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…
Arthdal Chronicles: Arthdal, for me, has been an exercise in frustration. The plot finally found its groove–and now we have to wait until September to see how things end. It’s a shame really because it was only in the last couple of episodes where I felt that the momentum was building in a consistent way that created tension and excitement.
Chief of Staff: These season breaks in dramas are going to be the end of me. Part of me is frustrated because of the break, but the other part is just grumpy about the cliffhanger. It felt contrived–shocking for the sake of being shocking. I know that all signs point to Jang Tae-joon being the culprit but I really hope it’s a red herring. Sure, unbridled ambition can be a scary thing, but could it really drive a man to do something so drastic?
Hotel del Luna: I wanted to love this show but I’m underwhelmed so far. The story is promising, and the visuals are beautiful, but I’m not fully on board yet. The chemistry between IU and Yeo Jin-gu doesn’t quite hit the right marks for me. I know they’re good actors (I’ve seen the evidence) but here, it feels like they’re playacting in roles that are meant for older people. I’ll keep watching though, if only for the beautiful outfits and to see more of Yeo Jin-gu flailing about in terror.
Rookie Historian Gu Hae-ryung: This show is so cute and philosophically nerdy. It’s like two of my favorites, Sungkyungkwan Scandal and Jewel in the Palace had a fusion sageuk baby. I’m mad that I have to wait a week for the next episode because I want Hae-ryung to ace that entrance test ASAP and kick every insecure historian guy’s butt while making all the awesome guys swoon at her feet. Because duh, the awesome guys will recognize her smarts and sass and not feel threatened by it but instead be inspired to keep up. If they can. I live for all the moments when she word-sparred with someone about principles and tradition. And not that I’m keeping count, but so far, Hae-ryung: 3, The Patriarchy: 0.
Class of Lies: Objectively speaking, this was the stronger of the two premieres I checked out this week. (Don’t make me choose just one though!) In just two episodes, Class of Lies managed to introduce a whole cast of characters that felt fully realized, giving us enough of a peek into their quirks and motivations while hinting at so much more beneath the surface and making you want to dig deeper. *turns serious reviewer voice off* I really wanted to keep this writeup coherent, but OMG I LOVE a lot of details about this premiere. There’s that wry humor between Moo-hyuk and his rival lawyer “You have to pull the door, it must be your first time entering the CEO’s office.” The annoying but true-to-life workplace dynamics that our righteous Teacher So-hyun has to suffer through with the drinking-obsessed power-tripping Head of School Affairs. The smarmy foundation officer played by the brilliant Jeon Seok-ho painstakingly wiping dust off his trophies while he fake-laughs and plots how to squeeze more work out of the teachers… there’s a lot more! I loved OCN’s take on village slice-of-life after Rescue Me 2 and they seem to be doing it again, this time through a “school drama.” A school drama where students broadcast pay-per-view fistfights from the school’s rooftop and have their own usurious betting/loaning system. But hey, as long as there are students and teachers. Right, OCN?
Designated Survivor: 60 Days: I wish they’d give the ladies more stuff to do since I’m partial towards Bae Jong-ok (after suffering through the 100-episode makjang Unknown Woman). But, the show is doing great at turning simple strategy meetings into heart-stopping scenes that I don’t know what to cut out so I can have more of my Yoon Chan-kyung moments… and I don’t want tvN to think that I approve of 80-minute or longer episodes. I also love Assemblyman Oh’s fakiness and how he’s presenting himself as an “honest” tell-it-like-it-is frenemy to Park Moo-jin, even as he sneers to his tailor that President Park is a wuss. Oh, and I felt so bad when Moo-jin was so broken by the decisions he had to make and beg-ordered-guilt-tripped the retired Secretary Han to come back. (Also, ship alert! Secretary Jung and Secretary Cha! And not just any kind of ship, but the work-rivalry-hate-to-attraction kind of ship.) In short, I really ♥ dramaland right now.
Kang’s Kitchen: Oh Na PD, I never should have doubted your evil genius. Just as I was starting to feel that Season 2 was getting a little repetitive, he surprises everyone with his secretly planned Season 3, which must have been in the works since day 1. I knew Kyu-hyun was eventually joining the team, but to make it a separate secret season?! And hide a huge wood-fired oven behind a false wall in the kitchen! And the overnight renovations! Entertainment gold.
Hotel del Luna: I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hong sisters and I was really relieved to see that episodes 1 and 2 were good! I was hooked into IU’s backstory right away and I’m a sucker for a strong heroine who can save the man in distress for a change. To be fair, the set-up is there for Yeo Jin-gu to become a strong character in his own right as well and I’m excited to see that growth for him too. I like the pairing, I like all the side characters, and I like the concept of the hotel being a rest stop for the ghosts. Let’s just hope the show is able to keep things good throughout the whole run!
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 13, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 6 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 29, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 22, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 15, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 8, 2019)