Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
It’s been an amazingly full week for me, mostly because I’ve been hit with the disease where I have been finding everything interesting. Nothing has fallen off the watchlist yet, but time will tell if I can keep up this pace (I’d bet on no), and which shows will have to be put on the back-burner. For now, though, I’m reveling like a glutton. A glutton with a stomachache and dark circles from all the drama gorging. No regrets! –javabeans
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
The Best Hit: There’s nothing variety about it, but I do find it very funny—and also a little sobering to realize that I lived through all the ’90s references that, in the context of this show, seem so ancient. The first episode felt a little scattered, like skit after skit, but toward the end we started seeing how the characters fit into the same world, and I liked that much better. Yoon Shi-yoon was barely in the premiere, but I have a feeling he’s going to be awesome.
My Sassy Girl: It’s about what I expected: an in-your-face romantic comedy, with very little realism (did they have to make her a princess, which seems completely unbelievable, rather than a mere noblewoman?). This isn’t a sageuk so much as it’s a parodied version of history with all the modern jokes and intentional anachronisms, which can be either hilarious or hokey, depending on your take. (I’m half-half on that.) But while I wish the tone weren’t quite so juvenile, I did really like Joo-won in this, Oh Yeon-seo is playing her part to the hilt, and I foresee myself watching for the romance.
Circle: Omg this got so exciting! Every time I’m in one time period, I think I like it best, then we move to the other time period and I think that’s my favorite. It’s so rare to find a show that’s not just good, but so unpredictable and assured that I feel safe just diving in head-first and putting my full trust in the drama to deliver something awesome. Plus, every episode keeps upping the ante and throwing even better twists our way, and I’m just really happy to be watching this.
Fight My Way: Park Seo-joon is so good—all that disappointment and heart and hope! Sometimes I watch ordinary, serviceable actors and think that they’re good enough, they’re adequate, whatever—and then I watch emotionally genuine actors like Park Seo-joon (and Yeo Jin-gu) and wonder how I could ever be satisfied with lowered standards when good actors can bring so much more to the table. Kim Ji-won is great too, though it was Park who made me cry this week. I’d like to drop-kick that ex-girlfriend out of the show, though.
Suspicious Partner: I was SO loving Ji-wook’s struggle with his denial (it was played in such a nicely subtle way) that I almost am disappointed that he’ll have to move out of that zone of indecision, even as I applauded that he finally stepped it up. I feel such satisfaction when he does things for Bong-hee against his own intentions, as though his caring for her is uncontrollable, and I’ll miss that. But surely the progression of the romance will make up for that, right? *taps foot expectantly*
Lookout: When it’s in action mode, the pull is constant and fast-paced, and I really enjoy how fast things fly. The show lacks some subtlety on the good-versus-evil front, which makes the fight pretty black-and-white but at least also produces satisfying payoffs. Suji is badass, but so hotheaded that I facepalm regularly—but on the other hand, Kim Young-kwang is my favorite character because of his layers and duality, and I find his hidden agenda fascinating.
Ruler–Master of the Mask: My interest is starting to wane, and I keep wishing this drama were more exciting, more smoothly written, more even in quality all around. I find myself wishing Pyunsoohwe were a better villain, because while they are effective, they seem rather one-note. I have a feeling I’d perk right up if the show actually let the three leads be in the same scenes together, but they spend so much time frustratingly apart!
Father Is Strange: I died laughing at Joong-hee’s eagerness to explain away his interest in Mi-young as brotherly caring. It’s because she’s my sister that I want to buy her gifts and feed her and make her happy! Because this is what brothers do for sisters! With Oppa admitting that he feels usurped by Joong-hee’s arrival, I have hope that Dad will be prompted to admit the truth to the family soon(…ish?), and that he’ll realize that it’s the healthiest path for everyone.
Man to Man: This was the first time I actually felt some romantic connection between Seol-woo and Do-ha, and I thought it cute that they were going through this very elaborate and contrived “dating mission” to have an excuse to be together. And I did laugh at how our movie star is so fixated on his 5 million bucks and kept guilt-tripping Seol-woo about it. This show won’t ever make me feel emotions beyond a surface-level amusement (I still don’t really know what’s up with those wood carvings or why I should care), but it does still make me laugh.
My Secret Romance: Well, that was lame. They must have split the planned 12th episode into two (after being pre-empted a few weeks ago and needing an extra episode), and that resulted in a whole mess of filler flashbacks and empty scenes that dragged down an already dreary slog to the finale. Two weeks ago I thought this show was silly and cute. Then it nosedived with the stupid separation angst and overserious tone, and now I’m kind of annoyed that I watched it. I suppose I’ve seen worse.
Super Family 2017: How can a sitcom be so sad? I’ve enjoyed Won-kyun as reliable comedic background fodder, but never really paid his character much attention until now. My heart first broke when he handed in his resignation letter, and then proceeded to break even further during the rest of the episode. At least Manager Choi continues to be the pillar that I — and everyone else — leans on. In happier news, I love that Mom has officially declared she has a boyfriend. She needs someone in her life that isn’t just there to raid her fridge!
Chicago Typewriter: I love that we’re finally figuring out what happened back in the 1930s, but I’m also suitably stressed about the cracks in my favorite ghost. I don’t know how its possible to have a happy ending for someone who is already dead — maybe once the whole story is told and we figure out how he died, he’ll be freed from his typewriter and finally be able to be reincarnated with a new chance at love and happiness. At any rate, I hope the finale lives up to my expectations, because I can’t wait to see how everything resolves itself — both in the present and in the past.
Currently recapping: Circle
Fight My Way: What is this? An actual friends-to-lovers drama with actual chemistry and cuteness?? It’s subtle, but I love how the two characters have this underlying connection that makes them trust and confide in the other person no matter what. It’s this type of bond, stemming from their long-time camaraderie, that I think makes a great foundation for a permanent relationship. And surprisingly, I’m pulled in by the secondary romance as well. It may be too early to say, but perhaps Fight My Way could redeem Park Seo-joon in my eyes from the disappointment that was Hwarang.
Seven Day Queen: Wow. Tragedy has never looked so appealing. The opening left such a strong impression that I’m pretty much on edge the entire time even though we just entered the happy stage. But how adorable is the happy stage? So, so adorable. I already love these characters and the way they’re being portrayed. I’m still amazed by how much the child actors resemble their adult counterparts.
My Sassy Girl: Well, this is certainly different! But like Queen, it has this charm that instantly pulled me in. It’s colorful and beautiful (I was practically drooling over those hanboks) and pretty darn ridiculous. They’re really going for it and despite some lingering doubts, I’m really into it so far. That slow motion vomiting scene? PFFT. I laughed way harder than I should’ve.
Fight My Way: What an awesome group of friends. I’d love to see all four together more often, but I do enjoy the individual couple moments. Dong-man and Ae-ra’s blossoming romance against Joo-man and Seol-hee’s withering(?) romance is turning out to be a very interesting juxtaposition. I just hope whatever happens romantically, the four will never stop being best buddies.
Suspicious Partner: OMG THAT KISS. I mean, yeah, all the other stuff too but THAT KISS.
Ruler — Master of the Mask: I’m gonna have to leave this one. For now, at least. I’ve got too much on my plate and this is the one show I don’t go scrambling for when an episode is released.
Signal: Am I the last person to have seen this? It took me forever but I did it, I watched it! *throws confetti* In fact, I didn’t stop watching until reaching the very last episode around 8 in the morning when I thought my eyeballs would fall out. Was worth it.
Currently recapping: Man to Man
Tunnel: I fell behind on this and finally pushed through to the end, but it was a bit of a struggle. At times, the writing was flimsy, then other times, fresh and warm. The reveal of the main villain’s motivations felt lazy and dissatisfying. I’m sure in there is something poetic about the random cruelty of life and the tragic senselessness of it all, but instead it left me feeling hollow. Lee Yoo-young is outstanding, and that Sun-jae/Jung Ho-young fight scene was raw and powerful. Kudos to the actors.
Whisper: When I was watching the finale I kept imagining myself as a fictional member of the public in this world — someone watching the news and trying but failing to understand all the players’ convoluted relationships. It was headache-inducing, and perhaps only second to the headache I feel everyday reading the real news.
Lookout: Shi-wan is fun to hate, but his hypocritical father isn’t an equal replacement, so when they shift the focus to Dad, I kind of lose interest. I’m hoping that will all change when we get Do-han’s backstory, because so far I’m not feeling that delicious tension or suspense. The music gives this show its funky, urban vibe, but overall it feels unpolished.
Fight My Way: I never thought I’d say this but: why isn’t it Monday!? God, this show hurts so good. I’m so obsessed with this that I’ve pretty much been telling everyone I know (and some I don’t…) to tune in. The friendships are to die for, and Dong-man’s developing (instinctual?) love line with Ae-ra is everything. Let’s not kid ourselves though, they’re both nuts; but there’s something so perfect about their I’m-with-you-150%-even-if-it-kills-us-both relationship, that pulls me in and grabs me like a death grip in the best way. I’ll take two more servings please.
Circle: I really miss shows that have a distinct and bold sense of directorial and atmospheric style, which is often used to update a hackneyed genre (no hate, I love sci-fi). I thought this would be the one to satisfy that craving, but instead I’m left pretty disappointed with the look and feel. I’ll stick around for a few more episodes and maybe marathon it at the end, but I don’t feel any urgency to keep current with it.
Suspicious Partner: This show is enjoyable to watch. I think it does a good balance of rom-com and murder-mystery, and I like how the story keeps morphing as you go. We think it’s supposed to be about proving Bong-hee’s innocence, or Ji-wook’s fall from grace as a prosecutor, but now it’s about the moral complicity of defending (and letting go) the murderer they’re looking for, and how to catch him again. The fact that we have a lot of story to cover makes for great pacing and that’s always a good thing.
Currently recapping: Lookout
Fight My Way: I couldn’t make it past the first 15 minutes when I first checked out this drama, but I tried again a few days later and I’m so glad that I did. Park Seo-joon and Kim Ji-won anchor the story with their chemistry, but I love the extended cast as well. The writer has vividly portrayed that stage of life where youthful dreams clash with the reality of day to day life. I can’t help but root for everyone to get their happily ever after.
My Secret Romance: This show was my guilty pleasure every week, but I was disappointed with the ending. The final episode felt rushed, which was a shame, because I think the fans deserved better.
Mystery Queen: I was sooo on board with the housewife/amateur detective scenario in this drama and stuck with it, but that ending was so very strange. I think that our ahjumma and her partner in crime solving deserved more closure than that and I’m a little bitter.
Father is Strange: What I find really strange is that I haven’t lost interest in this drama at all. I like the idea of a 50 episode family drama, but I usually take a break at some point and then jump back in 10-15 episodes later. That’s not the case here. The pacing of the story has been fast enough that I haven’t felt the need to shelve it and I have watched every episode. As the drama passes its halfway point, there’s lots to resolve in the episodes that are left and I’m looking forward to every single one.
Chicago Typewriter: Well, things certainly came to a head this week. I loved that Seol moved in with the boys and their cohabitation hijinks, but all the happy scenes felt like the calm before the storm in both timelines. I’ve always felt my investment in the show was disproportionately with the 1930’s story, but the present half can’t really compete with the life-and-death stakes involved, the unfulfilled romance, and the heartbreaking camaraderie between the freedom fighters. I get chills every time they talk about their country’s as-yet-unrealized liberation and when they show the human-level sacrifice they all gladly accepted for their cause. At its best, this show feels like an ode to those young independence fighters, and that’s what’s going to stay with me long after it ends.
Circle: AAHHH. This show is amazing. I love the memory theme linking our main players together, and I’m surprised that they revealed the identities of our resident alien and amnesiac detective so early on. I’m also intrigued that the baddies in our show could very well be humans doing what they think is right, because there ain’t nothing as scary as determined, smart people acting on good intentions. I just hope that the show can keep up this fast pace to the end, since all we’re going to get is 12 measly episodes.
Suspicious Partner: I finally managed to find the time to catch up on this show, and I ended up bingeing the three weeks’ worth of episodes in one night. Ji Chang-wook is just as swoony as I remember him, Nam Ji-hyun is an adorable ball of puppy energy, and I love the underdog team of lawyers and their bickering, fun dynamic. Also, I’m all for both of our main leads making their way out of the land of denial, but it’s so much fun watching Ji Chang-wook try sooo hard to hold back his budding feelings that I’m happy for this situation to continue for a few more episodes. Delayed gratification is the answer, people!
Lookout: I’ve gotta give kudos to Lee Shi-young, she really sold the grief as a bereaved mother in the first week’s episodes. Yeah, her character went a little off her rocker, but I was totally with her and I wanted to punch that high school sociopath’s smug grin right off his face. I can’t wait until our Lookout team assembles and starts doling out some vigilante justice. Also, I think I’m going crazy because I might like Kim Young-kwang in this, fake smarm and all. It might be his hair though; it reminds me of grass heads I had as a kid.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 27, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 20, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 13, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 6, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (April 29, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (April 22, 2017)
Tags: Chicago Typewriter, Circle, Father Is Strange, Fight My Way, Lookout, Man to Man, My Sassy Girl, My Secret Romance, Mystery Queen, Ruler–Master of the Mask, Seven Day Queen, Signal, Suspicious Partner, The Best Hit, Tunnel, What We're Watching, Whisper