Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Four shows premiered this week and I already feel hopelessly behind! Sometimes this dramaland machine feels like it moves way too fast to possibly keep abreast of it all… but then of course then there are stretches when it feels like nothing is interesting, so I suppose I’ll take death by gluttony over starved boredom. –javabeans
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Father Is Strange: All this time I just wanted the dad secret revealed so Joong-hee and Mi-young could be a happy couple, but when the truth blew up in everyone’s faces I felt humbled and shallow, because I had never considered what it would mean in terms of betrayal of trust, and how Joong-hee would feel. Or maybe it’s that this show handled that betrayal and grief so well that it felt emotionally powerful rather than just another plot device. I’m excited for this last stretch of episodes—it feels like everything’s ramping up and getting extra exciting.
Reunited Worlds: I didn’t know what to expect of the fantasy element, but I was pleasantly surprised by it—it’s like The Best Hit with superpowers. I really enjoyed the structuring of the show in how it wove the flashbacks into the present storyline, which got us the necessary backstory but also gave us gratifying glimpses into the future (rather than doing the typical format of starting off an episode or two in the past, then skipping to the future). I don’t know if this show will break my heart down the line, but it’s so cute and breezy now that I’m eager for more.
The Best Hit: I’m a week behind, but for once I’m glad about it because it feels like I have extra episodes to enjoy before having to send off this show. I’m surprised with how much I don’t really care about Hyun-jae’s time-travel mechanism or whether he goes back (mostly because I don’t want him to go back), and because of that it feels like I could just watch this setup go on for a lot longer, where he’s the odd man out making his way in the future. Can we start the clamoring for Season 2 now?
Bride of the Water God 2017: There are a lot of scenes and interactions I really enjoy in this show, mostly when Ha-baek is being deadpan or when So-ah flails, and I’ve had a number of laugh-out-loud moments. Where the show feels a little off, though, is that I think the overall flow needs work—the scenes may be entertaining as standalones, but I feel like they’re sort of stacked next to each other like sequential vignettes, and I want to feel more like we’re heading in a direction with a clear building of energy and tension.
Man Who Dies to Live: This is almost too campy to be watchable for me, but I’m not writing it off yet because that’s what I thought of Shopping King Louis at first, before its over-the-top corniness mellowed and what initially felt random and strange turned into delightful quirky humor. Maybe that’s asking for too much here, although Choi Min-soo is certainly working it. I’m pretty sure he’s nuts in real life, but I bet you’ve never met a more entertaining brand of crazy.
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
School 2017: This new season feels a lot like School 2013 and the old-school School, with its classroom full of troubled kids and their everyday concerns. I was pleasantly surprised by Kim Se-jung, who’s bubbly and very likable, and right away the kind of endearing underdog you want to root for. I already like how bad boy Kim Jung-hyun acts like he doesn’t care about her, and yet always shows up when she needs him. On his bad boy motorcycle, of course. Some things just never change.
Reunited Worlds: The drama did a good job of establishing how integral Yeo Jin-gu was to his family and friends, so that we understood right away how they could’ve fallen apart without him. The overall tone is very breezy and light, but I like the show better during the darker, mysterious moments. I like that there’s a murder mystery to solve, and that we’re not quite sure how dangerous Yeo Jin-gu’s sudden superpowers are. I’m sure I’m being set up for heartbreak in this one, but what can I do?
Bride of the Water God 2017: I’m not getting epic godly vibes from Gong Myung or Krystal, so whenever they’re whining like two bratty children around Ha-baek, I have a hard time focusing on the mythology, which is a shame. At least the lead couple is growing on me. They’re not deep either, but I like the pairing in a light, rom-comy way.
Duel: This show has pacing issues, but the clones are so damn interesting, and the drama does a good job of having them constantly grapple with their own existence, wondering if they have the same right to live as other people do, and whether having the memories of the original human they were cloned from means that they have a duty to take the place of the husband or father that he was. It’s totally mind-bendy, but I’m glad they went there.
The Best Hit: I did not expect this to be the drama that made me cry this week, but here I am, crying like a baby. I think because this show has been so loosey goosey with its plot, I had a very real fear that nothing would get resolved in the end, but I’m glad to see that Hyun-jae has matured despite himself, and that he’s actually thinking about how his actions affect others for a change. I mean, I can’t believe it didn’t occur to him until now that he has to go back to the past in order for Ji-hoon to be born, but hey, points for learning, however slowly!
My Sassy Girl: Just throwing this out there—what if you had your actual hero be Ghost Mask, rather than having him be a black hole where meaningful plot movement goes to die? I’m still completely baffled that the one major thing our hero was responsible for is a mistake he made when he was a kid, which he subsequently forgot about, which then became the Biggest Deal Ever. This entire show was so busy living in the past while circling around the same event over and over again that it forgot to live in the present. Or, y’know, be entertaining.
The King Loves: I have such mixed feelings about this show, but not in a bad way. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but it’s giving me nostalgic vibes for the stuff I used to like in dramas without trying so hard at it. This is a weird thing to note, but it reminds me of how safe dramaland is, when we can have a love triangle and the two men in it innocuously sleeping on both sides of the heroine just to keep her warm. Maybe it’s that I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned love triangle, and it’s been a while since we’ve had one that even pretended to matter.
Woman of Dignity: It only took ten episodes, but the plot picked up! Or I have Drama Stockholm Syndrome. I honestly can’t tell anymore.
Man Who Dies to Live: What a freaking bizarre concept, but I’m kind of digging it. But hot damn, is Choi Min-soo charismatic enough to get away with murder (except for that time he had to be fed his lines in Sword and Flower, which was its own kind of murder). It’s about time he was given an entire show to carry, but how on earth did this pitch meeting go? “Guys, guys, okay, we’re going to have a Korean billionaire oil tycoon in this fictional Arabian kingdom, he’s going to break the fourth wall, and we’ll base a cliffhanger around whether he’s going to accidentally hit on his daughter.” Everyone Else: “What, why?” “He’ll be played by Choi Min-soo.” Everyone Else: “SHUT UP AND TAKE OUR MONEY.”
Reunited Worlds: I went into this show well and truly blind, having only known that Yeo Jin-gu would be in a high school uniform again. It’s charming enough and interesting enough, what with the supernatural aspect going on, but after two episodes (or four, however this new counting system is going), I’m not dying to know what happens next. There wasn’t enough emotional impact for me when our hero was “reunited” with those who thought he was dead, which seems like a strangely missed opportunity, unless they’re deliberately trying to keep the tone of the show lighter than the subject matter.
Forest of Secrets: Still the best thing on television.
Forest of Secrets: Sounding like a broken record here, but I’m still loving this show, and I’m in denial that it’ll be ending soon. Dong-jae cracks me up with his calculating face, and I still ♥ everything about Shi-mok and Yeo-jin. This is definitely my favorite drama of 2017, and I’d even go so far as to call it the best drama of 2017 (even though the year isn’t over yet!).
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 15, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 8, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 1, 2017)
- 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)
Tags: Bride of the Water God 2017, Duel, Father Is Strange, Forest of Secrets, Man Who Dies to Live, My Sassy Girl, Reunited Worlds, School 2017, The Best Hit, The King Loves, What We're Watching, Woman of Dignity