With promises of a brand new type of drama and a good look into the world of the variety entertainment backstage, "Producers" has made its start and it has done so with mixed reactions. Featuring a popular cast and well known creators, including Kim Soo-hyun and writer Park Ji-eun of hit series 'My Love from the Star', it has inevitably attracted attention and certain expectations. At the moment, it is not meeting those, whether this is good or bad.
The first question would be, is this series something new? The answer based on the first two episodes is 'somewhat'. Drama and film have handled the subject of entertainment and its nature behind the lens before, but variety is getting the spotlight here. Additionally, the mockumentary style of filming is new as a basic feature for a drama. The show also truly focuses on the workplace for the most part, a departure from the usual focus on interpersonal relationships we see in series.
There are of course romantic pairings already being teased and some amount of those relationships is shown, but they have not really been the main focus in this introduction. In the workplace, the series has kept busy. Perhaps not offering new information, but definitely offering a lot of it. From scheduling conflicts to picky idols to breaking bad news to famous stars when they are fired, the drama handles different emergency situations in the field and does so with humor and even a little heart.
The cast is obviously a big plus on this series and although shaky in the beginning, they are all capable of carrying their roles well when they settle into them. Aside from the main cast, the series is full of cameo appearances and of course the meta material is done very much in a tongue-in-cheek tone and is entertaining. The mockumentary style has its bad parts, which will be mentioned in the next paragraph, but it is also a very good feature when it works well. It provides characterization and a new way of bonding with the characters.
When it does not work well, however, it breaks immersion and creates confusion. One big mistake the series makes is to show an actual crew filming the documentary within the drama in the first episode. However, the scenes where this "camera" follows characters soon become unrealistic, such as during their private moments. In one particular scene, the shot changes to reveal there was no crew there, making the character seem like he was hallucinating. The series has not established a steady nature for its mockumentary style within its reality.
Since the show is so far focused on exploring variety entertainment as a topic, this does leave little room for character development. The cast is doing well, but the material is not about highlighting them. Because of the show's nature, a more personal and deep look into its leads has to be more limited than in other shows. However, this means the characters would seem boring to viewers who prefer the more character- and relationship-focused approach found in other dramas. This might be addressed soon, but the cost remains to be seen.
The production for "Producers" has already started backpedaling on its experimental nature and has announced plans for more romance and a more typical approach. Since the response was lukewarm, the show might change radically in the future. Unfortunately, such changes usually harm the end product, so the crew hopefully knows what they are doing. There are certainly elements in need of improvement here, but there is also a lot that works.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Producers""
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