The ratings race is off and running, and the shows haven’t even started yet! (Well, two of the three.) The Wednesday-Thursday timeslot is about to get interesting with two new shows premiering this week, and the third one still relatively new.
Level 7 Civil Servant gave MBC a nice lead since premiering last month, and the head start may have helped secure its audience. On the other hand, it could lose steam against two new heavy-hitters, KBS’s blockbuster action drama IRIS 2 and SBS’s star-studded melodrama That Winter, The Wind Blows. Actually, both those new shows are pretty laden with stars, though I think That Winter may have the edge with anticipated comebacks for Song Hye-gyo and Jo In-sung (who’s had a long hiatus due to army service).
And it looks like SBS is leaving nothing to chance, not content to bite their fingernails and wait out the first broadcast to see who won the popularity contest. Instead, they’ll be loading up Wednesday’s offerings with a double-header, which is definitely an unusual move; it’s rare that a drama will flout the conventional airing slots without something like a special event (an election, an international sporting event) pre-empting it.
By way of explanation, a rep from SBS stated that the storylines of Episodes 1 and 2 are closely related and would benefit from same-day airing. To which I say: Duh. It’s a drama. Of course its episodes are related and continuous and chronologically relevant. Why not just admit you wanna get the jump on the competition? It seems pretty obvious regardless of what the official statement says.
This means Episode 3 will air on Thursday, which in turn means that for the rest of its 16-episode run the show will be off-schedule. Why would you purposely do that to yourself? I wonder if they’re hoping for an extra episode, or a special, or some added time. Otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the foot for finale week.
I’m terrible at predicting how shows are going to perform, but hey, let’s hazard a guess anyway. The thing is, while I can see the reason for excitement on all the shows, I actually think they’re more likely to fall short of expectation than meeting it. That Winter is a Noh Hee-kyung project, and she’s about as famous and respected as you get as a drama writer. On the other hand, while she’s known for her insightful, intelligent writing, her dramas aren’t automatic ratings-getters, and in fact may be better classified as mania hits. (See: Goodbye Solo, The World They Live in, and Padam Padam.)
Then there’s IRIS 2, which looks freaking awesome from a visual, cinematographic, special-effects, and action standpoint. On the downside: Athena. I think the luster is gone from the franchise, and repeating what IRIS did won’t satisfy; it’ll have to do more, and better. I know, us audiences are demanding like that. So IRIS 2 faces an uphill climb in earning back the excitement of the original.
So my vote for ratings leader goes to Level 7 Civil Servant, which isn’t rocking my socks or anything but is doing a decent job being funny and cute. It’s tonally a nice breath of fresh air, which reminds me how sad it is that this genre is so underpopulated these days. Where have all the fun rom-coms gone?
Via My Daily