"Survival " reality shows have been done in every way imaginable. Most look scripted and thankfully have limits their concepts cannot cross. So what if we take their core concept over to fiction, spice up the conflict, add a murderous participant and remove the outside world entirely? Welcome to "Missing 9"; an interesting idea which creates good entertainment, until it sadly becomes too derailed to enjoy.
"Missing 9" starts of with the only known survivor of an entertainment agency's plane crash at the time, Ra Bong-hee (Baek Jin-hee). The woman is suffering from memory loss, but she is also the only one who knows about the fate of the people she was with. The genre is "Missing 9" is hard to define. A suspense mystery would be close, at least for part of it. Its tone is mixed, which I will elaborate on.
Aside from a few elements, the drama is pretty straightforward. It has fun characters who are surprisingly layered for an otherwise outlandish story. The actors have great chemistry as a group, which is especially useful in keeping some of the less exciting segments engaging. There is a precursor of a romance between the leads, but it does not govern the story and it manifests as a loving friendship, which is always good to see.
The first half of the drama taking place on the island makes good use of everyone's chemistry and relationships, but the mystery of the characters' fate is really where the entertainment value lies. We are slowly given pieces of the truth as the plot chips away at the unknown. The series misleads and manipulates the viewer very nicely and mostly intentionally, making the story gripping.
I say "mostly intentionally", because the series sadly does suffer from major plot errors. Things go particularly downhill during the latter half, after the mystery is solved and the fate of the other survivors is known. The writer has nowhere to go, they keep adding forced obstacles and the main villain turns into an invincible cliche. My series reviews are spoiler-free, but all I will say is that his story's conclusion is nonsensical as well.
The series additionally has editing and pacing issues. There are several glaring mistakes, including an entire flashback scene which seems to have been aired by accident, as it contradicts later revelations. The creators never address this. The humor is also very erratic. Outrageous slapstick comedy scenes pop up amidst serious dramatic happenings and some important parts are turned into a gag.
"Missing 9" is very difficult to like and sad to criticize. The foundation set by the premise is solid, the actors and characters are highly enjoyable and parts of the story are quite entertaining. It is a shame that what starts off as a good series quickly deteriorates, leaving "Missing 9" an empty, incoherent shell of its former self.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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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] "Missing 9""
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