‘Tunnel’ Just ‘Signal’ With Time-Traveling Tunnel? PD Weighs In On Similarities

Out of all the K-dramas airing on Korean cable channels, Voice by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN) got everyone’s attention as it pushed boundaries on what could be seen on a K-drama even on a pay channel. Starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na, Voice caused a bit of controversy among viewers for its brutally honest portrayal of violence and its intense shock aversion. This caused Voice to be put up for review for censorship. Fortunately for K-drama fans, OCN did not bend over backwards in censoring Voice. Instead, they kept the story honest by keeping the violence and shock aversion the same. The only thing they changed was the age rating from 15 years old to 19 years old.

'Voice' new OCN K-drama starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na
‘Voice’ is a K-drama starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na. The series, aired on weekends, did better than all the tvN K-dramas airing the same season. [Image by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN)]

Apparently, K-drama fans were happy OCN did not change Voice as they enjoyed watching it as proven by the viewership ratings even after it was up for review for censorship. Now OCN hopes to continue their popularity streak with Tunnel. However, it is already getting criticized for being similar to Total Variety Network (tvN) K-drama Signal. The PD of Tunnel opened up on the similarities.

For those who don’t know what the K-drama Signal is about, it is a tvN K-drama starring Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, and Cho Jin Woong. Using a special walkie-talkie, detectives in 1989 work with a cold case profiler from 2015. With the power of fore and hindsight, the two solve crimes but also prevent them from ever taking place. However, one major long-standing case hits closer to home than either realize.

Tunnel, starring Choi Jin Hyuk, Yoon Hyun Min, and Lee Yoo Young, is similar as it utilizes a past and present timeline to solve cases. The only difference is that a police detective from 1986 travels to the present time via tunnel. He uses the information and technology from the present to help him solve cases in his timeline especially one involving his daughter.

"Signal" K-drama poster promotion by tvN.
‘Signal,’ a K-drama starring Lee Je Hoon, Kim Hye Soo, and Cho Jin Woong, uses the “time slip” concept that has been linked to upcoming K-drama “Tunnel.” [Image by the Total Variety Network (tvN)]

As anyone can see, there are similarities between Tunnel by OCN and Signal by tvN. The producing director for Tunnel, Shin Yong Hwi, addressed the similarities between the two during a press conference held at Amoris Hall in Seoul, as reported by Korean news outlet Nate.

“Personally, I haven’t closely watched Signal. I’ve never thought deeply about the differences between the two dramas.

“Recently many dramas have been using the “time slip” concept. A drama I directed in the past also used ‘time slip.’ We used the ‘time slip’ in Tunnel because it fit the drama’s story, not just because we were following the current trend.”

Some feel that the “time slip” concept has been overused as of late. Over the last year, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, The Legend of the Blue Sea, Missing 9, Tomorrow With You, and Saimdang, Light’s Diary have used said concept. As long as it is utilized in popular K-dramas, it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Tunnel airs on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 p.m. KST starting on March 25. For those who don’t have access to Korean cable networks, the K-drama looks like it will be available to watch on OnDemandKorea. There are pages/channels set up for it on both DramaFever and Viki, but they are still unconfirmed to air on those video-on-demand sites.

[Featured Image by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN)]

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