On the upside, Show is very pretty to look at, has a great-looking OTP that shares excellent chemistry, and it isn’t shy about serving up lots of OTP squee moments.
On top of that, Show’s got a very enjoyable OST scoring it all, so that it all feels like a worry-free, very pretty escape from Real Life.
On the downside, Show is so low-angst that the narrative tension it serves up is very low-stakes and therefore not very gripping. While this is in keeping with Show wanting to be a happy place, unfortunately, this also means that for some viewers, this could become pretty boring, pretty fast. 😅
Ultimately, your mileage will vary, depending on just how much of an appetite you have, for light, cotton-candy, pretty fluff.
When Show is at its best, it’s warm, funny and cozy-slurpy in the best way. Mature leads with fantastic acting chops and great chemistry? A shiny-pretty rom-com world? Easy-breezy music to score it all? Check, check and check.
On the downside, Show attempts to fit in a side of murder, AND a keen spotlight on the potential hazards of a highly competitive academic system, and after a while, Show’s focus gets muddied with these extras.
The downsides aren’t enough to be a deal-breaker for me personally, but I do think that your mileage may vary.
Overall, I found this warm, fuzzy and worthwhile, despite Show’s narrative detours into less warm, less fuzzy things.
If you didn’t already know, we’ve got a special series to kick off the new year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon, sharing their personal drama stories, mostly around the topic of “How did you get into dramas?” and “What does your first drama mean to you?” – with flexibility to go off on personal tangents, of course. 😁 Feel free to share your stories too, in the comments!
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild (thanks MC! ❤️). You can check out the earlier posts in this series as follows: MC, Sean, Shahz, JJ, Martina, Beth & Uyen. After today’s post, there will be two more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. Woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Ella, whom you may have seen around the blog, and on Patreon as well. I just love how effusive Ella is, in her drama love, and I’m so glad she’s taken this bold step, of introducing herself properly to us, through this guest post!
Dear Kfangurl, Are supporting actors too funny to ever cast as leads?
I keep waiting for my favorites – Park Jin Joo, Kim Seul Gi and my all time favorite, Kim Sung Oh to be part of an OTP or at least a single lead in their own dramas. I’ve seen all of them give snippets of really moving scenes so their acting talent is not in question. What gives?
And phl1rxd writes:
I would love to see an article on your favorite supporting actors|actresses.
There are so many that pop up in our drama world all the time, and while they are not the leads, their work is great none-the-less.
Warm, wholesome goodness dressed in hospital garb, Hospital Playlist is the medical themed drama that even the medical drama-averse can easily love.
Hospital Playlist checks a lot of boxes, for me. The writing and directing is assured; the cast is outstanding individually and together.
The overall feel is balanced, with enough attention given to the cases of the day without losing focus on our key characters; the music is heartfelt and breezy, made even more special when performed by the cast.
The slice-of-life approach might feel meandering and slow to some, but in exchange, you really feel like a fly on these characters’ walls, in their professional and personal capacities.
The long episodes might feel intimidating at first, but once you grow to love the characters, the length of the episodes become more of a boon than a bane.
I legit didn’t want this one to end; highly recommend.
Thoughtful, understated, and yet so full of accurate teenage feels, At Eighteen is the youth drama that we didn’t know we needed, but which we absolutely deserve.
You don’t even need to generally be into youth dramas to enjoy this one, methinks, because this is arguably the most “grown up” youth drama I’ve seen yet.
There’s no hyperbolic cutesy here; growing pains and teenage euphoria are portrayed in such an organic way that it makes me feel like these writers remember exactly what it’s like to be a teenager growing up, and with amazing attention to detail, to boot.
Show manages to create a world that feels real and raw, while still retaining enough pretty and polish to give it that drama lift. The entire cast does an excellent job, but extra kudos goes to our young actors, for making their characters come to life in such an organic-feeling manner.
As a bonus, the music in this is by turn breezy-heartfelt, tinkly-ethereal and gently poignant; all astutely applied just so, to give the watch experience that extra dimension of immersion.
Show really is everything that many of us have come to love in kdrama.
It’s gorgeous to look at, our actors are pretty darn capable all-around, our characters are mostly endearing, there’s amped-up, epic romance to be had between an OTP that shares solid, sparky chemistry, and, well, Hyun Bin is appealing in this, to a rather staggering degree. Flail.
As a bonus, Show possesses a cheeky sense of humor around drama tropes, even as it revels in them. In addition, the glimpse into North Korean life feels fresh and novel as well, and is a major highlight.
On the downside, there’s a bit of drag in the mid-to-late episodes, which is compounded by rather heavy-handed narrative angst, and Show’s long episodes. That can feel a bit or a lot hard-going, depending on your appetite for angst.
Overall, though, Show does a great job bringing the feels, and is well worth the watch.
Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.
But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.
With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?
This is a show that pretty much lives and dies by the combined charm of and chemistry between its OTP.
Park Min Young is lovely and manages to come across as both relatable and aspirational, while Kim Jae Wook shines in his first romantic leading man role, which just happens to be that of the Perfect Boyfriend with the power to melt you into a puddle on a regular basis.
The interactions between our OTP are a big highlight, from the very organic skinship – ranging from sexy sizzle to absentmindedly agreeable – to the wonderfully healthy conversations that they regularly share; a precious rarity in Dramaland.
Everything else is pretty much set-dressing for the main romance, but Show does a very solid job of making that set dressing generally pleasant and appealing, with a nice handful of likable secondary characters, a very pretty collection of OST tracks, and a keen spotlight on the fangirl experience.
Yes, Show does have its flaws, but that usually poofs away quite nicely, whenever the OTP shows up onscreen. It’s like magic fairy dust.