Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
How is it that being away at KCON for half a week put so many of us so behind on our drama watching? I’m pretty sure a sane person would just say to watch fewer shows, but like that’s gonna happen around here. Here’s the latest update on what we’ve managed to catch up on this past week, on airplanes, in between catnaps, and via the good old-fashioned marathon session. —girlfriday
Mirror of the Witch: I like how the show keeps shifting suspicions and alliances, which keeps the plot constantly on the move, and also highlights the steadfastness of the couple at the center. I haven’t felt a lull in the storytelling yet, which is an impressive feat over so many episodes. Now if they could just light the dark nighttime scenes a bit more…
Beautiful Gong Shim: This show is bipolar, but in a way that makes it super easy to watch. (I pay as little attention to the corporate/kidnapping plotlines as necessary to follow the show, and mostly focus on Dan-tae and Gong Shim.) The show has felt less engaging in previous weeks when it slowed down to get into the kidnapping and identity mystery, but it recovered its sense of humor and its adorable couple moments this past week, happily. I just hope Jun-su doesn’t cross over to the dark side, because where would I be without my chaebol cousin bromance?
Oh Hae-young Again: I know there’s a fair amount of disgruntlement over the later episodes, but while I’ve felt it too, it hasn’t killed me affection for the show, and I still enjoyed the way the drama resolved its conflict and sent off its characters. I won’t argue that the show didn’t lose momentum, but it was enough for me to get a conclusion that wrapped up the threads I most cared about, undercut the heavy points with humor, and sent us out on a lighthearted note.
Wanted: It’s not perfectly slick in its execution, but I really enjoy that the plot is unpredictable; I anticipate a lot of twists in our future. What I don’t want this show to do is turn into a random-case-of-the-week type of deal, because it’s more intriguing when the focus is on the Hyun-woo kidnapping. Don’t go formulaic, please! It’s too good for that.
Lucky Romance: Is Je Su-ho the most adorable lovestruck hero ever or what? I love him and his refreshing approach to pursuing his heart, which is enough to get me past those annoying (and wasted) second leads. And Bo-nui’s horrible prairie frumpster five-layer wardrobe. I want somebody to tell Hwang Jung-eum it’s okay to be pretty; people will still take you seriously as an actress.
Doctors: It’s a crowd-pleaser type of show, with a smooth-flowing plot and pretty solid elements all around: I like Park Shin-hye in this, I always like Kim Rae-won, and the emotional trajectories are ones we can root for. I sort of wish I liked the show more; I find it easily watchable, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. It’s okay.
Oh Hae-young Again: It ended up being a satisfying series, though in all honesty I did fall out of love with this show at some point. I wish it had done more with its mythology (what little mythology it had), because I wanted more out of the future-visions than what we were given. Still, there’s no denying the power of good romantic chemistry and a heroine so realistic you’re convinced you know this girl in real life.
Dear My Friends: Thing took a rough turn last week, but I always find the tears I cry for this show to be cathartic. I think I’ve figured out their foolproof formula: Lee Kwang-soo + hugs with mommy = puddle of my tears.
Beautiful Gong Shim: Oh phew, we’re back to the cute fun dynamic! That’s what got me watching this show, so I’m hoping we don’t rain on the adorably quirky couple’s parade any longer. Only sunshine and rainbows from here on out—let’s stick to our strengths, Gong Shim-ah!
Doctors: Is anyone else put off by how strong Kim Rae-won is coming on? The romance isn’t really doing it for me, but I am liking Park Shin-hye’s spunky character, so that’s a plus. Here’s the real question: Where did that puppy go?
Mirror of the Witch: You know when you’re in a relationship and things are going so well—TOO WELL—that you start getting nervous and knowing that the streak of awesomeness can’t possibly last? This is me, waiting for the other shoe to drop in Mirror of the Witch. Except it hasn’t, and we’re still happy. It’s totally nerve-wracking.
Lucky Romance: I ♥ Je Su-ho. So, so much. The squeeing and flailing over every text message and inexplicable emoticon with his best friend there for moral support? The way he put all his feelings out there and asked her to come to him when she was ready? The way he holds his arms out whenever he’s waiting for a hug? I die.
Beautiful Mind: If I could write sonnets, I would write one for this show. I’ve always loved Jang Hyuk and have followed him through every project, but I was literally floored by his acting in this week’s episodes. He’s playing one of the most complex heroes I’ve seen in dramaland, one that admittedly sounded almost boring on paper. Genius neurosurgeon with no feelings? Meh. But in his hands, it’s a role for the record books. I’m crazy excited about this drama, it has potential to be one of the greats.
Wanted: Stellar cast, despite all the trouble actually casting people for this show. The Uhmforce is strong with this one, and we’ve only just barely scratched the surface. This drama cycle is really good overall, isn’t it?
Mirror of the Witch: I’ve fallen behind and am deliberately reading nothing on it so as not to be spoiled. Lalalala…
Doctors: I’m trying. I’m really, really trying.
Currently recapping: Beautiful Gong Shim
Oh Hae-young Again: Admittedly, my love for this show was so strong at the outset, but somewhere past the midpoint, the endearing characteristics of the two leads started to fade, and I fell out of love with the main couple and the oft-incomprehensible individuals that made up that pairing. I’ll be the first to say that I’m a relationship n00b, and perhaps that’s why I found the show ultimately disappointing; I didn’t understand so many of the decisions the couple made. Maybe true love just doesn’t make sense, and that’s how you know it’s true? I don’t know. But the extension was definitely felt, the episodes toward the end dragged, and really, I stuck around to a) finish the show and b) watch what happened next with Jin-sang and Soo-kyung. Enjoyable at the beginning, frustrating towards the end. Much like a solid first date with every subsequent date going further and further downhill.
Dear My Friends: I’m not sure if Outstanding Ensemble Awards are a thing in the Korean entertainment biz, but if they’re not, they totally should be just so the entire cast of Dear My Friends can be showered with awards. All the acting awards. All of ’em! Still loving the show, still making me cry.
Signal: This is my last reaction post. The end of Signal killed me. If you are reading this, don’t give up. The past can be changed. In the tvN offices, there’s a suggestion box. Write “Signal Season 2” on a piece of paper and drop it there. When we talk again, it will be Season 2.