Once Upon a Small Town follows the romance between a veterinarian (Chu Young Woo) from Seoul who suddenly has to move to the countryside and a local police officer (Joy) who is loved by everyone in town.
Chu Young Woo plays Han Ji Yul. He is a veterinarian who has to suddenly move to the countryside where he grew up to help his grandfather. He’s not happy to be there and struggles to connect with the townspeople.
Joy is Ahn Na Young. She is a police officer who grew up in the town and is always ready to help everyone whenever she can. When Ji Yul shows up, she tries to help him understand the town and its people.
Then we have Baek Sung Chul as Lee Sang Hyun. He is also a long-time resident of the town and close friend of Na Young. He has had feelings for her for quite a while and is a bit shook up as she grows closer to Ji Yul.
Once Upon a Small Town is a shorter drama with 12 half-hour episodes. It has a very basic premise with the city boy coming to a small town and slowly connecting with a local woman. There’s also the love triangle with her close friend.
We’ve seen this story many times, but the drama does tell the tale pretty well. It has an overall light and fun quality to it that is easy to watch. There is humor, a slow-burn romance, quirky townspeople, and helping animals.
The small town setting is very lovely with a relaxing quality to it. There are many beautiful scenic shots to enjoy. We don’t see a lot of dramas set in the countryside, so I always find that to be a nice change of pace.
Our main couple of Ji Yul and Na Young is where we find our romance. It’s a slow burn relationship that starts off on the wrong foot. Na Young tries to help Ji Yul with his job and as bridge between him and the townspeople. We learn about their past and see them get to know each other.
They stay fairly at odds for a large chunk of the drama though, and it takes a long while before they get together which was a bit disappointing. We honestly don’t get to enjoy them as a couple until close to the end of the drama. But they are super cute when we do!
There were a couple of other negatives to the drama for me. First, is that it felt quite slow. It takes its time as it explores Ji Yul and Na Young’s relationship as well as dealing with a mini crisis most episodes as our vet had to run off and help different animals. While it was pretty relaxing, the pacing was just a bit too slow for me, and it didn’t always feel like much was happening.
Also, we have a cast consisting of many townspeople who are each quirky in their own way. I typically love this as it is usually easy to connect with a humorous ensemble of townspeople, but sadly, I didn’t really care for most of them and even found some annoying. Which is really too bad since that is usually a big selling point with these kind of dramas for me.
Overall, Once Upon a Small Town is a quick watch that is nice and easy. It’s a bit slow, and the story has been done many times, but it was light and humorous with a relaxing tone. This might be a good drama for you if you need something lighter between the more serious dramas to add a bit of sweetness to your watch list.
My Rating: 6/10
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