Lee Seung Gi drama A Korean Odyssey faces further delay


File photo of South Korean star Lee Seung Gi at a fan meet in 2013.
File photo of South Korean star Lee Seung Gi at a fan meet in 2013. PHOTO: FAITH & D ENTERTAINMENT

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - K-pop star Lee Seung Gi's trouble-ridden drama A Korean Odyssey may be grounded for longer than expected.

On Tuesday (Jan 2), the South Korean media said episodes three and four of the tvN show, which had been delayed for at least a week after a staff member was injured on set, might not air this weekend either.

South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labour has commenced an investigation into the incident, as will the police.

MBC Art, which employs the staff member in question, has recently filed charges against the show's production company for professional negligence.

The production team is reported to be on standby, ahead of the police investigation that will start on Wednesday.

In a statement, production officials said nothing had been set yet. "We will notify (the media) after things are confirmed. We already said the show would be delayed for at least a week."

The accident had further fuelled criticism about the show.

For the episode that aired on Dec 24, the production staff failed to digitally remove wires attached to the actors.

The show then took an extensive commercial break and abruptly ended mid-episode.

The incident has highlighted the inadequate production environment of television dramas in South Korea.

One of A Korean Odyssey's problems was the hectic schedule. The show denied this, saying the shoot started in early October. It did, however, admit that that computer graphics for episode two that aired on Dec 24 were completed later than expected.

Another problem was that the show's lead, Lee, joined the cast after he was discharged from his mandatory military duties on Oct 31, nearly a month after the shoot started.

In an interview with the local media, culture critic Ha Jae Geun said the production team's optimism about the schedule could have led to the fiasco.

The producers "should've (A) made sure Lee joined the crew on time, or (B) postponed the show, but they did nothing", he said.

Director Park Hong Kyun, who is helming A Korean Odyssey, is infamous for forcing a hectic schedule on his cast and crew. Actor Ji Sung, who starred in Park's 2011 drama New Heart, revealed in a past interview that he was sleep-deprived for 30 straight days.

Actors have also voiced concerns over the so-called "page-script", referring to scripts that are distributed to actors in pages, containing only a fraction of the show.

The rest of the show is written as the show is being shot, with changes being made on the fly. This often poses problems for actors - who have little time to prepare for their scenes - and causes continuity errors.