Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
While dramas based on popular webtoons have been steadily gaining favorable reviews, MBC’s Friday-Saturday drama Tomorrow has premiered. Unlike the existing grim reapers who guide the dead, Tomorrow deals with the stories of grim reapers who save those who wish to die. Kairos director Sung Chi Wook met with an impressive cast, including Kim Hee Sun, Lee Soo Hyuk, and Rowoon, and an intriguing topic. However, the show that started with a solid viewership of 7.6% has drawn a steep downward curve, gradually losing viewers’ interest to other projects aired on different networks.
Why did Tomorrow fail to capture the viewers? First, the overly familiar production halves the charm of the topic. The most interesting element of Tomorrow is the setting of grim reapers. These beings are employees of a large corporation that monopolizes the underworld and work in various departments such as the Crisis Management Team and Escort Team under the management of Chairman Jade Hwang. This drama is a lot similar to the office dramas, and the offices of Jumadeung, the underworld monopoly, resemble the Man In Black‘s MIB headquarters. And this could be a bit disappointing for viewers who were expecting to see the mysterious and dreamy feeling of grim reapers in folk tales.
Aside from Jumadeung, even the scenes showing the grim reapers don’t give enough satisfaction. The grim reapers use special abilities, for example, flicking their fingers to stop the time or teleport, and can use special tools provided by Jumadeung like a key of memories or a car that travels time. These “ability using” scenes could maximize the charm of the fantasy genre, but Tomorrow continues to stick to the production that reminds us of the certain movie. For example, in episode one, in the scene where the key of memories is used to enter the target’s memory, the distorted images that flash by and the shaky space immediately remind us of movies like Doctor Strange and Inception.
The awkward comedy is also a hindrance to enjoying the show. The comedic scenes have no displeasing aspects to them, but the scenes intended to lighten the heavy mood feel out of place. Yes, everyone laughs at different things, so everyone will feel differently about these scenes. But some of them are placed so unnaturally that they only disconnect the emotional flow, and things get worse near the end of episodes. In particular, the epilogues at the end tell the backstory of unessential storylines, but the problem lies in the fact that they don’t naturally bridge with the preceding story. Out of the blue, the story that dealt with the weighty subjects gets interrupted as the light-toned epilogues pop up. Of course, the emotional flow that an hour-long episode has built up crumbles down, and as it repeats, expectations for the upcoming episode are also reduced.
Still, it’s too early to give up watching Tomorrow. It looks like the grim reapers are the heroes of the drama, but the real heroes are the people who wish to die, the people that these grim reapers were given the mission to save. Tomorrow humanly and warmly depicts the stories of those who are easily alienated in real life. The real charm of the project stands out from episode four. Episode five, especially, told a touching story of Kang Woo Jin (Kang Seung Yoon), who lost his wife in a car accident, and Heo Na Young (Lee Noah), who sacrificed herself to save her husband, saving each other, leaving a deep afterglow. Then in episode six, the show spotlighted the heroes who had devoted themselves to the country but are now outcasts in the society through Lee Young Cheon, a man of national merit who fought in the Korean War.
Despite the many rocky aspects, Tomorrow has nestled in its path to paint out the hopes to keep the people that wish death alive with a warm gaze. Now, the past of grin reapers Goo Ryun (Kim Hee Sun), Park Joong Gil (Lee Soo Hyuk), and Lim Ryung Goo (Yun Ji On) will unfold in earnest. And I hope that these weaknesses will be made up for in their narrative. (4/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.