[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 12 (Final) 2018/03/28
So it turns out that Tae-yeong had correctly sussed out the fitness center scam pretty much the exact same way I did. Which makes the opening summation of the previous episode's events fairly anticlimactic. "539 Yeonnam-dong" has been very bad when it comes to properly utilizing cliffhangers. Stories should always be self-contained when possible. Putting the summation and only the summation off until next week just gives viewers more time to figure it our on their own, and that's no fun,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 11 2018/03/21
The storyline here is dominated entirely by the appearance of a rival fitness center next to the one that I-na manages. I spent most of the runtime wondering how a neighborhood that can barely support one fitness center could possibly support two, especially when the new one is offering extremely good incentive packages to customers and inflated salaries to staff. So yeah, the ending is kind of predictable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 10 2018/03/14
The follow through on Bong-tae's asexuality is disappointing. Asexuality just means that Bong-tae has a minimal sex drive. It doesn't preclude the prospect of Bong-tae entering into a relationship with romantic feelings, it just means that Bong-tae can't get aroused very easily. Then again the main evidence we've been given regarding Bong-tae's condition was a test administered while he was watching pornography. Maybe Bong-tae just doesn't like pornography,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 9 2018/03/07
Soo-ri is back again, providing us with more reminders of why I-na doesn't especially like her mother. Overall the portrayal is a bit more nuanced this time. Soo-ri starts out with a fairly serious problem and petitions Bong-tae for help. While Soo-ri naturally has an ulterior motive in mind, and the original motive isn't quite what it looks like, fundamentally, her situation remains sympathetic. So for all I-na's frustrations when it comes to her mother, we can see how a lot of this is tied up in just bog standard worry,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 8 2018/02/28
The normally broad storylines of "539 Yeonnam-dong" are condensed into just two this time. Bong-tae's confrontation with the mysterious masked villain is comically anticlimactic, as we end up lingering on Bong-tae still tied up for a moment and feeling a little ridiculous at the lack of drama. Going forward Bong-tae makes no progress in any kind of relevant investigation, instead running across a small child who happens to be I-na's daughter Chae-won,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 7 2018/02/21
So apparently that whole hospital scene that I thought was a cliffhanger was actually just the framing device for this episode. It did not, as has been implied, have any relation with the events of the previous episode. I really don't like these kinds of editing gimmicks. You can't just do a dramatic cliffhanger like that out of nowhere, there has to be some level of build-up first or the whole thing just comes off like a cheap trick,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 6 2018/02/14
So after we've had a reminder of how Jordan really, really hates his son, it's on to his ex-wife. Their conversation, while short, effectively explains both of their personalities. Neither of them hold grudges. They get along. But about the only keepsake they have between them is the aforementioned idiot son. Jordan's work always took him too far afield from home for his wife to ever be sure how much he really loved her. Their ongoing story, especially the climax, is sad and bittersweet,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 5 2018/02/07
Do-hee is ashamed of her current failures trying to break into the corporate job market, and so comes up with a mildly elaborate scheme to convince her mom that the situation is not as bleak as it looks. After a mildly amusing setpiece we then discover that apparently Do-hee's optimism was not a complete lie. Unfortunately the foundations for Do-hee's optimism were a lie, as Bong-tae has to break the bad news that she has been made victim to a scam,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 4 2018/01/31
In lieu of doing a small number of focused plots, this episode of "539 Yeonnam-dong" just does a large number of very tangentially related plots that don't have much pay-off. Instead of getting a new cybercrimes case to investigate, Bong-tae just ends up victim to a random accident. Incidentally, this accident was a much bigger deal than the drama lets on. Tasers may not be lethal but cops should still use them responsibly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Fighter Choi Kang-soon" 2018/01/27
In the opening scene of "Drama Stage - Fighter Choi Kang-soon" normal company worker Kang-soon (played by Kang Ye-won) witnesses a man on the bus taking upskirt shots of another woman with his cell phone. The ensuing confrontation goes poorly, because none of the many bystanders are willing to back Kang-soon's position. An after work dinner further reveals disturbing sexist undercurrents in Kang-soon's male-dominated workplace. By the time the cute romantic montage hits I was already screaming no Kang-soon, it's a trap! Men aren't to be trusted!,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 3 2018/01/24
While the premise of "539 Yeonnam-dong" is just unrelated people live in the same house for economic reasons, increasingly it seems like this was just a contrivance intended to give Bong-tae access to people who could personally report cybercrimes to him. I like that. Most police procedurals are too high concept to focus on minor crimes, when minor crimes are the ones normal people are most likely to report, so Bong-tae's investigations are genuinely interesting and new, if only for practical reasons,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 2 2018/01/17
I-na (played by Oh Yoon-ah) is the recently arrived manager of a local chain fitness center. Soo-ri (played by Yang Jung-won) is her generally sexy subordinate yoga instructor. While the physical attractiveness of Soo-ri in the first episode was relatively subdued, the second episode turns it up so much as to be in poor taste. The production team is sending a mixed message by saying that uploading sexy pictures of Yang Jung-won on the Internet is wrong, and then giving us an entire setpiece where she moans lasciviously in response to a massage,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 1 2018/01/11
Bong-tae (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) is a cybercrimes investigator who is appearing on a cable news program to talk about his work. Bong-tae is a moderately awkward man who doesn't look or act like a cop at all, so the question is immediately begged- what could he have possibly done to warrant being put on television? Flash back to a couple of weeks earlier, when Bong-tae runs across Ryan (played by Brian Joo) busking in the park. These apparently random events are related, although it takes some time for "539 Yeonnam-dong" to explain how,...More
[Orion's Drama News] Cohabitations and Holiday Creeps 2017/12/23
Trends, trends, trends everywhere! As we look to the holiday season and beyond, the dramas of 2018 pop around the corner to give us a glimpse of what the first season will be like. The latest trend is share houses and we have three shows coming up with the theme. "A Korean Odyssey" premieres today as well, so I am juggling my decisions and getting into the hype. Have a great holiday and drama season, folks,...More
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