Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Shows, shows, we’re drowning in shows! Does anyone else feel like they’re glug-glug-glugging their way through the current drama offerings? I almost miss the days when everything was disappointing and I had more reasons to get out of the house, see sunshine, smell the roses and such. But who’d trade good dramas for sunshine? I’d rather be a well-entertained vampire. —javabeans
Currently recapping: Uncontrollably Fond
Beautiful Gong Shim: We’re nearing the end! Yes, the drama spun its wheels for a bit, but now secrets are being exposed and identities outed and happy times are on the horizon. As long as Gong Mi doesn’t get off scot-free, I’ll be satisfied with the finale. Crap did I just jinx it?
After the Show Ends: More than the romantic will-they-or-won’t-they premise, I enjoy watching actors working through scripts and figuring out how to play scenes, which we don’t usually get to see for more than a few seconds in behind-the-scenes clips. As a reality-variety show I find it okay (not hugely addicting), but I find enough little scenes or details to keep me watching. For instance, when the producers made each cast member choose an accessory to indicate which co-star they preferred, while keeping the other co-stars in the dark about what the choice meant. I’d love to see Suk-jin and So-hee give it a go in real life, though the others kind of bore me.
The Good Wife: Finally, a drama where big momentous murder cases take more than one day in court and a sentimentally persuasive closing argument to decide! That always drives me batty, and I nearly cheered to see this drama play out a case over multiple court dates, with a distinct lack of over-the-top courtroom theatrics. Slick, polished legal procedurals aren’t my favorite genre, even when they’re well-acted and -produced, as the original Good Wife was, but I’m in this for Jeon Do-yeon and Yoon Kye-sang. (It kind of almost hurts to see Yoo Ji-tae being such an effective bastard.)
Bring It On, Ghost: Cute, refreshing, and different. I have no idea how the ghost-human romance will work (or if it will at all), but these two are a pleasure to watch. I love how terrible Taec is at pretending he finds Kim So-hyun to be annoying, when he obviously finds her beyond adorable. And who wouldn’t?
Doctors: Somebody should report this hospital to the medical board, because all the doctors spend way too much work time romancing each other or sniping over who’s better. Not that Beautiful Mind’s murder-filled hospital is much better. Maybe pop a bunch of Advil instead, or take your chances with Princess Yeon-hee’s magical witchy potions?
Wanted: If I have a criticism of the story execution — which I otherwise find to be tightly plotted and interesting, with a constant stream of developments — it’s that the “mystery” only follows one throughline. It’s like the producers only plot out one path; there are no red herrings or dead ends, and that makes the cat-and-mouse game feel rather artificial. I’m still engaged, but it’s something that keeps it from being great.
Lucky Romance: There was a very cute stretch in the middle, and I looooved Ryu Joon-yeol and his take on the character, but I got to the end and kind of wondered, “That’s it?” It was a pleasant and feel-good drama, but ultimately more filler than substance.
Mirror of the Witch: I’m writing this before the finale, but I’m pleased with how we got this far without a significant drop in quality or lull in energy. That isn’t to say it didn’t have minor detours or blips, but I never found myself fidgeting impatiently or unhappy with where it was taking me. I’m holding out a lot of hope for a solid ending. (If you spoil me I will hex you with gruesome bloody skin-spikes. Beware!)
Flower in Prison: I fell really behind on this drama for a while, and have only been catching up recently. (Still pretty behind, though.) It’s surprisingly enjoyable for a long-format sageuk, and manages to keep things exciting and watchable from episode to episode. Go Soo is aces even if his wig isn’t, and the undercurrent of female empowerment is fun.
Wanted: There’s something a little unrefined about Wanted, but that actually endears the show to me even more. Despite the serious time constraints, it’s a show that’s trying, and it’s also one that’s infinitely watchable and still very thrilling.
Beautiful Mind: Couldn’t be happier that they actually took the hero out of the hospital, which served to reset the momentum and hook me on the lead pairing. Poor gummimochi gets my reaction texts while watching this show, which are normally in the poetic vein of, “They need to be together forever! She can heeeeal him!” Words. It’s what I do.
Bring It On, Ghost: Two ghosts walk into a coffee shop…
Currently recapping: Doctors
The Good Wife: I like it! The show tells its story with a stark tone, but it’s fun and exciting in an intense way. The main cast puts on a captivating performance, and I’m drawn to them no matter how shady and manipulative the characters are. Of course, Jeon Do-yeon is absolutely stellar as Hye-kyung, and I can’t wait for more of her elegant intensity.
Uncontrollably Fond: This show is definitely not what I expected from the promos but in a good way. Based on the teasers, I was wary about Kim Woo-bin being another unredeemable asshole (ahem Heirs), but it’s amazing how context can change your mind. The story — a melodrama full of nostalgia, car accidents, and other clichés — won’t be anything new, but I can already feel the heartbreak coming.
Currently recapping: The Good Wife
Monster: The only “monsters” that interest me this week are the ones that fit into Poké balls. I’ll get caught up on this drama when I’m not busy trying to catch ‘em all.
Police Unit 38: If Ma Dong-seok gave me those sad puppy dog eyes, I would totally join a team of conmen to do whatever it takes to make him happy, no questions asked. You wouldn’t even need to promise me a million dollars for my effort — just let me hug the squishy ajusshi teddy bear.
Currently recapping: Beautiful Gong Shim
Bring it On, Ghost: I derive so much joy from watching grown men get spooked by ghosts. SO much joy! Two of my favorite comedic actors are in this (Kang Ki-young & Lee Do-yeon), and they’re killing it! Did anyone else burst out laughing when Hyun-ji was describing Bong-pal’s lips (without explicitly mentioning his lips) and Kyung-ja guessed blood sausage? Loving Kim So-hyun as a sassy, butt-kicking ghost. Taecyeon’s acting seems a bit stiff, but somehow it fits the character so it’s not too distracting.
The Good Wife: Oh yes. I’m liking it very much so far. It’ll be interesting to see what gets explored in sixteen episodes when there are seven seasons’ worth of original source material. Jeon Do-yeon’s return to dramaland is reason to rejoice.
Beautiful Mind: Decided to check out the first two episodes of this for a taste. I thought it was fine, but I’m not exactly hooked. Do I need to employ my four-episode rule to determine whether or not to continue watching?
Mirror of the Witch: Also checked out the first two episodes of this for a taste. Stunningly shot, gorgeous hanboks, well-acted, haunting storyline… I totally understand and agree with the hype. This fantasy sageuk delivers!
Currently recapping: Beautiful Gong Shim
Bring It On, Ghost: Gotta say, it may be the first week, but this show has just topped the list as my favorite drama currently airing. I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying Bring It On, Ghost — I don’t usually go for the spooky shows since I’m an unapologetic scaredy cat — but there’s more humor and action than true fright factor. Kim So-hyun is killing it as a spunky ghost and Taecyeon somehow manages to remain adorable while getting his butt kicked by a girl half his size.
Doctors: I’m so happy to see Park Shin-hye in a role different from her typical Candy personas. She can finally show some backbone and I love the extra edge it’s giving her acting. I’m still not completely sold on the love story since I feel like the show really rushed the character’s foundation, breezing through their early years and eventual reunion. Thankfully they’ve slowed it down a bit in the romance department, giving Hye-jung a chance to learn how to love Ji-hong instead of him just springing confessions on her. I can forgive a lot plot wise, just keep Rae-won laughing and do NOT kill my Ji Soo!
Uncontrollably Fond: Kim Woo-bin is preeeetty. Oh, and there are other characters in the show… and they do things… while Woo-binnie keeps looking pretty.
Memory: I picked this back up and liked it a little but I still can’t get behind Park Tae-seok’s character. Part of it is Lee Sung-min’s loud acting style. It worked for me in Misaeng as the manic office worker. But here in Memory, I just can’t buy him as this sharp, super-efficient star lawyer whose life is unraveling. Shouldn’t someone like that be more controlled and imposing so when he finally breaks down, you’ll feel his pain more? And then there’s the character itself which they’re trying to sell as a nice guy who just happened to work for the evil guys and lost his way. It’s kinda hard to accept his self-righteous speech about preserving justice when at the same time he’s making no move at all to disentangle himself from his corrupt law firm. I guess I just don’t understand what his motivations are. Does he want a happier family? More money? Revenge on Baseball Bat? Justice for all?
Police Unit 38: Do you know that part in the Song of Ice and Fire books when GRRM couldn’t be bothered to make the narrative more cohesive so he just split a book into two? (1) People We Don’t Know And Care About vs (2) All The People We Like with Ice Zombies. That’s how episodes 7 vs 8 felt to me. Starring Sung-il as Jon Snow who knows nothing and Jung-do as Tyrion the wily, sekshi imp.
Thumping Spike: Song Jae-rim playing volleyball. Best drama of 2016.
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, After the Show Ends, Beautiful Gong Shim, Beautiful Mind, Bring It On Ghost, Doctors, Lucky Romance, Memory, Mirror of the Witch, Police Unit 38, The Good Wife, Uncontrollably Fond, Wanted, What We're Watching