show. The only reason I didn’t give it a perfect score was because I had mixed feelings about the last couple of episodes. The fact that some of the characters that I had grown very attached to were given a somewhat realistic but quite unsatisfactory and abrupt open end, while other characters were given an almost ideal personality change and happy ending made me raise eyebrows. This contradiction made me wish that there was an additional episode that gave much needed closure to some aspects of the show and closed the story cleanly. However, in the grand scheme of things this could easily be overlooked.
Filled with sugar, spice and life- Prison Playbook is definitely one of the best dramas out there.