Those familiar with OCN's series know that the channel is not one to break formula in any major ways. While its shows are very different to the usual Korean drama, they are still very much limited by a different type of mold that the channel has created for itself. Some of its series have changed things up, but usually in minor ways not related to the basic setup. This is where "Reset" and its different structure come in.
OCN shows are usually a combination of procedurals and a main plot. Be it a vampire looking for his sister's killer or a medical examiner fighting his own brain, those parts of their main plot are spread thin throughout a season and show in its entirety. The cases in-between are unrelated to the main plot, which is mostly forgotten after the introductory episodes and until the season's final ones. 'Hero' tried connecting all its cases to the main one, but bad writing means those cases fell into the protagonist's lap in a contrived manner. "Reset" follows that path, but makes the connection logical.
So the series is very much focused on the main plot so far, with each individual case being related to the big one in Cha Woo-jin's (Chun Jung-myung) past. One thing that helps in that focus is the lack of an unnecessary gimmick. Woo-jin's ability to hypnotize suspects and his memory loss are a big part of things, but they matter in concrete ways in how the events unfold. Removing them would change this work significantly, in contrast to most shows by this station, where those twists in "crime with a twist" often feel unnecessary.
The most interesting part of "Reset" is by far its protagonists. The story that surrounds them is a mystery being explored and opened up in every episode, but it is their flawed nature which makes their development something one can be invested in. Woo-jin is a cold man and one who will dive into corruption if necessary. He enters dangerous situations and deals in an almost suicidal manner and he himself is the biggest mystery here. Eun-bi (Kim So-hyun) is also a pleasant surprise. As someone who has lived as a juvenile delinquent, a teenage prostitute and criminal, her path is appealing to watch, as such female characters do not appear in dramas often, in a leading role.
While the lack of a gimmick and diversity in the cases explored serve the main plot better, they can also make the series underwhelming for viewers that do not have an interest in that main case explored. The thing with these twists in crime shows by this channel is, they do keep one's attention well and can create the illusion of watching a fresh show each time. "Reset" is really just a story about a serial killer with a connection to the protagonist. For those who need more spice in their crime, it might feel boring.
A worrying issue is that, despite Eun-bi being a lead, it is clear that dramas are not used to having that type of a character leading a story. As she is not working in law, the series has to be creative in giving her screen time and connecting her to the action, which will likely lead to contrivance sooner or later. They are having trouble incorporating her and she feels like a side character. This is so far more of a solo piece, with Woo-jin in the center and everyone existing around him.
"Reset" feels very different to most series of this type. Its focus on one big case is both a good idea and a bad one, depending on the audience watching and the creators' ability to develop it well or not. Should they run out of ideas, having nothing else to focus on might lead to messy writing and the plot dragging. However, there are no signs of that happening yet. "Reset" is intriguing and quite thrilling at this point. It will hopefully stay that way until the end.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Reset""
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