Flash Review: Be Positive [Web Drama]

After Prashil recommended this little web drama to me, I looked it up, and was surprised to find that this has one of the highest number of views ever, for a web drama. We’re talking 50 million(!!!) views as of 30 December 2016. Considering that this drama aired on 31 October 2016, that’s mind-bogglingly impressive.

Those are some king-sized numbers, for a diminutive little show that clocks in at about an hour, with 6 episodes of approximately 10 minutes each.

The question is, did I like it – and would you?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Hwan Dong (D.O.) is a film major who’s preparing a movie for his graduation project. He’s passionate and excited about it, but he encounters many difficulties and obstacles. In a bid to gain funding, his professor advises him to seek out alumni-cum-sometime-A-lister Bang Hye Jung (Chae Seo Jin) to join his movie. Will Hwan Dong succeed, and will his movie ever get made?

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH 

Because this show is so short, by the time I figured out how to best manage my expectations, it was often a little too late to course-correct. This means that if I’d managed to figure out the lenses earlier, I would’ve probably enjoyed this show more.

Here are my findings, so that maybe you’ll have a smoother and more enjoyable watch experience than I did.

1. The emphasis isn’t on the movie-making. Instead, our story is more interested in the romance between Hwan Dong and Hye Jung.

2. Hwan Dong’s sense of humor is of the deprecating variety, meaning that he tends to put down both self and others, in the name of being funny. It took me a while to figure this out, and while I was figuring it out, I found him rather annoying. Knowing this upfront might help you like him faster.

3. Our story can feel a little scattered and convenient, at the same time. Because of the episodic format, with each episode focusing on one obstacle or milestone, the storytelling can feel a little haphazard. And because each episode is only 10 minutes long, the conclusions regarding each of those obstacles can also feel overly convenient.

4. I feel that Show lacks emotional heft. One might argue that you can’t expect much from a show with only an hour of running time, but I’d point out that drama specials like A Jaunt, or web dramas like Timing, have done quite well in landing with a poignant punch, despite their similarly short runs.

STUFF I LIKED

1. Show’s got an encouraging message for young people, about daring to dream, and not giving up in the face of obstacles.

2. There’s also a nice acknowledgment of teamwork and shared burdens, which is a positive message too, that you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

3. Show does a pretty nice job using flashbacks, to flesh out the situation between Hwan Dong and Hye Jung. In this way, they don’t feel so two-dimensional, despite Show’s short running time.

4. The chemistry between D.O. and Chae Seo Jin is pretty decent. I found their shared scenes reasonably pleasant to watch.

5. Show’s production values are decently good. I also thought the cartoon title cards for each episode were a nice touch. Like this one:

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I have to admit that I probably didn’t enjoy this as much as most of those 50 million viewers who loved it.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not a D.O. fangirl, so there’s no existing reservoir of fangirl love to draw from; perhaps it’s because I’m not Show’s target audience; Hwan Dong’s frustration and general sense of depleting-turned-growing hope didn’t resonate with me. I did feel a sense of sympathy for him and bestie In Guk (David Lee) as they struggled with all the obstacles before them, but I have to admit that it was a pretty mild strain.

Additionally, because the loveline didn’t land in any significant way with me because of what I feel is a lack of emotional resonance, I felt relatively neutral, and almost indifferent, to the romance, which turned out to be Show’s main arc. I do concede that it’s nice that Hwan Dong and Hye Jung talk through their issues and clear up the misunderstandings that had come between them in the first place; I always appreciate healthy couple dynamics on my screen, heh. The giggly kisses at the end were cute, too.

Lastly, I would have liked to have seen either more progress or more closure, in terms of the movie-making project, but I get Show’s message, that it’s not conquering the mountains that’s most important, but being brave enough to face them.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Not very substantial, but reasonably pleasant, for a light watch.

FINAL GRADE: B-

TEASER:

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can watch all 6 episodes of this web drama on YouTube here:

2 thoughts on “Flash Review: Be Positive [Web Drama]

  1. Prashil Prakash

    Hi kfangurl!
    Glad you watched it.

    Clearly I liked it way more than you did. Lol!

    I agree on the fact that this show needs to be viewed in a very different lens altogether.
    And the knowledge that the director is same as of Be Melo can definitely create high expectations. Which of course can possibly influence the experience.

    Having said that I’d want people to watch this as a directors work who it’s just stepping into the whole “drama industry”. And is just experimenting with this one before creating his first TV drama (Be Melo)

    Like, If you think about it. ‘Be positive’ totally seems like a test, before making ‘Be Melodramatic’.
    (It has a similar Korean name too)

    Be Melo was the main characters making a show
    Be Positive was them making a movie.
    Both show start with them watching TV and the main lead having a commentary/complain session about the Tv Characters in general.
    There’s a constant self referential nature in this show, like referencing his earlier movie ‘Twenty’, where The role of dad was played by the same actor and his son who’s a delinquent also ends up into the film-making.
    Literally the contract that he shares with the actor has the name of the movie written as 멜로가 체질 (which was Korean name for ‘Be Melodramatic’)

    There are many similarities like this, be it similar scenes or a similar feel.

    Also, It could have very easily been a 1 hour drama special.
    But it was still broken into 10 minute chunks. Most probably To understand the whole episodic feel of it and how they translate into dramas.

    I mean no matter how I look at it. The web drama screams “indie project”. Like it’s made by a film student testing the waters before he can finally make the real project (just like the main lead of this show!)

    And yeah, this is no magnum opus of Lee byung hun. But it still is his brand of humour.

    So viewing this drama as a precursor to Be Melo, and knowing that it probably exists in the “Twenty” universe, will definitely make it more immersive.

    Orrrrr… maybe you just need to have a bias for the works of the director. Lol!

    Oh and just to clarify, I didn’t know who DO was before watching this show.
    Even though I loved his role of a North Korean tap dancer in ‘Swing kids’, I didn’t know who he, or what his influence was.
    Clearly, the exo fanbase loved him there. (50 mil? Damn I didn’t even know this!)

    I hope these views put the show in a better light.
    And hopefully I don’t sound like a conspiracy nut. Lol.

    Cheers.😊

    Reply

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