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?