[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 20 2013/07/30,
The way this drama has been playing around with convoluted schemes, emotional manipulation, and arrogant taunts, I was sure that the final execution of I-Soo's plan had to be something amazing. In the last episode of "Shark", we instead find out that apparently the only thing required to take down Sang-Deuk and his empire was a well-executed police search. To add insult to injury, this is a search that should have been conducted ten episodes ago- why the police are only bothering just now is completely unclear.
Additionally, most of the essential villainy in this episode is performed by a man who's been a non-entity throughout the drama's run. The only evil thing I can remember him doing was when he almost killed that one guy, but then didn't,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 19 2013/07/29,
Rather than building up the action ends up dying a bit in the final stretch. "Shark" is clearly trying to manipulate its audience with one last plot twist gambit, but it comes off as underwhelming compared to the flurry of bombshells released in the last few episodes. It's strange how, now that everything's almost finished, the emotion behind the performances is actually lower than it was before. While this should be the part of the story where everything starts sinking into despair, everyone just seems kind of used to it now.
"Shark"'s other strengths are still strong as usual. Lighting cues take an interesting turnabout,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 18 2013/07/23,
This episode continues dropping bombshells just like the last one did. This time around the surprises are a little more surprising, though still predictable. What makes the contrast work this time is that we're now dealing with the emotions of characters with more agency in the overall plot. I-Soo is hit with every horrible truth that could possibly damage him. Once all of this has soaked in, his next course of action becomes unmistakable.
The relevance of Hae-Woo to the main storyline has always been a bit dubious, so I was impressed with how well-integrated her motivation is with what we're going to see as the final conflict,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 17 2013/07/22,
This episode starts out with a rather dubious exchange of threats. Something I've really come to love about "Shark" is the way that everyone is intrinsically skeptical without being paranoid. Major betrayals are revealed this episode, but it's not the shock of the revelation that's interesting. The viewers have known these moments were coming for quite some time now. Rather it's how the characters react when they've been placed with these final ultimatums.
These reactions run a wide gamut in this episode and the contrast between how different characters take the information differently is striking,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 16 2013/07/16,
The thrilling segments of this drama have been so intense that I'm actually glad that the story slows down a bit here. I-Soo is able to take a well-deserved rest. Even though the entire kidnapping subplot was his own fault (and he's forgiven for it just a bit too easily), I-Soo is completely on edge and needs time to transition back into his standard predator form. Although whether he'll ever be that cold again is an open question, after his encounter with Hae-Woo.
"Shark" has been treading a fine line in regards to the romance between I-Soo and Hae-Woo. On the one side, it seems like the show wants them to get together,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 15 2013/07/15,
For the first time we see I-Soo in genuine internal conflict. There's no serious problem with his current revenge scheme. But it's painfully clear that, as much as he doesn't want to admit it, there are matters more important to him than just revenge. He jeopardizes contacts, relationships, and secrets in this episode all in a desperate bid to save the last, clearest link he still has to his old life.
While I'm generally loathe of damsels-in-distress, "Shark" handles it fairly well here, somewhat ironically, by making this whole conflict about the man. Because the entire situation is I-Soo's fault,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 14 2013/07/09,
The walls of trust are quickly disintegrating. They've never really been in good shape, but I think it's finally starting to hit Jo Sang-Deuk that most of the "respect" people give him is either out of a combination of obligaton and fear. He's so desperate to avoid admitting this, though, that instead more pits are being dug that are only going to make his final comeuppance all he worse and longstanding.
This should make for enjoyable drama, but unfortunately I-Soo is still a lot more human than he's willing to admit, and we're right there with him on those same worries,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 13 2013/07/08, "Shark" has gotten to be quite busy. So much happens in this episode that as I try to sit down and take stock of it in my head, I'm amazed that this drama doesn't feel more rushed. Nearly every character either does something physically intense and dangerous, or suffers a severe blow to their emotional well-being. The ones who aren't are still heavily affected by the story, as everyone is in palpable danger just from being tangentially involved in a confict that's about to go from investigation to war.
To date, everything has gone according to plan for I-Soo. Having achieved crucial information at the end of the last episode, he now bides his time waiting for the moment to unleash its maximum damage on his hapless prey,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 12 2013/07/02,
It would seem that I wrote too soon about Joon-Yeong's apparent hesitance. The events of this episode and the last have apparently done a lot to stoke his latent hostility, but where this is heading is still wonderfully unclear. He still has serious trouble opening up to Hae-Woo about what's making him so upset. I realize, again, that this isn't because they have a bad relationship but rather that their connection to each other is based so much on the good times. And those times are going to be out of the picture for the foreseeable future.
I-Soo's scheming continues at the proper pace. It's interesting to watch him deal with similar inner personal turmoil only to shrug it off a lot more easily,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 11 2013/07/01,
The Jo Family patriarchs have started taking definite action to defend themselves. This tells us little about who they are that we don't already know. Sang-Deuk's top priority is trying to keep his empire intact- which most definitely includes keeping his granddaughter's love. He'll go to any lengths to preserve this, whether it be via criminality or crocodile tears. Ee-Seon is still basically an adult child, who storms and temper tamptrums until daddy gives him unconditional instructions that are not to be disobeyed.
I get the feeling that their comeuppance is being delayed for maximum impact. I-Soo mostly just sits and waits this episode, while doing his best to make clear he's unfazed by Sang-Deuk's theatrical techniques,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 10 2013/06/25, "Shark" gets a major jolt this episode with a shocking development: something actually happens. Quite a few things actually- there's deliberate confrontations, investigations yield definite results, and measures are taken to silence anyone who gets in the way. This is the first time since the early episodes that there's the stalking, predatory behavior we would expect from a drama called "Shark", and it really comes together quite well.
The episode starts out with Hae-Woo facing I-Soo and demanding an explanation. Seeing their actors play off of with each other, when they both know exactly what the current situation is, is immensely satisfying,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 9 2013/06/24,
Brooding gives way to tension as the main characters of "Shark" start the process of probing each other to find out exactly how much everyone knows. There's a constant sense of tension in the air- surprisingly, though, this episode really isn't all that much more exciting than the last one. However much the director tries to dress it up, for the most part everyone's just standing around asking misdirective questions. It gets a bit monotonous after awhile.
All this investigating does get us to an important point. By the end of this episode, nearly every character is aware of the existence of the other characters, and has some sort of easily described countenance and relationship with them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 8 2013/06/18,
Crushed by the revelation of the last episode, Hae-Woo spends this episode largely in a sad, nostalgic reverie for bygone days. Akin to I-Soo's usual brooding...well, I can't think of a way to finish that sentence. The trouble with "Shark" is that it really doesn't seem to know when to stop doing stuff. Reviewing the series so far, it seems like all I-Soo does is brood. I'm pretty much out of comments about the brooding. We get why they're doing this- but the extent of the brooding is, by now, completely out of proportion with the stuff worth brooding about.
All the interesting, emotionally tense character-driven action sequences have been in the first few episodes of the show,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 7 2013/06/17,
Jae-Woo finally makes a sobering and disturbing realization, explaining her stilted slow walk at the beginning of this episode. This episode again decides to play the last scene first, and let the rest be build-up. It's an ambitious method of narrative storytelling- but neither here, nor in "Shark"s other attempts, have I really felt very moved by it. It sums up a lot of what this show is- a lot of style with questionable substance. It's consistently just interesting enough that the deliberate, complex shooting doesn't come off as pretentious,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 6 2013/06/11,
This drama's performance has been so uneven lately that I really wasn't sure whether the last episode's cliffhanger was going to go somewhere interesting or stupid. Luckily, it's the former, as we soon discover that the plot is actually quite a bit larger in scale than we had been led to believe. Whoever's backing I-Soo clearly does not trust him, and this association also leaves I-Soo with other enemies who are quite a bit more proactive than the eventual direct target of his revenge.
Even the investigation storyline gets a bit of a boost here, because for once it's actually addressing an inconsistency that was pretty obvious the first time we saw it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 5 2013/06/10,
The episode starts out fairly strong as get another glimpse of the relationship dynamic between I-Soo and Hae-Woo. The camerawork and music combine to create an atmosphere that's both melodious and creepy. I actually felt a little bewildered, trying to figure out the meaning of the scenes in the woods. But I think this was probably the point. Their relationship is, at this point, still difficult to define.
There's another great treat when I-Soo unexpectedly joins Hae-Woo's family for a very upper crust outdoor lunch,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 4 2013/06/04, "Shark" has fallen into the trap of retreading its own territory. Given that it's only the fourth episode, one would think there's not that much territory to retread. And yet, repeatedly, this episode goes out of its way to remind the viewer of facts that we had already been shown, could reasonably have guessed, or could have been better left to our imagination. Instead, a lot of facts are explicitly laid out in a fairly dull manner.
This wasn't what I was expecting after the rather shocking conclusion to the last episode, but we open up fairly quickly with an explicit surveilling of the crime scene,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 3 2013/06/03,
Han I-Soo quickly proves that he's every bit the threatening predator we've seen in the subtler parts of his personality. There are two major thematic elements of the episode. First, I-Soo wastes no time in figuring out exactly what happened to his father, though both he (and the audience) still aren't fully clear on why, exactly, this happened. The how is still all too clear.
The second major point are the implicit threats. Really, nearly everyone in this drama is pretty good about showing hostile body language while still being respectful speech-wise,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 2 2013/05/28,
Today "Shark" decides to take a sharp focus on fatherhood. In the flashback sequence of the story there are three men who are best defined by their paternal relationships. Han Yeong-Man (played by Jeong In-gi), the father of I-Soo, does quite a bit to demonstrate his decency not just as a human being, but also in that he confides a great deal to his son I-Soo. Whatever his past failures may have been, Yeong-Man keeps trying, and it's easy to see how he's earned such loyalty from his son,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shark" Episode 1 2013/05/27,
In the very first scene of this drama, lead character Han I-Soo (played by Kim Nam-gil) expresses his personal sentiments about sharks. There's an ominous air about his description- certainly, "Shark" attempts to open up to its audience by establishing that unpleasant people will do unpleasant things, and there will be reaction to that. But who, exactly, Han I-Soo is and how he came to form these opinions about sharks turns out to be a lot less direct than that,...More
Stars moving to general service channels, celebrity casting success 2011/10/08, Source,
Founded ahead of the year's end, general service channels have been announcing star-studded casts one after another. Recruiting stars is the first stage of attracting attention to newly founded channels, which is a prerequisite for success. Because of this, expending resources to establish star-recruitment power is a natural move. First target: star broadcast TV producer General service channels' first targets were broadcast television entertainment producers. Given the enormous amount of know-how required to create a drama, this meant battling with broadcasters over a short period of time and securing the production talent that would give them the best chance for a successful launch,...More
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