Secret Garden

I waited for the series to end in GMA 7 before making this review. I watched the original Korean series with English subtitle but I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t know if it was the actor’s or actress’ voice or the subtitle but I really didn’t find the series appealing. So when I saw the teaser from GMA 7 (a local channel in the PH) a few months back, I decided to give it another try. I watched Hyun Bin from the series My Name is Kim Sam Soon and I love him ever since. That’s why watching it twice was not a bad idea.

I wasn’t disappointed. I liked the way Filipinos dubbed the series. The “kalye” language they used was very appropriate for our culture and made the series more natural. I definitely love the “saltik” term Jamie used to call Owen. It became an endearment. 

Type Her시크릿 가든 / Secret Garden

SBS, 20 Episodes
Broadcast Period 10/13/10 – 01/16/11
Romance, Comedy, Fantasy

Watched in November, 2011

The drama tells the story of Kim Joo Won/Owen (Hyun Bin), an arrogant and eccentric CEO who maintains the image of seeming perfection, and Gil Ra Im/Jamie (Hai Ji Won), a poor and humble stunt-woman whose beauty and body are the object of envy amongst top actresses. Their accidental meeting, when Joo Won mistakes Ra Im for actress Park Chae Rin, marks the beginning of a tense, bickering relationship, through which Joo Won tries to hide a growing attraction to Ra Im that both confuses and disturbs him. To complicate matters further, a strange sequence of events results in them swapping bodies. 1

Director: Shin Woo Chul, Hyuk Chan
Screenwriter: Kim Eun Sook

Cast: Hyun Bin, Hai Ji Won, Yoon Sang Hyun

SG Correlation Chart

SG Correlation Chart

Secret Garden was one of the most popular drama series to hit mainstream Korea. It has high ratings and continued to be on top till the last episode. I won’t argue with that. It was really funny. I understood why the Koreans loved it because after watching the tagalized version, I fell in love with it too. The series has some similarities with the Hollywood movie It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006). The concept might have been derived from this movie. The Koreans just expanded the concept and made the story suitable for Asian audiences.

Hyun Bin’s portrayal of Owen’s character was very smooth but I was more amazed with Hyun Bin’s acting when the swapping of bodies occurred. He has to act as Jamie and that basically requires him to act like a girl—he was very effective. The change in characters was drastic but Hyun Bin pulled it off. It was not awkward. The acting was very natural. And as a viewer, I believed that Jamie’s soul was in Owen’s body.

On the other hand, Hai Ji Won’s acting is not that impressive but she improved very well since she started in the business. I first had a glimpse of her acting prowess in the movie 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant and she was not good. I found her acting in that movie very novice but that would be in another review. I don’t think there’s much difference from her Jamie-self and Owen-acting when the switched occurred. She already has as strong, tomboyish character at the beginning of the series, so I didn’t find it exceptional.

The series in general was slow-paced. I understand that they want to build the characters in the first ten episodes to make the viewers acquainted with their attitudes so by the time the swap happens, the viewers will easily see the changes. However, I was bored to death waiting for the swap to happen. This was supposedly the core of the series. Why haven’t they shown it yet? When it finally happened, instead of feeling ecstatic, I was relieved. At long last, the moment I’ve been waiting for took place.

Hey, wait up! It’s not all negative. There are a couple of things I love from the series.

First, Owen’s trademark track suit. That sequenced blue track suit was probably the most popular item ever copied and mass-produced in Korea. It looks funny in Owen but it looks adorable in Hyun Bin. (The analogy is difficult to explain. Ha-ha)

Hyun Bin in Tracksuit

He looks so dashing! LOL

Second, the unexpected kiss between Owen (with Jamie’s soul) and his cousin Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun). I find that scene remarkable! I can’t forget it. I know Hyun Bin was acting Jamie’s character but still in reality he is who he is and Oksa is Yoon Sang Hyun and they shared a kiss?! I can’t take that off my mind for a few days.

Hyun Bin and Song Hye Yo Kiss


And last of all, Owen’s attitude with love. If there’s a guy out there like him, pwede akin ka na lang? (Can you please be mine?) He fought for what he wanted. He didn’t give up on love. Even if Jamie threw him out, physically and emotionally hurt him—he stayed. He showed the cold, afraid and aloof Jamie what it means to love and be loved.

Jaime and Owen

*sigh* He looks so in loove!

 4 Kiss Marks

Amazing: I’m mesmerized.

 4 Drama Awards

Worthy of my praise.


You might also like:

Love Rain: Korean Drama Review

Spellbound: Korean Movie Review

They Kiss Again: Taiwanese Drama Review

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra


16 thoughts on “Secret Garden

    • Shana says:

      Oops! Sorry, I must have mixed that up. Yes, he was not in Coffee Prince. It was for My Name is Kim Sam Soon. Thanks for correcting me Jocelle!

  1. Paia says:

    Great Drama! The Best! I’m American and I’ll tell ya, this one captured me! I did not think the pace was slow, I thought it was just perfectly timed. Didn’t find any scene irrelevant, all scenes moved the plot well. And, I got a glimpse of beautiful Korea. Wow! Brilliant colors! The lady who played “Owen’s” mother is a great actress as well as all the main actors and actresses. My favorite episode was 15 (of course). Best kiss award goes to Hyun Bin! See ya!

    • Alona says:

      Hi Paia! I agree, Korea is really beautiful. I want to visit the country someday. I’m glad you liked the drama. The pacing was just bad for me, I get easily bored especially for long dramas. But this was fun to watch. 🙂

  2. Cristina says:

    Can you post a review of 49 Days? It’s my favorite Korean drama of all time and I love it if people post their thoughts about it.

    • Alona says:

      Hi Cristina! 49 Days had been on my To Watch List ever since it came out. I don’t have spare time as of late to go back to watching KDramas but I would eventually see this. 🙂

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  5. gandadhazzel says:

    Its one of my favorite fantasy-romance drama and I’ve watched it so many times.. I was sold on romance of the main characters. I was not a fan of Hyun Bin, at first I find him not attractive because of his body figure but since I watched SG I started to like him, he’s a great actor who portrayed the character really well. Ha Ji won also did a great job on her character. I wondered at first why the main girl look really simple but it wouldn’t be successful without the two main lead actors, their chemistry was great. I haven’t seen the tagalog version, but I wanted to try it. Also, the OST on this drama was the best esp the version of Hyun Bin, by just listening to it you can feel all the emotions of the drama. I liked this drama more than the “My Lovely Kim Sam Soon”. (Because I hated the episode 7 scene on MLKSS)

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