New Drama: You're All Surrounded

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Well, it looks like I'll be watching My Love from Another Star, which won the reader poll for my next drama in an absolute landslide. I still have a few episodes left of Nine, but once I'm done, I'll get started on your MLFAS. I hope you all chose wisely....

More importantly, I started my simulcast for this round of dramas with You're All Surrounded. Having seen episodes 1-4 so far, here are a few thoughts:


Overview

You're All Surrounded is an action/thriller/ensemble buddy cop show starring Lee Seung Gi, Cha Seung Won, and Go Ara. Eun Dae Gu (Lee Seung Gi) enters the police force as a rookie under the celebrated detective Seo Pan Seok (Cha Seung Won). He has a chip on his shoulder and a secret in his past. He is joined on the rookie squad by a handful of other misfits, including the hardworking Eo Soo Sun (Go Ara). Can Detective Seo turn this ragtag band into real detectives? (Answer: Yes, obviously.) Is Detective Seo a villain in disguise? (Answer: Probably not.)

Initial Reactions

I'm clearly the wrong person to ask about this show because I won't even pretend to be unbiased. I love action comedies. I love any show where things might blow up at some point. I love ragtag teams of misfits. I have seriously considered naming my firstborn child (male or female) after Jason Statham.
"Statham, honey, you clean your room RIGHT THIS MINUTE!"
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I know that action thrillers are already kind of passé with the saturation from last drama cycle, but I opted for the romantic comedies in the last round of shows, so this drama is actually a nice break for me. 

Is the plot groundbreaking? No. I (think I) can see where this thing is headed from a mile away, but I don't even care. I thoroughly enjoyed it from the second the comic book intro started. 


The one thing that has surprised me so far is the tone of the first two episodes. It started out quite a bit darker than I anticipated, setting heavy emotional stakes from the start. I though this was a smart move before getting into the workplace hijinks. Otherwise, the inevitable tone shift later in the show would have been completely jarring. I will say that the drama seems more effective than the comedy up to this point, but I would rather have a show with some emotional core than a slapstick laugh riot any day.

So far, it's everything I want it to be. In the first few episodes, the casting is divine. I can't think of anyone better for the leading men, and while I have heard some complaints about Go Ara's casting, I actually think that her brand of quirkiness works pretty well for the character. 

The veteran/rookie setup is pretty typical for a cop show, but an unexpected bonus is that it allows for different types of romantic relationships. While Dae Gu and Soo Sun are headed down the well-trodden Kdrama pathway of over-the-top hatred slowly blossoming into puppy love, Seo Pan Seok and Kim Sa Kyung (Oh Yoon Ah) have space for a more adult relationship. We haven't seen much of their relationship yet, but the sexual tension sizzles off the screen every time they're together, almost as if to say, "Move over kiddos; we'll show you how grownups fall in love."

Even though I'm a sucker for cop shows, I'm also a sucker for strong female leads, and in that regard, I'm withholding judgment for now. Soo Sun seems like the typical bumbling female lead in many ways. I was definitely rolling my eyes when her lover-to-be kept calling her "Bird Brain," but I still like her, and I'm hoping she'll prove her strength of character in upcoming episodes. Based on the promos for this show, I assumed that it would be all about the boys with a girl tossed in for good measure, but I really appreciate the focus the show has placed on her character so far. Allowing her to narrate the conclusion of episode 4 was a positive sign that maybe her narrative arc matters in this drama, and I'm hoping she grows throughout the series instead of becoming a convenient romantic prop. 
At least she isn't a docile, wilting little flower.

Overall, I have high hopes for this show. Then again, I have high hopes for every single new entry into the Transporter franchise, so I really can't be trusted. Who's watching with me?

Where to watch You're All Surrounded

Comments

  1. I love this genre too, no matter how predictable or even unrealistic! I'm looking forward to watching it!

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  2. I was surprised how some people seem to be turned off to the show. Perhaps they didn't like the darker aspects of this show. I for one love its mish mash of tones and can't wait for more episodes.

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  3. I was a little confused at what they were aiming for with this show at first, but like you said, now I think I can see where it's headed a mile away. I think they may make up for the somewhat predictable storyline with doing some really great character based storytelling. If the hostage scene was a hint at whats to come, it seems like everyone's got some serious emotional baggage to work through along side the comedic aspects of the show. I hope more people give it a chance!

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  4. I'm glad I'm not alone!

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  5. Yeah, I'm surprised that more people aren't watching. I love it so far.

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  6. Even the side characters on the squad have their own stories, and you KNOW there's a whole backstory to the lead detective and his ex. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

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  7. I am pretty much in love with this drama at this point. The last episode was slightly distressing for me at the end, but I think things are going to be cleared up (at least for us viewers) in the next episode. Overall though, I'm really impressed with how well the writers are able to shift from serious to comedic. When it's funny, it's funny, and when it's serious, it's actually interesting and genuinely moving. It's not leaving me frustrated or bored or completely unmoved. I'm excited to watch new episodes each week.

    I'm also really happy with the casting. Everyone has really great acting chemistry with each other. Not to mention the characters are really fun/fascinating. Personally, I love, love, love, love, LOVE Soo Sun. She kind of falls under the 'manic pixie dream girl' trope, and as much hate as that trope gets, I absolutely love it. She's definitely a bit of a bumbling character, but I find that cute and adorable more then anything.

    There's a lot of desire to see more strong female characters in film, whether that be Asian dramas or American movies, etc., and I definitely get that. But I feel like our desire to see strong characters makes us a lot more judgmental of female characters then maybe they deserve. Bumbling's not necessarily a sign of weakness. Just like being able to kick-ass in the physical sense isn't necessarily a sign of strength.

    I definitely think Soo Sun is going to be important to the overall storyline rather then just there to have a female character, and I'm really excited to see what they do with her character.

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  8. You're definitely right that beating people up isn't a sign of strength, and being bumbling doesn't necessarily make you bad. For me, I get frustrated when K-dramas set the girl up as some helpless idiot, and the guy is a capable genius. Fortunately, You Are All Surrounded doesn't seem headed down that path. Yeah, he calls her a bird-brain, but she's genuinely good at what she does, and she's able to think for herself without getting pushed around. That's precisely the kind of female lead I like!

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  9. I think him calling her bird brain is more because he likes her/finds her annoying then because he actually thinks she's stupid. That and he seems to think he's smarter then everyone else, lol.

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  10. Danielle CaseñasJune 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    I just put this on my list to start next before reading this! Yay!

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