Drama Check-In 05/02/2017

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I'm not gonna lie. It's been difficult to find dramas to watch lately. When it comes to drama offerings, this year started off not with a bang but with a whimper. It's only recently that I mustered motivation to start something new and although there aren't many that captured my interest, I also find comfort in the fact that there are couple of upcoming dramas to look forward to.

Chicago Typewriter (8/16)
Interestingly, this drama seems to be pretty unpopular. Or at least it is in my online social circles. I hardly see anyone mentioning it and although it saddens me a bit, I'm also glad I don't have to dodge spoilers like bullets on Twitter, as is the case with more hyped dramas.

Typewriter started off relatively confusing and it took me about 3 episodes to see where the story was heading towards. However, I don't take it as something negative because it's rare to find a drama that you can't figure out within its first episodes. So, I'd say the disorientating premise is part of its appeal.

Mystery is definitely a big element of the story and while the plot isn't necessarily very complicated, the intertwining of the two eras keeps things interesting as well as somewhat puzzling. In any case, I'm wholly enjoying these detours into the past. First of all, the aesthetics of the 1930s is very fascinating and cool to look at, but events of the past also have higher stakes than relationship conflicts in the present.

I don't usually like when dramas use reincarnated characters, but here the past and present are fleshed out individually. Yes, there are parallels between them and 1930s parts are considerably shorter, but characters aren't just copied from the past into the present. Both Se Joo and Seol differ from their 1930s counterparts enough to make them unique people on their own, but at the same time we get glimpses where they exhibit the same characteristics and beliefs as writer Hwi Young and freedom fighter Soo Hyun. With Jin Oh, it's a bit different since he's not reincarnated as the drama's premise led me to believe. He is nevertheless a fascinating link between the past and present and I'm curious to see whether he knows more than he lets on. 

At this point of my watching, romance is coming into play more and more. Se Joo is still somewhat confused whether his heart is stirred because of a memory or because of Seol, though I don't think he will be for long. While I feel bad for the adorable, adorable Jin Oh, who lingers around as a ghost, unable to make himself known to Seol, I do like our OTP together more. Se Joo hasn't always been most likable, but Yoo Ah In has a way with subtle emotions that Go Kyung Pyo yet does not. 

What makes this love triangle interesting, though, is that I get the feeling Jin Oh isn't really trying to come between Se Joo/Hwi Young and Seol/Soo Hyun. He hasn't given off any jealous vibes and he seems to really want to become friends with Se Joo again. It's almost as if he's trying to bring them together. The way he looked at the pair at the end of episode 8 seemed especially telling, but then again I might be wrong. I just don't want heartbreak to make Jin Oh into a vengeful ghost.  

But so far, I'm having a pleasant time watching. The writing is not always consistent, but it has successfully made root for our trio. I wholly wish to see them resolve all of the past and present conflicts and make peace with whatever happened that day so long ago. Of course, first I'd like to know what actually happened. Who got betrayed and shot?

My Secret Romance (4/?)
You know what current drama landscape is missing? Romcoms. My Secret Romance is just about the only romantic comedy series that's currently on offer and while it's not groundbreaking, it's a cute distraction until something better comes along.

Since the series comes from the director of last year's Something About 1%, it shares the same old school drama vibe. There's some noticeable cheesiness as well, with some known tropes and cliches being frequently used. 

For me, the appeal lies mostly in Sung Hoon, who recently made me adore him in family drama Five Children. While his character here, Jin Wook, is not quite as endearingly pompous and funny as Five Children's Sang Min was, I like that he is going for a more comedic performance this time also. I think that's what's going to drive his career forward more and what makes him more relatable to audiences. As for the heroine, I'm glad to say that I like Song Ji Eun. She's not as talented and instantly likable as Jeon So Min in 1% but, for an idol, she's quite decent. 

While the drama is more-or-less predictable and safe, I was rather pleased with how the one-night stand was executed. In dramas, one-night stands tend to be awkwardly done (Fated to Love You, although with slightly different intent, comes into mind), but here I liked that Jin Wook and Yoo Mi connected on a mental level before spending a night together. Moreover, the way they transitioned from having a conversation to making out was also very natural and believable.  

So far I'd say I'm quite enjoying the series, although it feels a little dated for my tastes. It's good that I like the leads and that, based on the sweet connection they made in the first episode, they seem to suit each other because the drama doesn't seem to have a lot of surprises up in its sleeve. There is some backstory to Jin Wook's mother, which we haven't gotten to and cute second male lead Hyun Tae, who'll probably object to the budding romance, but otherwise I expect things to follow a pretty basic formula. Like I said, it's a cute distraction and I'm in need of a romcom. 


Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (3/16)
As much as I hoped to love it, this just didn't do it for me. Story was emotionally hollow as were, sadly, the characters. I'd say Park Hyung Sik probably gained most out of the drama as Ji Soo has been a lovelorn third wheel before and Park Bo Young was just cute and nothing else. Sour disappointment.

Radiant Office (7/16)
I think Drinking Solo might have ruined Ha Suk Jin for me. I can't watch a drama where he starts out as a jerk, just can't. And as much as I find Go Ah Sung endearing, I felt Ho Won did not deserve all the chances she got. I hear people like the show, but I wasn't feeling it. Good project for Lee Dong Hwi, though.

Tunnel (2/16)
Now this I might get back to. I feel I didn't give it a proper chance and I feel terrible for abandoning Choi Jin Hyuk and Yoon Hyun Min so soon. What initially turned me off was that the serial killer storyline seemed a little paint-by-numbers and not quite as intriguing as I hoped. Yet, I keep hearing good feedback and wonder if I should give it another go.

Father, I'll Take Care of You (14?17?/50)
I was initially watching this for Park Eun Bin and Lee Tae Hwan, but then my interest fizzled out a bit. Was going to get back into it, but now I'm hearing all sorts of terrible things about it and no longer think I'm gonna touch it even with a ten foot pole. Why do you always end up that way, family dramas?

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