Artificial City (2021) poster
7.1
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 469 users
# of Watchers: 2,864
Reviews: 5 users
Ranked #8566
Popularity #4259
Watchers 469

Takes place against the backdrop of an art museum that belongs to Sung Jin Group, a major conglomerate that holds the reins of the political and financial worlds in South Korea. It is a psychological mystery thriller about the things that disappear when humans become greedy and ambitious for power. Yoon Jae Hee is the head of the Sung Jin Cultural Foundation and in charge of operations at “Space Jin,” the art museum owned by Sung Jin Group. She is also the second daughter-in-law of the family that controls Sung Jin Group. Believing that poverty is corrosive to love and that a stable income leads to a steady life, she chose to throw away her long-time lover and entered into a marriage of convenience with Jung Joon Hyuk, an illegitimate son of Sung Jin Group. In order to make her husband the nation’s president, she teams up with the future Public Prosecutor General and goes to war against Sung Jin Group. Jung Joon Hyuk is Yoon Jae Hee’s husband. Although he is a popular anchorman with his own fan club, he hides an inferiority complex over being labeled “the illegitimate son of Sung Jin Group” for his whole life. He laughs at both ambitious people and those who pretend to have no ambition even as he waits for the day when he can seize the reins of power. (Source: Soompi) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Polski
  • Español
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 20
  • Aired: Dec 8, 2021 - Feb 10, 2022
  • Aired On: Wednesday, Thursday
  • Original Network: jTBC
  • Duration: 1 hr. 10 min.
  • Score: 7.1 (scored by 469 users)
  • Ranked: #8566
  • Popularity: #4259
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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Artificial City (2021) photo
Artificial City (2021) photo
Artificial City (2021) photo
Artificial City (2021) photo
Artificial City (2021) photo
Artificial City (2021) photo

Reviews

Completed
pammo1949
9 people found this review helpful
Feb 15, 2022
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 7.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 5.0

A dark trip to nowhere

I am not going to give any spoilers -- just want to advise any watchers that this is a risky investment of viewer time. What starts out with potential quickly falls off the cliff in a fog of poor decisions by the writers. The word "Artificial" is the first clue to the problems with the direction this drama takes. Nothing seems real or feasible and the responses of so many people in positions of power seem a little "off the human chart." Korean dramas often portray a "slice of life" for the country -- this drama neither represents family, values, morals, accountability, normal human reactions, or consequential damage. It almost becomes a fairy tale fantasy drama when you compare it to the reality of many who hold positions of power or have star power popularity. The voices of social media and the netizen factor in this country reign supreme. So I am warning any potential viewer - the acting is good -- but just don't count on any feelings of satisfaction at the end. Just read most of the comments of those that have finished the drama. If I wanted to be in a hopeless dark place I would pick this drama to watch.

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Completed
SKITC
4 people found this review helpful
Feb 15, 2022
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.5
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 4.0
Rewatch Value 2.0

Deep, deep, deep down, there's something interesting here. But it's not much.

As the Winter Olympics are still in full swing as “Artificial City” comes to a close, there’s an interesting parallel that can be drawn. One of the sports that seems enticing from a thumbnail description is bobsled. Several people hurtling down a sheet of ice at unfathomable speed along a severely twisted course in a plastic shell strapped to a pair of steel blades. YES PLEASE let’s watch! Right? But other than the color of the sled and spandex, there isn’t a lot to distinguish a German bobsled run from a British one to even the Jamaicans. Same run. Same turns. Same ice. And invariably, the team that starts a tenth of a second behind in the first lap time winds up finishing about a half second behind at the end. Compared to almost any other team sport, there’s absolutely no strategy to differentiate one team from another. It’s just “run fast, hop in, don’t crash”. Once the novelty of the ice and the speed wear off, it’s a pretty lousy spectator sport.

Chaebol dramas generally encounter similar issues. At first, everything is pretty: the people, the clothes, the bags, the cars, the houses and the locations. There’s the intrigue: corporate and political power grabs, succession rivalries, infidelities, children out of wedlock and corruption. It never hurts a drama to have a full plate of villains to stir up trouble and this genre is an overflowing geyser of troublemakers.

But there’s also only so many affairs and aging chairmen and shady secretaries and indiscreet affairs in swanky compounds before things start to get repetitive. First, there’s never a light moment. And the action is all plotting and scheming and keeping or revealing secrets but there’s little actual action itself that follows. And like the bobsled pinned into a defined track with only a single motivation (go fast), characters fit a narrow description: Buttoned-up. Restrained. Cautious. So there’s only so much variation to build in to one of these shows.

“Artificial City” makes no attempt to break these genre conventions. It centers on a corrupt conglomerate (Sung Jin) with an art gallery among other businesses, an unhealthy amount of political influence, an iron-fisted chairwoman (Kim Mi Sook’s Han Suk), her ruthless aide (Kim Joo Young’s Seon Mi), a reluctant heir (Kim Young Jae’s Joon Il) and a plan to make bank via the redevelopment of an area through questionable means. There’s plots. Backstabs. Affairs. Honest journalism is shut down. Prosecutors are used for corporate family gain. Vaults of secret information.

There’s only two elements of “Artificial City” that sets it apart by any amount - the characters of Park Soo Ae’s Jae Hee and and Lee Yi Dam’s Lee Seol. Jae Hee is the curator of the museum and husband to playboy corporate son Kim Kang Woo’s Joon Hyuk. She is determined to succeed by making him powerful and being his puppetmaster and protector. Lee Seol is an employee of the museum with a secret bad history with the Sung Jin family. Before long, the two develop a connection but Jae Hee’s desire for power and Lee Seol’s aim to draw blood can’t coexist harmoniously.

Of course the two are more connected than they realize and it’s a pretty solid effort by the production in how the pieces are revealed and put together slowly but unwaveringly through the show’s first half. And Lee Yi Dam, especially for an actor with hardly any filmography, and Park Soo Ae work together extremely well. The affection the characters have for each other is palpable.

Where “Artificial City” shines is where it isn’t really anything but a case study on these two main characters. To watch these characters develop - as they come to grips with whether the goals they have dedicated their lives towards remain meaningful or if new discoveries should set them on a new path - that is the hidden gem within “Artificial City”. And the performances by Park Soo Ae and Lee Yi Dam are strong; strong enough to give the production some bursts of powerful emotion.

But regardless of how meaningful character development may be, the hidden gem is far too hidden below everything else. And whenever the focus shifts off of Jae Hee and Lee Seol and their internal conflicts, things become less satisfying viewing-wise.

Not to mention that within the “everything else” there’s plot and logic holes EVERYWHERE. In one episode, Han Suk is damn near omnipotent and ruthless. The next, she’s somehow cornered and conciliatory. Secretary Go always knows where everyone is and is usually lurking in plain view but no one ever notices her. Worse, character after character knows that they’re a target but they make no attempt to be discreet. Or a character knows that this other character is a threat to their safety and happiness, but if they get a call from the danger, they don’t just pick it up, they go and meet the threat in person with not a single precaution. And then there’s the reversals where the weak character suddenly takes charge but it’s not at all clear what fulcrum was the mechanism to elevate them. Then again, it doesn’t really matter because regardless of the churning action on the surface, as soon as the movement pauses, nothing has really changed.

Does a scintillating production value or skilled direction help? Nope.

But it’s a great cast so that makes it worthwhile, right? There’s some strong work in spots here, but in general, ehh, not really.

So is it recommended? Well, if it’s twenty hours of bobsled on a loop or “Artificial City”, opt for the latter. But otherwise, it’s not a must watch.

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Details

  • Drama: Artificial City
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 20
  • Aired: Dec 8, 2021 - Feb 10, 2022
  • Aired On: Wednesday, Thursday
  • Original Network: jTBC
  • Duration: 1 hr. 10 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 7.1 (scored by 469 users)
  • Ranked: #8566
  • Popularity: #4259
  • Watchers: 2,864

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