Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
It’s just the beginning of all the new drama premieres in the new year, and already I’m wondering how I’ll keep up with watching all of them. I think I may need a chart. Tell us what new shows you’ve picked up and what’s worth a watch right this second, and what you’ve got on hold until mermaids and goblins free up some of your time. –girlfriday
Currently recapping: The Lonely Shining Goblin
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim: That was some cameo. They certainly got a lot of mileage out Kim Hye-soo playing Teacher Kim’s first love, but when you have two actors who can make us all believe that there’s a whole drama’s worth of backstory in one ardent look, a short appearance can pack a big punch. It was a strange thing to get a finale and then an extended epilogue of sorts, but I kind of enjoyed the way the bonus episode felt less connected to the central plot and got to meander on backstories and relationships. My one complaint was that I wanted more development for Seo Hyun-jin’s character, but overall I was really impressed with how Romantic Doctor churned out such exciting episodes each week, which is normally not how I think of medical dramas.
Legend of the Blue Sea: I was so happy about Nam-doo hyung not being evil! At first I thought we were spending way too much time on Stepmom (we’ve got a romance that needs to conquer Fate over here!), but when Nam-doo became a double agent and they pulled the sting operation on the baddies like old times, that was fun. Here’s my question: Why can’t Joon-jae just buy a house on the beach and they split their time between ocean dates and land dates? Why’s it always gotta be all or nothing, huh?
Hwarang: My emotional investment in this show is pretty low, but I’m often pleasantly surprised when I watch it, because it never wallows too long in angst, and characters are refreshingly open with each other about things that I thought would stay secret for many more episodes. I’m rooting for the main couple, but Park Hyung-shik makes for a pretty compelling second lead, and his bromance with his ajusshi bodyguard only makes me like him more.
Solomon’s Perjury: Ooh, things are getting good. That pre-emption didn’t do the show any favors and I got behind for a while, but with the trial bringing everyone’s secrets to light, I’m totally hooked. Also, Seo Ji-hoon’s crush on Kim Hyun-soo makes me disproportionately happy—it’s like the tiniest sub-plot ever, but I love it so.
Missing 9: Maybe we just haven’t gotten to the grueling part yet, but doesn’t it seem like basic survival on this island is coming a little too easy for these castaways? I like the setup of having one survivor tell the tale in flashback and I’m certainly intrigued by the mystery, but it feels like things are happening way too fast, like we zoomed by the most interesting parts without lingering long enough to let the conflict play out. I wasn’t expecting Castaway levels of human drama, but a little more difficulty starting a fire and hunting for food would’ve been nice. But there’s a sinister touch that I like about this show, so I’m interested enough to keep watching for now.
Introverted Boss: It was a frenetic start, and I spent a good part of the first episode wondering what in the hell was going on. It was just very dramatic about everything. But then as Yeon Woo-jin came into focus, I stopped wondering why everyone was so weird and just started to enjoy his character and his very big battles with seemingly trivial things. When he slaved over that home-cooked meal for his secretary and then couldn’t muster the nerve to invite her inside to eat it, it pinched my heart, and I knew this would be a great character. I remember feeling a lot of empathy for the heroine in Flower Boy Next Door, and this hero makes me feel the same, like I want to help him come out into the world one baby step at a time.
Three Meals a Day Season 3: I only started watching this season not too long ago, when a terrible cold knocked me off my feet for several days on end. As it turned out, this kind of laid-back variety show was exactly what the doctor ordered because my brain couldn’t process any high-end spectacles in the current drama cycle. Catching a sight of Eric in variety is as rare as a white elk, and his cooking skills are seriously impressive. He even learned how to make his own kimchi (and aww, gave away some practice batches to his fellow Shinhwa members)! Seo-jinnie’s boat license turned out to be super handy for the trio’s many fishing adventures, and I loved watching Kyun-sang grow from a helper staring at the various clay jars filled with soy sauces completely perplexed to an oyster shucking master. His two fluffy cats always brought a smile to my face, if only because they will accept love when my own cat does not.
New Journey to the West Season 3: I continued to ride the variety train by adding this season to my watchlist. We’re only two episodes in, but I’m already learning a great deal about one of the newest additions: Kyuhyun. Not only does he share an adorable bromance with Ahn Jae-hyun, but the ballad singer can also rap. I often feel bad for Song Min-ho because I can feel his image-conscious wariness toward variety on this side of the screen. Still, he’s slowly but surely opening up in front of his hyungs, who do a good job to make sure the maknae feels involved in taking down Na PD together.
Currently recapping: Voice
Night Light: I had no idea kidnapping was such a commonly used bartering tool in the big business world. At any rate, Yi-kyung (my queen!) and Se-jin are obviously meant to be and no dramatic shenanigans will convince me otherwise. Also, I would like a Tak of my very own, please.
Solomon’s Perjury: When I first started watching, I thought the plot would be predominately centered on figuring out who the murderer is, but I actually really love that it’s more of an exploration into the quiet-yet-tumultuous depths of people’s lives. Everyone has their troubles and burdens — they just deal with them in different (and varyingly destructive) ways. Of all the things I love about this drama, perhaps my favorite so far is Seo-yeon’s mother. She’s currently in the running for Best Dramaland Mom Ever.
Naked Fireman: I went into this four-episode drama special with very few expectations other than my shallow desire to see Lee Jun-hyuk (aka my favorite thing about City Hunter) in the titular role. Yet, somehow, I still ended up disappointed, and not just because after the first episode there was a woeful lack of abs (hey, I said I was shallow!). Mostly I was baffled by the whiplash-inducing tonal changes between totally serious melodramatic revenge and goofy comedy — sometimes even in the same scene!). At least for the first three episodes, it seemed like Lee Jun-hyuk’s character was in a totally different drama from the rest of the cast and utterly clueless that were was some srs bzns drama going on around him. While I’m the last person to advocate for longer shows, this one feels like it could have benefitted from a sixteen-episode run because, with more time to expand, character motivations and sudden changes of heart would perhaps be more comprehensible.
Introverted Boss: I only watched the (very long) premiere, but I like this show a lot, although it’s not what I was expecting. It’s both a lot weirder and darker than I thought it would be, and while there’s lots of humor, toilet and otherwise, as we’d expect from the Marriage Not Dating team, there’s a surprising amount of heart and pathos. There were some rough moments there with how much I was cringing with frustration and secondhand embarrassment (I was literally rolling around on my bed during the lunch misunderstanding, you guys), but that just goes to show how engaged I am with these characters already. I want to both shake our hero and give him the biggest, squishiest hug ever. I’m not thrilled about the previous connection between our leads because it’s leading toward more angst than I tend to enjoy in rom-coms, but the characters are all interesting, and this writer always reaches obvious conclusions in unexpected ways, so I’m going to have faith for now. Also, damn, is it just me or does our heroine have some intense chemistry with the second lead?
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: This was a near-perfect show with a perfect ending, and how often do we get to say that? I’ll miss these characters so much. In my mind they’re still living their lives somewhere, filling the world with cuteness, joy, and SWAG.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (January 14, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (January 7, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (December 31, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (December 24, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (December 17, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (December 10, 2016)
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, Hwarang, Introverted Boss, Legend of the Blue Sea, Missing 9, New Journey to the West, Night Light, Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, Solomon's Perjury, Three Meals a Day, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju, What We're Watching