Review – Fantastic (isn’t quite)

Review – Fantastic (isn’t quite)

Here’s the thing with this show.  It really does deliver all that it promises to in the first episode.  You’re introduced to all the characters, you get the general sense of what will happen, and most importantly… the tone is established.  This drama plays out both campy and melodramatic.  It’s an odd mix, and one only K-Dramas seem to master.  You’ve got silliness on the flip side to serious issues.  Cancer isn’t the only thing that can kill you after all.  The public’s opinion of your skills, for one.  Loosing yourself in a loveless marriage.  These things can also kill you.  They murder your confidence, they eat at your self worth, they slowly liquify your soul.  A lot of people are struggling in this show – and only by coming together, and anchoring themselves to others who have more grounding and positive life experiences, are they able to heal themselves.

It was okay.  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.  It wasn’t what Goldilocks would call “just right,” but it was comfortable enough that I settled in and watched the whole thing.

The main couple, the drama writer diagnosed with cancer and the goofy, struggling actor… meh.  They were cute.  I don’t really have anything else to say about them though, as the second romance in this show was far more interesting:  The story of the confident, head-strong young woman who’d turned into a mousy doormat after marrying into a rich, political family.  She was Cinderella, literally cleaning up after everyone and mocked openly for her circumstances.  I enjoyed how this show had her rescue herself, in a way.  Sure, she had the love of a hot young prosecutor (Ji Soo!) to help her and the support of her friends – but as an adult, more often than not you have to rescue yourself when your life goes sour.  And run away on a motorcycle.

Honorable mention also goes to another side character – the lovable doctor who is also fighting terminal illness.  Though I wasn’t overly in love with the romance in this show, the bromance was outstanding.  Our goofy actor and this doctor end up bonding and sharing a remarkably sweet friendship towards the end that helped them both become better people.  Plus I like Kim Tae-Hoon… he has an unusual vibe and tends to make most shows better just by hanging around in the peripherals.

Anyways… it is what it is.  Nothing to write home about, but I wouldn’t avoid it either.

Overall Rating – 7/10.  Fantastic It Is Not.

P.S.  Jo Jae-Yun, who played the actor’s manager, rocked my socks.  He’s always comedy gold.

 

Review – Lookout

Review – Lookout

Sigh.  The first few episodes were promising.  Secret vigilante hackers with a secret boss directing them.  A heinous crime committed by a cold-blooded psychopathic teenager.  A badass detective leading female and swarmy, egocentric prosecutor leading male.  There were promising elements at work in Lookout.  And yet… I could tell there was a disconnect somewhere.  I actually finished this drama awhile ago and have been sitting on this review, wondering what it was exactly that caused me to shrug this mystery-thriller off.  Honestly, I’m still not sure.  Somewhere around episode six, I started to lose interest.  I stuck around… but I was never fully committed.  I caught a few eps here and there.  The ending came, with its dramatic finale, and I was underwhelmed.

If I had to guess what ingredient it was missing… I would say heart.  There was no love (not romantic, not bromantic, not friendsies, nothing) between these characters.  Their relationships were tenuous at best.  Even their relationships with their families and coworkers seemed lukewarm.  Hell, even the show Bad Guys managed to have more heart than this drama – and it threw together a bunch of ex cons in a violent stew.  A similar show that nailed it with camaraderie and love between the underdogs fighting together to defeat corruption would be Mad Dog.  That show had everything this show lacks.

I guess there was a bit of something between the hackers, but eh… not enough.  And other than the initial murder of the detective’s daughter, I never felt a sense of danger or actual threat in Lookout.  Which is probably why the ending was so confusing, cause it literally just fell over into it… almost as if on accident.  Oops!  We forgot to make this climax, uh… climatic.  Let’s just kill someone off.  That’s dramatic, right?  Wrong.

I do give snaps for the sexy priest (cause… let’s just have a sexy priest in every show… I would be fine with that) and the creepster factor of our young psychopath miming “I Killed Her!” to our grieving mother, just after she’s surrendered her gun… cops and witnesses everywhere and he’s just shamelessly dogging her!  That’s good stuff.

 

Anyways, you want to see “crazy-mom” done right, watch God’s Gift: 14 Days.  You want to see criminals working outside the system for justice, watch Bad Guys.  You want to see a multi-layered prosecutor(s) or a scarier psychopath, watch Remember.  You want to see a hacker at work (not teenage stereotypes, either), check out Healer or Phantom.  If you want to see what this genre can really do – watch Mad Dog.  All of these are better dramas, in my opinion.  Not that Lookout was terrible, mind you.  It wasn’t bad.  It just wasn’t very good, either.

Overall Rating – 6/10.  The Hackers Stole The Show… But Not My Heart.

Review – Bad Guys

Review – Bad Guys

This show asks the question… are we humans or are we beasts?  Clearly we’re a little bit of both and it’s a delicate, fragile balance for a lot of people.  Especially the people in this show.  The plot is basically this:  Three hardcore criminals are let out of prison to help track down hardcore criminals.  They are lead by an ambitious young detective and a hardened old detective nicknamed “Mad Dog.”  Much violence ensues.

It’s a short drama, at only 11 episodes, and keeps up a consistent pace of action throughout.  The actual narrative of the story revolves around the death of Mad Dog’s daughter – and how these three criminals may be related to her demise.  I admit, I kinda loved the whole bloody festival of butchery and tears.

Overall Rating – 8.5/10 – The Beasts of Seoul and How to Catch Them.

More about the beasts of Seoul… with no real spoilers this time…

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