Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Why are there so many good shows to watch lately? Is anyone else watching so many dramas all at once that fictional worlds are starting to blur together? Every time I open up a new episode of a historical drama, I find myself having to ask, Wait, who’s the king in this one? I should probably just choose a few to binge-watch later, but sometimes it’s the fun of being in on the discussion now that keeps us watching! –girlfriday
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Circle: I get so excited to watch this show every week that sometimes I have to calm myself down before I start, and sometimes I actually stop watching because I’m getting too excited and it’s too late at night and if I finish this episode that’s sure to have another game-shifting cliffhanger at the end, I won’t be able to sleep. I’m a fan of the innovative sci-fi plot and sense of mystery driving this, but what I really love is that at core, this is a love story between two brothers who have lost each other and will push the boundaries of what they know to be truth to find each other again.
Suspicious Partner: Adorable! I was so tickled to see Bong-hee making Ji-wook sweat a little, and enjoyed her reaction to his confession, which felt realistic and sweet and understandable. I know she won’t keep him hanging too long, but for the meantime, I’d like her to make him work for it. I’m petty, okay? I’m also glad there’s more to this serial murder case than met the eye initially, though I do wonder if there’ll be enough twists to last the rest of the show. Not that I’m watching this for the murder mystery!
Father Is Strange: Joong-hee made me cry tears of sympathy when he cried over his first-ever birthday breakfast, and then he made me cry tears of hilarity when he foot-acted his way through his romantic scene like a robot trying to understand what the concept of love is, and then finding it in his sister. I mean, she’s not his sister! Not even a little! But he thinks she is, and that’s going to be all kinds of awkward. I’m just hoping this won’t result in some stupid separation now. Figure out your feelings nearby!
The Best Hit: Funny! There are jokes crammed into every moment, and I love how fast they fly, left and right, nearly manic in energy. I’m digging the refreshing, straight-comedy vibe we’ve got going, a lot. This show should be fun.
Fight My Way: This show remains breezy and enjoyable, but I actually thought my interest would be growing more intense and am surprised that it’s kind of just steady—present, but not increasing. Maybe it’s because there are so many shows right now that I’m feeling really sucked in by the ones with strong plots, and this one is way more about characters and gradual growth. I know this sounded like a negative, but I still have warm fuzzies about this show.
Lookout: This show isn’t very polished, but I’m finding a sort of rough-around-the-edges appeal to its underdog plotline. What it lacks in glossy production value, it makes up for with fast-paced missions-of-the-week, and usually delivers a satisfying payback arc for those wronged by the system. I find myself wishing the cases themselves were a little more nuanced, but at least the Lookout team itself has plenty of nuance within it, particularly with the mysterious Boss whose true agenda nobody can be sure of.
My Sassy Girl: Okay, now that I’ve settled into this silly world, I like this better than I did last week—it’s outlandish and jokey, but I feel like there’s a plot here and a direction, and I love the comic foibles between Joo-won and Oh Yeon-soo. It’s not a very mature plot and it’s barely a sageuk (it really isn’t one at all, actually), and I’ll be surprised (pleasantly) if it makes me feel any emotion beyond amusement. But as amusement, it’s doing the job, and I really do love the bright colors and beautiful cinematography, which make it a treat to look at. Also Joo-won. He’s so pretty it’s mesmerizing.
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Chicago Typewriter: What a stirring, rewarding way to close out a show. A strong ending can really do wonders to leave you with a lasting positive impression, even when the sum of the show was uneven at times, and slow to grab me in the beginning. I still contend that the present timeline should’ve been the minor story, because all I ever wanted to do was stay with the independence fighters a little longer and flesh out their characters. But when it was good, it was very good, and I was genuinely moved by the fact that the entire show seemed like a thank-you letter to the youth who sacrificed their lives for a free country.
Fight My Way: This is pretty much an entire show about how embarrassing life can be, and I love that. The embarrassments are true to life, hilarious because they’re so mortifying, and touching because they’re so relatable.
Circle: Oh, the brotherly love, it hurts so good. It’s so great to watch them work with the same side characters in both timelines, because now that there’s so much overlap in the two worlds, I love comparing each of the relationships. I don’t even know how it ends and I already want a second season of this.
Lookout: I like this. It continues to be fun and capery, and stays on the light side, which makes it very easy to watch. I just want to know more about Kim Young-kwang’s two-faced prosecutor and Shin Dong-wook’s mysterious priest character so badly. They’ll get their turn, right? They’re being withholding on purpose? Well, it’s working. Hmph.
Suspicious Partner: The current flirty romantic tension is great, so I certainly hope Bong-hee sticks to her guns about keeping Ji-wook on the hook, because I want to linger in this fluttery stage for as long as humanly possible.
Man to Man: I miss the silly undercover hijinks. It got pretty serious in the last two weeks, so I’m hoping that the conclusion brings back the fun. I mean, no one is actually watching this for the spy thrills, right?
My Sassy Girl: This show is harebrained and sometimes a little embarrassing to watch, but I like that it’s not taking itself seriously in any way. It’s cheeky, good-natured fun, and the leads are committing to the comedy completely, which makes me like them all the more.
Duel: I’m so curious about this clone business that I tuned in just to see how they’re going to handle it. So far, Duel has a strong central conflict and a very compelling setup, though it did feel like it took a while to get going. The one unfortunate misstep was casting Kim Jung-eun, who can no longer emote with her face, which is only further highlighted when she’s acting opposite Jung Jae-young, who is so very emotive. It’s distracting, but I guess not enough to turn me off from the show. Because, clones!
Ruler–Master of the Mask: Aaaaauuuugh. Why does everyone in this drama insist on doing the opposite of what I want them to do? Why can’t people just be together? Why am I still watching you? Why must you do this to me, Yoo Seung-ho?
Currently recapping: The Best Hit
Circle: I always love a thinking man’s show, one that gets me nervous and tense and whose cliffhangers leave me thirsty for more. Last week’s major reveal was fantastic, and now we’re learning more about the side characters who populate Smart Earth. I can definitely see why everyone thinks that Woo-jin is the brains behind the Human B project, but then again, who really knows for sure?
Lookout: I’ve barely scratched the surface with this show. After the first two half-hour episodes, I definitely knew it was one I wanted to keep on my ever-growing to-watch list. Kim Young-kwang’s character is perhaps the most interesting of all. In terms of dramaland mothers losing their children, Lee Bo-young in God’s Gift—14 Days still reigns supreme in tugging my heartstrings.
Fight My Way: I told myself I would watch three shows maximum this cycle. Period. And then I added another Monday-Tuesday show to my plate. There are no regrets, however, because I envy how close Ae-ra and Dong-man are (both as friends and in the brewing romance).
Duel: There was definitely a lot of action in the first episode, but I felt the story could’ve utilized its time better once it rewound to the past to build its backstory. I’m still intrigued in the human clone aspect, because it certainly seems like Sung-joon was completely unaware that there’s a guy who looks just like him.
Suspicious Partner: I fell behind on this show pretty early on, and then I binge-watched up to last week’s episodes. I think the latest twist about the murderer was a good one, but then I realized we’ve juuuust reached the halfway mark. So we’re just going to wait until our good guys figure out who the bad guy is? *taps foot impatiently*
Currently recapping: Duel
Super Family 2017: Ahhhh, I’d been worried about Gwi-nam’s secret “chaebol” status ever since we first found out about it, knowing Ms. Ahn wouldn’t take the news well. And she didn’t. I hope they can come to a reconciliation before the end because I love them together. But I’m also a little giddy that next-door-neighbor finally told Ik-hee how he felt, because I’ve been quietly rooting for him. While it’s sad that Ik-hee’s first love isn’t turning out the way she hoped, it’s also painfully realistic, and I’m glad she’s handling it with such maturity and grace. I just hope this doesn’t ruin her friendship with her BFF — no boy is worth that.
Chicago Typewriter: Oh, my heart. The highlight of the show for me has always been the 1930s scenes, so I’m pleased that storyline took front and center in the final two episodes (in fact, I momentarily forgot that these were the memories of the modern-day characters and not, say, a full period drama like Gaksital). I don’t know if I can talk about the ending without crying again, so let me just say that while I had my doubts originally, I’m glad I stuck with this show as each episode got better and better, and the finale was a beautiful yet heartbreaking gift that won’t be easily forgotten.
The Best Hit: As a devoted fan of 1N2D, they had me at PD Yoo Ho-jin, Cha Tae-hyun, and Yoon Shi-yoon (although I still instinctively want to call him Dong-gu). That meant I didn’t bother paying attention to any teasers or promos since I knew I was going to watch no matter what, and ended up being totally surprised that it’s a time-slip drama. The time-travel shenanigans are utterly delightful (the faucet and “handphone” scenes still have me howling with laughter whenever I think of them), but I am a total sucker for “found families,” especially when they’re made up of underdogs hoping to somehow achieve their dreams despite the odds. After months of enjoying dramas that were good but didn’t make me particularly head-over-heels obsessed about them, I think I’ve finally found my new drama crack.
Currently recapping: Circle
Fight My Way: Ae-ra and Dong-man as children are adorable together. I wish more of the childhood moments were incorporated into the larger scheme of the show, instead of staying in the epilogues. I like their grownup chemistry as well, even though it’s not sizzling hot. Their feelings toward each other are like twelve-year-old crushes at this point, both hesitant to be caught because they’re not sure of how the other person would react. But it is cute, and I already know they’re going to end up together even with Hye-ran and Moo-bin significantly complicating matters. So I’m not too worried about our main couple, but now my heart is slowly ripping for Seol-hee. Half of me wants Joo-man to be honest in his interactions with the cute intern so that he can see what the grass is like on the other side, and come back when he realizes that Seol-hee is truly the only one for him. At the same time, that would be a complete disservice to her, because she’s been so faithful and amazingly sweet as a girlfriend. So I have conflicting feelings on how I think would be the healthiest way for their relationship to progress, which keeps me on my toes until the next episode where I see or don’t see my speculations play out.
Father Is Strange: Oh noes! I was so hoping that the secret would be out before Joong-hee realized what all his Oppa-like feelings signified. Now that things have developed this way, the fallout between him and dad is going to be so much worse when Joong-hee does find out the truth. Plus, I was so enjoying him being jealous and affectionate with Mi-young, and now that’s all going to be replaced with angsty avoidance.
Fight My Way: Last week this show made me cry and squeal, but this week I found myself boiling with anger—not at the drama, which I love, but at its second leads. Ex-girlfriend Hye-ran is a new level of shameless diva, and I hate the way she treats both Dong-man and Ae-ra. It was satisfying to hear him finally tell Hye-ran to get lost, but I wish that Ae-ra could have heard it too. Moo-bin’s been rubbing me the wrong way for a while, but I officially hate him after Episode 4. He’s a pushy, manipulative liar masquerading as a nice guy; the way he constantly ignores Ae-ra’s wishes makes me crazy. It also frustrates me that Ae-ra is passive in the face of his creepy advances when she normally has zero tolerance for people’s nonsense. And that kiss, when she was clearly not into it—ick. I’m so glad that Dong-man turned around in that hospital hallway, though; looks like we’re in for more brutal honesty between our leads, and I can’t wait.
Suspicious Partner: If there’s anything cuter than Ji-wook in denial about his feelings, it’s Ji-wook after he’s admitted them to Bong-hee and is openly trying to win her heart. The way he looks at her kills me, like she’s the most precious, wonderful, amazing thing he’s ever seen, and he can’t believe she exists. (Seriously, I’m dead and writing this from the afterlife.) I’m in awe of poor Bong-hee’s willpower, but I’m glad she’s making Ji-wook work for her good graces, because he deserves to sweat after the crushing heartbreak he put her through. I’m less happy that he’s still hiding what he knows about Jung Hyun-soo, despite her repeated entreaties for him not to keep secrets from her. He might be lying to protect her feelings, but she wants him to respect her enough to tell her the truth, and I wish he’d understand that that’s more important.
Heart to Heart: I binge-watched this last week because I loved Choi Kang-hee so much in Mystery Queen, and I remembered LollyPip highly recommending it. I was completely won over by this funny and heart-tugging drama about two broken people finding healing—and each other. Every character felt so realistic in their flaws and desires, and each of them had a meaningful journey throughout the story. True to the drama’s title, this is one OTP that will live in my heart for years to come.
Currently recapping: Lookout
My Sassy Girl: I really wanted to like this new show, and I’m so disappointed that I don’t. There are elements that I do like — the sets and costumes are gorgeous and the camera work is incredible. Unfortunately, I find Hyemyeong too caustic and I fast forward through her scenes. After two episodes, I’ve decided I’m going to have to pass on this one.
Fight My Way: Park Seo-joon and Kim Sung-oh had some great scenes this week as Dong-man’s training ramps up. Are they coach and athlete, big brother/little brother, or old friends? More like all of the above, and their bromance offsets Dong-man’s conflicted feelings about Ae-ra.
Father Is Strange: Lee Joon has done a great job with Joong-hee; I just love his drama scenes within the drama. With his career on the upswing and acceptance by all of the Byun siblings, his realization that his feelings for Mi-young are anything but brotherly was a real shock. I didn’t feel an urgency for him to find out the truth about his paternity until now. I don’t want to see Joong-hee distance himself from the Byun family — he’s come to genuinely care for them, so I hope that his paternity is resolved soon and without too much melodrama.
Chicago Typewriter: So. Many. Tears. There were some really touching and heartbreaking moments in the last two episodes, but that’s exactly what I wanted so I’m really happy with how this show wrapped up. In hindsight, I’m glad that we had the present timeline to soften the blow of how our main characters ended up in the past. Otherwise, I would’ve been an even bigger mess than I was. Also, I now have a Pavlovian response to that damn SG Wannabe song so that I automatically tear up whenever it comes on. Thanks for that, Show.
Circle: I luff this show. The story is perfectly paced so that as soon as I figure out the answer to a certain plot point, the reveal happens and then they throw a couple more questions in there. I really enjoy the 2037 timeline as well, if only because it gives a little comedy to relieve some of the intensity of the 2017 half, even though the stakes are just as high with our missing twin. It’s also fascinating to see where our characters in the present are in the future, and I’m left wanting to know more about how they got there and why. Monday can’t come soon enough.
Suspicious Partner: That kiss tho. I squeed so hard my dog started barking. I don’t know what it is about Ji Chang-wook and his onscreen romances that gets me every time (well, almost every time; we’re just going to ignore The K2), but it’s so cracktastic. Eugh, and these two are extra cute, especially now that the power dynamic has swung the other way and Ji-wook is the one openly, respectfully, pining after our Eun puppy, who is hilariously unnerved by the sudden attention. Is it sadistic if I want Bong-hee to resist just for another episode or two?
Seven Day Queen: Augh, I love it, dammit. I don’t have time for you, Show, why must you be so good! I haven’t been into a really good sageuk in a while, so I’m really excited to get sucked into this tragic love story, even if my dark circles will get that much darker. Lee Dong-gun is killing it (badum-ching! Sorrynotsorry) as Yeonsangun, who really is one of the most tragic figures in Korean history, tyrannical inclinations notwithstanding. Also, the child actors are too adorable and my heart’s already hurting from their impending separation.
Lookout: Yay, I’m glad we’re getting into the cases that brought our Lookout team together, because the ones in between made my interest wane. My expectations might’ve been too high because of the promos and the first week’s episodes, but I feel like the pace is slower than I’d like even though a lot of stuff happens. I actually think the time jump sucked some of the momentum out of the story because I wanted to see the team when they first started to work together. I wish this show was also smarter. Because you have this awesome vigilante team setup, but then so many elements moving the plot forward is through coincidence and not through our characters’ maneuvering. I’m hoping that Bomi’s case will bring the tension back, though.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 3, 2017)
- 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)
Tags: Chicago Typewriter, Circle, Duel, Father Is Strange, Fight My Way, Heart to Heart, Lookout, Man to Man, My Sassy Girl, Ruler–Master of the Mask, Seven Day Queen, Suspicious Partner, The Best Hit, What We're Watching