I have three meters by which I generally measure a drama: acting (that’s generally a pretty easy standard to meet), a drama’s willingness to act its genre, and a certain special something I can’t define but nevertheless measure my enjoyment by. Today’s post is all about the second requirement. Directing, writing and acting can all carry a certain tone, and when they tug in opposing direction it can make a messy drama. When they all work together… well, that’s pretty magical.
When I first picked nominees for this award I did so off the cuff, not really thinking. Well, that was a mistake, because I’ve since changed my mind–but you’ll never know, since I updated the index post. There were just too many good ones this year: Marriage Contract (bittersweet romance), the K2 (action’s action), Signal (gritty cops), Entertainer (underdog’s world), W: Two Worlds (superheroes), Shopping King Louis (puppy love). I won’t go through the resumes of each first, so let’s just get right into what won:
I had a reaaaally hard time picking this one, and it’s not just because I ended up redoing the candidates. I even went back and rewatched “best moments of” videos for each of these series, just to remind myself of how it felt to watch the drama. One by one I found myself picking off different dramas: the K2, for the awkward slapstick comedy. Shopping King Louis, for the murder, mayhem and kidnapping. W: Two Worlds, for the shift from “superhero wants the story” to “superhero wants out” that could have been executed more clearly. Signal, for a slight breakdown in the last two episodes and out of place ppl (I’m sorry, but it was reaaally obvious at times). In the end there was only Marriage Contract and Entertainer left. Interesting, because these were the two that brought back all the feels when I rewatched the “best of” videos. And I won’t deny that Marriage Contract already winning something influenced my decision.
Still, Entertainer won on its own merits. From the very first episode–from the first ten seconds–I knew this drama would be something special. It had an awareness of itself; it started with ABBA and took us through some other great music. It took on every aspect of the underdog story. It had the contempt of the public, the unsuitable members, and the seasoned veteran working against them. Better, it took on the entertainment industry itself as a secondary enemy: the reporters, the netizens, the rules of the game.
I loved the bromance as well, something at the heart of every good underdog tale. No rag-tag band of anything would be worth their salt if they didn’t have a healthy dose of bromance to go with them. They were amazing.
The slow burn romance was great, too. I thought the show would misstep in one of the first episodes when there was a kdramatic explosion of sparks between the two… not that I would have minded more movement on that front later on. But it steadied out into a slow burn romance, full of feeling but real stingy on the action. Which, in my opinion, is perfect for the genre. It really had everything perfect for the genre, including a tightly written plot to go with the emotional beats. I don’t think it was given enough popular credit for the full circle it drew so wonderfully, or the resolution it gave to the story. So thank you, Entertainer, for the wonderful ride.
Tune in tomorrow for another day of Christmas!