When "Melting Me Softly" was announced earlier this year expectations were high. The fantasy concept drama about two people frozen for twenty years had Ji Chang-wook appearing in his first return project since his mandatory military service and Baek Mi-kyeong of "Strong Woman Do Bong-soon" and "Woman of Dignity" fame as the screenwriter. But the drama ended at only 2.3%, having not done much better than that throughout its run.
The poor performance was especially surprising as another high concept fantasy dramas like "Memories of the Alhambra" and "Hotel Del Luna" had done extremely well for tvN, exceeding ten percent ratings. Even "Arthdal Chronicles", for all its relatively underwhelming performance, had a comparatively much stronger fan following. So what went wrong?
The main consistent complaint about "Melting Me Softly" that has dogged the drama is that the story showed relatively little interest in its own premise. The freezing human program defines the background of the two leads, sets off the conflict, and explains how they meet, but the drama is principally a romance, rather than an exploration of the culture shock inherent to being frozen for twenty years.
There was also an impression that Ji Chang-wook was trying too hard to be a romantic leading man, a role with which he has not had much experience in the past. Additionally, the timing for Ji Chang-wook to try such a new role was poor, as he was relatively out of practice in terms of acting, but in excellent physical condition regarding the action-oriented stuntwork he is better known for.
Whatever the reasons for the failure of "Melting Me Softly" Ji Chang-wook still has strong devotion from his fans and a great deal of good will still built up from his work on "Healer", "The K2", and "Suspicious Partner". Be that as it may Ji Chang-wook will likely choose his next project with more deliberation - having finished his mandatory military service, he is probably not as eager to jump back into a new drama quite so quickly.
Written by William Schwartz
"Melting Me Softly" is directed by Sin Woo-cheol, written by Baek Mi-kyeong, and features Ji Chang-wook, Won Jin-ah, Yoon Se-ah, Chae Seo-jin, Yoon Suk-hwa, Im Won-hee. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2019/09/28~2019/11/17, Sat, Sun 21:00 on tvN.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's News] "Melting Me Softly" Proves a Surprising Failure"
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