Summer Thriller with Korean Dramas

What a better way to spend your summer leisure time on than to enjoy some thriller Korean dramas that are bound to keep you refreshed. Aside from the romance dramas like Fight My Way and My Sassy Girl, have a go at these recommendations for some adrenaline rush!

This summer, Criminal Minds (South Korean TV series) debuted on tvN with similar references based on the original tv series Criminal Minds by CBS, America. The story plot unfolded with a serial killer case which drew the attention of Kang Ki Hyung (played by Son Hyun Joo) and team members, and Kim Hyun Joon (played by Lee Jun Ki), an ex-SWAT office who transferred to the Violent Crimes Unit as an investigator.

Credits: tvN

Starring Lee Jun Ki, veteran actor Son Hyun Joo, Moon Chae Won, Lee Sun Bin and others, the drama has been highly discussed since its making. Based on the original American series, fans were both anticipating and dubious if the Korean production could live up to the former’s name. After all, the American series has been highly successful to promote the scientific field of criminal profiling. Thanks to the portrayal, yet undeniably dramatic, of criminal profiling in the American series, the investigative tool has achieved skyrocketing popularity among both mass media and public. This is parallel to that of public’s perception of forensic science, attributed to the various NCIS series too.

However, Criminal Minds (Korean series) does not seem to be living up to the hype it started with. Ratings began high at 4.9% but gradually fell through the next episodes. While fans were treated to a different genre of thriller and crime-solving drama, some responded that the Korean production was definitely far behind the original series, lacking the fast pace and presence of deducible criminal profiling (from audience’s perspective) in the drama as compared to the American counterpart.

In my opinion, this may be due to the characteristic plot development in the Korean drama. Unlike the American series, this production is typical of a Korean production. In comparison, it has a slower progress in plot , as one serial killer case extends beyond one episode, magnification of individual roles, each with their backgrounds and struggles to overcome, and the intertwining relationships among the characters. Perhaps, I would recommend for the audience not to be fixated at the connection with the American series. Instead, enjoy the series for what it is and not what it is based on. The murder cases still lure one to uncover the face behind each chilling murderer.

Credits: tvN

Next up, I had quite an unexpectedly surprising experience watching Circle: Two Worlds Connected, starring Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Kang Woo, Gong Seung Yeon. Initially, the sci-fi drama was puzzling and confusing as the story swang between two worlds: 2017: Beta project and 2037: Brave New World.  Adding to the complexity of the plot, the drama opened with the past witness of an alien’s arrival by two twins who became the center of the storyline. Alien + Two Worlds = Mind-blowing drama experience.

However, the drama was short but impactful. Every episode held onto the suspense and kept me guessing who was who and what happened to the twins and the alien. As the connection between the two worlds became clearer and the characters fought against the system, the drama once again pushed me into deeper thoughts about the significance and relevance the drama has to our modern world. The “alien” became a symbolic representation of current and future scientific breakthroughs which would challenge humanity. Here, I hesitate to mention more about the storyline before I spoil it.

This production differed greatly from the usual Korean dramas I have watched, hence I was quick to dismiss it in the beginning. I believe you might do the same. For this, I would recommend watching to episode four, where the ending provided a huge turning point that would arouse your curiosity and throw you off course thinking, “wasn’t him supposed to the… brother…?”

Credits: JTBC

And the final recommendation to lighten the heavy mood set by the above two dramas is Man to Man starring Park Hae Jin, Park Sung Woong, Kim Min Jung and Chae Jung An. The cute romance is bound to make your hearts flutter while the comedic bromance between the roles of Park Hae Jin and Park Sung Woong is definitely going to brighten your day with laughter.

The plot revolves around Bodyguard Kim Seol Woo (played by Park Hae Jin), who went uncover beside Yeo Woon Gwang (played by Park Sung Woong) and Cha Do Ha (Kim Min Jung). Seol Woo, alongside his trusty superiors, was up against and determined to apprehend the antagonist. However, it did not take too long before his uncover role was blown… Well, best to let the trailer speak for the drama itself!

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