Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Hey everyone, tell us how your week in drama-watching has gone! It’s been a hectic week here at Dramabeans Central, what with shows ending, new ones premiering, and javabeans laid up post-surgery (though naturally, she insisted it was an opportunity to watch more dramas and had me update her drama queue daily).
My list this week is crazy long, but I swear I didn’t watch all of these episodes in one week! That would be insane. I just skipped the last few weeks of What We’re Watching, so I had a backlog of shows to weigh in on. Apparently this is what happens when you take a break in between drama cycles—then you have to talk about ALL of the dramas. There’s probably a lesson in here about procrastination. I’ll make sure to learn it later. —girlfriday
Currently recapping: Uncontrollably Fond
Mirror of the Witch: The ending made sense when you consider mythology and narrative direction — it was the obvious ending, inevitable even. (With Heo Jun being a real person, we knew he couldn’t die so young, and moreover, the drama-makers were well aware that all of Korea knew he couldn’t die.) Still, the beauty of the drama had been that it convinced us it would pull out something brilliant and clever to solve the big dilemma and save the day. So when it just ended the way it was set up to end… well, I’d hoped for smarter. And while I think Kim Sae-ron is a budding talent, I think she was too green for this; it wasn’t her age explicitly that was the problem, but that her emotions never matched the depth of Yoon Shi-yoon’s. I would have loved Park Eun-bin in this.
The Good Wife: This show feels distinctly American, which is almost jarring when obviously the characters are Korean and speaking Korean. The fast pace and barrage of dialogue just feel a lot more Hollywood than K-drama, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — just a little odd to have my two worlds colliding. I didn’t think I’d be that pulled in given the heavy procedural element, but with the powerhouse acting and quick storytelling, the episodes fly by.
Beautiful Gong Shim: Sweet potato and cider! That sight gag in the finale made me burst into laughter, because it was so cheekily meta; this show was completely two-faced, and sweet potato (choking, frustrating) and cider (refreshing, breezy) were the perfect analogues to describe it. I’m a little miffed they prettied up Gong Shim even though I suppose it makes sense that she grew into herself and could finally lose the wig (growth metaphor), and I wanted a longer romantic epilogue than we got. But the show was still a cheery bright gem for me, and provided a respite from harder, darker, and/or more intense dramas.
After the Show Ends: This episode mostly featured the alternate pairings of Suk-jin with Yura and So-hee with Min-hyuk (aka The Boring Couples), so I was less interested than last week. I am, however, finding that Suk-jin is more and more interesting in real life (or “real life”) than I’d expected, which is a pleasant discovery; I hate when you see an actor behind the scenes, realize they’re much less interesting than they seem, and poof, there goes your love just like that. He’s a hot dork with old-fashioned humor who approaches acting with a directorial eye and is always thinking about character and narrative. Be still, my heart.
Bring It On, Ghost: Refreshing and cute, especially Kim So-hyun. It’s not that this drama is reinventing any wheels, but it feels just different enough from the other rom-coms out there that it’s a breath of fresh air. Or maybe those are the chills from those creepy CG ghosts. I thought I’d finally gotten my Ring nightmares behind me!
Doctors: It’s a rare occurrence, but I get why everybody is in love with the same person; Park Shin-hye’s character is a pretty cool cat. (Also, it’s not like the alternatives are great.) I don’t really feel fluttery squees of romance with this couple, but I do really enjoy the side friendships, like Kim Rae-won and Yoon Kyun-sang, and Park Shin-hye with Moon Ji-in. I’m fairly certain that hospital politics are going on, but as my brain shuts off the minute they start, I couldn’t tell you what they were if you put a gun to my head.
Currently recapping: W–Two Worlds
Dear My Friends: I was surprised at how invested I was in the relationship between Go Hyun-jung and Jo In-sung—it was technically a minor storyline, but the longer it went on, the more I just needed them to work out somehow. This drama made me cry every single week, but I’d watch 50 more episodes if they existed.
Lucky Romance: This show did so many things wrong. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this frustrated with a drama heroine, but by the time I got to the end of this series, I wanted to put a hex on the writer and help Je Su-ho escape. The middle stretch of cuteness kept me hanging on, but just barely.
Mirror of the Witch: I’m kind of ambivalent about the Titanic ending. On the one hand, it made me emotional and I loved the bittersweet, sentimental note that it ended on. On the other hand, your world is full of magic, and this was the best you could come up with? It didn’t dampen my love for the show overall, which was still a great fairytale from start to finish, but sometimes you just want to have your cake and eat it too!
Beautiful Gong Shim: I wish this drama had been shorter, because then it might’ve ended without dragging its feet. I was disappointed with the finale, mostly because it felt mild and formulaic, for a show that started out so weird and addictively kooky.
Doctors: It’s a nearly conflict-free drama, so sometimes I watch characters argue and think, “Why are we even talking about this?” But I like the characters, so I find that an hour passes very quickly while watching this show, despite the feeling that nothing significant has happened. It’s the textbook definition of an easy watch.
Police Unit 38: I only like this show when it’s in Ocean’s Eleven mode while planning and executing capers, so there are definitely a lot of times I’m spacing out. But to its credit, when it’s game on, it’s GAME ON.
Bring It On, Ghost: Ohmygah, Kim So-hyun is so cute in this. The story’s a little all over the place, but the heroine is so lively (hur) that it makes me care. Funniest thing yet: Taec teaching Kim So-hyun math.
Uncontrollably Fond: I know I’m invested because I want these characters to just cut through the bullshit and be together… but there is an inordinate amount of bullshit to be cut through. Can we slip them some truth potion and lock them in a room?
The Good Wife: This is one of those slick walk-and-talk shows where everyone’s got something quippy to say for every occasion, which is completely unrealistic but fun to watch. I even like the cases, though really, I’m in it for the witty banter. That and the could-be-more-than-friends relationship between Jeon Do-yeon and Yoon Kye-sang.
Three Meals a Day in Gochang: There’s this hilarious narrative going on this season where Mom Chajumma has another mouth to feed (new kid Nam Joo-hyuk, who only likes meat), and during the one day that Dad Yoo Hae-jin isn’t with them, Mom has racked up debt with the local loan shark Na PD in order to feed the kids meat. So when Dad comes home, he discovers that his family is in debt and has to go out to the fields to painstakingly repay the evil loan shark. The faux-marital strife over money is so real it’s funny.
Currently recapping: Doctors
The Good Wife: Though we’re really missing out on the whole ensemble, everyone who gets on-screen time oozes with charisma. Sometimes, I just want to root for corrupt Tae-joon because he’s so darn charismatic. Even Joon-ho’s got an evil side, but he charms his way through his naughty behavior. It seems like Hye-kyung is the only one playing a fair game, but I want her to get her hands dirty because something tells me that she would kick some serious ass if she broke a couple rules. This show makes me a little sadistic.
Uncontrollably Fond: The pacing is a tad slow for me, especially with the hide-and-seek game taking over a whole episode. While I’m not necessarily watching this for the story — I’m in it more for the ambiance — I would prefer to get a move on with our leads’ attempts to face their pasts. Time is ticking away, and Joon-young only has so much time.
W–Two Worlds: I love the meta in the fusion of the two worlds. It’s not as cheesy as I had originally thought it would be, and I’m intrigued by the fantasy element in the show. I’m curious to know how the connection between the two worlds began, which means that the story has got me hooked. So far, I’m digging the heroine more than the actual comic book hero, and the credit goes to Han Hyo-joo for making the most of her fun role. She’s the key to making everything super meta.
The Good Wife: Love! This is the one I look forward to every week. Two measly one hour episodes per week just don’t suffice; I always want more. Hye-kyung makes me “yas kween!” all the time. And I know I probably shouldn’t root for Tae-joon, but his smoldering gaze…
Bring it On, Ghost: Before Episode 4, I thought the show was very endearing, but boring for long stretches of time. But then Episode 4 came around, and scream queens Chun-sang and In-rang just knocked it out of the park with their silly antics and uninhibited yelps. They’re such a solid comedic team. Can we get these guys their own sketch show?
W–Two Worlds: I know it just premiered, but allow me to sum it up with some choice words, all starting with the letter W: WOW. WHOA. WANT. WILD. WHAT. WEDNESDAYS. WOO!
Doctors: Wondering why I started this drama. It’s like cotton candy: light and fluffy, with very little nutritional value. But then, I remember — oh yeah, Yoon Kyun-sang. The inevitable end of his one-sided crush on Hye-jung is so clearly heartbreaking, that continuing on seems pointless. Yet, my perpetual second-lead syndrome compels me to watch every Monday-Tuesday.
Five Kids: Hello, Mr. Sung Hoon — I’d like to apply for the position of being your real-life Ms. Yeon-doo. Where can I sign up? The Sang-min/Yeon-doo romance is so cute, it’s unbelievable. Not to mention, Sung Hoon is so shmexy that I can totally relate with Yeon-doo’s hilarious squealing reactions to her own imagined fantasies about him.
All’s Well With a Happy Home: Ironically, this drama title is at complete odds with the actual plot. It started out with mental domestic abuse and home-wrecker victories and now has devolved into a sobfest of terminal illness, with very few and far-between moments of real happiness. I can’t help but think that Kim So-yeon’s talent is being wasted. She has so much potential to evince very different emotions (e.g.: I Need Romance 3, IRIS), but here, she just vacillates between extreme weeping and gentle Candy moments. At least its take on the chaebol-poor girl romance is somewhat fresh: closer to High Society’s portrayal than the traditional playout.
Memory: Park Tae-seok’s life is getting worse so the show is getting better. Does this make me a horrible person?
Thumping Spike: Fifteen-minute episodes means noble idiocy and misunderstandings are only as long as Song Jae-rim’s shorts, which isn’t much. Yey, volleyball uniforms!
W–Two Worlds: I love this show. I love that it’s the heroine who gets to jump between worlds and I love that she catches on quickly, using her fangirl knowledge of webtoons to survive. This show is crack and like most crack shows, I regret watching it live.
Police Unit 38: Pro-tip: watch this while lying on your stomach so the repeated jaw-dropping doesn’t hurt.
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, After the Show Ends, Beautiful Gong Shim, Bring It On Ghost, Dear My Friends, Doctors, Lucky Romance, Memory, Mirror of the Witch, Police Unit 38, The Good Wife, Three Meals a Day, Uncontrollably Fond, What We're Watching, W–Two Worlds