Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
It’s been a sluggish season for me, so now that we’re heading into spring I’m hoping a few of our new and upcoming arrivals will liven up the joint. It’s all about waiting for that one to spark with you, whether it’s because of an actor or a fresh plot or an interesting tone. I guess when you watch dramas all day every day, it’s hard to find something to surprise you! Not that I’ll ever stop trying. –javabeans
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Of all the shows I’m watching, this is the one I feel the most urge to watch immediately. I love the couple’s bickery chemistry, the Park Hyung-shik-versus-Ji-soo rivalry, the comic misunderstandings, and even the goofball gangsters. My favorite moments are Park Hyung-shik’s incredulous reactions anytime Park Bo-young pretends to be weak in front of Ji-soo, like she can barely open a jar of jam when he’d just seen her move a car with her bare hands. This drama is not the reality we know and live in, but I’m happy to park myself in this fantasyland every week and laugh my head off.
Father, I’ll Take Care of You: Everyone’s kind of pissing me off in this show right now, but at this point I’m in it to see how things play out. Most of the Han family is so willfully blind and aggravating that now I want Hyun-woo to go scorched earth in his revenge (at this point the idiots are digging their own graves), and for Sung-joon to be freed from their clutches, even though I was pretty peeved that he just went AWOL and left Dong-hee to weather that shitstorm on her own. I cheered when Dong-hee moved out, and am perversely looking forward to him finding out she was kicked out while he was off brooding. Groveling time ahead!
You’re Too Much: I think I’ll put this on hold for now, at least until/unless I hear that it gets really good. If I do keep watching, it’s more because I want to know what the heck it’s trying to do with its story than because I find it entertaining; I’m still wondering where it’s heading and what its main point will be. At first it seemed the show might be refreshing and uplifting, but it’s way more melodramatic than I was anticipating, without enough lightness or humor to buoy its dolorous spirits. Gu Hye-sun is a sympathetic character but prone to martyrdom, which gets old, and Uhm Jung-hwa… is really too much. I get the title now. It’s literal.
Father Is Strange: Now here’s a weekend family show that’s jolly fun, with likable characters and situational comedy and conflict that arises out of normal life, rather than getting overblown with the dramatics. The characters are flawed in relatable ways, which goes a long way to making this show enjoyable (rather than the kind where everybody makes you grit your teeth and want to go a-slappin’). Lee Yuri is a blast, and her chemistry with Ryu Soo-young is pretty off the charts. Also, I’m a sucker for actors playing bad actors, and I’m finding Lee Joon’s misplaced bravado as the idol-turned-foot-actor amusing (even though every time he goes stony-faced and gets called emotionless, I keep expecting him to kill someone).
Introverted Boss: It went out with a whimper, which may be better than going down in flames in that nobody’s mad at the show, but may be worse in that nobody really cares about it, either. The finale did everything I expected of it, so it wasn’t a surprise, though it was still a disappointment: Awful characters had offscreen epiphanies that changed them into nicer people, the hero got his girl despite an uncomfortable lack of chemistry, and we got the rest of the story about the dead sister, about ten episodes too late to make any difference. It’s amazing how much this drama felt like Oh Hae-young Again, stylistically, while being nowhere in the ballpark of quality.
Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: I like this show, I do. But there’s something in its pacing and its very episodic storytelling structure that makes it difficult for me to get hooked, despite liking it very much. The pacing feels slow and steady, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is probably why I’m consistently one and a half weeks behind on episodes, because it’s a show I can’t binge-watch.
Three Color Fantasy: Queen of the Ring: I appreciate what it’s attempting with its short format and quick stories, but I’m not sure this Three Color Fantasy series is pulling it off successfully. I keep having problems with this storyline about physical beauty and attraction and deception, so I can’t enjoy any of the cute couple beats or the heroine’s angst about tricking him into thinking she looks like someone else. This concept feels like it was misbuttoned from the top button down—it almost fits, but not quite right.
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: I adore this weird little show. Every week I’m frustrated that there are only two hours of it and a couple of behind-the-scenes clips to tide me over till the following weekend. I just can’t get enough of Park Bo-young and Park Hyung-shik together! Can they be in all of the things, all of the time?
Tomorrow With You: The mystery is finally going somewhere, but everything with this show comes later than I wanted it. Still, it’s rewarding to see So-joon get his head out of his ass and be present in his marriage. Was that so hard?!
Introverted Boss: I stuck it through to the end, but I realized I didn’t much care one way or the other how the characters ended up, which isn’t really how you want your audience to feel. I did appreciate that the couple discovered that they weren’t such a perfect match made in heaven when it came to the everyday parts of their relationship—an interesting facet of their opposites-attract dynamic that would’ve been nice to explore six to eight episodes ago. Eh, you can’t win ‘em all.
Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: This week’s episodes were really touching. I knew what we were in for, but this show is so well-directed moment by moment that of course I got swept up in the whole father-son passing of the torch and the sentimental send-offs. It felt like the proper closing of a chapter, wistful and bittersweet—something this show does really, really well.
Defendant: I was disappointed that Ji Sung didn’t stay on the lam longer, because I wanted some Two Weeks-style fugitive action up in here. And I was even madder when they sacrificed Kim Min-seok’s character. That didn’t need to happen! I didn’t like that the return to Prosecutor Ji Sung seemed so easy, but then again, I’m not about to complain when he’s FINALLY gaining some ground on the villain. Is it payback time at last?
Radiant Office: This drama feels very familiar, but it has a really likable underdog heroine with two cute sad-sack sidekicks, and their funny friendship is what kept me watching. That and Go Ah-sung, with extra points for the whimsical fantasy sequences that are always playing in her head. You just can’t help but root for this girl.
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: I feel like I’m watching this one in a vacuum, so I occasionally want to see what The Internet thinks about a show I’m really loving right now. I admit to being confused about the editing complaints—maybe it’s just one of those things I haven’t noticed, but that’s even stranger, since I usually make it a point to notice production values. Am I just being clouded by how much I’m enjoying it? Sure, the plot’s not going a hundred miles a minute, but the characters are so lovable and everything looks so fun. The manic energy is infectious, and maybe it’s just the horror fanatic in me, but I love the darker subplot going on. Not for the subject matter, but because the show seems to be setting up the ultimate super villain for our superwoman, and I’m excited to see them face off.
Introverted Boss: Le sigh. When will dramaland learn that restructuring a show while it’s airing never works? I don’t know if it would’ve been worse or better had it continued on the course it first set out on, but really, that opening suicide just doomed it from the start. And how did we just pass over Yi-soo and her horrifying self-harming capabilities? When did Woo-il become a good person? Why do Ro-woon and Hwan-ki like each other? Why anything?
Chief Kim: This is weirdly one of those shows that could go on for an indefinite period of time, and I kind of find myself wishing that it were a bit longer (I know, the horror). The characters are just so fun and relatable, and the story seems like it has no endpoint—which isn’t really a bad thing at present, though I do wonder what this is all building up to. A takedown of TQ? A win over corruption? Whatever the case, I always thought it was a really interesting character quirk for Yul to be so obsessed with food—what at first seemed like an opportunity to plug Subway turned into a constant choice that defined the character, and that level of depth, though seemingly shallow, isn’t there just for kicks. The fact that he mentioned that he eats so fast because he’s afraid someone will steal his food instantly spoke volumes about his life, and the more I see of Yul, the more I want to see him in every scene. Come back from the dark side, Yul! The food is better here!
Radiant Office: I’m loving the central premise of the show, and the main trio of suicidal jobseekers. While I’m not quite sure how to feel about the terminal illness story line going on, I am feeling a bit fatigued by Ha Suk-jin reprising his role as Ha Suk-jin. He’s good at it still, but can’t we give him a character quirk that makes him just a little bit different? A love for funny ties? A puppy? Anything?
Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Noooooooo, Amogae!
Super Family 2017: Park Hyuk-kwon is fabulous because of course he is, but I’m here for the whole family, so having two back-to-back episodes that focused primarily on his inability to choose meant these weren’t my favorite episodes thus far. But I still enjoyed a few laughs and felt refreshed afterwards, which sounds weird, but I swear this show is the best mood enhancing pick-me-up.
New Journey to the West: Since the dynamic of the cast is what drew me back into this in the first place, I enjoyed seeing a little more of their interactions that weren’t shown previously, but watching anyone play “Mafia” stresses me out because it reminds me of all those times friendships were nearly ruined forever until my friends and I finally had to officially ban playing it ever again. I’m excited that there will be another season (yay!) and curious where the guys will be going since apparently it won’t be China (and even more curious if my fave Kyuhyun will be able to squeeze in one more trip before his enlistment).
Radiant Office: Past experience has taught me that it’s unwise to fall head-over-heels for a drama within the first few minutes of a premiere, but I’m a hopeless goner who doesn’t care that I’m headed down a potentially doomed path of disappointment. Go Ah-sung is a delight and her character is so relatable it hurts. I love how the show manages to balance both outlandish humor (the fantasy sequences are so perfect!) and the poignancy of just trying to make it through life when you’re doing your best yet everything seems against you. I was immediately smitten with the “suicide squad” and need this trio to work together forever, please, because no one is going to tragically die, lalalala, I can’t hear you. *sticks fingers in ears*
Currently recapping: Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People
Introverted Boss: Everything petered out toward the end. The plot felt like it was left unresolved with loose strings and odd tangles hanging all over the place. At its conclusion, I feel gypped because I went into the show with so many expectations: The Oh Hae-young Again team, their reunion with Yeon Woo-jin, and even even the plot about a shy introvert learning to bloom seemed new and interesting. Now, how do I know who and what to trust in dramaland?
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: What is this, Ji-soo? What happened to all your adorableness? And your awesome dorky rebellious charm? Who made you this angry, loud stick-in-the-mud? Noona will beat them up for you.
Currently recapping: Defendant
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: I’m not 100% sure how I feel about Strong Woman Do Bong-soon—there are things I love about it, but then we have the weird tone that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and the jarring editing and at times questionable humor. I feel like the show is more successful with humor than genuine emotion though, because so far the only sincere moments we’ve gotten have been due more to the actors’ talents than the writing or directing. Still, those actors are knocking it out of the park, and I am so on board with the new developments we got between Bong-soo and Min-hyuk this week. She needs someone to help her figure out how to use her powers for good (and reform her ways, because honestly she can be a bit of a bully), and who better than a man who literally treats life like a video game? I’m also glad she’s finally starting to stand up to Gook-doo; hopefully she’ll soon realize how much of herself she has to hide around him, and run right into the arms of our weird, smart, totally-right-for-her hero.
Introverted Boss: Sigh. This drama was ultimately unwilling to commit to the darkness required by its own premise, and sacrificed the character development of every important character at the altar of fluff and convenience. No amount of kisses can distract from the fact that nobody got the comeuppance they deserved in this unearned happy ending.
Chief Kim: This show just keeps getting better. It successfully uses comedic hijinks to draw laughs and satirize very real problems, without making a mockery of its characters or their struggles. That’s a hard tone to pull off, and one I salute the show for. Myung-suk has become the heart-tugging emotional center of this show for me, and his love-hate bromance with his new hyung Sung-ryong is rapidly becoming one of my favorites ever (though Sung-ryong and Director Choo are adorable too). Myung-suk is such a hilarious character, and yet his growth since the first episode has been gradual enough to be realistic yet incredibly gratifying. His shock at finding out how much minimum wage is, and his growing shame at his father’s unjust dealings, are so moving to see. And I love how the Business Operations team has adopted him like a beloved but irritating younger sibling. If anyone can defeat a man so evil he has people killed for embarrassing him, it’s this small but fierce family.
Guesthouse Daughters: This is such a weird show. It’s often awkward and boring, but then there are times when the actresses have such candid conversations or natural, silly antics that it’s super enjoyable to watch. I wish they would abandon the concept of doing potential male boarder auditions, which inevitably become Which actress is your ideal type sessions, and just let these awesome ladies eat ramyun and talk about life together.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 11, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 4, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 25, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 18, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 11, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 4, 2017)
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, Chief Kim, Defendant, Father I'll Take Care of You, Father Is Strange, Introverted Boss, New Journey to the West, Radiant Office, Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, Tomorrow With You, What We're Watching