Dropped: Taxi Driver

Ok, so I know this is a controversial drop, because by and large, drama fans seem to love this show. Which is why I’d like to state upfront, that my decision to drop this one, has nothing to do with Show’s quality, per se.

In fact, I can see why lots of people would enjoy this one. I, however, only managed to watch one episode of this one, before eventually making the decision to call it quits.

It’s just.. not for me, personally. This is absolutely a case of, “It’s not you, Show. It’s me.” 😅

MY MAIN STRUGGLE WITH THIS SHOW: THOUGHTS FROM EPISODE 1

Mainly, the bad stuff that the bad guys do, is so awful, that I find it hard to stomach. Given that Show’s structure is such that we get multiple cycles of bad stuff followed by rogue justice, I immediately felt daunted by the idea of watching lots of different bad things happening to innocent people, particularly since Show is known to be inspired by real events. Ack.

Somehow, knowing that these terrible things had happened to real people, makes it even harder to bear, for me.

I know Vincenzo also used the idea of rogue justice, but that had felt easier to digest because, 1, Vincenzo’s tone is a lot more farcical, and 2, we have one set of baddies in Vincenzo, compared to multiple sets in Taxi Driver.

A comic book lens helps with this show, but I think the disconnect for me, is that Show uses cases inspired by real life events. Those two ideas feel at odds with each other; it’s hard to use the comic book lens effectively, when Show keeps reminding us that the stuff on our screens is more real than average.

This is the biggest hurdle, for me personally.

This first episode, it was so very hard to watch the awful factory owner torture his intellectually disabled employees. Ugh. To make it worse, even the police officer is in cahoots with the factory owner. And even worse than that, is the fact that the police officer seems very familiar with the torture methods being used, and even participates, to a degree. 🤮 That made me want to gag, honestly.

MY THOUGHTS ON EVERYTHING ELSE IN EPISODE 1

Otherwise, the rest of Show works pretty fine, especially with a comic book lens on. Because then it doesn’t matter so much that this episode’s client goes from falling off the bridge after seeing the revenge call service number, to magically sitting in Do Ki’s (Lee Je Hoon) taxi, relating her story.

Logically, that doesn’t make any sense. Logically, that whole thing where she has to make her decision via a dinky little token-operated arcade type game machine, also doesn’t make sense. But with a comic book lens on, it’s fine.

The whole Batman flavor of our revenge set-up and crew is pretty fun, even if it’s not realistic. Again, comic book lens. I kinda love that the deluxe taxi is pretty much a Batmobile, and there’s even a Bat-cave, where everything gets prepared and where the Batmobile gets serviced.

On that note, Lee Je Hoon’s pretty badass, with his ability to singlehandedly take down a bunch of bad people, with his bare hands. This is arguably the most badass I’ve seen Lee Je Hoon, and that is most definitely a plus.

We don’t yet see how Esom’s character Kang Ha Na fits in with the Rainbow Taxi Revenge Service, so I don’t really have anything to say about her outing in this, based on just this one episode.

SAYING GOODBYE

I’d contemplated giving this show another try, but conversations with some of you (hey, Sean!) led me to conclude that if I’d struggled this much with the bad stuff in episode 1, I would essentially continue to struggle even more, with all the rest of the bad stuff, in all the other episodes, as Show introduces more cases.

This sounded like it would require a lot more fortitude than I feel able to muster, which is why I decided, in the interest of closure, to officially drop this one.

I’m sorry Lee Je Hoon-sshi, that I’m too much of a wuss to enjoy your badassery in this show. 🙈😅 But at least on the upside, everyone else loves this show, and you in it?

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Lee Tennant
Lee Tennant(@leetennant1)
1 day ago

If this is a controversial opinion, then I am right there with you. I absolutely hated this show.

I hated how it used graphic torture porn of female characters to justify the male lead’s violence. I really hate crime shows that deliberately and cynically use voyeuristic violence solely against female characters so that viewers excuse or even demand male aggression. It perpetuates a patriarchal gender structure whereby women are reliant on violent men to protect them from violent men, thereby normalising male violence generally and disempowering women into victims who need protection.

I actually watched the first few episodes of this on an inter-city bus ride when it was airing and forget I was in public and yelled, “Are you kidding me with this shit!” at my laptop. Excuse my French. I have no diplomacy for this particular set of crime drama tropes – as an unfortunately large number of fellow bus travellers discovered.

Anyway – Dropped!

Lee Tennant
Lee Tennant(@leetennant1)
1 day ago
Reply to  Lee Tennant

Haha someone below commented that you dropped this graciously, which I… did not. I apologise for my decidedly ungracious drop.

Annette Chung
1 day ago

Awww! What a pity. This is a good show. I respect your decision on this one… and hope that one day, you might feel that you’re ready for it again. I think I’m too jaded by this world, that in the end, we do get that “let’s just burn the world” mentality creeps in and this vigilante justice drama might be just what we need to sate that oh-so-wrong-but-why-does-it-sound-so-right appetite.

Deepa
7 days ago

This happens to me with a lot of Indian OTT platform shows. The stuff is soo real and soo different than the world I live in and acknowledging – knowing that this world on my screen also exists, gives me nightmares. Soo yeah ..Rom Com and Soft thrillers genre is what I stick too!

Girija Kalakrishnan
Girija Kalakrishnan
7 days ago

I dropped it too! Sometimes when I drop shows, I feel so guilty and then I see your post and all the guilt washes off! I have even dropped Hospital Playlist 2 ( because I had to sift through all the medical stuff to get a wee bit of their personal lives!) Devil Judge ( Don’t ask me why. I love both the male leads) and some other shows which most people like. I recently enjoyed Lost , which was not a popular show.

Antonio
7 days ago

I, on the other hand, found “Vincenzo” ridiculously stupid and abandoned him after just one episode! Taxi Dirve was a pleasant entertainment.

Deepa
7 days ago
Reply to  Antonio

Yeah, I don’t get the appeal of Vincenzo either. I remember I finished the first episode, but didn’t get back to it..

Natalia
Natalia
8 days ago

I love it that you drop a show but still explain its main attributes. By your description, it sort of feels that this could be a show that I will like, although I am not so sure about the vigilante justice. I might give it a try at some point – I have my plate full right now with Yumi and Happiness. Thanks for dropping Taxi Driver so graciously!!

Trent
8 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

@Natalia — Ooh, what do you think of Happiness? I’ve had my eye on it, but wanted to let a few episodes build up, see what people’s reactions are… So how is it?

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Want to add my two cents here. Yes yes yes. Watch Happiness. Show does an awesome job of being refreshing considering we’ve had enough “zombie” shows to last our whole lives with. It’s not bleak. The lead characters are quite pragmatic and blasé. The bits of deadpan comedy are gold; and the barely-there romance is worth rooting for.

I enjoy Jirisan but Happiness eased itself easily into my most anticipated watch these days.

Trent
7 days ago
Reply to  Jiyuu

Ahh, thanks for the input! I hadn’t originally been thinking about trying this one, but then I saw a few things about it that made me think it might be worthwhile to check out. I think as soon as I finish off a couple of current shows, I’ll jump in and give it a try.

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

It has such a chill vibe. Yea, that’s the closest word that I can think of. Definitely you can get started already (6 out of the 12 episodes are out), it rarely ends in cliff-hangers too.

Natalia
Natalia
7 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent, my personal view is that it is a very entertaining show if you are someone that usually has fun watching zombie shows (well this is rather a zombie/virus show). It also gives some Sweet Home vibes (residents of a locked down apartment building). As Jiyuu says, the leads are cool (albeit a little reckless at times) and the acting on the whole is good. It does have its flaws though, mostly script-wise. Some choices the writer made are pretty weak, as far as I am concerned. And also, it feels a little bit cheap, in the sense that there are 15 floors in this building and only about 15 persons locked in (including some people who were visiting). For some reason, this bothers me, but I am more than certain that other viewers would never mind something like that!
Anyway, as much as I enjoy watching this show, I only recommend it if you are someone that finds this particular genre entertaining!

Trent
7 days ago
Reply to  Natalia

Hmm, I did like Sweet Home a fair bit, so that could be a good omen… Thanks for the insight!

amc
amc
8 days ago

Fair enough. I almost dropped it for the same reason but stayed for the Batman-like flavor. I was watching this Show along with DP. So two dark stories were sorta heavy.

Trent
8 days ago

I think this is probably the right decision for you for this show. I finished it, and have mildly positive feelings about it, although I didn’t love it. It feeds a certain itch to see rough justice visited upon vile people, the problem is, you first have to watch the vile people being vile, and also you kind of have to wink at the fact that “rough justice” is really just “private revenge” by another name. I don’t think the cases get any easier, in fact for me they got worse in at least one instance that I found really difficult.

Also, show takes a turn toward trying to grapple with the ethics/philosophical angle at around the two-thirds mark, but does so fairly clumsily, in my opinion, and then doesn’t even manage to arrive at a particularly sound resolution to any of the issues.

It’s true that Lee Je-hoon is an absolute bad-ass, though, so there’s that.

JJ
JJ
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – The way KFG described the vile sounds pretty horrible. I really adore Lee Je Hoon so he would have made me peek. I am soooo glad I didnt. So so glad.

reaper
reaper
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

So they where trying to justify private revenge with an ethical and philosophical angle?

Trent
8 days ago
Reply to  reaper

No, the (mostly implicit, although not entirely) justification came up front, in the earlier episodes. The show eventually got around to trying to address, or at least acknowledge, the ethical and philosophical problems with “justice” achieved through vigilantism. I give them points for at least recognizing the problems exist, but I felt the treatment and resolution were muddled.

Webfoot
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yup, this. I feel like they did a pivot about 3 episodes in and wanted to deal with the ethical struggle, but ..didn’t know how. Leaving the good guys unsupportable.

Georgia Peach
7 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent, if I’m not mistaken the writer was replaced somewhere around the spot you mentioned. Seems the drama was falling deeper into darkness and I’d have to agree. Only liked Lee JiHoon and not much else of theirs drama. Move To Heaven is really really well done. Recommend the watch. LJH again is very good.

Trent
7 days ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

I think I remember that; the articles just said that the writer and PD-team had encountered “creative differences” or something like that. Probably did have something to do with the muddled feel to the last stretch..

JJ
JJ
8 days ago

GAH! I am glad this one wasnt even on my radar. GAH! Sean suggested Young Lady and a Gentleman which I have been thoroughly enjoying 🙂 Or there is always Jirisan. Or. Or. Or. Or. Just more time for you for another Show on your List 🙂

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
8 days ago

Hello kfangurl, I am in your corner 100% 😊 The show to watch right now is The Red Sleeve. It is an “oh wow” and I could rave on about it, but I won’t 🤩

Trent
8 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Red Sleeve pretty good, is it? I’m a definite Lee Se-young fan after The Crowned Clown…I’ve been hesitant to jump into another romance-centered sageuk at the moment, but if you vouch for it that strongly, might have to consider giving it a go.

Jiyuu
Jiyuu
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

If you like Lee Se Young, I liked her (along with the execution of the drama itself) in Kairos. I wonder why Kairos doesn’t get mentioned as much as I would expect for it’s quality. Though there was one point where I was getting as “fatigued” as the characters in the drama but it resolved itself that same episode.

I liked her two characters in Hwayugi too (this, I enjoyed for all the side characters which included her).

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
8 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Yes, Red Sleeve is very good, Trent. I think you will appreciate how it handles things. Lee Se-young is forever Zombie Girl to me after her outstanding performance in Korean Odyssey. She is playing a blinder here as is Lee Jun Ho as the crown prince. We see a wonderful development from when they are children through to adulthood, which also interweaves with their respective relationships with the king. They are both clever, hardworking and thoughtful.

I can’t fault the other actors either. It is beautifully filmed too. The show delves into what it means to be a palace maid and at a level and scope you would see in a cdrama. The meaning of the red sleeve is explained and we get to see many more intricate details regarding some of the sacred rites and celebrations regarding the maids and so on. For me (along with Inspector Koo) it is the standout short form drama leading up to year’s end 😊

JJ
JJ
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– YAY! I love Zombie Girl as well!!!! Someone and I were talking her up the other day on KFG’s post about Supporting Characters that stole the Show. I love Lee Se Young. I AM SO IN!!!! Thank you 🙂

Trent
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Cool, I will have to jump Red Sleeve up the priority list.

Curious now about your take on Inspector Koo; when I first heard about it I perked up, but then on further inspection it looked like tonally it was going for a little more “wacky off-beat humor” which is always a bit of a tough sell for me, and particularly in a serial killer context. Does the tone manage to thread the needle?

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  Trent

The tone does thread the needle, Trent re Inspector Koo. I am not a big fan of Korean wackiness per-se, but with this show they have got it right. It is a very clever show about two adversaries:IK herself, is a former police inspector who has columboesque tendencies, does occasional work for an insurance company and who just wants to play on-line games; and a former student of her husband’s who has a unique sense of justice.

Trent
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Ah, that’s good to hear, thanks. I will give it another look then. I admit I was curious to see what Kim Hye-jun would look like in a modern series/setting (she was the young queen in Kingdom…).

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Well, she is awesome. A talented, young actress up against the very talented LYA (who, as it turns out is also the voice or “guide” in Taxi Driver).

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
6 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Well there you go Sean – I will also watch Inspector Koo! “I trust your feelings” as Yoda would say…

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
21 hours ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

I hope you like it, phl. I do subscribe to Yoda’s “pass on what you have learned.”

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j3ffc
j3ffc
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Oh, there’s a Zombie Girl in Korean Odyssey? I hadn’t really been all that interested in watching the show but is it a worthwhile show from your perspective?

Also, dumb question for today (actually, just dumb question for this half-hour of today): YLG?

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Korean Odyssey is a slick production by the Hong Sisters. It has some great aspects, and memorable characters aka Zombie Girl. I felt it went on too long. I gave it a decent score, but far from what I have rated in terms of many other shows. My family really liked it. It’s worth a look.

YLG is A Young Lady and a Gentleman. It is the best 50 ep weekend family show for some time, with an excellent cast. It has all the tropes that Scarlett from WWW loves, but turns them on their heads very quickly 😊

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Thanks so much! I have also never witnessed WWW, which also has its followers. Right now, I’m sorta stuck, just keeping up with the group watches and frozen with indecision about what to add as my “optional” watch….

JJ
JJ
5 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– I LOVED, I mean LOVED, Search WWW. Fantastic music. I have seen it three times. First watch, I was just trying to keep up with all the dialogue as it was in the beginning of my Kdrama rabbit hole experience. The second time was in order to pay attention to the details in the dialogue and the third time was just to enjoy now that everything came together for me.

Oh I have been there in that frozen indecision place! I generally just punch through knowing something will stick eventually. I have lots of Shows I start with plans to go back. I am determined not to ever drop a Show, but just not to start a Show I will drop 🙂 Well, except SQG. I started that one and then, I ran for the Hills on that one 🙂

On The Verge of Insanity is an excellent Show on Viki right now. Sean gave it a thumbs up and I agree!

JJ
JJ
6 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– I really enjoyed Korean Odyssey and I agree with Sean’s quick review of it. For me, the start was rough, but I hung in there and I really loved the ensemble cast. I laughed a great deal in this one. Ah, Zombie Girl…

Ops! Sorry my fault. Should have included the Show’s full name. I had been eyeing Young Lady and a Gentleman, but 50 episodes seemed daunting. No more! Its hysterical and so good.

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 days ago
Reply to  JJ

No worries, JJ, thanks a lot! I had thought about Korean Odyssey in part because I liked Li Seung-gi in a Netflix reality show “Twogether” – he is one charming dude (and of course in Gumiho). And, coming into the “My Ahjussi” and “Someday or One Day” era, maybe a little laughter would be good.

JJ
JJ
5 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– You are welcome 🙂 I saw Twogether as well, but after I saw Korean Obdyssey. Seunggi is one competitive dude as well as being so charming!

I hope you give Korean Odyssey a chance. I usually give Shows 3 episodes before I decide if its a continue on or not for me. For Familiar Wife, I had to give it 5 episodes and I am glad I did. LOVED IT!

JJ
JJ
8 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

@sean – Are you still watching YLG? I am so hooked still and now annoyed I have caught up and have to wait for more episodes to drop 😂

Did you give Jirisan another chance? Did you see the Snow? The Wildfire episodes?

Ill have to jump into The Red Sleeve, then as I wait for more Young Lady and a Gentleman episodes to drop.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Yes, I am, JJ. YLG has continued to be an absolute delight. I like how it keeps sending up the established tropes.

I haven’t got back to Jirisan yet, but I will. The wildfire episodes will be of particular interest to me.

I think you will find The Red Sleeve enchanting. It has a bit of everything and the OTP are acting their socks off. And as I have mentioned to Trent, try Inspector Koo 😆

reaper
reaper
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

What genre is The red sleeve? Can’t find the genre.

Is Jirisan as good or as bad as people say? Opinions are very split about this one….

JJ
JJ
7 days ago
Reply to  reaper

@reaper – Its a sageuk if thats what you are asking? Viki has it under these genres – Idol Drama, Romance, Costume & Period.

I am one of the people who is in middle of its good enough to keep watching. Had a great start! The cinematography is amazing throughout. The Leads are both excellent. Ensemble is great, too. The story got a little lost and meandered in my opinion, but has come back on track enough for me. I would say give it a try 🙂

JJ
JJ
7 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

@seakfletcher – I am so happy to hear that because I am grinning from ear to ear when watching YLG. I am pretty impressed with the ML’s acting with the most recent turn of events. I looked him up and he is also a serious musician! And he has a long list of acting credits and musical theater as well.

Jirisan really seemed to get back on track in my opinion. So I hope you get back to and stay with it. Not that its fabulous, well the cinematography always is amazing. Its really enjoyable and I love both our leads and ensemble cast. Really happy with what they did this wknd.

I am excited for The Red Sleeve, thank you! I had asked some on Patreon (ahem Trent) about Inspector Koo and they informed me thats its loosely based on Killing Eve. Im the one in the group who cannot do dark for the most part. YLG is more my lane in general. Eating up Reply 1988 right now. Even though I did make it through the Cdrama Long Night which I loved even though its tough.

Thank you for all your suggestions! Let me know when you get back to Jirisan 🙂

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  JJ

YLG is a happy place to be 😊 They really pulled out the stops in terms of the cast. It is a good mix of main stream, daily and weekend specialists.

I am trying to get back to Patreon, JJ 😂

I think Trent and I might have an interesting discussion re Inspector Koo. There are opinions/reviews out there calling it the “Asian” Killing Eve. I would say, at best, it is a very, very, very loose adaptation. So, it is nothing like KE, is far from dark (but I know we all have a different definition on what dark is), but a good fun cat and mouse story, in the Columbo tradition (yes, I love those old detective shows). Perhaps take a look at Because This Is My First Life, if you haven’t seen it yet.

I think Jirisan might be this weekend’s challenge, although we will be putting up Christmas lights 🎄🎅🧑‍🎄

JJ
JJ
6 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– Thanks again for suggesting a Happy Place to be because I am sure am Happy when watching YLG. 🙂

Hope you get over to Patreon soon and the Drama Exchange. We have lots of fun over there, too 🙂

Ohhhhh, I will check out Inspector Koo, then. I have seen Because This Is My First Life and loved it 🙂 Thank you for the suggestion!

YAY for Jirisan. As I said, not great not bad, but good enough with must see cinematography 🙂

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
8 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – you rarely steer me wrong so I will start this.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
7 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Lol, phl 😂 You will enjoy some of the imagery and attention to detail, I promise!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
6 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

I am up to date and enjoying it- I pay attention when you mention a drama! 😂🤣😅 I was even more pulled in as this is about Prince Sado”s son.

I enjoy watching Lee Jun Ho and yes, Lee Se Young tore it up on Korean Odyssey and left it all out there. I appreciate her minimal makeup. I am also enjoying Court Lady Seo. It must be court lady season as the court ladies have been gaining a lot of attention lately. But most of all, I am enjoying Lee Deok Hwa as King Young Jo. He has a reputation for being extremely ‘concerned over his hair’ (that is said tongue-in-cheek 😏) so for the first 2 episodes I kept staring at his head. 🙄 As always big thanks Sean!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
20 hours ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Isn’t Lee Deok Hwa fabulous? He steals every scene. I just love how well he conveys that look: “I know you are lying to me, but can you at least be a bit more clever about it. Let me show you how it’s done.” He was made for the part, or vice versa. Yes, his hair is always amazing 😂🤣😂 Lee Se Young continues to impress 🤩

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
5 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – I recently watched 5-9 (quick 10 episodes) and you may enjoy this if you can get past the first two episodes… It was quite a lark.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
21 hours ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

I will take a peep, phl 😊