by cityhunter, December 4, 2017

 For part 1 of my 2017 drama roundup, I'm going to discuss ten 2017 dramas that I dropped and why.  

Prepare your pitchforks, villagers, I’m ready.

1. Chicago Typewriter        

In 90 years, I'll be dead and you'll be dying inside HA!!! Isn't that FUNNY!!!! HA!!!!

I really did not like the present day characters played by Yoo Ah In and Im Soo Jung. Han Se Joo is a prick. At some point, you’re an adult and you don’t get to blame a nasty attitude or crappy choices on your past. I’ve heard that he improves swiftly in the following eps, but that actually makes it worse. Sounds like lazy writing to me. If his personality was bad, his styling is worse. I hope Yoo In Ah was properly compensated for being made to go out in public looking like that. 

Jeon Seol isn’t any more appealing. Asian drama can feel like a trope and archetype recycling machine sometimes. Usually, I can see past that to the individual stories but one archetype that has gotten under my skin in recent years is the pathetic female lead. I have almost no tolerance for it these days. take your pitiful and go somewhere else with it. I really wanted to like this the story sounded so interesting and the flashbacks were fantastic but not enough to overcome the rest. Dropped at Episode 5.

There is a professional costume designer out there who got paid to make one of the sexiest men in K-drama look like a Snork. I am mad at that. We should all be mad at that.

2. Revolutionary Love

So sweet, so pleasant, what happened?

If you watched She Was Pretty, you know that Choi Si Won slayed in it. His acting ability had finally risen to a level that meant he could really shine when he stayed in his lane. What’s his lane? Romantic comedy with shades of sweet and goofy. In addition, I really like Kang So Ra and have recently been impressed with Gong Myung

Imagine my disappointment. Byun Hyuk could have been written as a five-year-old and we would have no trouble believing it.  He is pushy and whiny and unrealistically naive. Siwon’s performance is strained and over the top and difficult to watch. Too difficult - dropped at episode 3.

  so scary

3. While You Were Sleeping

The cinematographer deserved better than this story.

Another one I really really wanted to like. The first two eps had me excited and glued to the screen. Suddenly, it was ep 11 and I just did not want to watch one more hour of circling around the same stuff over and over again with little progress on the things that made the story interesting in the first place. Suzy’s portrayal of Nam Joo is not bad, even though she just misses the mark in a handful of places.

 Lee Jong Suk plays the same guy he always plays and since this is his 5th time doing it, the performance is appealing if repetitive. Sometimes my love for a couple can get me through a drama I’d otherwise drop, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between our OTP. It’s not a total loss though. My eyes were opened to the boyish charm of Jung Hae In and can not wait to see what he will do next. Dropped at episode 10.

So much pretty. So little plot.

4. The Liar and his Lover

"do you think they can tell how uncomfortable we are?",  "naw, man, we're good!"  

I picked this up without having seen the Japanese movie and knowing nothing about it.  From the start, I had this nagging feeling that Lee Hyun Woo didn’t have the presence or power to pull off the role and he wasn’t the only one. 

The whole cast, and indeed the story, seemed to be lacking something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I thought maybe I could find answers in the movie. Boy did I. This was a story with depth, feeling and sincerity. The K-drama treatment stripped most of that away and took with it, the quiet intimacy its predecessor had been able to achieve without being overtly sexual. 

We’re left with that Hallyu shine and not much else. The cast is attractive and enthusiastic. They are also young and inexperienced which further takes away from the gravity of the original story. This adaptation rings hollow.  Dropped at episode 7.

Have you ever seen two people who wanted to kiss each other less?

5. The Emperor: Owner of the Mask

Some of the most beautiful promotional posters of the year

This drama had a lot of stuff that was right up my alley at first. After a while, it became evident that they weren’t doing anything interesting with it. Nothing about this is particularly awful they just trudge along without giving us anything particularly great either. There was nothing to keep me coming back week after week. I had thought the ability to marathon it might change my mind but that didn’t help either. Dropped at episode 14.

Their expression perfectly captures the level of excitement in this drama.

6. Temperature of Love

ToL summary: Pretty people doing stupid things in a soothing and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Another drama that started off strong. I genuinely enjoyed the first 11 or so eps. I think it wasn’t until ep 14 that I realized this show has almost no plot to speak of. The female lead seems strong and interesting at first but if you’re a grown-up (I feel like their target demographic leans a significantly north of 20), you quickly realize she is childish, stubborn and so oblivious to the people around her it quickly becomes toxic. 

Male lead doesn’t hold up very well either. He’s overconfident, inconsiderate and has that same stubborn streak. So much of the show is going around in circles because these two are too pigheaded to listen and can’t be bothered to consider someone else’s feelings. 

Don’t worry, they are not the only characters to draw my ire. Jung Woo, Hong Ah and that poor chef guy who inexplicably likes Hong Ah annoy the crap out of me too with their sheer persistence and entitlement. It’s not entirely their fault, the OTP are both violating that oft-quoted drama rule “don’t be so nice to me.”

If your show is going to focus almost entirely on such a small group of people and their love pentagon they have to be more interesting and more likeable than this. And they have to behave more like adults. This has all the ambience of a mature drama and almost no follow through. Also, someone, anyone, please explain that scene in the freezer to me.

What was the point aside from “look here is another shot of two grown independent people in a committed relationship absolutely NOT having sex.” Don’t get me wrong, I do not mind the lack of sex scenes in dramas. What I mind is shows like this going out of their way to convince us that it’s not happening at all.  Dropped at episode 19.

                                                           7. Hwarang

This is the show we were promised. This is not the show we got.

 The flaws of this drama have been well established, I’m not here to beat a dead horse. Highlights!

  • Inconsistent performances even from the more seasoned cast
  • Awkward romance with little chemistry
  • Poorly written and performed lead female character
  • A meandering story that isn't really about what the show claimed to be about, or much of anything else, at least not in any cohesive way.
  • Not enough focus on all the pretty, too much on old angry people. 

Dropped at episode 14.

                                                 8. Pretty Li Hui Zhen

This is his happy face.

Another remake. The better/worse ratio is pretty even. I only completed She Was Pretty because it has about half the length. Li  Hui Zhen ( Dilmurat Dilraba) is better than her K-version by leaps and bounds. She looks less like a cartoon and more like a real girl. Her character is also less over the top and isn’t quite so pitiful. 

Bai Hao Yu is a better-written character as well. He’s less of a jerk, he warms more quickly but that is weighed down by Sheng Peter’s stiff performance and lack of facial expressions. Even when he speaks his mouth barely moves. The first time he smiled I was so surprised I almost choked on my ramen. 

I found the Second male lead (played by Zhang Vin) to be less cheesy and cringey with a swoon factor of 10. There’s less chemistry, though, so his dynamic with Hui Zhen isn't as fun to watch. The second female lead is way eviler. She's harder to like yes, but it adds an emotional layer that wasn’t there in the K-version.    

To stretch this story out to 40  eps, they added a few nice scenes that weren’t in the original but mostly they just piled on and drag out stuff that didn’t work well In the K-version. So much office work, so much focus on the second female lead, sooo long before we get our pay off.  I hung in there for a really long time but all the time spent in the office at the end bored the crap out of me. Dropped at episode 34. 

Get used to it because this is his face for FORTY HOURS.

9. Suspicious Partner

There have been so many legal/crime dramas this year. Of course, the romcoms would try to get their sticky cotton candy hands all over it. That is exactly what the basic premise and exposition for SP feel like. Writers with little experience in the genre and no head for how these stories work and unfold slapped some nonsense together and said: “GO FORTH!” Like an excellent improve troupe given a crap set up, the cast handled it well in the first half. We’re treated to good performances and some very exciting moments, even if they are tempered with thoughts of “No one is really that stupid are they?”  

Unfortunately, once all the mysteries are laid bare and the chase is on our characters become bogged down in a story that has taken on too much for its own good. The kinetic force that had propelled them past tired tropes and frustrating love lines, is gone. You start to long for the slick playful evil of the villain because he’s the only entertaining one left. Props to Dong Ha. Dropped at Episode 29.    

"I don't think we have 5 more hours of story",  "Me neither. Damn"

10. Romantic Teacher Doctor Kim

I don’t think I like Seo Hyun Jin's style. She plays essentially the same character here as in ToL, only it’s worse because, in RTDK, there is a significant pathetic factor, remember we talked about that? There’s nothing wrong with the characters or the performances. So much screen time is devoted to politics, it’s easy to forget about the “romantic” and “doctor” parts. Character development and plot development are so slow and frustratingly circular. Dropped at episode 6.

What about you? Did you drop any of the above dramas and why?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below!

dramas dropped korean