[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 24 2014/10/21,
The drama ends unpredictably, mostly because all of the elements that make up the climactic battle and resolution hadn't been adequately foreshadowed. A significant part of the fight against the dragon ends up taking place in the spirit realm of all places. What is the spirit realm anyway? Everybody's always heading into it for one reason or another but aside from the occasional mock fight there's no obvious reason for the place to exist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 23 2014/10/20,
This time Sadam's new power comes in the form of the ability to dominate the mind of security guards and force them to fight one another. Also he apparently has the ability to prevent anyone from commenting on this once the mental domination is over. It's been well established by now that nobody in the palace cares about random violent deaths, but even in that backdrop the inability of anyone to so much as point out the fact that Sadam is obviously some kind of evil wizard takes on pretty ridiculous proportions here. By the end of the episode he's practically reenacted the evil ritual that set the whole drama off while the entire royal court watches without comment,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 22 2014/10/14,
And in the end, it looks like everything is going to hinge on a magic oboe. Strangely this is not the most ridiculous plot development to show up in "The Night Watchman's Journal". Really, it's not even close to high-ranking. I was somewhat annoyed that most of our information about the oboe came from a msin character's flashback, making it yet another result of information that's been withheld from the audience for no good reason. But at least it's easy enough to understand why the oboe is important.
Anyway, as far as pre-existing plot threads go, Do-ha has to be rescued. And once again, the closest thing anyone has to a guard in this drama is just a sturdy door,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 21 2014/10/13,
Sadam gains yet another power this episode- the ability to teleport faraway people to other faraway places. I'm assuming that the faraway part is an important part of the skill, since there have been plenty of times up until now where he could have used this power to get nearby people away from him. But really, the man's long term plans are so inscrutable it's impossible to tell whether his long range thinking has any kind of basis in logic.
As for the heroes, well, it's been another mostly unsuccessful day,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 20 2014/10/07,
The main characters are still having a lot of trouble with the whole work as a team thing. It should be really obvious by now that they accomplish a lot more through mutual cooperation than they do by just going it alone. For what it's worth, at least this time the success the villains have in cornering the main characters makes a bit more sense. These are actively, deliberately designed traps that the heroes can't reasonably be expected to predict. They could do a better job reactively, but at least the failures make sense.
One of the few highlights in this drama are the action scenes, mostly by virtue of the fact that they involve a decent understanding of battle logistics. I like Do-ha's whip. As presented it's not actually a violently weapon. Rather, she just uses it either to disarm or immobilize enemies, which is actually really important when ghost possessions are the main problem the characters are dealing with on a frequent basis,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 19 2014/10/06,
Once again noble stupidity rules the day. It's not great but it's at least better than regular stupidity, since the characters do have reasons for lying to each other. Even if the reasons aren't very good, there's at least a long term deliberate effort here that shows they're thinking about the possible consequences of their actions. Now if only they could go into actual fights with that kind of mind-set...given that we've already clearly established that Sadam can't be easily killed even by a group, it's inexplicable why characters take shots at him alone this time around,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 18 2014/09/30,
At this point it's hard to come to any reasonable conclusion about the characters in "The Night Watchman's Journal" save that they're all really, really dumb. So there are two Do-ha's, and the ghost detector is broken. Not only do the other leads fail to identify the fake Do-ha (apparently simply asking her personal questions was considered unreasonable) they don't bother to keep either Do-ha under guard. The results are predictable and stupid.
This wouldn't be so agitating except that the fake Do-ha doesn't act like the real Do-ha at all. She's very forward, sneaky, and winsome. These words that have never at any point defined the real Do-ha's personality,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 17 2014/09/29,
Apparently Sadam has the power to create evil clones from ghost toupees. Just when I think his abilities can't get any more bizarrely weird "The Night Watchman's Journal" finds more ways to make his wizardry absurd even in the context of magic ghost hunting. For what it's worth, I didn't actually mind the trick he pulled earlier on. It's nice to finally get the question clearly answered of why the heroes don't just murder him outright, although again, considering how many enemies he has with access to assassins I'm surprised this is the first time it's happened.
Speaking of assassins, that's apparently the new plot hook, although of the many attempts made here only one actually succeeds,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 16 2014/09/23,
There's an actual story here, surprisingly enough. As usual it's pretty easy to point out the general inconsistencies. One would think that given the main characters have a ghost detecting machine, a guy whose entire job is a lifetime of experience of dealing with ghosts, and three actual ghosts with nothing better to do than stand guard at all hours, it would be pretty difficult to demonically possess one of the main characters. Still, one of these prevention devices does eventually work, even if it takes the whole episode.
The trajectory of the story here is actually a pretty passable one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 15 2014/09/22,
Sadam doesn't make much of an appearance here as "The Night Watchman's Journal" seems to be running an experiment to see how long this drama can move on without any kind of flashy actual villainous interference. It figures, really. Before it was all, let's kill people at random and start fires with magical ghost fires, but now that there's actually someone around paying attention to that stuff the action is mostly restricted to giant ghost congregations and passive combat.
The trouble is giant ghost congregations aren't really an action so much as they are just this thing that kind of exists, and it's hard to be all that impressed by something that pretty much just amounts to the casting director finding lots of extras, dressing them up in Joseon era clothing, and then have them all stand around looking at stuff,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 14 2014/09/16,
I liked the shocked expression and reactions Sadam goes into here, realizing that someone is actually fighting him on the whole sneaky ghost business. Given everything that's happened up until now it's understandable that the man is fairly perplexed. It's also understandable that his own counter-initiatives to take down the main characters prove less than inspiring,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 13 2014/09/15,
The early part of this episode doesn't even bother focusing on the heroes at all. It's just Sadam's wacky schemes and all the other villainous or semi-villainous characters are trailing behind in his wake, either impotently watching him do spooky evil stuff or impotently fuming about the fact that they can't stop him from doing spooky evil stuff. For quite some time it certainly seems that the writers have decided they don't actually have anything interesting for the heroes to do so, well, let's focus on the characters with actual motivation.
Then something amazing happens,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 12 2014/09/09,
The alleged main characters in this drama barely ever actually do anything. At first I thought it was just the usual poor writing, but this episode manages to almost become interesting when Sang-hyeon just decides, you know, maybe we should actually be proactive about the whole ghosts skulking in the night murdering innocent people thing. His efforts aren't terribly successful but at least the guy's trying. Story of his life really,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 11 2014/09/08,
At this point I'm genuinely not sure whether "The Night Watchman's Journal" is actually improving in terms of storytelling or whether I'm just relieved that the action isn't as bad and inexplicable as it used to be. They're still the nagging problem of a lack of build-up. On an episode to episode basis it seems like most of what we see could easily be skipped. One plot twist in particular should have come up some time ago,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 10 2014/09/03,
The drama seems to have finally decided that it's time for the lead characters to actually make an active effort to do stuff. Their goals aren't really very clearly defined, and Do-ha pretty much disappears, but hey, it's something. There's fights this episode! The good guys and bad guys are facing off against each other instead of messing around with this constant infighting, so at least we have an actual conflict to pay heed to now.
The storyline's also relatively easy to follow, as Sadam's techniques become more clearly defined. There's blowback to the lousy way he's been operating so far, and his efforts at a counterattack meet some form of resistance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 9 2014/09/02,
Well, apparently the whole thing with the fire ghosts was just an elaborate excuse to have the characters do a fight and rescue in the fire. This episode Sadam is right to using a whole new weapon- ghost assassinations. No, not like before, when he had a ghost kill someone. No, now he's having ghosts or spirits possess people, making them kill other people, making more ghosts, which go in a jar for some reason I'm not even going to bother trying to suss out.
I'd like to care about this, I really would. The problem is even our actual main characters don't seem to be particularly interested in what Sadam's doing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 8 2014/08/26,
This episode nearly, very very nearly, almost manages to be some decent historical ghost busting action. Part of it is just anticipation. Now that Lee-rin has the titular journal, presumably rules are going to get established about how the ghosts work and it will be up to the team to counter the Ghastly influence. That certainly seems to be the direction "The Night Watchman's Journal" appears to be going- a specific point is made of the fact that the ghost causing all the trouble this time has a specific etymological name. Alas, any such action will have to wait until next time, as the drama once again decides to just force everything to spin around in a circle as the heroes run around helter skelter with very little idea of what they're supposed to do when they finally reach the objective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 7 2014/08/25,
This drama's really obsessed with having its characters run into each other by coincidence. My best guess as to why is because the writers are still really determined to not have all the characters cooperate just yet, although there really isn't any good reason for this. It's painfully obvious at this point that they're all facing the same enemy. Fortunately they do manage to figure this out by the end of the episode, so from this point forward we're probably not dealing with that specific plot thread.
Other important revelations include us finding out what Do-ha's bracelet is for and why it was so important she get it back,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 6 2014/08/19,
Do-ha is treated rudely by nearly every single person she meets. This isn't for any rational reason, like her ridiculous outfit. On multiple occasions this episode she saves other characters for practically no reason at all. Yes, Do-ha does have the sort of distant hope that maybe they'll help her out, but for the most part it's just, Do-ha acts nice and helpful, and the other person responds by telling her to bugger off. Sadam was more thoughtful and considerate to Do-ha than any of the people she's actually supposed to be working with.
"The Night Watchman's Journal" is really taking this whole bit about stalling the plot way too far,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 5 2014/08/18,
This episode opens up with Lee Rin again trying to avoid ghosts. I'll admit there is some humor to be had in the sheer extremity of his efforts. At the same time, it's extremely aggravating that the characters in "The Night Watchman's Journal" are making such a strong effort to avoid actually doing anything. It's hard to have a drama about ghosts when a substantial portion of the cast refuses to acknowledge that ghosts exist and interrupt the characters that can see them.
Trying to keep track of character knowledge writ large is also getting to be a pretty big headache,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 4 2014/08/12,
Well the tone is at least consistent now. The king's still crazy, but since super dark and evil stuff isn't happening the ghost related antics go down a lot better. In all honesty these jokes still aren't particularly funny. Mostly they just highlight the essential problem with the character of Lee Rin (played by Jeong Il-woo). He doesn't have much motivation beyond just not wanting to be harassed by ghosts. If Lee Rin wasn't such a jerk his situation would probably come off as sympathetic,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 3 2014/08/11,
And now the drama transitions into action comedy. This would probably come off a lot better except that the beginning of this episode is still dealing with Hae-jong's insanity, and the transition is an awkward one. One minute we're going from an insane rampage and mass executions, then the next it's wacky ghost adventures. In the exact same episode "The Night Watchman's Journal" uses the fact that most people can't see ghosts both to demonstrate insanity and also to make jokes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 2 2014/08/05,
Well, the last preview was pretty misleading. In the first place, we still don't get to see the grown-up versions of the kids. All the better since these kids are really cute, even if they spend most the episode enduring tragic childhood stuff. The simple fact of the matter is the children can't do anything yet- they're too small and powerless,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Night Watchman's Journal" Episode 1 2014/08/04,
The episode starts out on the positive end, giving a basic explanation of the mystical magical universe our characters inhabit. Then we move on to the most adorable party- a bunch of children wearing small little kid hanboks and playing around just having such a wonderful time. They're so cute! I know it's not going to last since next episode they'll turn into adults. I just really wish someone would make an actual drama about kids in the Joseon era playing games wearing those adorable little costumes,...More
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