Hi! It’s Annie!
Back with another episode of this series from Friday and I really can’t say it’s been picking up too much yet. But we did get some new plot developments and another episode of great acting! However, this show still has yet to actually really sell me. And it, once again, has nothing to do with the acting and everything to do with the writing. But before I get into that, I would like to remind any new people to the blog that I am an ATEEZ fan. I try to write these reviews in as unbiased a way as possible towards the show, but that doesn’t mean it won’t seep in every once in a while. So, with that out of the way, I’m just going to jump into it! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
The Acting- As always, the acting is great in this show. The characters are adorable and the actors who play them really sell them. I still can’t pick out an actor in this show who I think is doing a bad job. Everyone just seems to have their heart in the right place and a great understanding of the characters that they’re playing. But right now I have to give a whole lot of credit to San who plays Minsoo, because he’s not on screen much but his acting is already scene-stealing.
The Side Characters- These are the characters that just steal my heart every single time. This episode we got much more of Yujin, and I loved every moment he was on screen. Yes, this is my Yunho bias showing a little, but he was really great. He drove in the middle of the night to pick up Maha and also tried to buy her some more time so that she could sleep. Very much boyfriend material. We also got to see just a little bit more of Sparkling. We haven’t seen their debut on the show yet but I sincerely hope that it’s coming soon. I also really like the characters of Hyunji and Riah! I feel like they’re some of the major characters that keep the show grounded and enjoyable for me. Hyunji is absolutely adorable and I love the sass Riah has. I feel like Riah is probably my favorite character in this show so far. She’s not only very relatable, but her voice is absolutely beautiful as well.
Sparkling- This might just be my fan-girl side coming out, but I loved what we saw of the group dynamics for Sparkling this episode. For the first time we saw what the group is like, which was both amazing and kind of funny to me. Yoojin comes back from driving Maha home and is immediately caught and penalized for being out after hours with a girl. Both are major rules that he just broke. We see, before he runs out worried to pick up Maha, that the only non-ATEEZ member, Hyunoh, is watching him. And from his reaction when Yoojin comes back, Hyunoh was the one who reported him. The actor who plays Hyunoh is doing a great job and the members of ATEEZ have already talked about missing him since filming is over, but I just thought it was funny that he’s playing an antagonist to Yoojin. Minsoo was there to comfort Yoojin and Seyoung looked disapprovingly over Hyunoh. We also saw the members of Sparkling dance to ‘Wave’ by ATEEZ this episode. Huge shout out to Soowoong who plays Hyunoh because he looked seamless joining the members of ATEEZ in that dance. I also loved the reference, obviously.
The Main Characters- They still aren’t selling me, and I think part of it is because I feel like something is missing here. Generally the first episode takes more time to establish the main characters, but the show seems to be focusing more on moving certain plot points along. We got more development for them this episode, which was great. They were better than last episode certainly. But they still don’t feel relatable. It doesn’t feel like I can connect to them on any sort of personal level yet. It doesn’t help that Ryok is still supposed to be closed off so it’s hard to get anything from him. But I at least liked that we got some funny moments with his manger this episode. Maha’s character so far is almost entirely based off of depressing moments from her past that make people in the present feel sorry for her. And while it’s good to show that she’s strong and been through so much, there has been little to no development on who she is now as a person. I want to know who she is in the present. This show just seems to be struggling when it comes to character development.
Compelling Story- This sounds really harsh, I know, but I think this is where the show is failing the most. The concept of the show is certainly compelling, especially because they got actual idols to portray idols. But the show’s plot itself moves very slowly and doesn’t explore anything that really seems to draw in the viewer. After a couple hour long episodes we still haven’t seen all of the groups debut even though there’s only twelve episodes over-all, which is pretty short for a K-drama. While this episode finally dealt with giving the main girl group a name and a better CEO to work under, the entire episode just felt like it was dragging its feet. Unfortunately, the ratings of the show reflect what I just said. Though I can’t be too sure if this is also due to a poor marketing strategy. This is just one of those shows that you can look away from and you probably didn’t miss too much.
Abandoned Characters: This show just has a habit of pushing characters to the background and forgetting about them or forgetting that past side characters every existed. For example, last time I discussed a character who was very depressed. And while they didn’t sensationalize that plot line in the way I feared they would, they kept referring to the character as “the incident”. This also makes me a little worried about how the show will deal with darker themes or even if it’ll try to do it at all. Because while I didn’t want them to take things too far, the way they were referring to this character felt borderline dehumanizing in the very least.
Over-all, I am enjoying this show. But in the interest of being honest, I have to say that I am enjoying this show purely because I like seeing the members of ATEEZ act. I think the show so far has major struggles when it comes to plot and character development, which are quite possibly the two most important qualities of a show. If I didn’t like ATEEZ I don’t really think I would be watching this drama and, if I had even found out about it, I probably would have stopped watching after the first episode. This isn’t to say that the drama is completely bad, and it could very well get much better. But if you are just looking for a drama to watch right now, I’m not sure I would recommend this. If you are an ATEEZ fan, it’s always fun to watch them do just about anything. But this is only two episodes in, so it could get much better! From an Atiny perspective, with the amount of views this show is getting it feels like we’re getting much more new fans from ‘Kingdom’ right now and barely any from this show. I don’t actually think this show did much to market itself and relied mostly on the social media of the idol groups. I know they have a good fanbase, but that doesn’t mean they’re all going to watch your show and it definitely doesn’t draw in new viewers. So if we can’t support ATEEZ as well here, even though we will all certainly try, we can always support them on ‘Kingdom’ if that’s what you’re looking to do as an Atiny! And if you aren’t, I wouldn’t exactly blame you for skipping this one.
See you across the pond!