Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Life has been a bit chaotic lately, and that means I’ve not only fallen behind on shows I’m watching, but also haven’t been able to pick up as many new shows as I’d otherwise like to. But there are some promising new titles in this bunch, and I’m determined to get a taste of everything on my plate… soon… someday… –javabeans
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
Father Is Strange: Oh, thank goodness for a reprieve in Joong-hee’s angst! He’ll have some image cleanup on his hands with the latest kerfuffle, but at least his inner anguish gets a break, especially knowing that the attraction is mutual! I don’t envy any of the Byuns for when the truth finally comes out, but if it had to be anyone, I’m glad it’s levelheaded Unni who’s putting the pieces together, whom I can trust to be responsible with her discoveries.
Criminal Minds: It seems this is poised to become a big hit, and I liked what I saw and found it compelling once the case really got going, but I did have a few mitigating thoughts: First, that it actually didn’t look as sleek and fancily produced as I expected it to, coming from this director and tvN; second, that it was so straightforwardly procedural that I found it a bit dry and actually wished for more K-drama melo excitement (I know!); and third, that if it weren’t for Lee Jun-ki and Sohn Hyun-joo (Moon Chae-won to a lesser extent), I wouldn’t be nearly as into it. The Lee Jun-ki magic really makes up for a lot, though; whenever he’s onscreen I feel particularly sucked in, and then the magnetism sort of dissipates once he’s offscreen again. At least there’s a simple solution to that, though! ALL LEE JUN-KI, ALL THE TIME.
Reunited Worlds: Watching this drama sort of feels like how you might feel after you’ve had your heart broken, recovered from it, and then find yourself potentially falling again. By which I mean: I’m a little scared to fall in love because I have the sinking feeling Yeo Jin-gu might not be alive at the end of it, and I feel like I’m going to be a blubbery mess if this drama resolves the way I think it may. And yet, I can’t help myself from feeling drawn in anyway. I suddenly feel a lot of sympathy for those stupid moths and their flames.
Bride of the Water God 2017: I like the small character interactions and introspective moments, but I feel like the mythology is trying to be pretty ambitious and it’s not quite coming through. Don’t get me wrong, I like that the mythos seems complex and deep—I just think it’s being conveyed in choppy bursts of information, enough to make me wonder if I accidentally skipped a scene where they explained everything. If they were just a little less cryptic, I think it would do them a world of good.
Currently recapping: Seven Day Queen
School 2017: Ugh, I love the rebel bad boy. Why do I always love the rebel bad boy? I’m so onboard with all of the developments this week—the heartbreaking backstory of the bus crash and the broken bromance, the budding friendship between our heroine and each of the boys, the blatant adorable flirting, Teacher’s lonely one-man demonstration against the stupid system. The first week was breezy, but now I’m super invested.
Falsify: That was a slick premiere episode. The corruption plot is like the 700th one this year alone, but I really like the journalism angle on this one. It beats lawyers and cops, at least in terms of freshness, and it has a great David and Goliath setup between the respectable (but totally corrupt) national newspaper and the trashy (but actually legit) tabloid run out of a storage container.
The Best Hit: The time travel made no sense on this show. But I was so smitten with Da-bong that my brain just sort of glossed over the big holes and smoothed out the jagged edges, leaving me with warm fuzzy feelings about the drama as a whole. For whatever reason, I was especially attached to this show and its goofy characters, and I found myself looking forward to it every week, so I’m particularly sad to see it end. Maybe I’ll have to go back and start watching 1 Night 2 Days to ease the loss.
Duel: You know, I was legitimately surprised that the finale was so satisfying. I guess I expected it to fail me in some way, but it was poignant and thoughtful and thrilling, and it wrapped up the clones’ stories with so much heart. What a breakout for Yang Se-jong, who just ran away with the show, especially as the tortured, broken Evil Clone. That character deserves a prequel.
Forest of Secrets: That twist! My heart! Shi-mok! It’s so rare for a show to hinge on one mystery and be able to carry that through to the end without giving it away, but Forest trusts its audience and knows we’re along for the ride. What gets me about this drama every single week is that it’s so singular in its vision, and everything—everything—that happens on screen is in service to the story being told, and it’s a damn compelling story indeed. What a week for this show. What a show!
Falsify: I don’t know if it’s corruption fatigue, but this show feels a bit phoned-in, at least plotwise. I feel like I’ve seen this show before, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t feel compelled by what’s happening on screen. It’s a classic revenge/takedown scheme with a good actor at its core, but I’m waiting to see what else it has to offer.
The King Loves: Ho-hum politicking, extreme third wheeling.
Reunited Worlds: Maybe my disconnect with this show is that I just can’t buy the lack of gravitas whenever Hae-sung reunites with someone who thought he was dead, and life just resumes as normal afterward. It feels so out of step with how you’d think that reunion should go—not that there should be wailing and gnashing of teeth, but if you saw someone who died back and in the flesh, would you just be like, “Cool, stay at my house, eat my food, let’s not question how any of this is happening?” I find the fantasy elements interesting, but I feel like the show is deliberately pulling its emotional punches, which seems like a missed opportunity. Then again, maybe that’s not what this show is about, and I’m focusing on the wrong thing.
Criminal Minds: I like it so far. I don’t love it yet, and I’m a little over the hotheaded detective type , but the directing is slick and the mood is dark enough to appeal to my dark soul.
New Journey to the West: Life has been extra busy for me the past month, which means I’ve fallen veeerrry far behind on all the dramas I’d previously been watching. When face with the choice to pick-up one of the many dramas that have already ended or start fresh with one of the many dramas that have recently premiered, I fled to the comforting arms of variety which demands nothing from me except to enjoy some celebrities playing goofy games in pretty scenery. Kyuhyun has become my favorite member, so I’m pleased that Na PD managed to film another season with him before Kyuhyun enlisted. I’m also thrilled that the boys have managed to outsmart the production crew this season, first by Mino perfectly selecting the expensive sport cars in the spin-for-a-prize, and then by Kyuhyun actually winning the soju game (Na PD’s reaction to both of those incidents is priceless!). I celebrated along with the guys when they finally obtained all seven dragon balls, and I hope there’s actually going to be a Winner Youth Over Flowers!
Forest of Secrets: Episode 14 was one of the finest hours of television I’ve ever seen and that final airport chase scene? Wow, it was the airport chase scene to end all airport chase scenes. I just sat in my room, in awe, and applauded after the episode ended — who does that?! We all knew you-know-who would get caught, but it was such a thrilling moment watching him run for his life and then waver with his clenched fist held up high, unable to strike Yeo-jin as if the finality of the whole situation struck him in that precise moment. And that sweater scene where memories of Eun-soo suddenly flooded Shi-mok’s mind was so beautifully simple and devastating. I bow at the altar of writer Lee Soo-yeon’s brilliance. Can you believe this is her first drama series? Anticipation is at peak level for the final two episodes even though I’m nowhere near ready to bid the show farewell!
Currently recapping: Falsify
The King Loves: Meh. I tried it out. As expected, very pretty at times, but nothing special (plot-wise or performance-wise) so far. Maybe I’ll watch one more week to see if anything interesting happens.
Currently recapping: Forest of Secrets
Father Is Strange: Finally, Mi-young knows the truth, and we can have adorable couple moments without the ickyness and guilt! I can understand why Joong-hee feels so reluctant to take decisive action and reveal Mom and Dad’s crimes, but I’m also tired of all the secrets, so I’m glad Hye-young is on the case. If anyone can help untangle this mess and hopefully figure out a way to minimize the damage for all involved, it will be her. I just hope Joong-hee’s confrontation with the sleazy director doesn’t blow up in his face in a really bad way—the poor guy has enough to deal with already. Also, Ra-young’s low-key war with Chul-soo’s dad is hilarious. I agree with Young-hee—he should just give up and accept her as his future daughter-in-law (and put her on track for a sales manager).
Sassy Go Go: Friends have been recommending this to me for years, and I finally found time to watch it. I loved everything about this one. It perfectly exemplifies what I love most about high school dramas: the intense emotional relationships, whether romantic or platonic; the feeling of powerless in the face of an unjust adult world; the all-in, fearless way teenagers can have of going after their dreams and believing in their friends, regardless of what tomorrow may hold. I already loved Jung Eun-ji and Ji Soo, but now I love them even moooooore, and I’m adding Lee Won-geun to my collection of puppies! ♥