Once Upon a Small Town: Season 1

  • 17 Sep - 23 Sep, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly

With its easy-to-follow, humble premise and a colourful village backdrop, Once Upon a Small Town certainly has a lot of surface level appeal. It stands out not in intricacy, but rather in idiosyncrasy, thriving in a dedication to breezy storytelling that sets the show apart from some of the more overtly complex releases this year. The plot largely revolves around Han Ji-yul, a skilled veterinarian. The well-regarded professional has a developing life for himself in Seoul, but it’s soon turned upside down after an ominous call seems to suggest that his grandfather may be in grave trouble. As it turns out, he has just gone on a cruise with his wife, though Ji-yul is now suddenly expected to cover for his relative’s veterinary hospital in humble Huidong during his elder’s absence. Expectedly, this transition from cushy capital city living to village occupancy is not a seamless one. Laced with misconceptions, unforgiving work hours, and more, Ji-yul finds it tough to fit into a place where he is already noticeably popular by default. Elsewhere, there’s Ja-young, a police officer who was once “secret friends” with the temporary resident, and now wants to jog the vet’s memory alongside her more official duties. There’s Sang-hyeon too, a friendly peach farm owner who is undeniably good natured. Put together, all of this makes for dainty viewing. Problems are swiftly dealt with, dynamics rapidly built upon, while the stakes are continuously inoffensively down-to-earth.