4 kdramas that deserve a do-over

AKA the shows that had so much potential but ended up falling short of greatness. Look, I won’t pretend to know why each of these shows face-planted (though I’m certain that the liveshoot system played into several of the failures), but I’m always going to be sad that they did. If I had the chance, these are the four dramas I would grant a do-over:

#1 – Faith

What was great: The cast was wonderful, and I adored the romance between the leads (and the second leads). The heroine was also one of the few female time-travelers in dramaland, and she was a delight. It was a fun look into a less-common drama period, too.

What went wrong: The show needed to be four to eight episodes shorter than it was as it ended up going in circles toward the end. Magical abilities were inconsistently applied and a real-life injury forced the abrupt departure of one of the supporting cast members. The finale wasn’t foreshadowed well.

How to fix it: Cut the show down to 16 or 20 episodes and either figure out consistent magic rules or entirely scrap all magic except the time travel portal. Give us a better heads up for the ending.

#2 – God’s Gift

What was great: High-stakes murder mystery with a bit of divine intervention, conspiracies, and a race against the clock. The cast was perfect and the show knew how to end episodes with terrifying cliffhangers.

What went wrong: The plot got way too convoluted in the final stretch, giving the audience little time to digest or even understand what was going on. The much-maligned ending was abrupt and denied the heroine a way to wrap up her emotional arc. How much of the frustrating ending was influenced by the liveshoot system versus the Sewol Ferry disaster is unclear.

How to fix it: Keep the episode length but cut out a few of the subplots/red-herrings so there’s space to breathe. Give us a proper ending, dammit.

#3 – Soul

What was great: This was a terrifying horror story about a murdered girl haunting and possessing her twin sister in order to exact a bloody revenge. The show wasn’t afraid to explore the ways the system fails victims or the morality of vigilante justice.

What went wrong: Between the abandonment of themes, dismissal of in-universe mythology and rules, bizarre decisions both in logic and in character, and the utter contempt for the audience, the final act of this show was an irredeemable and unsatisfying disaster.

How to fix it: No final-stretch amnesia. Follow the already established rules re: possession. Have the psychologist actually be willing to get his own hands dirty instead of just manipulating a vulnerable teenager. Let the heroine have more control over her possession.

#4 – Wanted

What was great: Solid cast and a unique premise that allowed for some great character moments and high-stakes scenes.

What went wrong: It was just really…bland. It never reached the highs or the lows that I wanted it to. Very little of it was worth remembering.

How to fix it: Improve the reality-show-within-a-show. There were way too many episodes where the reality program ended up being just live interviews that hinged on finding witnesses or evidence in time as opposed to more adrenaline-worthy moments. The villains were dull—they need motivations other than a fridged pregnant wife and corporate greed.


What kdramas would you give a do-over to if you could?

2 thoughts on “4 kdramas that deserve a do-over

  1. mwwg says:

    I get sad for shows that start strong and then take a nose dive mid-way through. W and Surplus Princess were each completely unique and amazing shows for the first 2/3 of the run. If they were only 2/3 as long, they’d be in my top 5 shows.

    I still tell friends to watch the first 7-10 episodes of W, because it’s just that good.. but then to drop it there.

    As to Surplus Princess, I still rewatch the whole thing on occasion… but I wish they’d made it more slice-of-life like Age of Youth and avoided the rom-com trope train. If you haven’t watched Surplus Princess, it does a LOT right. If I’d been in charge, I’d have dropped the mean ex-gf, focused more on the supporting characters, particularly the awesome friendship between Jo Boa and Kim Seulgi. I mean, there you go… JO BOA AND KIM SEULGI! You could have those ladies read the phone book and it would be charming and delightful. And indeed, SP was charming and delightful, but the romances dragged down the pacing, and the episode cut killed the last episode or two. I still think you could take what was there, re-edit it to be a slice-of-life drama, and end up with something pretty great.

    I’d have also loved to do an edit on Reply 1994. I love that series, but my heart belongs to 1997, primarily because they gave us tight and funny 45 minutes episodes that were so punchy and great. 1988 was charming enough that you didn’t hate the lack of editing. But I thought 1994 was really draggy and bloated. The will-they-won’t-they aspect got in the way of caring about the primary romance, and the script sidelined the secondary characters too much to make up for it.

    • Audrey says:

      Ooof, I feel you about W and Surplus Princess. At least with SP it wasn’t entirely the writer’s fault–that one got axed abruptly–but W was just straight-up mismanagement on the writer’s part. *cries* I’m so sad about what could have been.

      I’ve heard before that the Reply sequels got pretty bloated. Self-indulgence isn’t always a good thing!

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