what I’m watching…or not


I’ve been lost and drama-less since the conclusion of The Lonely, Shining Goblin. But I tackled a few of the various new offerings last week and I’m surprised at my eventual choice of what’s good and interesting to me. My picks: Defendant and Chief Kim. Regulars of this blog would realise I didn’t cover these two series much pre-broadcast but currently, they are the ones I find entertaining.

I can safely proclaim Defendant is the drama I find the most interesting at present. I watched the first four episodes at one go and while it isn’t gripping per se, it piques my curiosity with every conversation and flashback Jeong Woo (Ji Sung) has about his so-called (for now) murder of his wife and child. There is enough mystery and drama to keep viewers reeled in on a weekly basis and the TV ratings are proof of that.

I know many find Yuri boring and bland, but I’ve always thought she was likeable and watchable. Here as a doggedly persistent public defender, Eun Hye, she’s more than serviceable and has an emotional, understated connection with Ji Sung. There is a palatable undercurrent between Jeong Woo and Eun Hye, especially in their last conversation in prison where they finally shook hands on a truce to have him being represented by her. I think Yuri has been doing pretty well overall so far and I am confident she will become better as the drama progresses. I haven’t decided whether I will follow this drama through to the end but I probably would though based on the fact I’m not exactly following anything else.

Chief Kim is, well, quirky and funny, thanks to Namgoong Min, who does comedy with such intrinsic bizarre flair. He’s like weird upon wacky underscored with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. I’m mostly watching because of him and his strange antics. I’m not enthralled by the workplace storyline but I always have space for more funny and I did guffaw at quite a number of points in the drama. Chief Kim comes across somewhat like a Japanese drama in terms of execution and characterisation, with Namgoong Min genuinely proving he is a great candidate for off-beat comedy.

Yang Se Jong is the only reason why I checked out Saimdang: Light’s Diary and he didn’t fail me in both his modern and historical segments. He’s definitely one newbie to watch. The drama isn’t bad but just… nothing fresh or new or exciting. It feels like something from the 1990s or early 2000s and would probably have been a hit if it was broadcasted then. The plot isn’t super compelling and the production feels very dated: the colour scheme, the cinematography, the every single thing. I mean I tried watching Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People too and it felt so much more current and dynamic on the whole. I’m aware Lee Young Ae is akin to a national treasure but I never found her very terribly magnetic though she acts with a lot of heart. I did like her in movies Joint Security Area and Lady Vengeance though where she played darker, more complex characters.

Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People is a decent watch, mostly due to Kim Sang Joong at the moment. I’m not too invested in the drama yet but the main narrative chronicles a hero and heroes always need ample time to grow and develop, no?

Tomorrow With You is another drama that is somewhat watchable but hmmm… I’m not feeling it much. Maybe all that time-skipping is confusing me a little. It is a very pretty drama – you would expect nothing less from tvN – but plot wise, it doesn’t execute  as appealing as it sounds on paper. I like that the end game is that So Joon dies with Ma Rin in the future if he doesn’t do something about the present and the solution involves a dubious marriage to her. But I do see potential in a heartwarming romance when So Joon starts falling in love with Ma Rin and does everything to deliver them a happy ending. Which I suspect may not be the case in the end? I do hope he doesn’t sacrifice his life to save hers when push comes to shove and for all his time-travelling powers and emotional manipulation… I like happy endings. Period.