KBS2 might be a station the efforts in creativity of which often feel sabotaged from within, but it cannot be said that it does not at least give creators opportunities to air shows that do not exactly sound like the most marketable type. Espionage-family hybrid drama 'Spy - Drama' has made its entrance and it is not what most probably expected. At the moment, this is a very good thing.
The first notable thing about the drama is how it resists the temptation of big action sequences and relying on its spy elements alone to capture its viewers. Most works use action to make what is on the screen entertaining, but characterization and plot progression are often sacrificed in the process. This drama instead keeps a good balance between spy work and family, making it feel subtle, story-focused and for the most part realistic.
A good story about espionage plays a lot on betrayal and the series has done quite well in raising suspicion for many characters, as all of their relationships and past are still largely unknown. This makes one curious, which is much needed at this point, as viewers have not gotten to know the characters enough to care about them and their fate out of sympathy. The series therefore makes sure they do so out of curiosity. As things keep going deeper and characters develop, these mysteries will add to it all.
Despite this not being an action-heavy show, it proves visual and audio quality matter a lot in all kinds of stories. The series looks and sounds very beautiful in its premiere episodes and this makes it very immersive. A lot of more story or character interaction dramas rely on just pointing and shooting, with very little effort in each scene, its focus and conveying things about it visually. 'Spy - Drama' puts in that extra, but much needed, effort and it shows. Its use of lighting is also great for its atmosphere.
The biggest problem at the moment is the show's slightly stock and uninspiring characters. With the exception of the mother character and her husband, the rest have not made a strong entrance in terms of characterization, having mostly been used in the espionage part and plot progression. But the biggest problem is how little the mother-son relationship was explored aside from the basic loving family introduction. For a show which will rely on it, it needed a bit more of a focus on those two together, which it did not deliver.
While the villain is blood-curdling and very nicely acted, he is also lacking in characterization right now, being a simple bad guy with a thirst for revenge. His past and his connections with the mother character are intriguing, but a villain who is only there to be scary will get boring after just a few episodes. Hopefully, his ideology and personality will be explored more, which would just make him more human, more like us and therefore scarier.
'Spy - Drama' might have a few minor issues, but its premiere week was quite impressive and surprising. If it maintains its balance between duty and family, strengthen its mother-son bond and continue with its unwrapping of the past and present, it will be one very good show. It made a quality start, compared to the usual standard, so let us hope it keeps this up.
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] "Spy - Drama""
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