Gaining the love of audiences is quite easy when those audiences feel their needs are a priority. "Blood" received a lot of criticism for its two leads' acting skills and that criticism is accurate. However, it would be unfair to say that this is the only problem of the series. It would also be unfair to say there is nothing good here to be found. It all comes down to balancing the bad with good. Unfortunately, that is where "Blood" fails.
Park Ji-sang (Ahn Jae-hyun) is no regular genius doctor. His secret is the illness he was born with, a condition similar to folkloric vampirism. After his parents are killed while trying to find a cure for it, Ji-sang spends his time searching for that same cure and the people who killed his mother and father. Lee Jae-wook (Ji Jin-hee), the man responsible for their deaths has an different plan. To create the perfect form of the disease and cure humanity of what he perceives as a flawed existence. When Ji-sang enters the hospital Jae-wook is in, he meets Yoo Ri-ta (Ku Hye-sun), a woman who will become a loved one and ally.
It is always interesting to compare results to expectations and always a welcome outcome when good results satisfy pessimistic expectations. Romance in Korean drama is often very stale, repetitive and riddled with problematic elements, but it also tends to take over stories it should not take over. Despite the acting shortcomings of Ahn and Koo, their characters' romance is one which is well presented, based on realistic emotions, even if not circumstances, and most importantly, it is woven well into the plot.
The drama also attempts some basic exploration of humanity, religion and science, ethics in medicine and other such quite heavy topics and while shaky in its messages and conclusions, the effort does generate some food for thought and an occasional inspired moment. When the villains do settle into a less than caricaturish existence, the moral aspect of the good vs. evil battle has its moments too, as short-lived as they might be. The execution and lack of clarity are what keep these elements from forming a good whole, but they are still ambitious ideas.
Nevertheless, good ideas do need good execution and "Blood" falls flat in that from even its most basic element. The vampirism featured in the series is sadly a gimmick. It never really matters on its own and just aims to provide conflict and cheesy action scenes, as well as the few age- and death-related discussions. However, it could have easily been any other infection and perhaps a more realistic one would have spared the show some embarrassing fantasy moments.
The serious problems are too many and drag the entire plot down. Its structure itself is messy, spending too much time with the heroes disconnected from the main idea and villains too cartoonish and lacking any depth to engage. The show's correction of this later comes a bit too late. The dialogue can be painfully bad, its messages are interesting, but often contradicting, its plot twists so painfully predictable one could make a drinking game out of guessing them and there are plot holes and even basic continuity mistakes such as disappearing characters that reveal a badly planned writing process.
Despite its problems, "Blood" is not an entirely boring show to watch. A frustrating one, no doubt and the bad acting from its two leads manages to sully many a good moment they are given, but entertaining in its own way. Even so, entertaining does not mean good and seeing some good ideas handled by messy writing is not something which can be swept under the rug. How entertaining it is also depends on how seriously one takes the show, this one being the type one should not take too seriously to enjoy.
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 Review] "Blood""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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