Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
I blinked and it’s suddenly July, which means that there’s a whole new crop of dramas appearing on the horizon. I’m actually a little sad that the current drama cycle is starting to wind down, because it’s a good batch of shows, and I think we all have the panda eyes to prove it. –girlfriday
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Circle: Goddamn, this show rocked my world. Between this drama and Seven Day Queen I’m already content with 2017. Perhaps Circle isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s a valid opinion (…which is wrong!), but for me it was a perfect show. I loved that even with the clever plot and twists, it didn’t forget to have a heart—ultimately, the story was driven by love. And while I never wanted this show to be about romance, I was happy to have romantic hints at the end—one, because romantic love is a powerful human motivator and that’s a lovely sentiment in a drama all about what makes us truly human, and two, because it felt like a sign that life could finally move on. I bawled buckets, the show ended, and my heart was full.
Father Is Strange: Joong-hee knows! Yasssssss. I mean, maybe he doesn’t know everything and maybe he’ll talk himself out of his suspicions, but now he has a real reason to doubt his birth story and I’m glad. And while it’s too bad that Unni’s marriage is struggling right now, I really appreciated the way she handled the conflict and wouldn’t let it be swept under the rug; she’s principled in a way that I admire, in a way that it’s difficult to live out because it’s so tempting to let things slide and trick yourself into thinking, “It’ll be different now” when you know deep down that nothing has happened to change things.
The Best Hit: One of my favorite types of gags that this show does is in playing out a joke in the background while something serious is happening in the foreground, and not drawing any attention to the joke—it’s there for you to notice, but the show doesn’t point to it and call out, “Look, I’m being funny!” Sometimes it’s funnier to let the joke lie there quietly, even if it goes unnoticed by some, because the discovery feels special.
Lookout: I didn’t realize that I wanted the two prosecutors to team up until they did, and then it just seemed so right. I was surprised that Do-han revealed his hand at this stage, and a little nervous because there’s plenty of time left for things to go sideways. But it was satisfying to see him finally show his real feelings for once, after putting up such a smarmy facade for so long.
My Sassy Girl: As far as angst tropes go, this week’s new arrival was a nicely effective way to make Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong really feel that pining for each other. I actually enjoyed how it pained Gyun Woo to have to translate another suitor’s wooing words to her while being unable to say them himself, and wished that this show had that extra touch to make me feel that pain viscerally. It’s kind of a connect-the-dots drama, though, so I appreciate what it’s doing while not necessarily feeling it in my heart.
Suspicious Partner: The separation was entirely warranted and understandable within the context, but also completely predictable, so I’m waiting it out because I feel like when these two are in resistance/denial mode, the show’s momentum halts. Now that Ji-wook’s revisiting his old memories, I’m hoping we’ll get the plot-ball rolling again, and also wrap up this serial murder case that feels like it’s run out of steam already. Can’t we just go back to what the show does well, which is bumbling Bong-hee being adorably awkward and the cuteness prevailing?
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Suspicious Partner: Did they really need to push each other away again? I really dislike the my-father-killed-your-father-I-must-leave-you trope, unless there is actually a murderous, traitorous father and we’re in a revenge or historical drama. In so many cases, it’s used as a crutch to motivate a separation and a misunderstanding that feels contrived (because no fathers did any killing), and it really bugs me. Whatever the opposite of dramaland catnip is, that one’s mine.
Fight My Way: The girlfriends made me cry this week. There was just something about that flashback to their childhood, when we saw how little Seol-hee came over an hour early every day before school just to do Ae-ra’s hair because she didn’t have a mom—when Ae-ra described Seol-hee as her mom and her ocean, I cried. I was proud of both girls this week, and disappointed that Ae-ra was talked out of taking that plunger when they went to confront the cheating assholes.
Duel: I really wish this plot would move at about twice the speed it’s going, because I find each new revelation about the clones interesting, but at this pace I feel like it would take two seasons to get the story I want. I expected that the daddy-daughter relationship would be the heart of the show, but the more I watch, everything else is tangential to the three Yang Se-jongs because, well, there are three of them.
Lookout: Key and Kim Seul-gi are such a bright, happy spot in this dark drama, and even though I didn’t start watching the drama for them, they end up stealing the show whenever they get a little moment together. Is it too much to ask that the priest get more scenes too? I know that mystery is part of the allure, but let’s not be stingy about it.
The Best Hit: I kind of want 150 half-hour episodes of this drama, High Kick style. It could just go on and on, with no deep logic behind the time travel and the story traveling at a snail’s pace, and I would still love it just for the laughs. Okay, the laughs and Yoon Shi-yoon.
Circle: Well-played, Circle. Everything about this drama felt thought out and painstakingly blueprinted, and the result was extremely satisfying to watch, like watching a Rubik’s Cube lock into place once it’s finally solved. But what made me happy was that the core emotional conflict of the two separated brothers always remained at the center of this universe, and that we were allowed to really savor the big important emotional beats and cry all we wanted. I went into this finale week with sky-high expectations, and I was not let down, which is frankly pretty shocking.
Woman of Dignity: The plot took more shape this week, and I’ll admit to being ever-so-slightly interested in Bok-ja’s journey to become head of a very rich household. But it’s still a completely joyless affair, and based on the first scene of the show, I have a feeling that the biggest takeaway will be: Life sucks, and then you die.
Forest of Secrets: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥.
My Sassy Girl: Why, Joo-won, why? Even in his sparring scene with the prince, the prince was giving us so much narrative information through his facial expressions, and Joo-won was just mong. I desperately want to say it’s the writing, but I just don’t know anymore. Either way, I’ll go down with the Team Dalhan ship.
Circle: So… good… brain… broken…
Currently recapping: My Sassy Girl
Forest of Secrets: LOVE. Jo Seung-woo never ever disappoints. The writing and directing of this show is so assured, and the story continues to be complex and riveting. That rare flash of a smile from Shi-mok was everything!
Currently recapping: Circle
Fight My Way: Oh no! Seol-hee makes my heart hurt in all the right ways. All her work toward her dream of becoming a good mom has been destroyed and her world has been shattered, but her tears aren’t for herself, but for Joo-man because he cried. I both want to shake her for her inability to stand up for herself (well, up to this week’s episode), and hug her in a warm embrace for all the pain she’s going through, and I think Ae-ra feels the same, seeing the way she stood up for Seol-hee against Joo-man at the intern’s apartment lobby. I know this might not be a popular couple, but I’m interested in how they’ll figure out their problems and how it’ll pan out because I think it’s a realistic situation, where no one necessarily is morally a bad person (like Hye-ran), but everyone just has opposing interests that leads to pain.
Currently recapping: My Sassy Girl
Seven Day Queen: This show really has me in the palm of its hands. It goes so seamlessly from suspenseful to cheeky, then suddenly sorrowful to romantic. And I am here for all of it. I’m always kind of waiting for a drama to turn on me, and prove that it isn’t as good as I thought it was, but this show keeps surpassing my expectations. I love how laser-focused the storytelling is and how it never really deviates from the central story it set out to tell. A lot of sageuks like to create a sense of grandness and space in the world of their drama, so they overload the story with an excess of characters and side plots, which makes it easy to get distracted. But Seven Day Queen is not messing around one bit. This show is here to get the job done, do it flawlessly, and let you worry about the fleshy shrapnel in your chest where your heart used to be.
Circle: Ugh Yeo Jin-gu, why you gotta break my heart like that? But tragic as it is, I kind of like that Circle went there with what happened to his character. It made for an interesting, albeit brief, moment where 2037 Bum-gyun had to put his money where his mouth is in terms of whether memories are what make the person who they are. When they mentioned that the clone was Circle 8-III, though, my heart broke all over again because I don’t want to think of what happened to 1 and 2. Is it masochistic of me to hope we get some more backstory into them in Season 2? Because there will be a Season 2, right?!
Seven Day Queen: Man, I’m loving this reversal. I’m not sure I like the whole prophecy-dispensing bit in the show, but if it means Chae-kyung keeping some (but not too much) distance from our prince while he tries so hard to get back in her good graces, I’ll take it. The show is setting the girl up for failure, what with her promising honesty to the paranoid king and both guys expecting her and her father’s loyalty, so she might as well enjoy all the swoony attention from Yeok while she can. And Yeon Woo-jin does swoony attention so well.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 24, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 19, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 9, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 3, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 27, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 20, 2017)