SBS seems to be enjoying an experiment with suspense and the real-time format at the moment. Both "God's Gift - 14 Days" and "Three Days" take place in the amount of time seen in their title and this means the way their stories are told is very different to the way we are used to seeing them in Korean drama. The suspense element and mysteries are also adding to the tricky nature, making the works' success or failure a potential standard that the industry will follow or avoid in the future.
In contrast to the more personal approach of "God's Gift - 14 Days", "Three Days" is going for exciting action and political conspiracy intrigue. With barely any introduction to the characters, the series goes for the big event, the assassination attempt, after which it slowly and methodically reveals little bits and pieces about it and the bigger picture, keeping viewers invested both in how the current issues will be resolved and the story that led to them. The same goes for the characters, who start off as quite hard to really get a read on or feel for, but slowly get characterized through their actions, backstory and connection to the events taking place.
The cast is very important in this one. As already mentioned, characterization is very slow and the characters mostly lack scenes showing who they are outside of work and in more personal and human context. This means that the actors involved, along with the writing and directing, have to keep viewers invested and interested in seeing these characters develop. A lesser cast would have created a problem there, since it is the people involved that make any turn of events exciting or boring, based on their roles in those events and how much one wants to know about them.
There is, however, one quite distracting flaw in the series, which seems to be gone in episodes 3 and 4 and will hopefully stay gone. The handling of melodrama and potential romance. For one, the more emotional scenes on Tae-kyeong (Park Yoo-chun) and his father's death come too early and before easing viewers into forming an emotional connection to him. The fact that they also present them in an overly dramatic way, complete with overly dramatic music, makes it feel forced and really not at home with an otherwise cool suspense action thriller. The potential romance is also just unnecessary and comes off as quite silly an idea. Having a flashback to the sounds of a romantic ballad after only the second time you have met someone and while there are more pressing matters at hand is not in keeping with the genre and tone.
The worry here stems from two things. One is that, despite their great talent in writing suspense, the writer shows incompetence on how to write personal scenes that are in keeping with a different style of drama. This series cannot afford to follow the formula in any part of it, because it will feel disjointed from the rest of it, which is anything but a typical drama. The second worry is that they might bring these flaws back. Unfortunately, this is always a fear when it comes to the three main terrestrial stations. The core audience of those loves their romance and their melodrama. This means that a lot of series trying something new in those stations get pressured into adding those elements when ratings are less than satisfactory. To a series like this, where there is no need or place for excessive crying, personal problem angst and romance, that could be catastrophic.
"Three Days" might get shaky at times and there are gaping holes in logic here and there, but given it is also quite action packed and fast-paced, those feel minor and do not really harm the main appeal, which is the conspiracy, mystery and future of the very government, along with all the players involved. Nicely filmed, well acted and thrilling, it is so far one very exciting and well made ride with a gripping plot. If they can keep that plot free of major holes and problems and if they do not make the mistake or are forced to add certain tropes for ratings, this will be a very exciting work.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Three Days""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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