너를 기억해 (Hello Monster)

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16 Episodes
A CJ E&M Production
a.k.a: I Remember You
Timeslot: Monday and Tuesday Evening, 10:00 PM
Genre: Romantic Procedural
Format: 1080i Dolby Digital 2.0 – 60 Minutes
Runs from: 2015/Jun/22~Aug/11

WITH 서인국 (Seo In-Guk) as Lee Hyun; 장나라 (Jang Na-Ra) as Cha Ji-An; 최원영 (Choi Won-Young) as Lee Joon-Ho; 이천희 (Lee Cheon-Hee) as Kang Eun-Hyeok; 전광렬 (Jeon Gwang-Ryeol) as Lee Joong-Min; 민성욱 (Min Seong-Wook) as Son Myung-Woo; 손승원 (Son Seung-Won) as Choi Eun-Bok; 임지은 (Im Ji-Eun) as Hyun Ji-Soo;

CREW Production Director 노상훈 (Noh Sang-Hoon) B-Team Director 김진원 (Kim Jin-Won) Main Writer 권기영 (Kwon Gi-Young) Executive Producer 최진희 (Choi Jin-Hee) 박지영 (Park Ji-Young) Chief Producer 정성효 (Jung Sung-Hyo) Producer 황의경 (Hwang Eui-Gyeong) 이나정 (Lee Na-Jeong) 박우람 (Park Woo-Ram) Director of Photography 박성 (Park Seong) 김경호 (Kim Gyeong-Ho) Lighting 김재선 (Kim Jae-Seon) Editor 김영주 (Kim Young-Joo) Music 이필호 (Lee Pil-Ho) Art Director 김소연 (Kim So-Yeon) Action Choreography 허명행 (Hur Myeong-Haeng) Assistant Writer 신정민 (Shin Jung-Min) Assistant Producer 안창호 (Ahn Chang-Ho) 이정 (Lee Jung)

RATINGS
AGB Nielsen Nationwide
HIGHEST: 5.3% (08/04 - E14)
LOWEST: 4.0% (06/30 - E04)
AVERAGE: 4.74%

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

I Remember You
Photo © CJ E&M, KBS

FIRST LOOK

This is a curious hybrid: you have a seemingly old school and traditionalist station (KBS, still the only thing resembling a public infrastructure in the Korean TV landscape) deciding to greenlight a project produced by what's become its biggest rival, that same CJ E&M which with its endless array of cable channels and obsessive-compulsive brand profiling has slowly morphed the geography of Korean drama into previously unforeseen (and largely unfortunate) directions. The result is a strange creature of a drama, half CJ E&M procedural and half Big 3 weekday trendy drama, schizophrenically swinging between the two “microcosms” with no restraint, no sense of form and unifying style.

You go from an introduction straight out of something that would fit quite well on OCN's copycat weekend procedurals (sans the gore and slightly sexual innuendo, I guess), to smarmy and zany interplay between characters that reminds of the worst Japanese “genre” dramas – where stereotypes abound and character interplay is painted in desperately broad strokes, as if characters were puppets moved along by the puppeteer in an incessant collection of insane tonal shifts. Kwon Gi-Young is not exactly a subtle writer, but the abject lack of structure this show suffers from should the kind of pitfall a relative veteran like her would never fall into. The mystery elements connecting past and present are so haphazardly written that by the time the occasional decent hint is thrown at the viewer, he's long stopped caring – perhaps because characterization feels disarmingly flimsy instead of the intriguingly coy ambiance Kwon was probably hoping to ooze.

Of course if Noh Sang-Hoon had a better cast to work with, things wouldn't be so miserable: Jang Na-Ra's work has shown no redeeming value in over a decade thanks to her being trapped in an endless typecasting loop, and she's long past the point of no return; cast her in anything even remotely serious, and you'll lose credibility in an instant. Her tentative not to succumb to her usual hyperactive overacting tendencies at the beginning is almost poignant, as if witnessing a dysentery-afflicted person trying to curb his urges in front of a cue at the toilet. Add the usual abundant amount of posing by Seo In-Guk (who keeps getting leading roles although he hasn't shown any of the charisma and star power necessary to earn them), and you have a recipe for disaster.

Any epiphany cable TV achieved in catering to certain niches was established after years of painstaking brand image-building efforts, it's not something you can create out of thin air. If the big 3 want to become relevant again they need to understand that “drama” as the all-encompassing potboiler filled with every dramatic element you can think of (melodrama, action, romance, comedy, thriller, mystery) is a thing of the past; a child of the 1990s, when the big 3 primetime weekday dramas would combine for 85% in the ratings, destroy every other entertainment source in terms of relevance, be on everyone's mouth the morning after and lead to ancillary revenue because they created trends and didn't need to follow them. K-drama has now down-sized to a blip on the popular radar that fails to realize it's no longer hip, and doesn't even try to fulfill its untapped potential for diversity. If they want to diversify, they need to modernize first. And it starts from the idea of abandoning the delusion that adding a few hackneyed genre dynamics to the usual zany star vehicle will help change the audience's perception of what this wasteland has become.

Which is an embarrassment.

ACTING GRADES

65 전광렬 (Jeon Gwang-Ryeol)
64 임지은 (Im Ji-Eun)
64 이천희 (Lee Cheon-Hee)
61 최원영 (Choi Won-Young)
60 서인국 (Seo In-Guk)
60 민성욱 (Min Seong-Wook)
55 손승원 (Son Seung-Won)
51 장나라 (Jang Na-Ra)

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