[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 19 2017/09/27,
The final showstopper for "Criminal Minds" is an appropriate one- it looks like the drama will be closing out on an adaptation of season four episode fifteen, which centers around a copycat killer. Even the Reaper manages to get worked into all of this in a fairly satisfying way, although yikes, I'm still reminded of how the death of Gi-hyeong's wife happened way too early. Which also sums up my overall feelings. My satisfaction is directly related to how much I enjoyed the original elements,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 18 2017/09/21,
Well, this was a fairly distressing storyline, albeit mostly for the intended reason of the profiled crime of serial rape being so monstrous that doing research on it makes me feel a little physically ill. "Criminal Minds" even achieves this effect without having to resort to overly gory imagery. The cold open in the couple's house cuts off before getting too graphic, and the most painful scene in the episode is when we find out how and why one of the victims committed suicide,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 17 2017/09/20, The storyline starts out promisingly enough. The main points everyone initially emphasizes are just logistical ones, like how the serial killer has been sneaking into unoccupied rental properties in the first place. Where everything turns dumb is when we run into a survivor of his crimes. Cruel though it may be to write this, my first main impression of the woman was that...she was just really, really dumb. Who agrees to online sexual encounters in empty places in the middle of nowhere?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 16 2017/09/14,
A very good mystery hook is set up almost immediately- though lacking in any apparently obvious clues, we do know that the murderer has wacky fingers. I like this because usually, random witnesses in crime procedurals have disproportionately photo accurate memory. That the big clue is something explicitly weird and obviously noticeable tic is actually a pretty good clue, and not something a mentally ill murder suspect would necessarily even notice he was doing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 15 2017/09/13,
So the new case actually has quite a lot going on that's fairly narratively interesting. In the first place, this is really more of a three plot story than one. We've got the investigation team first, obviously. Then there's the terrified parents. And lastly, there are the three girls trapped in the cold room. So simple variety alone keeps the story interesting. Alternately, the episode is a procedural mystery, an emotional drama, and then a horror movie,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 14 2017/09/07,
It's gratifying, if horribly annoying, that the extended conclusion to the Hyeon-joon under suspicion plot ends with that all too American aggressively pro-police ending, justifying my digression last review. There was a conspiracy against Hyeon-joon, and police were involved. Yet somehow, the motives all shake out in such a way that no police officers were actually at fault. They were either tricked, or bullied into the situation by unforeseen unfair circumstances. Also one of them punches the suspect for just being too evil,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 13 2017/09/06,
So the whole hanging plays out, just as disjointedly brutal looking as the last one. That part wasn't so surprising. More amusing was how it only occurred to Gi-hyeong at the last minute that maybe the adoptive parents of the child of serial killers would maybe not want to break that news to him on the night his biological mother is being murdered by the state. Anyway, once that's over with it's on to the next case where apparently Hyeon-joon is a suspect,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 12 2017/08/31,
It bugs me sometimes just how obviously "Criminal Minds" is an adaptation of an American drama. While the death penalty is still a possible legal sentence in South Korea, there's been a moratorium on it for the last twenty years. It's just not a thing that happens, certainly not to the extent that people would have political demonstrations about it. I liked how listless the extras were holding their signs. Even they had no idea how someone could have a strong opinion on the subject,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 11 2017/08/30,
In one of the more interesting flourishes I've seen from "Criminal Minds" to date, the recap brings up previous cases which had psychological profile elements that are relevant to the main case here. I suppose that's one way to to create implied continuity. Even if "Criminal Minds" is not always the best at objective logic, if the internal logic is sound than we can at least get a good grasp on what's going on and correctly make assumptions about certain evidentiary implications and possible character reactions, while still knowing that there are lots of other unknowns out there,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 10 2017/08/24,
As expected, with the red herring revealed it's up to the criminal profiling team to locate the true culprit, who has finally and truly gone off the deep end and is now involving herself in car chases. I remember how a few stories ago I thought there would be a gratuitous car chase and was mildly surprised that didn't happen. And I guess technically this wasn't really a car chase anyway, I just can't get past the ludicrous visual of screaming children handcuffed to their seats in daily traffic and no one noticing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 9 2017/08/23,
The group dynamic of the kidnapping case this time around is slightly more interesting than usual because the team members have an actual disagreement, and the question of who is correct is left ambiguous. Up until now it's just been, the problem is presented, Gi-kyeong says what they're going to do, and Hyeon-joon comes up with an immediately accepted alternative when Gi-kyeong's initial analysis is deficient. This time, it's an open question whether or not a certain witness should be taken seriously,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 8 2017/08/17,
As murder storylines go, I must admit that insane office worker is among the more socially relevant that "Criminal Minds" could have adapted for a South Korean audience. Really, that particular psychosis is probably far more well-known in that culture than it was in the United States. This, naturally, proves to be the main overall thrust of the episode. It's less about the permanent cast and more about how Ki-tae (played by Jo Han-chul) slowly yet surely lost his marbles,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 7 2017/08/16,
Once again, "Criminal Minds" finds a weird way to mess with the fairly transparent "murder happens right away, team investigates it" format of the American original. This time it's not one, not two, but three completely different storylines one after another without so much as a segue to cue the audience into the fact that gears have shifted. Incidentally, that name drop which started the second section really caught me off guard, because I was struggling trying to remember if we'd ever actually seen that guy before,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 6 2017/08/10,
In contrast to the weird and random gimmicks that have characterized "Criminal Minds" so far, the big case this episode is structured more-or-less the same way the original American program is. The team discovers an active serial killer, and pieces together the clues to try and find the serial killer, emphasis on the criminal profile. A lot of discussion is made about mothers, since the crime in question seems specifically designed to horrify mothers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 5 2017/08/09,
For reasons that are unclear to me, "Criminal Minds" really wants to be an action cop series. We open up with Hyeon-joon assaulting and letting go of a possible perpetrator in a parking garage. Then there's a whole setpiece that goes through a park, a tunnel, and finally an ubran alley without any pedestrian or automotive presence unless the script specifically calls for it. Gi-hyeong really seems itching for a fight most of the time, even if he's not all that good at fighting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 4 2017/08/03,
In the latest bizarre misstep, "Criminal Minds" attempts of all things, serious emotional catharsis based on catastrophic fate. This isn't a brand of storytelling I dislike on general principle, it's just, that's the kind of thing you're supposed to do at the end of a series for a proper climax. Doing at the beginning is nonsensical. How in the world is Gi-hyeong's personal life supposed to be relevant to his work if we only have te vaguest idea of who Gi-hyeong is as a person right now?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 3 2017/08/02,
In a bizarre inversion of the previous story, the entire train incident only takes half an episode to resolve. Even stranger, while a big point was made of how Min-yeong (played by Lee Sun-bin) was on the train, she being the last team member, the train incident offers virtually no exposition of Min-yeong's personality or skills. Hyeon-joon actually gets more action than she does, quite literally solving the entire stand-off single-handedly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 2 2017/07/27,
Unfortunately, Seon-woo ends up being saved by dumb luck. This ends up being a decent predictor for the remainder of "Criminal Minds", which is less about characterization and more about sticking closely to the crime procedural format of the original American drama. Any ambiguity Hyeon-joon previously expressed about criminal profiling is largely glossed over, since by the end he's just a normal uncritical team member,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Criminal Minds" Episode 1 2017/07/26,
In the opener to "Criminal Minds", we meet Hyeon-joon (played by Lee Joon-gi), and his experience during a very unfortunate terrorist bomb threat. Flash forward a year later, and Hyeon-joon is a normal cop. Then, the special criminal profiling division in South Korean law enforcement takes an interest in Hyeon-joon's case, involving a serial killer. While Gi-hyeong (played by Son Hyun-joo) is the man in charge, Seon-woo (played by Moon Chae-won) is the team member who does the most talking with Hyeon-joon,...More
[Funcurve Review] "38 Revenue Collection Unit" 2017/04/29,
Swindle to the End
In "38 Revenue Collection Unit", the mantra of the 38 Tax Collection Division, a government unit in charge of collecting taxes, is - "Trace to the end, must be collected". Yet while the working class diligently pays their taxes, the wealthy elites are living outside of the law and keeping all the money to themselves with the help of their intricate web of power cahoots. That is, until the gangster-looking yet righteous Baek Seong-il (Ma Dong-seok), National Tax Service Division 3's chief, decides to join hands with a young slick-tongued conman named Yang Jeong-do (Seo In-guk), to go after them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 14 2017/03/04,
Episode fourteen of "Missing 9" is a struggle in both the story and in the meta sense. Our heroes have little to do aside from getting the pivotal recording noticed and of course the method chosen makes little sense, but generates more drama than simply going to the police. At this point we are just waiting for the end and we can only watch as the creators drag the plot out,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 12 2017/02/23,
Whatever grievances I may have with "Missing 9", I have to say that the creators are good with swiftly addressing some. The comedy in episode twelve works and the excitement is back. Most importantly, so is Tae-ho's place as the main villain and just in time for a reunion he wishes never happened. Everyone is frantically chasing after the phone, which creates entertaining urgency,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 10 2017/02/17,
More dead ends and bitter developments take place in episode ten of "Missing 9" as everyone's favorite idol psychopath somehow becomes the most powerful person in Korea and China. The survivors are being hunted and Bong-hee's allies keep dramatically shrinking in numbers. Unfortunately the episode completely drops the ball in some aspects, making its otherwise tense plot unsatisfying,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 5 2017/02/02,
If you feel that "Missing 9" has not really been delivering on the despair and tensions, episode five says hi. It also says that people are going to die and then graciously delivers on that promise. In the past, Tae-ho is an unhinged terror. In the present, Tae-yeong is an unhinged brother looking for answers. So have a seat, grab a pillow and enjoy the episode, preferably before reading about it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 3 2017/01/25,
Reunions and new acquaintances take place in episode three of "Missing 9" and things take a turn for the deadly when a killer is revealed among the survivors. Tae-yeong reaches out to Bong-hee as her memories begin to show her gruesome images and bring a mysterious anxiety to the surface. One thing is clear; nature is not the only element of threat found on that island,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entourage" Episode 13 2016/12/17,
"Im Hwa-soo" is finally in pre-production, but the troubles of Yeong-bin and his "Entourage" do not end there, as they need to work with the film's peculiar director, who even surpasses Yeong-bin in flimsy behavior. Meanwhile Eun-gap tries to gather up more actors for his agency, but he worries over a notorious playboy's condition to have Joy as his manager. That is when Idea's CEO enters and threatens the group's working life once more,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Mothers and Castaways 2016/12/10,
Welcome to another week of news with Orion. No, I do not speak about myself in the third person often. There's just some drama news this week which is exciting and terrifying, so I need to distance myself a little. First up we have the return of much beloved actress Lee Bo-young with two potential series. Both sound good and I would be sad if neither is. More worries spring from my new interest in "Missing 9", but time waits for no one, so the regular news are here as well,...More
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