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5 reasons to watch Circle: Two Worlds Connected

While Circle wasn’t a perfect show, I’ve got to admit that it’s one of the stronger sci-fi kdramas I’ve run across. And as such, I do think it’s worth your time if you’ve got it to spare. Just remember you’re probably going to need to take a break every now and then—things can get intense.

1. It’s only twelve episodes.

The worst tragedy is watching a story desperately over-expand to try to fill up the space it really just isn’t meant to take. Or worse, endlessly recycle plot points or going off the rails because they have to use up every single one of their weeks because the next show literally hasn’t started filming yet. The writer, director, network, and anyone else involved in calling the shots on the length for this show made an excellent decision to limit it to just twelve episodes. Any further, and it would have required pointless plot twists or lumbering B-plots to take up air time. Circle knew where it wanted to go, and it went there in a timely fashion, for the most part. Continue reading “5 reasons to watch Circle: Two Worlds Connected”

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4 kdramas that I wish had a second season

I know, I know—second seasons are a mixed-to-terrible bag in dramaland. Franchises seem to work better overall (see: Flower Boys series, School series), but there are a couple of dramas that I think had enough story potential for a second season. When I reviewed my completed dramas, I was actually surprised by how few of my top ten dramas (I need to update this…) made it on this list.

Then again, a lot of my top tens are top tens precisely because they completed the story they wanted to tell and I was satisfied with the ending. And while my fangirl heart might want sixteen episodes of domestic bliss and skinship, I can concede that it probably wouldn’t be the best business decision. Nevertheless, here are four dramas I would be very interested in getting a second season for, though I know it’ll never happen. Beware of show-ending spoilers! Continue reading “4 kdramas that I wish had a second season”

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Closing – Four Hopes for Circle: Two Worlds Connected

Now that Circle is over, it’s time to revisit my four original hopes for the show and see just how the actual drama measured up.

Han Jung-yeon has a plot/character arc of her own. While we never actually got to the whole hey why did you come to earth in the first place mystery, I am happy to report that Jung-yeon was a character with agency and an active role in the story. She was one of my favorite characters, and I’m thrilled she held her own on screen with everyone else.

The show tackles the Smart/General Earth divide in a way that provides commentary on the real world. Not at all, actually. The closest they got was the responsibility lectures (and some of the villains still weaseled out of that), but that fell short of what I actually wanted. Nothing about privilege or class or just what sort of horrors a society will permit in exchange for security. I didn’t get my Omelas reference, either.

The future feels appropriately futurish. I’m going to have to give this one a no, too. We’ve seen the projection screens, black-and-white aesthetic, and transparent/glass stuff everywhere before–for the last fifteen or so years, at least. The cars looked like 2017 models, 97% of people in power were male, etc. Beyond the existence and implementation of the Stable Care System, very little thought was put into the rest of the world. What impact would a system that represses strong negative emotion actually look like? Why wasn’t there more crime (because, let’s face it, people can and do commit plenty of crimes without strong emotions being anywhere in the vicinity)? How did the Smart/Normal Earth populations view each other? None of it was thought out beyond the initial sketching out, which is a shame.

The mystery is a fearful, delightful ride. Solid job on this one, minus a few blips. Part one was definitely stronger in that regard than part two was, but I was still left screeching over many cliffhangers.

What did you think of Circle? How did it compare to your own hopes at the beginning of the show?

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 12 [END]

TL;DR: You know what? Good job, everyone. That was a fun ride.

Though I had some complaints about this show during its run, I’m glad I stuck with it because it was able to pull off a mostly satisfying ending. There are few things I love as much as heroes banding together to outsmart a villain and his vastly greater resources, so this final episode was a delight. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 12 [END]”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 11

TL;DR: I desperately want a reference to “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” now. Please give it to me in the final episode?

Woo-jin tried so hard in this episode and things did not turn out very well for him, which is fitting as we head into the finale. His character has consistently been in my top three through the entire show, so while I’m irritated by some of the things he did this episode, I’ve already forgiven him for basically all of it.

Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 11”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 10

TL;DR: The future timeline remembered how close it was to the finale and got back on track.

But before we get to that, I just want to take a moment to appreciate all the lovely emotional moments that happened in part one. With Bum-gyun’s memory quickly fading, we were able to see three people’s perspectives on happiness, identity, and memory, and I liked that there weren’t any neat answers. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 10”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 9

TL;DR: There are only two people left unaccounted for in the future. I am concerned.

It took us three-fourths of the show, but we have finally uncovered the crucial step between the blue bug bots and Human B, and it was an alien’s compassion for a small boy. (Perhaps I’m reading too much into Byul’s emotional capabilities back in 2007, but I’d like to think that at that point she had figured out enough about fitting into humanity that she wanted to solve Woo-jin’s problem.) It was a sweet little moment from Woo-jin’s point-of-view, but apparently it was also the one temptation all of the nearby neuroscientists couldn’t resist.

Well, with the exception of one, that is. Maybe two, if Woo-jin counts. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 9”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 8

TL;DR: I am disappointed that you chose the least interesting answer for one of the grand mysteries.

So far my greatest disappointment in Circle is the fact that the future timeline is nowhere near as emotionally engaging as the present timeline. In fact, it serves more to provide disappointing answers rather than build something worthwhile on its own. The future timeline really stalled in this episode, with way too much screen time wasted on putting people into positions instead of getting to the action. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 8”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 7

TL;DR: Why did you have to ruin something I was enjoying so much?

Everything was great through part one! I was really looking forward to talking about how Professor Han is in full-blown evil scientist mode, what it means for us as the narrative continues to pull away from Woo-jin’s perspective and focus more on Bum-gyun, and the revelation that Gyu-chul made a run for it after hiding all the crucial data.

And then part two happened, and I just want to scream. (Trigger warnings for suicide and child sexual abuse, for the record.) Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 7”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episodes 5 & 6

TL;DR: We’ve hit the midpoint, friends, and that means we have several new answers and new questions.

Jung-yeon carried the emotional weight of these two episodes, which was a welcome surprise. As more of her secrets get revealed, Woo-jin becomes shrouded in mystery himself, and that is a fun narrative switch I did not anticipate. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episodes 5 & 6”