During the 1980s, South Korea was undergoing a political change leading to turmoil and social unrest. In a small town in Jeolla Province, two friends, Lee Doo Hak and Choi Cheol Woong, were trying to navigate their way through high school and adolescence. However, their lives were forever changed when Oh Jung Shin, a girl from Seoul, transferred to their school. The trio quickly became close friends, but the two boys developed romantic feelings for Oh Jung Shin as time passed, sparking a love rivalry between them. However, circumstances beyond their control began to rock their young lives. An unexpected incident involving Lee Doo Hak's family resulted in tragedy, pushing him towards violence and revenge. As political events escalated around them, could love be the answer to saving the day for these three young friends? (Source: Viki, edited by CK Warrior at MyDramaList) Edit Translation
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Cast & Credits
ambivalence"Oasis". Hm. I've thought whether I should continue watching or drop the series... I've also considered more than once whether I want to write something about it... My feelings about this KDrama are ambivalent. However, the ´why is this?´ , is why I actually consider it worth mentioning.
Sure, there were bumpy details, like the boys' artificial skin tanning when they were young, but I don't want to dwell on those.
>> The decisive factor for me, not rooting so much for this show, was and is that I really do NOT care so much for ANYBODY in this story. I understand, yes. There is empathy, yes. But sympathy? I couldn't care less. I've never had that before. I actually didn’t care. Neither the love story, nor the incorrigible rival, nor the girl wanting to bring back her father's cinema – this all and more only had limited impact on me. That's why I was tempted to turn my back on the story. Yet, I don't want to deny the actors' ability. I would do them injustice. They did their job fairly well. There are a number of strong moments. But still, maybe they were not the perfect cast? In any case, I would argue that in “OASIS” the character portraits were simply NOT drawn that well. ...In my view, that's obviously NOT the strength of the script...
Then there is the historical context of the series – the rollercoaster ride of the 80's and 90's. In South Korea, they are the neuralgic interface between dictatorship and democracy. But I don't want to dwell on this either.
>> What was decisive for me was that the STORY of the KDrama really mattered to me – whatever triggered the dynamics, the twists and turns. Intertwined with it were indeed countless moments that touched me deeply. Starting with the seed that underlies the whole drama: the fatal loyalty of the former slave not only to his deceased master, who had fought for independence, but also to his son, whom he now still serves as a free man. And then also the fruits that came out of this seed. Plus a lot more. The circumstances, the constraints, the social context that shines through in how it shapes (or had shaped) people, all of this really had me .
The way these forces of time and history run along in the background as a matter of course and keep stirring up the lives of the protagonists at crucial points, I think the script did THAT quite well. (However, I don't know whether it would have worked that way if I hadn't already known something about the political and social context back then.)
Maybe I could summarize: The portrait of how the historical dynamics are intertwined with personal destinies is well done in "Oasis". The character portrait of the comparatively stale protagonists, on the other hand, is less so. This discrepancy, resulting in my rather indifferent experience of the main characters on the one hand, and the emotional force with which the story keeps lashing out on the other hand, is a phenomenon that I have never experienced in a KDrama before. (But I don't necessarily assume that this has to be the same for others as it is for me.)
Eventually, despite the ambivalence, I watched to the end and was always curious to see what would be next. I can't say I regret watching either. But then I wasn´t all that happy in the end - even though I was partially impressed by the showdown, (yet, again, only partially.)
----------------------- Tiny side note: -------------------------------------
Re: 80's and 90's:
In connection with e.g. the KDramas "Sandglass" and "Giant" I have already given some of the political coulors of the 1980s and 1990s. Much of this applies to the historical context of "Oasis" as well. (you might want to check there.) Here, though, the dubious role of the secret service comes more into focus.
Re. Movie theatre:
The dictatorship was characterized by censorship. In addition, there was no freedom to travel. Accordingly, the cinema was like a window to the rest of the world, and generally offered a canvas to dream away from one's own misery, at least for a while. That may be more or less true wherever you look on this planet. But in South Korea at that time certainly more than i.e. in Europe. The role of the ´cinema´ in "Oasis" not only coincidentally represents liberation (struggle - especially of the female protagonist).
Because of this KDrama I stumbled over another one - same title, 20 years older: "Oasis (2003) " or "Desert Spring".
I am grateful for this discovery thanks to the name-connection. Actually I liked that older one (despite the specific doing of that time) even more...
Nevertheless I consider "Oasis" (2023) having its moments, too...
South Korean history lesson"Oasis" is a dark/noir drama series since it is set in the era of the dictator Chun that set up a concentration camp for "purificatory education". It shows workers/college student movements (represented by supporting character Lee Jeong Ok [Doo Hak's younger sister] and second lead character Choi Cheol Woong) in the 80s and the hideous government education camps (character Choi Cheol Woong experiences the abusive purifying education). The story includes movie theaters in the 80s where movies were so popular (represented by movie theater owners/movie producers character Cha Geum Ok and main female leading character Oh Jung Jin / Sophia in "Oasis"). Historically, some movies became the most entertaining films that are still regularly watched today. It also tells the story of a former slave/servant that does whatever his former master wants him to do, including giving up his second son. I am saddened when Abeoji Lee Joong Ho died (the main character Lee Doo Hak's father, a farmer and a former slave/servant). The scene is so harrowing when his wife, Eomma/Eomoni Jeom Am Daek (main character Lee Doo Hak's mother) sobbing aguishly when her husband died and during the funeral and funeral procession. "Oasis" is a mini series that is a gut-wrenching portrait of the parental sacrifice and the oldest son's filial piety, a complete obedience to his parents (represented by male character Lee Doo Hak). It also tells a story of a manipulative woman Kang Yeo Jin ( "Cheol Woong'mother") that will do unapologetically by any means necessary including lying that "her" son, Choi Cheol Woong is her former lover (Deputy Hwang Chung Seong)'s son, and uses Deputy Hwang Chung Seong to cover her deceit. it also shows the authoritarian leader of Deputy Hwang Chung Seong that has complete control over his subordinate Team Captain/Prosecutor Coordinator Oh Man Ok.
There are many fighting scenes and also when South Korean government forcefully clear low income housing areas, as a strategy to impress the international attention and build sporting facility for upcoming Olympics event in Seoul, South Korea. It tells the story of the main character and his new career as a contractor purchasing land from low income people and the mushrooming of high rise apartment buildings around the Olympics center.
I really like watching and waiting patiently for the next episodes of "Oasis" mini series. It has South Korean history lesson that is interesting and educational for me. The cast are wonderful, including lovely actress Seol In Ah (role Oh Jung Jin), solemnly performed by actor Jang Dong Yoon (role Lee Doo Hak), skillfully performed by actor Choo Young Woo (role Choi Cheol Woong), veteran actor Jeon Noh Min (role Deputy Hwang Chung Seong), veteran actor Kim Myung Soo (role Abeoji Lee Joong Ho), veteran actress So Hee Jung (role Jeom Am Daek), and most notably "Everyman warrior" actor Jin Yi Han (convincingly portrays role Villain Oh Man Ok). Watching "Oasis" can be depressing since it is a noir/dark drama series that has intricate plots and gruesome story during the dictator/dark times era.
I must say I am impressed with actor Choo Young Woo's performance in "Oasis" He is only in his early 20s and is able to deliver a solid complicated and hated character Choi Cheol Woong in "Oasis". He will be the next generation great actor. Also, it is worth noted that Actor Jin Yi Han really immerses himself in his role as a villain Oh Man Ok and he lost so much weight , 11 Kgs, for his role to look more "sinister" in "Oasis (2023)". Additionally his deep resonant voice and intense different facial expressions show he is an excellent actor and is able to deliver his thorough and fine performance.
I rate a 9 out of 10 for the mini series, I highly recommend watching "Oasis (2023). Enjoy the mini series.