Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
So, what are we all watching this week?
What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…
Beauty Inside: There’s no way I could keep up with all the new dramas that have launched in the past two weeks, so I’m being selective about what to continue with. Beauty Inside is at the top of my list for a few different reasons, like the mix of breeziness and poignancy, the oddball courtship between our leads, and Seo Hyun-jin’s charming take on the cocky top star — she reminds me a bit of Jeon Ji-hyun in You From Another Star on that front. I do find it strange that despite a totally different story, a director’s style can be so strong that it recalls his previous works, because I’m getting quite a bit of Oh Hae-young Again in this (which I also felt with Introverted Boss). I wonder if that stylistic stamp becomes more of a detriment in rom-coms than other genres, because I can’t see how it would be a bad thing with a director who’s strong in action thrillers or political dramas, but somehow it feels overfamiliar and overused in the rom-com realm (it feels unfair to feel that, but I can’t help feeling it). I’m still loving the drama, but it’s a thought that sneaks into the back of my mind as I watch this.
The Third Charm: This show is light and simple, and I can see that it’s very pleasant, but I keep wanting something more of it. The leads have a cute chemistry and they’re a pleasure to watch as they navigate their relationship, and I’m a sucker for reunited-lovers romances, but I feel like I’m waiting for the plot to actually start, only I’m already at the fifth episode.
Hundred Million Stars From the Sky: Ah, okay. Now I’m ready for this show, and I think I’ll want to savor it. (I’m only two episodes in — don’t jinx me!) It has a really refreshing vibe to it that I didn’t realize I was missing in dramaland until it hit: It’s got a moody air but an unsentimental tone, and a deep undercurrent of tension running through everything. The directing is what makes this drama feel alive and crackling with energy, because there’s suspense in everything — some of them big points, like is Seo In-gook a killer, and some of them much smaller and mundane. It reminds me of everything I loved about Bad Guy (so we’re not talking about that crazy, unsatisfying ending here) and how inscrutable and morally ambiguous the hero was there. I love Seo In-gook so much when he’s being adorable and sweet (like in Shopping King Louis) or rascally and charming (see Answer Me 1997), so I’ll miss seeing that half of his personality in this show, but he does do a very good job of giving his character that necessary bad-boy vibe and enigmatic air.
My Secret Terrius: I still want to finish this because deadpan So Ji-sub is right up my alley, but I’m putting the drama on hold right now because I have serious time constraints and it’s either this or Hundred Million Stars, and right now stark melo is winning out over silly comedy. WHO KNEW THIS DAY WOULD EVER COME.
Beauty Inside: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but forget Se-kye: moar Eun-ho, please!
Hundred Million Stars From the Sky: This genre is normally not my cup of tea, but Seo In-gook’s magnetism never fails to draw me in. I continue to be impressed by the way Seo portrays Moo-young as smooth and friendly one second – and shrewd and cold a split-second after that. I’ve always enjoyed Jung So-min in her projects also, and I’m looking forward to Jin-kang and Moo-young’s developing relationship (or should I be frightened?). Right now though, I’m completely enamored by Jin-kang’s relationship with her brother Jin-kook (Park Sung-woong) – they may be the sweetest siblings seen in dramaland in some time.
Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days: This is the sequel to last year’s hit film, Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds. It came out a couple of months ago, but I only got around to watching it this past week. I went into the first movie with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by everything — the story, the acting/stellar cast, the cinematography, the direction. The films may have started off on solid footing because the original webtoon had such a taut and compelling fantasy story, but I applaud everyone involved in the film adaptations for doing such a remarkable job at bringing that story to life. Both films are sheer entertainment, and I can’t wait for the next two installments.
The Ghost Detective: Why do I feel like this writer started with a bunch of great cliffhanger ideas then just filled in the episodes with whatever they can come up with to get from A to B in the story? At this point, I’m only watching this for the A Few Good Men team because the actors are all awesome, though I also find the crazy PPL amusing. I hope that PPL car comes in more colors. I’m curious what outrageous excuse they’ll come up with next for stopping a character on the street and handing them a shiny new key.
The Guest: I like this development that some people do terrible things because they’re terrible people, no demon possession required. And that these same people won’t have compunctions about worshiping the devil if it gets them what they want in this world. Isn’t that so true to life? Speaking of problematic gods, Drama Gods sure have a sick sense of humor, giving us our long-awaited (sort of) lead role for Kim Jae-wook, complete with shirt-unbuttoning scene… only to shower his abs with blood. Surely, that’s malice that can only come from an evil spirit?
Life: There are a lot of beautiful essays written about the ending, so I’ll just squee about Lee Jun-hyuk’s cameo and how much I miss him as Forest of Secret’s resident weasel. Seeing him in peak smarmy form in Life only hypes me up even more for the next season of Forest of Secrets, though I can’t remember if that’s a done deal or just one of the “we’re planning it” things dramaland throws around just to get us to lay off their backs about sequels. *lights a candle for Liar Game 2*
My Secret Terrius: The spy stuff in this show continues to be ridiculous, and I continue to not care because everything else is wonderful. Seriously, Agent Yoo, Agent Ra and even Bon show so little interest in preserving their secret identities that it’s almost a running joke. But Bon + Joon-Joon is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, and I love Ae-rin: her commitment to her kids, her open-hearted but still smart and tough way of dealing with people, and her friendship with her neighbor crew. Not to mention the KIS network of ajumma intelligence agents, who run circles around the actual NIS. I’m both sad that the angst is here, and excited that Bon’s been exposed already—it’s refreshing how quickly the plot moves in this show and provides tension to the spy/murder plot that might otherwise slacken due to misplaced stuffed animals and tooth-brushing, as delightful as all that is.
Fox Bride Star: I’m happy to be able to say that it does get better! The reminder that this is the writer of the excellent Dal-ja’s Spring made me give it another chance, and this week’s episodes completely won me over. This is the heroine I wanted—someone who isn’t afraid to make mistakes but also acknowledges that she has growing to do, and of course Chae Soo-bin has both the talent and charisma to make Yeo-reum shine. I also really like that we’ve moved away from last week’s life-saving hero moments to a quieter and much more squee-worthy dynamic between our leads. Yes, he still helps her out, but she also has something to offer him, and their interactions feel much more equal. I loved the whole sequence with the entitled passenger, where his words made her think again about her decision to stay quiet in the face of injustice, and her bravery in standing up for herself was the prompt for his slide into home with the recording. I do still feel a little like her character was retconned, because she seems like almost a different person this week and much of that was serviced by flashbacks; still, I can appreciate that maybe the drama was making a point about first impressions being misleading, and how much additional information can change your perspective about a person or situation. It looks like next week’s episodes might be heavy ones with that cliffhanger, so I’m hoping that these two’s gentle new rapport holds up. (Also, how cute is the cleaning robot that has a crush on Soo-yeon?!)