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…
Currently recapping: Hwayugi
Radio Romance: I’m still a week behind and reading this post through laced fingertips so I’m not overly spoiled about the latest developments, but the romance is pulling me along through the day-to-day plot and relationships, which I don’t find terribly exciting. What has kept me hooked on this show is the way Yoon Doo-joon plays that repressed attraction, always simmering and occasionally flaring into action. I am just such a sucker for that and the slow-burn escalation! Not to mention how delicious it is watching a jerky hero fighting his own denial. I don’t even like this kind of character for Yoon Doo-joon, who’s so good at the exact opposite (glib and charming), but he’s making it work for me.
Currently recapping: Hwayugi
Radio Romance: It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for these childhood sweethearts to reunite officially, so I watched this week’s episodes with more excitement than usual. Based on the buildup, I would’ve expected more of a bang though, and I’m still kind of waiting for the heroine to have more of a reaction to finding her first love. Come on, just give us something. A little breadcrumb of feeling is all we need.
Woohoo Waikiki: Strip show, FTW! If there’s one thing these boys know how to do, it’s out-embarrass anyone into making them feel better about themselves. I’m really liking the progression of Dong-gu’s feelings for Yoon-ah, especially now that she’s fighting back and it’s turned into petty bickering from both sides. I think I needed that in order to ship them, so that he wasn’t always the one nagging her and being patronizing.
Radio Romance: Su-ho finally gets a cell phone and flips out whenever he can’t get in touch with Geu-rim. I loved it! It made up for my increasing annoyance with Writer Ra and Jason, who seem to enjoy pushing Su-ho’s buttons; he’s got enough problems without those two meddling in his affairs. Su-ho is using everything that he’s learned from his “mother” to push back to get what he wants and I hope that eventually, the student will surpass the teacher.
Misty: Kim Nam-joo and Ji Jin-hee are electric together and it makes every one of their scenes compelling. As Hye-ran and Tae-wook tackle Kevin Lee’s case together, it’s clear what a powerful team they are, but that just creates even more resentment and enemies. I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who want to topple Hye-ran, but the mystery man from her past promises to tip the scales in her favor. Hye-ran is one of the most complex heroines that I’ve ever encountered, but in spite of her flaws, I want to see her triumph over her detractors and enjoy her success with her ridiculously handsome husband.
Midnight Runners: Who doesn’t enjoy a good buddy cop movie? Park Seo-joon and Kang Haneul delight in this action thriller about police academy roommates who stumble upon a huge case. Park Seo-joon is the brawn (and there are lots of shots of him working out shirtless to prove it) and Kang Haneul is the brains, and together they make a perfect team. Just as they question whether or not they are cut out to be cops, they witness a violent crime and have to decide what they should do. I have to admit, I enjoyed their chemistry and would love to see the two of them together again.
Forest of Secrets: I get it. I totally get what all the hype was about. It took me a long while to get into this show, because the first couple episodes just didn’t hook me. With a busy schedule, I’d ended up starting and stopping several times. But, oh man, once I got to the fourth or fifth episode, the momentum started really kicking in, and I totally binged the last ten plus episodes within two days or so. I completely fell in love with our main prosecutor-detective duo, and how they brought out the best in each other. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time Shi-mok smiled at that pojangmacha despite himself, or his amused aggravation at Yeo-jin’s artistic gifts.
The mystery-thriller part of this show was actually thrilling as well, and I totally gasped out loud at certain revelations, even having been spoiled for some of the biggest twists (thanks, Mom). Now I’m eagerly waiting for any news of the second season, ‘cause it’d BETTER HAPPEN PEOPLE. And properly, with the same cast and crew. I need Prosecutor Hwang to make a comeback to the capital, and throw more politicians for a loop. Please, and thank you.
Smart Prison Living: I’ve been on a roll with catching up on shows I missed last year, and this one was conveniently waiting on my Netflix to-watch list, so I started it expecting a gallows humor sort of show, with some drama mixed in. Kind of like a Korean Orange Is the New Black, except not as graphic. What I wasn’t expecting was the heartwarming brotherhood amongst prisoners and their guards alike in this rather lovely story. It’s a bit conflicting, because the setting is a prison, and most of these people are in there for a reason. But I think the show does a really good balancing job on several fronts, like recognizing that (Korean) prison really isn’t a hellhole filled with psychos and hardened murderers, while also laying out that most of these people have committed crimes and are serving their time.
And, like all of PD Shin’s dramas, each of the main characters has his own story to tell, and not everything is as it seems on the surface. It’s a pretty beautiful sentiment, when, so often, society labels ex-cons by their crimes and has no interest in getting to know maybe why they did what they did, the life they lived before going to prison, or even their potential of becoming law-abiding citizens. Maybe that’s why I didn’t really mind the bloated episode lengths, because Smart Prison Living was largely divided up into vignettes that explored each of our characters’ histories and personalities, which I just lapped up. This is also a show that I would very much like to see a second season of, since I’m eager to follow the characters who have left prison behind adjust to life beyond bars, and also to follow the ones who’ve remained behind. I need to watch Captain Yoo get justice with my own two eyes!!