First Impressions: Lawless Lawyer, Come Here and Hug Me, About Time, Miss Hammurabi

To be honest, watching the pilot episode of each of almost all the dramas that have made it to our screens so far this year is making me a bit jaded, seeing repetitive themes and familiar tropes. However, this batch of dramas has restored my faith that there are still more stories yet to be told. They may not shy away from the current conventions, but they managed to be unique, mainly because of their excellently written characters.

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Lawless Lawyer
Network: tvN
Genre: Legal, Thriller
No. of Episodes: 16 episodes (60 mins)

Our first drama is none other than legal drama Lawless Lawyer starring Lee Joon-ki, Seo Ye-ji, Choi Min-soo and Lee Hye-young. This drama’s pilot episode, I dare say, has done everything right–from story to the directing–to make it a fun and engaging watch. But what I did enjoy the most are the show’s strong-willed characters. Lee Joon-ki was spot-on in his portrayal of the unorthodox lawyer Bong Sang-pil who’s determined to take a revenge against those behind his mother’s murder. He tries to gain what he wants not by breaking but by taking advantage of the law. He’s confident, skillful, and yes, VERY SEXY. Meanwhile, rising actress Seo Ye-ji was also not short of being great in giving life to the hotheaded lawyer Ha Jae-yi whose fists, sometimes, act quicker than her mind. She knows her values well and she won’t let anyone just step on it. When it comes to the plot, it’s complicated and fast-paced but it’s surprisingly not hard to understand.

Verdict: My measure of a great pilot episode is when it has successfully introduced us the story’s hero, his background, and his end-goal, all of which were successfully achieved by Lawless Lawyer. Add to the solid story, a pairing which has overflowing chemistry, then there’s nothing you would ask for more. Check Unica Ahjumma‘s review of this drama and see how she fangirls over Lee Joon-ki the series.

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Come Here and Hug Me
Network: MBC
Genre: Melodrama, Romance, Thriller
No. of Episodes: 32 episodes (35 mins)

Next, we’ve got MBC’s Come Here and Hug Me, the melodrama starring first-time leads Jang Ki-yong and Jin Ki-joo. It’s a story of a man and a woman whose fates are intertwined because of a murder case that happened in their childhood. Sounds heavy? It actually is. Jang Ki-yong plays an aspiring police officer whose father murdered an actress who happens to be the mother of Jin Ki-joo’s character Gil Nak-won. At present, Nak-won is an aspiring actress suffering from PTSD. We’ve only got a glimpse of these two actors in the first episode but they have managed to give off a very strong presence, especially Jang Ki-yong. His is a complex character but this model-turned-actor managed to portray it with so much depth that I could have expected. The way he stares at people in the scene where he confronted the fellows who were talking about his psychopath father’s criminal past were very intense, it’s actually piercing. And after that scene where a tear rolled down his face as he realized he’s seeing Nak-won on tv convinced me another great actor has been born. This brought me to the question: how could we only discover him now when he could act this well. But even if Jang Ki-yong was amazing, watching our Nam Da-reum played his younger counterpart made me want to stay in the past timeline a little bit longer. This kid is growing so fast, he’ll have a show of his own any time soon. But the real standout in the first episode was veteran actor Heo Joon-ho who played the psychopath Yoon Hee Jae. Dear Lord! His stares were enough to send chills to my bones. I was actually nervous every time he’s on screen, dreadfully anticipating he’ll murder someone in the show.

Verdict: All hail to the Dramagods who prevented Nam Joo-hyuk and Suzy from becoming this show’s leads because I couldn’t imagine them breathing life to these emotionally scarred characters as wonderful as our current pairing. I’m no hater but these types of roles deserved competent actors. Final say? COME HERE AND WATCH ME.

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About Time
Network: tvN
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
No. of Episodes: 16 episodes (60 mins)

Now let’s move to a lighter drama that is About Time. This tvN fantasy romance is about Choi Michaela (Lee Sung-kyung), an aspiring theater actress who can see lifespan clocks including her own, and Lee Do-ha (Lee Sang-yoon), the man who can stop her time. So why would Michaela need a time-stopper? It’s because she’s only got a little over100 remaining days to live. The first episode showed a lot of coincidental encounters between the two characters grooming the viewers for the great reveal of their fated connection. There were some cute scenes but they’re not enough to hook you in one go. Its main selling point is it’s relatively new concept but I found it wasted because the pilot episode was really dull. The show’s predictability didn’t work in their favor as it tended to make you feel dumb rather than excite you. Also, the circumstances in which allowed our two characters to cross paths over and over felt contrived and forced. The only saving grace for me is arguably the undeniable chemistry between the two leads and those side stories where Michaela saw death coming to people.

Verdict: Let me state this on the outset, I’m in charge of this drama so I’ve already seen the latest episodes and I assure you it actually redeemed the forgettable first two episodes. But should you base your decision on my first impression, then definitely it’s one to drop off your list among these dramas.

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Miss Hammurabi
Network: jtbc
Genre: Legal
No. of Episodes: 16 episodes (60 mins)

My first-hand experience of a drama about judges was not really pleasant with that woeful Nothing to Lose, but this one proved to be the total opposite. Miss Hammurabi is about the life of judges and the various disputes that they have to settle. At the center of the story are new judges Im Ba-reun (Infinite’s L), Parkcha Oh-reum (Go Ara), and chief judge Han Se-sang (Sung Dong-il). Ba-reun is a judge who’s a stickler for rules. He’s intelligent but he lacks empathy making him look arrogant. Oh-reum, on the other hand, is a passionate and idealistic rookie judge. She already made a lot of ruckus on her first days of work as her intolerance for injustice dragged her into troublesome scenarios, which by the way what I love about her character. Lastly, Se-sang is an experienced judge with serious temperamental issues but he appears to be really a good-natured one. Throw these three interesting characters into one office, all I can say is we’re in for a rollercoaster ride.

Verdict: I really don’t know what direction this drama will be taking as it progresses, I just hope it won’t end up being episodic featuring one case after another. But as for the first episode, it’s strangely addictive especially Kim Myung-soo. LOL. Watch out for Maknae Ahjumma‘s review of its episodes.

Busy Ahjussi’s Ranking:

  1. Lawless Lawyer
  2. Come Here and Hug Me
  3. Miss Hammurabi
  4. About Time

What’s yours?

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