Until We Meet Again: An Introductory Post

Until We Meet Again: When SOOOOON Finally Became Now

Hello, again readers. I have been once again asked by Kakashi to write something for the blog based on conversations she has seen on twitter, and this one is about a new Thai drama, Until We Meet Again. See trailer. This has got to be one of the most anticipated Thai dramas of 2019!

I will be doing weekly updates in RAWR, but with the help of my "BL Book Club" DM group (see members below) on twitter, I am going to do an introduction to the drama here because there is too much backstory to do in the weekly RAWR.

I first heard about this drama in early January when friends on twitter recommended the book to me; it was being translated online. The novel by LazySheep is called The Red Thread. There were rumors at the time that the novel was going to be filmed by the same director that had filmed Love By Chance, so of course we were interested in the novel. We even started the DM group on twitter, so we could talk about it without bothering everyone else.😁

Plot Synopsis

The novel focuses on two college students, Dean and Parm, and the link they have to each other in the present but also the how this connects to their past. Dean is a third year college student, captain of his university’s swim team, and basically the guardian of his two younger siblings: uni sophomore Don, and incoming freshman, sister Del. Their parents are frequently away on business, but he isn’t really close to his siblings because his grandmother raised him until he was 18; there is some mystery about why she took him out the house. He is a solemn young man who has always had this sad soul and always seems to be looking for someone wherever  he goes even though he doesn’t know why or who that person is.

Parm is an incoming freshmen at the same university. He is warm and friendly with a close relationship with his mom and younger brother who happen to be in the United States right now. His father is dead. He loves to cook and wants to run his mother’s restaurants or open one of his own when he finishes school. He is excellent at making traditional Thai desserts. Everything about him is pretty normal except for the fact that he has these horrible nightmares about people he doesn’t know and whom he has never met who are so sad and longing for each other that he awakes sometimes with no memory but the sadness which often has him in tears. He also gets panic attacks when he hears very loud noises like a car backfiring. He’s been this way since he was little. No explanation for it.

When they meet, Parm doesn’t know why he feels excited but already so broken hearted, and Dean doesn’t know why Parm seems to be the person for whom he has been looking.

Perhaps it’s because these two are the reincarnation of star-crossed lovers from 30 years ago! (I know, it is not a synopsis I would usually fall for, but the novel sucked me in). Korn and Intouch/In meet each other in college, too. Korn is from the Ariyasakul family who are known to be rich from being loan sharks/mafia-types. In is warned away from Korn because of this, but In is drawn to him because he is always alone at school and doesn’t seem to have many friends. Of course they fall in love, and while we live in a society that still has issues with homosexuality now, you can imagine the response in the past, especially since In comes from a traditional and upstanding family in the community. In fact, in the beginning, I couldn’t tell if his dad was angrier about his son being gay or the fact that his son was in love with the son of a gangster.

The two of them, being hopelessly, desperately in love, promise to be together forever and to look for each other if they ever have to part, which is how this whole thing starts. Everyone watching dramas knows that when couples make promises like this, nothing good comes of it. They end up committing suicide—not a spoiler. It happens in the first five minutes of episode 1. 

In the present day, Dean is Korn and Parm is In. Their present day love story is not just theirs alone but how they manage to find each other and stay together as they unravel the tragic past in their family history. Can they finally find solace not just for themselves but for the wandering souls of Korn and In? That is the story of the novel and the drama.

The story is quite good with a myriad of emotions and questions about family, devotion, and the strength of promises kept and broken. I like the way the novel makes readers invested not just in the main couples (even though one ends tragically) but in the friendships that help sustain the new couple through the hardship.

The connections between them all is fairly complex, so I asked Rick from our twitter group to develop a chart. I will share the chart in the future. I had it here but was reminded by the crew that the chart revealed too many spoilers and things that we only know because we read the novel.
UPDATE: See chart in RAWR #278

The Director and Company: New Siwaj Sawatmaneekut

This director is the same director as Love By Chance and is working with LineTV again, and he and the production company, Studio Wabi Sabi, sure know how to drum up the fanbase and create new ones. They started feeding the buzz about the show early and encouraged translation of the novel. They also started leaking information about the casting of the show starting in March. There was already international interest in the cast, and the company fed us exactly what we wanted with notes about casting, pictures of the casting, and also provided continuous news and promotional materials throughout the casting, workshops, rehearsal, and filming process.
workshop photo

learning to make traditional desserts

Of course rumors started right away about the casting. I know that several of the people in my group were concerned about it because the role of Parm, especially, was going require an actor that was really good. This role needed a person who could be warm and friendly, scared, shocked, snarky, madly in love, and able to produce at least five different kinds of tears.

Let’s be honest, a lot of  BL series charm is based on the likeability of the actors not necessarily their acting prowess. They are also not routinely super good looking in the way drama viewers have come to expect Korean drama actors to be. They are good looking, but not necessarily the standard beauty. They are often more like the good-looking neighborhood boy. I like how they often have braces or are gangly when they are supposed to be gangly. They have bad skin experiences and odd haircuts, looking more like the high schoolers and college students we know.

And don't get me wrong, the show has swim club members in it. There is quite a bit of eye candy for everyone. 

They kept telling us that the show was “COMING SOON” even when it was six months out—to the point where I doubted that they even knew what the word “soon” meant. But they sure had us chomping at the bit. Each of the actors has IG and twitter accounts, and the studio that is making the show has a twitter account as well. They even started doing a daily countdown once the last month appeared.  

If nothing else, people should admire the way they promote this show. They could write a book on show promotion and hold workshops. As a person who has both marketing departments and public relations reporting to me in my regular job, I appreciate the mastery of their machine.

The show was already so popular before it debuted (on November 9) that they already had fanmeets and got a makeup deal for the entire cast and they already filmed and aired a commercial for the 

They also were also already selling show merch in August!

And best of all, they are simultaneously posting the show online with English subs on Line’s official Youtube channel as well as on Line’s official link at the exact same time they are broadcasting it in Thailand. That's how you build community!

As I mentioned before, there was some concern about the casting, especially for the role of Parm. However, everyone was ultimate relieved because Fluke Natouch Siriportorn was cast, and he’s an excellent actor as well as someone that can make other people feel comfortable in the cast.  He was one of two actors I wanted to be in the role, so I was happy. And I’m pleased with the other casting so far as well, even the newbies on screen.

Because of the director, we also are going to get (and already have had two in the first episode) guest appearances by seven members of the cast of Love By Chance—another way to draw audiences in because that show was so popular. 

But what I think is the most impressive about the cast line up are some of the veteran older actors that have been cast in this drama. BL dramas seem to have their own casting group. By that I mean that actors and actresses in traditional Thai drama/lakorns are almost never cast in BL dramas, and very rarely do you get actors and actresses who work in BL or even high school dramas act in lakorns. However, older and well-respected actors have more range but also they carry more weight and respect. 
Thus, many of us were surprised to see that Nhing Nirut Sirijanya is playing the role of Korn’s dad in the past. If you’ve watched lakorns at all, you’ve probably seen him in something since he’s been in nearly 100 having made his debut in 1978! We also have some other veteran actors including Kolo Songsit Rungnopakunsi (debuted in 1989) and Phollowat Manuprasert (debuted in 1993). They definitely gives this drama a level of cache that most BL dramas do not have.

I couldn't have done this (or survived the wait) without Opah (Rick), Tea Rex (Amanza), Nat, zgzgeonni, Beth, and our president, Caitlyn.  Thanks guys! I know we are all going to be crying over the next month or so.