Hospital Ship is about doctors on a medical ship that travels to rural villages on islands. A talented surgeon (Ha Ji Won) joins the ship after an incident at her previous hospital. She goes on a journey of growth as she comes to know a warm hearted internal medicine doctor (Kang Min Hyuk) who also works on the ship.
All aboard the Flower Boy Ship! Wait, I mean the Hospital Ship. Come aboard this floating medical facility that is populated by a stellar surgeon, some handsome doctors, and a fun supportive staff.
Ha Ji Won plays our leading lady Song Eun Jae. She is an outstanding surgeon who is highly praised for her skills. But an incident at her job and a family tragedy soon land her on the ship.
This was a good character for Ha Ji Won, but I did have some trouble connecting with Eun Jae because she is so cold and detached. And she remains this way through most of the drama. Of course, she does have her moments where she lets her guard down and we really see those emotions, but most of the time she buries them. It just made her hard to warm up to.
Kang Min Hyuk is Kwak Hyun, a doctor of internal medicine on the ship. I thought Kang Min Hyuk was perfect for this role since Hyun is such a warm and kind-hearted doctor. He just radiates this sweetness.
And I like that I was able to find him adorable yet still take him very seriously in his role as a dedicated doctor. Hyun really goes above and beyond for his patients, and he really touched my heart with his genuineness and caring.
Lee Seo Won plays Kim Jae Gul, a doctor of oriental medicine. He’s good looking and confident, but his strained relationship with his doctor father takes a toll on him. He also has to come against the skepticism of the others concerning his oriental medicine specialty. He’s a good guy and made for a solid addition to the hospital ship.
There are plenty of interesting supporting characters on the hospital ship from dentists to nurses to ship workers. They help create a sort of family on this floating hospital. I liked the atmosphere aboard the ship because of the quirky and fun staff that helped bring a warmth to it.
Hospital Ship does have an overall episodic feel to it, but it does well at developing the story arcs of our doctors throughout the drama. They all have some difficult personal issues they are working through, and their cases help bring these issues to light and allow them to address them.
Despite a constant barrage of life and death situations, I found the drama to be a bit slow due to a mix of pacing and tone. This was most prominent in the first quarter of the drama where we established our characters and the show was at its most episodic. There was just a whole lot of doctoring going on.
Putting aside the fact that this is a medical drama so lots of regular emergencies are to be expected, there sure were a whole lot of emergencies that affected our doctors personally. Seriously, they had family members going into medical crisis’ left and right! On one hand, it all felt a little forced. But this was actually where the drama started to improve for me.
These were opportunities for our characters to bond with each other. And since I don’t care for episodic shows, these events helped develop their ongoing stories of growth and let us go deep with the characters.
This is also when we finally introduced some relationship drama. I know not everyone wants that sort of thing in a medical drama, but I sure do! Bring on the angst and misunderstandings! Don’t worry though. Things don’t get too carried away. Our love triangle does emerge, but it doesn’t get that dramatic. I mostly found it to be an overall welcome addition.
Although I joked about the flower boy ship earlier, I didn’t have any issues with our doctors. Sure, they are young, handsome, and maybe not your average doctors, but I found them to be interesting characters, and the actors did well with their roles.
And of course, there is an age gap between Ha Ji Won and the boys. In real life, she is 13 years older than Kang Min Hyuk and 18 years older than Lee Seo Won. But in the show they are all suppose to be around the same age. I didn’t even find it to be that noticeable though, especially because Ha Ji Won looks so young. I have no issues with large age gaps anways, but I didn’t think this one was overwhelming. They just seemed like people living life and falling in love.
I really enjoyed Kang Min Hyuk and Ha Ji Won as a couple. It’s not one of those sizzling relationships, but I really think that had more to do with her cold and cut off character combined with his calm demeanor. But I found them to have a comfortable relationship that was sweet and supportive as it progressed.
Eun Jae really has to learn that it’s okay to need someone and that she doesn’t have to be perfect in front of them. Hyun is such a kind and patient man that he is the perfect person to go on that journey with her as she begins to slowly open up to him.
The drama is filled with some very emotional story lines involving our doctors and their personal lives. I definitely shed some tears at the well crafted stories. A lot of the patients’ cases were also done well, and many had me very emotionally engaged with them.
So to sum up, the main negatives to the show for me was that it was somewhat episodic, it was slower paced, and had lots of surgery scenes. There’s a reason I don’t watch a ton of medical dramas. Note to self next time I want to watch a medical drama: Surgery scenes are just not for me!
But overall, Hospital Ship is a warm, character driven drama. It develops its characters well through their stories of tragedy and growth. The doctors felt like a family that we could laugh and cry with as we went along with them on their journey. All in all, it was a very heartfelt and moving drama.
My Rating: 7/10
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