Ah, W. How I was looking forward to writing this review. W was certainly one of the most anticipated dramas of the season, and for good reason: a creative storyline paired with an exemplary leading cast. I, like many others, was captivated by the idea of a webtoon coming to life. And Lee Jong Suk? Huehue. Say no more. The writers of the show crafted a plot that is bound to keep you on your toes and send your brain into overdrive. It’s not the most intelligent story I’ve seen. At times it's confusing and borders on being nonsensical, but it’s logical enough to make it worth watching. W is especially intriguing because of its unpredictability - even if you grow used to the plot, each new problem creates an addicting mystery. You become determined to understand exactly what will happen next. While I enjoyed W and the anxiety its suspense caused me, this drama is not perfect. A show amazing in concept, it fails to deliver in some of the most important aspects. One thing I found particularly problematic was the romance. Some might disagree, but I found Kang Chul and Yeon Joo’s loveline to be one of the most poorly-written in any K-drama I’ve seen. I’ll admit that there was incredible potential in their relationship. However, the writers never give you any reason to like this couple except that they just are a couple - it’s the unspoken drama rule that because they’re the main characters, they have to be together. Fair enough, but that doesn’t get my heart racing. Is the romance necessary? Yes - to an extent. Love is the easiest way to connect the two main characters. But trust me; that romance sucks badly. In the beginning episodes, you find it cute. What’s not adorable about a cool guy who’s curious about this ditzy girl? Then, you suddenly hit the point of doubt: but…but why, though? Why are they together? How? Sadly, there is no satisfying answer to these questions. Yet, as much of a letdown as the romance was, what ultimately kept me from giving this show a higher score was its characters. I have a burning passion for well-written characters, and I thought W would be the perfect drama to see it being done. The idea of the story is that the boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred, causing a mere created character to act and feel as a real human does. What we viewers deserve out of such a concept are heart-wrenching characters whose personalities you could find within a human in this world; who would persuade you that creations are self-aware. But disappointingly, nearly every single one of W’s characters are dull. Strangely enough, the best example is Kang Chul. Our main character happens to be perfect. That sounds great! He’s rich, goodlooking, with an incredible sense of justice (this is where I swoon). He wants desperately to live, and you feel for him because…well, he’s not just a webtoon character; he’s a human being goddammit! Look at his perfect skin. And his eyes (oh his eyes). Also his backstory is so sad! But there’s something sadder than his backstory - his personality, which is as two-dimensional as the lines that were drawn to create him. I’ve seen a lot of people share the same justification for why he has no real flaws: he’s a webtoon character, thus not real, thus does not have to be bound by the unspoken law that all people are imperfect. Fine; that makes sense. But isn’t that ironic? His whole gist is that he’s a human being. Where does he come off claiming such a thing if he’s so flawless? You’ll begrudgingly accept this character because of Lee Jong Suk, but that’ll be the extent of it. And, the side characters are just that - side characters. Oh, sure, they exist. Yet I never really cared about them. Most of the time, they were convenient plot devices, not people. (I’ll say that I did very much like the role of Yeon Joo’s father - out of everyone, he feels the most realistic.) If this were any other drama, I would let this go. I understand that a show can’t have everything, and characters are often the afterthought in the face of such a complex plot. However, I want to make it clear that if the writers are going to create a show based around the idea that these webtoon characters seem human, then they have to create characters that are human, and as a result, elicit my empathy. By the end, I should have been setting up a shrine in my house and counting prayer beads in hopes that they all get a happy ending! Uh…maybe that’s an exaggeration. But do you get me? I know this review sounds bad, but I do want to get across that altogether, I did have a good time with W. Doesn’t sound like it, but it’s true! Its problems may be obvious, yet its strengths are enough to keep you going. Its control over suspense had me hiding behind my hands at certain parts. And the cast itself is great - particularly the actor portraying Yeon Joo’s father; I cried womanly tears for you, sir. I’ve never watched Han Hyo Joo on screen before, but I did enjoy her role and thought she did a pretty good job with her character. I will also again emphasize my love for Lee Jong Suk: those emotive eyes. Gah. Almost made me like Kang Chul. I recommend you to watch this drama, but simultaneously caution yourself against the blinding hype that it received. The end product of this show was nothing near to the perfection that I expected it to have, but it also wasn’t anything close to being bad. Don’t expect a masterpiece. Watch it; have fun with it!
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