Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
So, what are we all watching this week?
What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…
Because This Life Is Our First: There’s no way to describe this drama to someone in a way that does it justice. It sounds familiar and expected on paper, but with these odd ducks together, and these lovely nuanced actors, and these endearing side characters, the finished product turns into something a little magical. I love watching these two bond in these tiny, mundane ways that somehow feel really important, more important than the fact that they’re already married and living together. It’s the little things that matter!
Go Back Spouses: The secondhand embarrassment is strong with this one, but I suppose that’s a good thing if you like wacky comedic situations. I was surprisingly moved when Jang Nara went back to the past and was so amazed and relieved to see her mother again (who has died in the future/present) that she chased her around like an adoring puppy… and then I laughed out loud when the sudden outpouring of affection creeped Mom out. The show hasn’t yet won me over into thinking this is a couple who should get back together in this second-chance life, but I’m willing to see where they go with it.
20th Century Boy and Girl: I had previously been surprised when it seemed this show wasn’t catching on, because I found it sweet and poignant, with a nostalgic touch. But this week I found myself getting antsy, because it felt like there’s all this great setup with the character histories and having the heroine variety-show-paired-up with her idol supercrush from her teenage years (and Lee Sang-woo is playing this washed-up former star with a nicely dignified, sad air)… but then the show kind of dithers around the point for a while. I want things to happen! I feel like we’re watching too much setup and preparation and taking too long to get to the main thrust of things. If it would just speed things up…
Witch’s Court: This show is nothing like the mind-numbing experience that was Criminal Minds… but why am I so reminded of Criminal Minds when I watch it? It’s just that even though the characters are way better and the writing much sharper here, whenever we turn to our sexually predatory villain of the week, who’s sneeringly unrepentant while our good guys struggle to take him down, my mind just glazes over. That’s a real downside of having all the cases focus on one type—sexual crimes—which means that an already familiar procedural setup feels even more repetitive. Staying in it for the characters, though, and hoping they keep me invested.
Revolutionary Love: Yeah… no. I will keep watching this show as light filler, but don’t have the patience to recap it—not when the show hasn’t met the baseline criteria for making people behave in reasonable, logical, or likable ways. Siwon’s character is too dumb, Kang So-ra is too angry, and Gong Myung too judgmental and seething and defeatist about it all. I would like for this show to get a clue and turn this ship around before it’s too late, but I would not hold my breath about it.
Currently recapping: While You Were Sleeping
Because This Life Is Our First: Who knew that a purely business contractual wedding would have me bawling like a baby? I was preparing for wry jokes about the ritual of weddings, but then Mom had to go and be all real and gruff and loving, and I was done for. This drama feels like it’s written by someone who’s lived the heroine’s life—maybe without the contract marriage, but the experiences and the emotions feel so lived in.
Temperature of Love: I still don’t understand Kim Jae-wook’s character. He provides tension for the romance on a plot level, but there’s just nothing appealing about a man who sees that you’re in a relationship with another man, and interprets that as a challenge to court you harder.
Mad Dog: I just want the Mad Dog team to adopt the little stray puppy Woo Do-hwan and make him a part of the family. I know he’s feral, but if you gave him shots and a bath… and maybe put him on a leash… he could be domesticated!
Revolutionary Love: I really need this hero to show some signs of maturity, stat. I thought when he turned himself in it was going to be the start of a growth arc, but he just went right back to being petulant and entitled while other people lost their jobs because of him! I was so ready to forgive him, too. I like the setup and the heroine, but if he throws money at a problem one more time, it’s over.
Currently recapping: Temperature of Love
Rescue Me: Yes, I know I’m way behind, but I have to be in a certain headspace to watch shows like this. I’m only 6 episodes in, but I love the gritty darkness of the show, and how everyone, even the cult members in a way, seem to be stuck with no way to alter their circumstances. The characters are so incredibly complex, particularly Sang-mi – I love that as alone and frightened and trapped as she is, she never loses her inner strength or her determination to get free and save herself.
While You Were Sleeping: I’m behind on this one too, but so far the first 12 episodes have felt like a breeze to watch, with the interesting cinematography and the quirky, endearing characters. Lee Jong-seok has never been so adorably dorkalicious, and Suzy is actually GOOD, which just affirms my belief that she’s not a bad actress (and I say that having recapped Uncontrollably Fond ~shudder~), just one that needs a certain type of character and directing style to show off her strengths.
Revolutionary Love: So cuuuuute, I can’t stand it! There’s nothing new here, but I love that the show hearkens back to traditional rom-coms while still feeling fresh and interesting. Only Siwon could make such a whiny, annoyingly spoiled chaebol still feel sympathetic and endearing. Siwon and Kang So-ra are great together as I knew they would be, and I’m enjoying seeing Gong Myung play a character with so much bitterness and anger. We knew he could do cute and bouncy and childlike, and this is just the right time in his career for him to show us the other side of his acting ability. So far, so good.
Because This Life Is Our First: This show… what can I say? It’s amazing. I was expecting zany and silly, but what I got was sweet and contemplative, with realistic characters and thoughtful episodes that bring to light just how difficult it is to be a young person in today’s world. I like that Se-hee and Ji-ho aren’t having an easy time of this contract marriage, because that sort of situation would be difficult, and their awkward, tentative friendship feels just perfect for this stage in their relationship.
Currently recapping: Black
Mad Dog: I know I’m supposed to eventually root for Min-joon, but I don’t care how tragic his childhood has been — I just want to punch him in his smirky know-it-all face. I’m also disappointed that there’s so much focus on the airplane crash backstory and not as many of the Leverage style cons like we saw in the first couple of episodes. As much as I love Yoo Ji-tae, there’s very little here to keep my interest, so unfortunately this drama is destined for the “drop” pile.
The Package: The beautiful way the show integrated Bok-ja’s session with the psychiatrist was heartbreaking and painfully relatable, and episode 3 had me in tears at the end as we saw that her husband actually knew about her condition after all. But then episode 4 had me cackling over the chastity belt incident (I’m still giggling just thinking about it). Even though it feels like it shouldn’t work as well as it does, this show has been able to wonderfully balance the comedy and the sincerity, the tears and the laughter, all wrapped up in a thoughtful and gradual exploration of the characters as they relate to their tourist surroundings. I love it so much.
Currently recapping: Go Back Spouses
While You Were Sleeping: While I’m still loving the show, something keeps bothering me. I think the pacing is just off by a hair. I keep expecting certain things and they either happen too soon or too late. For instance, these dream rescue missions don’t really occur that often, and when they do happen, they seem to drag more than I’d like them to. And when I think about it, not much actually happens in each episode (or every two episodes, however you look at it). Perhaps it would feel too cluttered if our heroes had too many missions on their plates, but at the same time, it would give the show the extra thrill that it needs. Still, I can appreciate that the show wants to take its time with things, the romance included. The OTP is sweet together, and their screen time always brings a smile to my face. This isn’t Lee Jong-seok’s most interesting character–Yoo-bum and Woo-tak pique the most interest–but it’s definitely one of the most likeable. And my gawd, he’s such a good kisser. That’s… not exactly an important character trait, but, hell, it’s important to me.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 20, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 14, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 7, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (September 30, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (September 23, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (September 16, 2017)