Doctor Stranger (2014 Korean Series)

Korean Title: 닥터 이방인

Doctor Stranger is an impressive drama by many counts. The plot and story is so good that you would brush aside production anomalies, like why is he holding onto her injured arm (at the bridge, she had a gunshot wound to the right shoulder).

It’s tagged as a thriller, and it lives up to the classification. This is a good thing. The situation lends itself to this because their lives are constantly being threatened.

Everything about the story was good… except the ending. The final episode, I was filled with expectations of how it might end. Was she a spy all along (starting from the night he was supposed to meet her father)? What was their mission? Why did the President make that decision? Could the whole story be tied together such that it goes back to the beginning? There is so much potential in the story to be so.

Pinocchio (2014 Korean Series)

Korean Title: 피노키오

This is a very well-written drama.

There is a disclaimer for this show. The “Pinocchio” syndrome in the show is fictitious, and not a real syndrome or condition. This disclaimer is stated in text at the beginning of each episode.

When I first saw the disclaimer, I was a little put off by it, because it gives the impression that this story is like a fairy tale. It’s already fiction, and this impression further reduces the realism of the story. This doesn’t lend seriousness to the production.

It also gives off the vibe that there isn’t enough “story” to go round that they needed to borrow some story from the fictitious syndrome.

However my initial impressions due to the disclaimer was shattered as the show plunged immediately into the gravity of the story — in all seriousness. It was that good. The writer managed to integrate the “Pinocchio” syndrome into a story carrying serious tones.

In addition, the writer managed to use the syndrome without abusing it.

The only other qualm about this show is the romance plot. As you know, the promotional poster clearly showed romance in the story, but it felt like the romance was squeezed in to fill time. It wasn’t done properly. That, I felt was a pity for this production.

Monster (2016 Korean Series)

Monster (2016) is a good story. But it is not well written.

The main characters are well-constructed, but a notable character was extremely disappointing. In the show, he was supposed to be a very high profile “boss,” but turned out to be too stupid to be in that position, putting Kang Gi Tan through extreme torture, which was torturous to watch. Skip forward (to the next episode).

A gunshot wound to the head of the male protagonist… make a guess if he will survive it. Hmmm.

EDIT @ Ep 31:

The story never fail to disappoint. It will bring you up to a boil with tension and anticipation… like a kindled campfire, burning… burning… then something happens, and sand and water is poured over that fire. A complete wet blanket. A super downer. Every time something exciting seems to happen or is going to happen, all that tension and anticipation gets wiped out, soon enough. It’s frustrating, and this is an undesirable emotion because it’s not something we feel for the characters in the story, but directed at the repeated pattern of the show. It has become tiring to watch on.