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Premiere Watch: The Midnight Romance in Hagwon

Time slot: Saturday-Sunday
Broadcaster: tvN
Genre: Romance, human
Episode count: 16
Global streamer: Viki

Reasons to watch: They had me at PD Ahn Pan-seok’s latest romance — but then they had to go and toss Jung Ryeo-won and Wie Ha-joon in there, and I was a total goner. Love them or leave them, there is something unforgettable about each of Ahn PD’s dramas — and I’m not just talking about his penchant for laying the same song over nearly every scene. He captures something so real and intimate in his dramas that sometimes I feel like I’m not watching a piece of fiction. He also loves stories about complicated people falling in love in complicated situations (see: One Spring Night, Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food), and we are set for more of the same here. Jung Ryeo-won plays a star teacher at her hagwon, and Wie Ha-joon is her once-student and now-coworker. Let the romance commence!

TL;DR: Ahn Pan-seok’s latest romance drama + Wie Ha-joon’s first romantic leading role

 
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I've been counting down since yesterday!!

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I’m joining you in mindlessly hitting refresh on that series‘ episode list. 😂

🍿🥂😆

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Yes, I love the dramas that led to pointless refreshing usually an hour early, just in case.

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Just bring it on!

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PD Ahn Pan-seok is always a draw for me, too. Jung Ryeo said she accepted the role before reading the script because of Ahn Pan-seok. 😃The same is true with Son Ye-jin before SITR. It's nice to have a PD that women want to work with; there is always laughter behind the scenes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2LDlLcWxVI&ab_channel=%EC%A1%B0%ED%98%84%EC%95%84%EC%9D%98%EB%AA%A9%EC%9A%94%EC%9D%BC%EB%B0%A4
I'm in love with the leads before the show even started. Jung Ryeo-won hasn't aged much since "Kim Sam-soon," I'm happy to see Wie Ha-joon in an adult romance.
I spotted 5 or 6 of PD Ahn's regulars. That unbearable mother from SITR is back again. Hopefully, she is likable here. LOL

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I really hope the era of ridiculously interfering and cruel mum’s has ended in K drama land.

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Well, somehow these overly unbearable parents seem like a returning feature of his shows, so I’m kinda convinced we’ll see it happening again. 🫣 (Seeing how it was FL’s dad in OSN, it might be someone’s mum’s turn this time around. Pure speculation. Just trying to spot patterns, LOL!)

Either way, I’m happy to see this show now featured within the “Currently recapping” section, so at least we can all cry/sigh in despair /air our frustration about this together. 🫰 Fighting!

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Kim Jung Young and Seo Jung Yeon usually play likable characters in his dramas and may play the opposite here. Perhaps the SITR mother will be the nice one. LOL

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I saw her in something as a pleasant character and the cognitive dissonance was real, lol!

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Oh thanks for that link! I just watched it and now my excitement to start this one is through the roof! I do love the leads. I'm sure they will bring so much to the story!

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Honestly? I'm dragging my feet on this one. Ahn Pan-soek is hit and miss for me. He won Baeksang's for Secret Affair 2014 and Heard It Through the Grapevine 2015, which were intelligent and nuanced, but the last two he did...not so much for me...especially Something in the Rain. I'm also not a fan of the lead actress...so chalk it up to different tastes I guess...AND I'm also feeling a bit jaded about noona romances lately, so I'll respectfully move on, unless of course it's a record-breaker. It's already been so difficult to keep up with all the new ones flying in lately that I'm hedging my bets.

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"Secret Love Affair" and "Heard It Through The Grapevine" were written by the brilliant Jung Sung-joo. She is what I'm missing from the last two dramas. They were my favorite duo, along with the late Kim Jong-hak and writer Song Ji-na.
The last writer and this writer are both new, so I don't know what to expect from this writer.

PD Ahn won Baeksang for "White Tower" also. A total opposite genre from SA and HITTG.

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I am looking forward to this one but will I am also fully prepared to walk early to save myself. I hope I don’t need to watch some scenes on mute to avoid an weirdly chosen extra loud OST.

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Oops badly edited reworded sentence alert😳

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I will be shocked if this production team hasn't learned their lesson re: the importance of the soundtrack. But strangers things have happened in kdramaland....

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*stranger

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Lee Nam-yoon is primarily the music guy on this production team, but PD Ahn is also known to pick some of the OSTs. Between the two of them, they should know to do a better job. I'm just going to blame PD Ahn for all of it. LOL

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Hah!!

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Is it alright to pretend to be mildly curious while casting glances at the countdown timer every two minutes. Yeah so not a fan of the ML character's name but then what's in a name. Also so very excited to have Wie Ha-joon as a swoony ML.

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I'm excited for Wie Ha-joon's first ML and romance drama! The only time I see his character in love was in Bad and Crazy (his K is crazily in love with fellow police Gyeom) 😂

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I really liked his character in Bad n Crazy. He played crazy well🤣

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Exactly 🤣

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So excited for this one! I love the actors and I think PD Ahn Pan-seok will make sure we will love the rest of the story too! Best of all, its on Viki!

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Definitely on my Viki watchlist!

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Haha, cute with the chalkboard prop!
Been interested in this drama and now it's finally here!
I haven't seen any of PD Ahn Pan Seok's dramas so I'm definitely hyped about that as well as seeing the leads.

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Wie Ha Joon as romantic lead? Count me in 😁!

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I was quite rapt through this first episode. I really like Jung Ryeo Won- and I liked her a lot in this too- she always brings a layer of vulnerability into her roles, even when she plays a headstrong woman. I don't remember Wi Ha Joon in anything before this, but there's something extremely charming about him.

It was way tenser than I thought it'd be- the power struggle between the school teacher and the private tutor had me holding my breath. I hate the over-ambitious moms - so much stress over 1 wrong question!! I feel so bad that whole generations are losing their childhood to this overarching need to succeed down one path only.

I'm guessing the MLs parents will be the spoke in the wheel... That mom staying up to see her adult son back home just brings back the worst memories of when I'd shifted home for a bit after being away at college for so long, and yet had to become answerable for my time again to my own mother!

It's turning out to be more than just a romance, but maybe a critique of the whole education system, and I appreciate that. If any of you watch/ or would like to watch an Indian film around the same theme of tutoring and just a need to succeed over unimaginable hurdles, please check out one called 12th Fail. It's a lovely but hard-hitting film, and the actors did a fine job.

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12th Fail is a masterclass in movie making.

I am thrilled to see these small town realistic movies vibing again - minus the gore, guns, free flow adjectives, more gore...

Did you catch Laapata ladies?

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Oh, I've been meaning to watch Laapata Ladies, heard so many good reviews!

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Kota Factory is also a good Indian series about the education system :)

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Yes, watched that too.

Laapata Ladies is an absolute gem. It's not directly on education, but there is an element about women literacy, It's about women empowerment with a completely different approach.

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Public service announcement begins:

For Beanies in Asia - this is showing on Viu.

Public service announcement over.

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PD Ahn Pan-seok is a good reason to watch a drama! It's never only a romance but a very realistic commentary on Korean society. I like how he choeses not perfect FL as a center of the story.

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