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A quiet finale for Road No. 1

MBC’s big war drama Road No. 1 turned out not to be so big after all, and ended this week with a 5.3% rating (AGB Nielsen). It’s been averaging 4% to 5% for its entire run so this is no surprise, but it is a big disappointment, especially given its whopping 13 billion won budget.

Supposedly the response from viewers who stuck with the show was positive, but the problem is, there just weren’t that many of them. The viewers didn’t respond to the melodramatic line, but the stronger moments came when the camaraderie between the soldiers was depicted. (It’s too bad there wasn’t more of the latter and less of the former.)

[SPOILERS] The last episode: The ending, which aired on the 26th, is described as a “star-crossed finale.” Jang-woo and Tae-ho (So Ji-sub and Yoon Kye-sang) were separated in an air force attack and didn’t see each other for 60 years. They finally met again in present-day Korea as old men and talked about the tragedy of war. [END SPOILER]

There are a lot of factors that may account for the poor showing: For one, its competition has been strong, with Baker King Kim Tak-gu emerging as the biggest drama of the year with 40%-plus ratings. SBS has provided solid second place offerings with Bad Guy, then My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho.

On top of that, there’s the drama’s subject material. The Korean War is a big topic in entertainment this year, which is the 60th anniversary of the war’s outbreak, but perhaps it was just too heavy for a Wednesday-Thursday television show. Furthermore, Road slipped into melodramatic excess and placed a lot of importance on its tragic romance, rather than the realities of battle. Plus, there’s that other war drama, KBS’s weekend series Comrades, which is by far the superior show in terms of writing and directing.

Then, we also have the “MBC curse” — it really shouldn’t have any effect on a drama’s performance but has produced a curious pattern nonetheless. The broadcaster has not had a hit in the Wednesday-Thursday timeslot in years, and in fact has failed to produce more than one show that has managed double-digit ratings since 2008. (That show is Personal Taste. I mentioned the full list of Wednesday-Thursday flops in this post.)

Now eyes turn to Road‘s successor, Playful Kiss, to see if it will fare any better.

Via E Daily, OSEN

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Here we go... moment of truth next week for Playful Kiss. I hope it has a fighting chance and post a solid number.

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I don't believe in "curses" but poor MBC. That is a pretty long list of "flopped" dramas especially with their recent one, Road #1, and the money that was poured into it. At least they have Mon-Tues which have been good to them.

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Yes,But They shouldn't be confdent,SBS is Stealing their momentum on Monday/Tuesday Block.

Plus the Fact that KBS2 is the Most Improved TV Channel lately,They are much better now compared to the 80's and 90's.

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Road No. 1 really never stood a chance. I didn't have high hopes for it anyway, but I do feel bad for MBC, since the production was so huge. I don't have any doubt though, with all the serious hype surrounding Playful Kiss, that they'll start to pull up in the ratings.

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i feel really bad for the production and the actors who worked in this project...it was a project that everyone was looking forward to

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I only watched the first 2 episodes of "Road No. 1" and decided it was not my cup of tea. Too serious and boring for me.

I followed "My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho" from the start and still find it funny and entertaining. Adorable leads!

When I heard "Baker King Kim Tak-gu" had reached national drama status, I decided to give it a try and I caught up on the first 20 episodes in 3 days. It's fast-paced with an addicting storyline. What a great surprise!

And I've been looking forward to watching "Playful Kiss" starring the cute couple.

Choices Choices! Love it!!! :D

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I don't believe that it is necessarily a curse but I do believe that the pattern for "flops" is no coincidence.

If you look at a company like Pixar that has had such good attention in profit and critic-wise. They are a company that cares about the story. Every movie they do has dived deep into story, plot direction and trying new things/pushing the boundaries in terms of technology.

Of course they have flops too (Cars) but when a company doesn't care enough about writing a good story or trying to make a connection with the audience and it focuses only on profit. Well, it doesn't always end up well.

Anyways, my point is that this "curse" may actually be a self inflicted wound that they have to figure out how to heal and nurse back to health instead of blaming it on some outward force.

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Forgive me but I will have to disgree with you about Cars being a flop. None of the 11 Pixar movies was ever considered a flop (not even close).
Cars made 461 million worldwide and 244 million domestic. It's production budget was 120 million. It made a huge profit just like every single movie they made. The critics gave it a 74% (lowest rating for any Pixar movie) but still pretty darn good imo.

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Sorry, I didn't mean to say that Cars was a flop on all levels.

Certainly it was still a profit in terms of revenue. However, they did (in my humble opinion) fail to capture the magic and boundary pushing that they do in all their other movies.

That said, Cars was still a good movie. The thing is Pixar has set the bar up so high, even for themselves, that anything less than that seems lackluster.

Now, if Cars had come from another studio... say maybe Dreamworks... then it would have gotten better reviews in my opinion.

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I think I understand where you re coming from :). I agree that Pixar set the bar so high for themselves. Most of their movies scored 100% and high 90s with the critics. I guess anything less than 80% might be disppointing but on the other hand the money they make from one movie plus related merchandise is insane. Cars total sales was 5 billion +.

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cars was a flop

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"Plus, there’s that other war drama, KBS’s weekend series Comrades, which is by far the superior show in terms of writing and directing."

Oh, honey, AND superior in terms of acting, soundtrack, editing, sense, sensibility, historical accuracy, maturity, realism... They are as day and night. Road Number One is infinitely mock-able (and indeed I have mocked the first four episodes on Thundie's Prattle, haha) but after a while the unintentional hilarity gets old and I haven't watched beyond ep6.

http://thundie.wordpress.com/author/serendipity010/

Comrades, on the other hand, I feel overwhelming respect for. It has frightened me, made me cry, made me think about the moral dilemmas of war, and moved me with the compassion of common man.

I would saying that everyone must watch Comrades, because it's so good. Except that I know that not everyone can watch Comrades, because it's so good. It's so good it brings the realities, horror and heroism of war right into your living room, but it also makes you care and is therefore a heart-breaking and gut-wrenching watch...

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IT IS SO GOOD!
IT IS SO GOOD!
IT IS SO GOOD!
:D

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Amen...love how they show the reality of war from the soldier's point of view. I love Comrades and I'm not even a war movie/drama fan.

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Ditto!

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im so happy that people watched it! I didnt think people would want to stomach it, nor delve into such a thoughtful drama when they have cotton candy dramas out there (always sugar...-_-). Im soo happy! Because I dont want it to go unappreciated nor unrealized.

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HIGHLY recommend COMRADES!! Up to episode 12. Much more war oriented and gets into what soldiers were feeling after fighting so much. There's alot of emotions the audience feels in this. I think its pretty underrated.

WAY better than Road No. 1 IMO.

COMRADES is the epic war drama Road No. 1 tried to be.

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When it comes to Historical TV Dramas,KBS1 Drama are Hard to beat.

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I absolutely agree about Comrades. Huge surprise for me. Spectacular production and emotional.

Even for someone not Korean like me, it made me appreciate all the sacrifices made by those who defend their country.

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I'm especially sorry for SJS.
and it means that beloved and famous actors are not always guarantee for high ratings. it needs a whole package, hah?
by the way, I'm also curious about Baker King because of its high ratings but I'm still not sure about watching it.. :S
whatever..

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I hate that things turned so sour for this drama. I had every intention of giving it a chance despite my discomfort for war dramas, however when I read all the bad reviews, it began to remind me of America's Pearl Harbor, which was a disgrace. Couldn't stomach that for 20hrs.
Poor cast, crew and company. I hope there will be something to turn things around before year's end.

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I feel bad for So Ji Sub and Yoon Kye Sang and everyone else who has worked on this drama since it looks like it took a lot of work to produce a war-period drama (with period costumes, set designs, physically draining action sequences). I guess this proves that star power is not as important as a good story. Best of luck to everyone for the next drama.

Playful Kiss will definitely get double digits. I don't think it will be as big as BOF since there is only one hot guy (as opposed to 4) and every other guy is supposed to pale in comparison- but i feel like the fun storyline will bring in a lot viewers. I'd be surprised if it doesn't hit 20% for the series average.

But then again, if Playful Kiss does remain popular, MBC will try to milk it by doubling the series length. Good thing there is a lot of material- but I'm in the camp of "don't push your luck".

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we will now see the numbers beginning next week when Playful Kiss starts its broadcast..

personally, I think the ratings battle will only be between MGIAG and PK since both have the same audience and let's just admit it.. Baker King's ratings right now IS UNTOUCHABLE. It is over 40% with its story line almost at the end.

This battle would be for the 2nd place.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho VERSUS Playful Kiss.

BRING IT ON!!!!

My vote: I will watch MGIAG on the initial broadcast THEN watch PK AFTER.

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I am not surprised about the low ratings. I regret wasting 3 hours watching the first 3 episodes. It was boring and the acting from the leads was disappointing. Yes,there were many war scenes,as in any war story. Big budget,poor production equals low viewership.

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I feel sorry for all the actors and crew in this show. It must have been tedious, dirty, unpleasant to shoot.

The material was too heavy, there was hardly any light hearted moments in the show. I didnt think the romance was rather heavily emphasis. Kim Haneul's appearance was minimal.

It should probably be filed as a documentary or text book material on korean war or how to shoot a war drama that failed.

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I really think Playful Kiss will be a success. Well, unless they somehow really fudge with the storyline, but I somehow doubt that.

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It really does get a lot better later in show and I feel bad for all the actors who worked so hard. I blame it on the writer for entirely screwing up the beginning and losing all the viewers.

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I think Playful Kiss will be popular.

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I said it before and I'll say it again. In my opinion Kim Ha Neul is not that strong of an actress. Most of her work as a lead actress has been a flop. And the funny thing is that she never really ends up with her male made lead. SMH. I used to be a fan, but what a shame.

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I had hoped that this drama would be a huge success but I guess not. >......<, I remember being so fired up about this drama. When I heard the cast I was like, it's meant to be!!! How...sad...a waste of hot males. Noo.

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Comrades was by far the most superior korean war drama I have ever seen. It just really shows the realities of war, the psychology and just the whole wretchedness these men faced. It was great. Just great.

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I totally agree with this. Everyone should watch COMRADES if your're into this stuff.

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Inspite of the low rating got by Road No.1, i still believe on the quality of dramas that MBC creates.

Best of Goodluck to Playful Kiss next week.

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yep this was just hopeless. it was either like watching a headless chicken running amok, or a mutant, 2-headed chicken with 1 head swollen up twice the size of its neighbor.

(too much drumsticks last nite:P)

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Hmmm....on the contrary, i enjoyed Road No.1...haha sucker for melodramas, anyway am really impressed with the actors and actress...espically Yoon kye Sang,...sooo HOT...:) :), though im quite sad with the ratings...expected it to be higher since it was quite a big production.....but nevertheless i guess its not everyone cup of tea....more spoiler please??? the eng subs are not out yet :/.....To those who like to give this drama a second chance when the dvd is out...i would say go for it! though some parts are pretty long winded...hehe Aja Road no. 1! Moving along....nowwwww its time for Playful kiss

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can you tell kindly tell me who ended up with whom??

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I like Comrades and Giant , both amazing solid in acting , storyline, directing , realistic , touching , believable .
Baker King , ok to me , the young actress , Eugene ,
character is not realistic , a smart , strongwill top student will follow the path as brainless blond using her body not her brain to achieve her goal , too cheap , quite a waste .
Playfull Kiss , i'm not sure , just wait and see .

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I don't wanna be optimistic but the curse will continue even with Playful Kiss, cuz MGFIAG ranking No.2 after KTG is not easy and the rating is good as well, so my assume is that it will just top the rating after KTG end, Playful will have to continue the disappointing rating for MBC Wed-Thu dramas.

But whenever the drama got low rating DOESN'T mean it's poor in writing, directing, etc... but it's the viewers choice after all, let's remember You're Beautiful, it didn't do well with rating but it was good.

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Next week, I'm curious what Playful Kiss can bring to the table.

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it's not a curse, it's crappy programming. i am sure if king of bakery is on mbc, the ratings would still hit 40's.

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I think Road No. 1 is good, in the sense of good actors and the message the drama wants to bring about. In the last episode, I deeply feel the sorrow suffered by the Koreans in the War. Many lives have been sacrificed, but in the end, it is only a pause, rather than end of the war. The old Shin Tae Uk said that he hoped that the new generation would not suffer the sufferings they had in their days.
Although I must admit that there are some illogical story plots in the drama, but for those who have watched the drama to the end would not disagree that we would be touched by the love and trust among the soldiers. I cried for them more than the melochanic love of So Ji Sub and Kim Ha Na.
And I found I start to be a fan of So Ji Sub after this drama!

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Oh yes, I'll bet my kimchi that Playful Kiss will do well.

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i agree with Sharon , SJS is great actor but as i mentioned previously love story in this drama ruining
this drama , KHN acting is lack of sincerity , her character is confused character , the most hated character in this drama .
Before watching this drama i thought this is a meaningful war drama ,but it turns out to be weeping
soldiers , especially SJS crying , holding KHN shoes scene , i can not tolerate that scene .
Comrades is much better war drama , very logical , touching drama .

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i thought this was an amazing drama and it exceeded my expectations of it. i don't even know where to start .im still so attached to the story and characters *__* when i first started, i was pretty biased because so ji sub was in it (AND I EFFING LOVE HIM LOL) but after finishing this drama, i walked away satisfied and not because so ji sub was in it but because this drama was genuinely really really good.

some may say it's too fast or some parts didn't make sense (eg. the breastfeeding part which i even thought was strange because she didn't have a baby=no milk but i guess it was a way to soothe the baby?) BUT i actually LIKE fast paced stories. i absolutely hate stories that drag and develop after 5 or so episodes. road number one got straight to the point. there wasn't enough time in the beginning to develop connections with the characters because everything was thrown at us at once but it was understandable because that reflected how war time was. everything happened so fast and no one had time to stop and breathe. it wouldn't make sense if the story moved slowly because that would ruin the feeling of how the war was. that's how i interpret the pace of the drama.

a lot of people also do not like KHN's acting but i disagree completely. how many of us here can cry so tragically like that ? let's be honest--how many of us can actually pull her character off ? i can't imagine how hard it must've been for KHN to really understand her character...how many times she had to review her script and change her mindset completely. and reminder, it was during a major event--the cold war. no matter how many stories we've heard or how much we study about its history, it's NOT the same as actually physically being there during that time. KHN had to absorb everything in and try her best to become Soo Yeon. as an actress, she's still learning through experiences so you have to remember and acknowledge that at least.. :\

many people are also blaming the actors and actresses for certain parts that didn't make sense or seem confusing but remember guys... it's not their fault LOL they didn't write the scripts.. it's unfair to blame them for it when they didn't have any control over it.

war movies/dramas/stories are tricky. it's a sensitive topic . i loveeee war movies and i thought this drama was extremely good. it was so touching and the emotions were so real . i keep forgetting that these characters aren't real and most of the events did not actually happen. it's just a shame that this drama is sooo underrated... maybe their target audience wasn't right. maybe it's because of their competition. maybe not that many people enjoy watching war films. there can be a number of factors but CERTAINLY NOT the fact that it was poorly filmed or the actors/actresses sucked. i refuse to accept that because it's not true at all.

i almost want to write a letter and have them rebroadcast this drama just to see if reactions would be the same or different LOLL seriously.. people are really missing out. i can't emphasize that enough...

don't watch only one episode and jump into conclusions, make assumptions or judge. stick around and actually watch a couple more and THEN say something about it. watchiing only one episode isn't considered 'trying'. don't be so quick to judge. this goes for everything else.

OKAY LOL I'M DONE. this was a long rant/review . HAHAHAHA it just bothers me when people nit-pick about every little thing BUT barely even made an effort to give it a shot.

road number one was beyond extraordinary and i stand by that :)

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yes i do agree with kay..this drama is actually really great..people are missing big time here..i really do believe it is because the competition the had to face with KTG and the timing of the broadcast is not right..one more thing the year of 2009/10 there's a lot of drama based on action, so maybe the audience was seeking something a drama that contain more like families warmness/relationship like KTG..i think if they hold the drama and aired it sometimes around this year maybe(?) the rating is soaring up???well i dont know..

i also do refuse to believe that this drama are not succeed because of the actor/actress or poor in plot writing..well as i said before the timing is not right and it is really sad if the failure was mainly based on the lack among the actor..because we all know SO JI SUB is really awesome actor and KIM HA NEUL is just amazing..

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I refuse to believe it didn't earned the audience needed... if only to believe that in any war there has been a certain event in a life of any soldier or people during that entire war period like that of so ji sub n her beloved might have been happened... the ending is great it made me cry esp after the two great men met ...

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Didn't SJS have a friend die during the series? I think so! Many people would not be able to function after a traumatic event like that! Did not see the series in the USA, hell I did not even know them back then but show little compassion, please!!

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I watch the ROK snipers on youtube, they are so good. They must do that full time. I have been called a geek at work because I like to watch things like that.

ROK military is excellent, anyway. What a difference from the Korean War, when they were considered peacekeepers. There is no way anyone will ever take advantage of them, again. They are tough and strong. I think it is a shame that their threat happens to be their cousins to the north. What an expense, considering they are one people.

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