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 weecapping: Nevertheless, You Are My Spring
Imitation: Well, I finished it. And as much as I’m sad it’s over, what a precious show this was. I was completely content with the way it concluded — I really liked how the Annie/Eun-jo storyline wrapped into the story’s climax, changed people’s hearts, brought everyone together in the deepest sense, and even saw our greedy baddies punished. Also, the ending music festival sequence had me grinning from ear to ear like an idiot. I felt like a real-life fangirl watching these groups and rooting for them with my whole heart. I love the pairs that formed, the commitment to detail from even the most supporting characters, and of course, the happiness everyone finds at the end. My favorite section of the drama was definitely the middle bit (maybe episodes 3-8 ish?) where Ryok was crushing on Ma-ha, and all their hijinks were happening (SO SWEET AND FUN), but even when their love line settled down into happy dating, I was with them all the way. It’s always the most light-hearted and sweet shows that make me the most nostalgic — so yes, I shed a single tear of happiness as this one came to a close.
Il Mare: I was jonesing for something old and classic, but didn’t feel ready to commit to an entire drama, so I settled on this 2000 film with baby Jeon Ji-hyun and baby Lee Jung-jae. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie (Sweet and Sour doesn’t count), so it took a little bit of an adjustment to enjoy a 90-minute story, but overall this was more subtle and artsy than I was expecting! I might have seen the American remake, but if I did, it was so un-memorable that I’ve forgotten all of it, so I pretty much went into this blind. And I loved the magic of it, from the way people can grow close through letters, to the twisty way they kept interacting with each other in real life (or trying to). Favorite bits: Lee Jung-jae’s eyes just begging for Jeon Ji-hyun to recognize him, the way the story played with timelines, and last but not least, the focus on architecture and the moody, isolated vibes that gorgeous house gave to the story.
Currently recapping: The Devil Judge
The Witch’s Diner: Based on that picture the witch had, she has a connection to both Jin and Gil-yong, and I’m curious to discover what exactly that is. And then there’s Jin’s seemingly latent abilities that could prove interesting. Is she a potential witch too, or is it something else?
Kingdom: Ashin of the North: I liked learning about how everything started, and I’m interested to see how Ashin plays into the next season. That said, I didn’t particularly enjoy this installment. Despite the barrage of awful things, it felt a bit slow and somehow lacked emotional resonance. I wish we’d gotten to know Ashin more as a character, not just the embodiment of trauma and revenge.
Currently recapping: Monthly Magazine Home
Imitation: A large part of the final episode was devoted to stage performances from the various artists and although I definitely enjoyed watching the concert, I do wonder if that time might have been better spent tying up some of the plot lines instead. “Constellation” was lovely, but I was hoping something more concrete would come from Annie’s suicide than just a pretty song and a vague article about how overworked trainees are — it wasn’t being overworked that killed her, it was her manager trying to pimp her out. There were no consequences for the people who took advantage of her and drove her to her death and nothing really changed — was her storyline actually a critique of corruption in the music industry or just added for sensationalism? I was also hoping we would get more detail about the Fins’ reactions to Ma-ha and Ryok dating publicly and an explicit message about how fans don’t own their idols, particularly after they were forced to capitulate and apologize to the fangirls earlier on, but that was also glossed over.
Overall I really liked the central conceit of the fake idol groups and was really impressed at the attention to detail that was put into making them come to life (the different concepts, the lightsticks and headbands, the actual in-character dance practices on Youtube!) and the behind-the-scenes look at the industry. Aside from the leads, quite a few of the supporting actors were a little green but it actually gave Imitation a youthful, unpolished feel that worked well in context. I liked Ryok and Ma-ha as a couple, but I definitely preferred the heart-fluttering flirtation of the earlier episodes to the angsty separation later on, because although they were cute together I didn’t really buy that their relationship was quite at a true-love, overcome-all-obstacles level. Honestly my favorite part was probably the rise of Tea Party and watching the girls work together to create and promote a group entirely their own.
Youth of May: I wanted that ending to destroy me and unfortunately it just didn’t. The plot was solid but for some reason I just couldn’t quite emotionally connect with the leads or really get invested in their relationship, so it didn’t have the impact it should have. The sense of impending doom as things got worse and worse in Gwangju was very well done though, and I started to feel a little bit trapped myself as the avenues of escape closed one by one and people began to realize that they were completely powerless and panic, betrayed by the police and army that they should have been able to turn to for aid. The sense of dreadful anticipation around episodes 8 and 9 was so intense I had to force myself to press play.
Racket Boys: I realize that the writers wanted these final matches to be dramatic but two sudden dream-like mid-match pep-talks in one episode was a little much — I mean, Yoon-dam fainted for no reason in the middle of his match and was still allowed to go and finish! Yong-tae and Yoon-dam’s individual moments of character development didn’t feel fully deserved to me personally and I would have liked to have seen a little more groundwork laid first, but then those two are my least favorite of the kids so maybe I’m just biased. Excited for the final episode though, because I always love Hae-kang and Woo-chan deserves some time in the spotlight — it would be nice if In-sol also got a chance to shine on the court but unfortunately that looks unlikely at this point. Best part of this episode was definitely the enthusiastic (and loud!) support of the villagers in the stands, which perfectly straddled the line between cringe and heartfelt sincerity!
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 24, 2021)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 17, 2021)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 10, 2021)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 3, 2021)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 26, 2021)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 19, 2021)