Yoo Eun-soo, a plastic surgeon from modern-day Seoul, is kidnapped by Choi Young, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, and brought 700 years into the past to save Goryeo’s queen. After the portal to the future closes before she can get back to it, Eun-soo is forced to make a life for herself in an alien nation struggling to free itself from Chinese political influence.
When describing The Great Doctor/Faith to people, I call it Korean Outlander. There are many similarities: For one thing, both female protagonists become respected doctors when they travel to the past; for another, both are charged with witchcraft at one point or another for their seemingly miraculous cures; furthermore, both shows feature underdog political movements intent on overthrowing a superior military power; and finally, both women have love interests who are warriors fighting for the liberation of their people.
This show suffers from the standard kdrama idiosyncrasies (long slow-motion sequences during romantic scenes, many longing stares and lingering glances that turn what could be forty-five minutes of story into an hour of episode time), but, really, who cares? Eun-soo is hilarious. Choi Young is a heartthrob. And right from the start, I became invested in the economic and political struggles of this ancient nation, personified by its shy, inexperienced king and his complicated relationship with his headstrong but soft-spoken Chinese-born wife.
So, even though the pacing drags on occasion, the characters and the plot more than make up for it. I would say the slow pace even adds to the “will they, won’t they” tension that was at times so overwhelming, I had to take binge-watching breaks to scream into a pillow. Without exaggerating, it’s safe to say that The Great Doctor is great television.
Available on viki.com (photograph kidnapped from Pinterest)