[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" 2018/01/06,
OCN has been so big on crime dramas, that Death himself gets one this time around. Granted, the titular hero of "Black" is only one Reaper out of many, but the series is right up his alley anyway. The series mixes fantasy, crime and romance, although that sadly proves too much by the end of things. Where does "Black" succeed and where could things have gone better? It depends on what you are looking for, but here is my take on it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 18 Final 2017/12/11,
The much dreaded ending of another Choi Ran-I work has come and if I can give "Black" credit for something, that would be persistence in tackling whatever it does choose to tackle until the end. We get more answers than expected in the final episode and some are highly satisfying. Others are confusing and remain as plot holes. Sadly, the ending itself undoes a lot of the good in "Black",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 17 2017/12/10,
Finding out the truth we have already known does not make it easier for our Reaper dearest, and 444 has a lot of deeply personal things to tackle in the penultimate episode of "Black". A lot happened on that fateful night when the children became involved with Wang Young-choon's search for the tape and coming to terms with it all, but also with some dire new information is not an easy feat,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 16 2017/12/05,
I need a few weeks and possibly a lot of ice cream to fully process what is the most jarring and packed episode of "Black" yet. While our titular Reaper continues to struggle with his emotions and obligations as a supernatural being lying to his crush, the time has come to tackle the villain and his connection to almost all of what has happened so far. I have a lot of questions and I am not even sure what some are,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 15 2017/12/03,
You can never really prepare yourself for some surprises, but "Black" has at least been kind enough to set so much up for itself that anyone would see the inevitable cutting of corners happen. We confirm a lot of things in this episode and some are great to find out, but we also learn of possible truths that do not seem to fit quite as imagined. The same goes for the romance, which never stood a chance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 14 2017/11/26,
There is so much grief on the horizon of "Black" and with our good characters closer to the main villain than ever, deaths are an expected outcome. Ha-ram's fate is no longer known or secure and our heroine's decisions over her relationship with the titular Reaper will be adding another layer of tragedy to an already sordid case. Many questions are answered, but I am greedy for more,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 13 2017/11/25,
The puzzle of the past is slowly coming together in "Black" and with Man-ho nearly cornered, the true villain behind it all should be making their grand entrance soon. Ha-ram's fate is unknown, but new clues hint at more powers than seeing the shadows of death. Many different characters and clues come together in what may not be as coincidental a twist of fate as we imagined after all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 12 2017/11/20,
For all the teasing about consequences that "Black" has taken its sweet time to deliver, it sure is fast with getting to it after the latest warning. The reality of her meddling dawns on Ha-ram as she realizes the identity of the man she has saved while Black deals with his newfound sympathy. The past mysteries boil closer to the surface than ever, as Gwang-gyeon and Man-soo get on the case,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 11 2017/11/19,
New chapters are opening in "Black", but none are leading to good places. Man-soo is no longer a CEO and he finds a use I welcome, but also fear. Ha-ram has to face Soo-wan's desperate advances at who she thinks is Moo-gang, but our heroine has much bigger things to worry about right around the corner. I have a lot of questions, but my anticipation is intact and the will to wait for possible answers strong,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 10 2017/11/13, "Black" feels like a fine day at the beach, right before the wind picks up and you feel your pretty hat flying away and the sand smacking you in the eyes. It is a wild ride and it sometimes feels exhausting, but it is fun. Everything fits when you dig deep enough. Gwang-gyeon comes closer to Moo-gang's secrets while Black is about to get a revelation of his own about the true identities of Reapers. Hopefully this will not break him,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 9 2017/11/12,
Major story breakthroughs and a ruthlessly packed plot make episode nine of "Black" quite the exhausting, but also exhilarating ride. The big revelation we have been waiting for regarding the children's identities has dropped and as expected from this series, it complicates things further. Several identities are exposed, but sadly so is Ha-ram's impending doom to someone who can harm her. Our heroes have enemies everywhere, but romance waits for no one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 8 2017/11/06,
The main story of "Black" is never far behind when it comes to the individual ones in what feels like a smörgåsbord of related characters. Man-soo's rude awakening in episode seven is the focus this time around and the victim born from whatever happened in the room has to relive that night through people's judgment. Black continues to fight his emotions, but their source is starting to become clearer as we learn new things about Reapers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 7 2017/11/05,
I never thought a series like "Black" would give me too much to think about, but we are already at the half-way mark and I could easily write three times the length of episode reviews I usually do in order to convey all of my thoughts on the drama's packed plot. We have reached a turning point in Black's humanity and things are about to get even more complicated,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 6 2017/10/29, "Black" puts on its Halloween costume and nothing is scarier than the people involved with Moo-gang and Ha-ram. We have several returning faces who finally step up to take their place in this story, as Black's actions bring his new enemies as well as his target closer to him. Ha-ram struggles between two pushy bosses and her own life problems, which are about to multiply for our unfortunate heroine,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 5 2017/10/29,
The sordid past built by the very human shadows of Moojin gets a grand reveal, but there are many things in need of explanation in both layers of reality. Ha-ram is determined to save lives, but her actions may cause great problems for Black and the entirety of the underworld. Meanwhile, Gwang-gyeon's past connections lead him directly to a person with a very important role in current happenings,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 4 2017/10/23,
For every question answered "Black" has five new ones, but episode four manages to clear some things up, at least enough to get me excited over the future of what is still a very chaotic, but nicely packed story. Following the threads of our characters' past reveals complicated and deep connections, while Black has flashbacks of a mysterious character who may play a key role,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 3 2017/10/22,
The whimsical, yet harsh world of the dead comes to light in episode three of "Black", as we meet new Reapers and go through the events which lead our titular agent of demise into the body of Moo-gang. Ha-ram continues to work on her father's case and her ability draws in those who need to use it. The plot thickens and its rules become complicated. Will "Black" help us make sense of it all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 2 2017/10/16,
When "Black" started releasing its promotional materials, I was almost positive that I knew what the show would be like. Weeks later I find myself faced with copious amounts of Song Seung-heon's pixelated crotch in a series which may not quite make sense yet, but which is definitely doing new things and having fun unleashing them on us. You are weird, "Black". I kind of like that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 1 2017/10/15,
Dramaland is no stranger to romances starting through the ice breaker of "I see dead people", but "Black" may surprise folks who have been hoping or worrying that this would be another "Goblin". I am not sure what its story will be or if it will include romance at all, but so far it involves death, bonding and a lot of vomit. Welcome to the dark, gritty yet surprisingly humorous world of "Black",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Black" 2017/10/07,
Most human beings do not find the idea of death all that attractive, but if Korean drama is good at something, that would be persistent romanticizing of anything and everything. "Black" may be another handsome Reaper, but do not let that fool you. The series looks like a potentially solid mystery ride.
A detective possessed by a Reaper (Song Seung-heon) and a woman who can predict death (Go Ara) in the form of shadows team up and try to save lives through their unique skills. The two fight against the rules of life and death as well as the consequences of their actions,...More
[Video] Heart-pounding, creepy new teaser for OCN's "Black" 2017/09/29, Source,
Holy smokes, folks! This is one intense teaser and really has me hyped to watch the drama. In it we witness the horror that Go Ara's character lives with as she sees the shadows of death. I really can't blame the woman for keeping sunglasses on at all times. But, there is hope when she meets the cop-turned-reaper who encourages her to do something about what she sees. She shortens her bangs and takes off her glasses. And...,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" 2017/04/29,
The crime genre has had its ups and downs in Dramaland, but it seems that more and more creators re starting to get where the appeal lies. Crime needs either a good investigative element to pique curiosity or a solid emotional core to appeal to feelings. When one does both, we have a truly good series. "Voice" is not perfect, but it is another step in the right direction,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 16 (final) 2017/04/02,
It's time to say goodbye to "Voice". I've had some time to think about this and I have to say, the entire series, while somewhat exciting, was a bit lackluster. What caused that was poor editing and character development. It was in no way a fault of Jang Hyuk or Kim Jae-wook, two of the strongest actors in the cast. It's unfortunate because this show could've been so much more.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 15 2017/03/21,
The final showdown is upon us. Tae-goo's thirst for sadism wins over reason and his father's begging. Unleashed, Tae-goo is terrifying in the fact that he is unhinged and uncontrollable. Kwon-joo and Jin-hyeok endeavor to shut him down for good, but his network is powerful. Tae-goo, however, often works outside his network, giving Jin-hyeok and Kwon-joo a huge mess to clean up.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 14 2017/03/21,
It is a game of cat and mouse. Kwon-joo and Jin-hyeok have cottoned onto Tae-goo's identity and the source of his power and insanity. Kim Jae-wook carries the episode on his very capable shoulders as he shoes that Tae-goo is a very terrifyingly unhinged man. Unfortunately, he has the power, money, and intelligence to mask his evil deeds from society.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 12 2017/03/19, "Voice" is barreling forward, showing Tae-goo in all of his wicked glory as Kwon-joo and Jin-hyeok desperately try to identify him and bring him to justice. Unfortunately, the dregs of society continue to do evil and call their attentions away from the central conceit. If you're a bit squeamish, there are a few parts in this episode you may need to skim - I know I did. First, Mozart's Lacrymosa returned after Tae-goo made his next big move.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 11 2017/03/19,
The murderer has been pinpointed, but he is far from being apprehended. He has Jin-hyeok and Kwon-joo in his sights and regards them with twisted fascination. Two steps behind, the Golden Time team struggles to keep up with the trail of blood and body parts he leaves behind. Kwon-joo's gift is proving useful, but will it be enough to catch this psycho with a self-declared mandate from the heavens?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 13 2017/03/19, "Voice" has found its heart. We finally peer into the inner workings of Kwon-joo and Jin-hyeok as well as our bad guy, Tae-goo. A lot of back story and emotional underpinnings came to light and I have to say, "It's about time". After all of the excitement of the cases and running around, having some emotional weight added is much needed. Tae-goo benefits from Kim Jae-wook's spot on portrayal of his insanity,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 10 2017/03/17,
The editing in "Voice" is just plain bizarre. I know I should be focused on the thrill and the chase, but the editing keeps jerking me out of the mood. Flashbacks occur in a strange, cyclical fashion that is more confusing than helpful or mood-inducing. Luckily, we have a powerhouse cast to guide us along even when the production can't.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 9 2017/03/15,
Just past the midway mark and we finally get some insight into Hyeon-ho. Unfortunately that insight comes as a contrived threat. So far each cop on our Golden Time team has had such a threat. But we'll run with it and watch Yesung star in an episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 7 2017/03/07,
Everything in "Voice" seems to be interconnected. Cops are kidnapped regularly. One crime network seems to have power over every case Kwon-joo and Jin-hyeok touch. It's a little far-fetched, but we're gonna roll with it. The team is working together although individual talents aside from Kwon-joo's haven't really been showcased yet. I was hoping we'd immediately see Kwon-joo tapping into her team for more than regular research, especially when Jin-hyeok is taken,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 6 2017/03/07,
And the team is set. We have all of the players that Kwon-joo initially requested and they're all supportive of the cause. More important than this is that Jin-hyeok is devoted to the caused, convinced by their most recent cases that Kwon-joo's hearing is the real deal. The pair is developing a rhythm together that will be important to discovering the truth behind their mutual tragedies.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 5 2017/02/20,
The search for Offier Eun-soo's kidnapped sister continues. Some light is shed on the precarious psychological state of not only the murderous kidnapper, but also on Eun-soo's family situation. Perhaps it will bring into the fold of the emergency call responders. On top of her fine hearing, Kwon-joo is a diagnostician,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 3 2017/02/14, "Voice" is still centered around the intrigue of the episode's case. Through the case Kwon-joo proves her acute hearing skills to Jin-hyeok, but he's still a tough man to convince. Not much screen time is spent on his difficulties digesting the connection between them and their tortuous past, but the cliffhanger jerk's the story forward.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Voice" Episode 4 2017/02/14,
For the brave souls on the "Golden Time" emergency responder team, the time of standing safely in the emergency call room is over. Sometimes emergencies catch them while they're in the field or in transit, which puts them in the line of danger. Will the fledgling team be able to work together when one of their own is taken by a kid who is all kinds of crazy?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Voice" 2017/01/28,
OCN continues its efforts for stronger main plots and new concepts, which includes getting past their love of gimmicks and turning them into fleshed out stories. "Voice" once again combines detective work and heinous crime cases, but this time it takes its more dramatic twist seriously. Enter a broken cop and what I can only describe as a superheroine out to get them bad guys through the latter's special ability,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Voice" 2017/01/07,
Dramaland geniuses are rarely useful ones, but OCN likes to make its characters work for their special snowflake award. The latest ability is a keen sense of hearing which will crack a case and catch a murderer. The task of "Voice" now is to rise above gimmicks and create a suspenseful story with a twist that matters.
Two people whose lives have been touched by a serial killer work together in order to catch him. One is a tough and relentless former detective skilled in action, the other is an intelligent officer who works at an emergency call center and has a heightened sense of hearing,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Holding on for Dear Life 2016/12/17,
Welcome to the jungle, as I look at upcoming dramas about survival. First up we have an actual jungle and the fight to live in "Missing 9". Then I tune into "Voice" and its fight for the survival from a killer's plans. The actual and urban jungles are ruthless, but so is the corporate one, as office drama "Chief Kim" will be demonstrating,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 12 2014/11/25,
Well, "Liar Game" does at least manage to explain why the story took a sudden turn for bizarre conspiracies- we have to find out next season. Normally that's a pretty lousy cop out, especially since it's not clear whether they'll actually make another season, but it does explain why Woo-jin and Do-yeong's backstory has suddenly become so important. They're only one part of a much larger universe,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 11 2014/11/24,
The good news is that all the games this time around are fairly easy to understand. The bad news is they're so easy to understand that "Liar Game" really has to contrive the situation in order to plausibly get Do-yeong to come out ahead. He's not really succeeding based on the power of his bluffs so much as he is by apparently understanding the structure of the game and the way the odds are defined much better than any other character. It's somewhat plausible, but it does tend to make our main characters look like chumps,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 10 2014/11/18,
You've probably figured out the writing pattern by now- after the major cliffhanger, Woo-jin reveals how he identified the plan of his rivals and how he managed to pull off a countermove to expose the truth behind the situation. And in fact, his deduction makes perfect sense. In fact, it's so obvious I feel kind of dumb for not noticing it myself. "Liar Game" has done such a good job showing off the apparent superhuman abilities of its characters that it's easy to forget how, at the end of the day, they are just normal people,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 9 2014/11/17,
The opening is just more general doubt and uncertainty about who anyone should really trust, and all that. Don't expect any obvious clues about what the deal is with Do-yeong. I can get why "Liar Game" doesn't want to give too much information out at once, but really, this late in the drama we really need something a little more substantial. While the chat between Woo-jin and Dal-goo is somewhat informative, too much time here is spent on mostly meaningless conversations,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 8 2014/11/11,
After Woo-jin has revealed his gambit for making victory not so impossible after all, a twist pops up that threatens a reasonably interesting political allegory. What happens if you take power only to discover that the situation is not what it seems? This idea is mostly scuttled, though, because the main group immediately sets up a council to figure out what happened. Such are the advantages of a team that operates under a genuine assumption of trust,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 7 2014/11/10,
The first part of this episode deals with Woo-jin teaming up with Dal-goo to gain an advantage in the overall game. The exact mechanics of this are, unfortunately, a little bit difficult to fully parse because we're not told the rules for the fourth round until after Dal-goo has already been through the ringer. Given that the stakes are everything in "Liar Game", a failure to clearly define them does a lot of damage in terms of keeping the drama interesting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 6 2014/11/04,
Making sense of the rules in "Liar Game" can sometimes get to be a bit difficult, which is a problem in a story where the entire dramatic impetus is about characters who try to achieve victory by bending the rules. Even the social element here is a bit unnerving. Granted, the entire point of the lead characters' scheme involves secret discussions, but surely the other players are keeping track of each other's movements. It's not like they have anything else to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 5 2014/11/03,
Probably the main lingering question from last episode was how Jamie is supposed to remain a credible threat when, to date, she's the only real antagonist. While her contingency plan managed to get Jamie to the next round, the fact remains that she's obviously untrustworthy and it's impossible to imagine why anyone would want to deal with her. The woman is, among other things, just really mean and unpleasant to be around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 4 2014/10/28,
While "Liar Game" can't really overcome the basic silliness of the Keynesian Beauty Contest which makes up the second round, it certainly tries. There's all sorts of backstabbing and double-dealing that's actually fairly compelling. For the most part everyone here is a complete stranger. So figuring out who to trust and who not to trust pretty much boils down to paying close attention to what any individual wants (or doesn't want) us to see,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 3 2014/10/27,
I really like the "Liar Game" show-within-a-show. Everything about it just looks so amazingly cool and slick. While the exposition so far has mostly been annoying, this episode actually makes the worldbuilding fairly compelling by actually showing us the stuff they put on television to explain everything to the audience. I actually feel kind of guilty because while this is an obviously rad game show it's also kind of evil and cruel in that the losers are saddled with enormous debts. This is probably supposed to be part of the point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 2 2014/10/21,
At times the pacing in "Liar Game" is irritatingly slow- it takes a full two episodes for us to establish Woo-jin's motives, as well as clarify that he and Da-jeong are going to be going through this game show right until the end. I know it's a genre convention that the rough sallow lead character has to initially refuse a team-up with the optimistic one, but there's really no good reason for all of this to take so long, not when there's other more interesting material to get into,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Liar Game" Episode 1 2014/10/21,
Woo-jin (played by Lee Sang-yoon) appears to live by a creed of general paranoia. Da-jeong (played by Kim So-eun) is mostly kind and trusting, although she's not an idiot. These two get together to...well, we don't actually get to that part. The actual team-up isn't going to happen until next episode, and the relationship between these two characters isn't really established at all. So far the drama has dedicated most of its energy to presenting itself as a very curious riddle,...More
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