[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Triangle - Drama"
By Vasia Orion | Published on
There are a lot of reasons why some dramas just go wrong. They range from lacking material or creators to schedule issues to extensions and really remind us how difficult the current system is to create in. To create something good and have it remain good. It is also often impossible for outsiders to know exactly what went wrong aside from seeing the bad result of it. Sadly, 'Triangle - Drama' has been plagued with many issues, lacking material being what ultimately makes it all fall apart.
'Triangle - Drama' follows three brothers who find themselves involved in the same circles after having lived apart and unaware of one another for nearly three decades. Jang Dong-soo (Lee Beom-soo), the oldest, has become a detective who suffers from anger management issues. Jang Dong-cheol (Kim Jae-joong), now called Heo Yeong-dal, is a lowlife, a gambler and a criminal who aims higher in life. Jang Dong-woo (Im Si-wan), now called Yoon Yang-ha, has been raised as the heir to the local casino business, but also has severe issues from his cruel upbringing.
'Triangle - Drama' had a very simple premise to start with. Three brothers, three lives, one town where it all led back to. There was a revenge plot, there was a success story, there were rich and very fresh and realistic characters with great potential, all trying to get to their goals in a small, but lively town. This series could have been such a packed, vibrant world. These characters, far from the usual drama stereotypes, could have been developed wonderfully, their personalities, problems, relationships with one another other and other people explored. To a very small degree, that did happen. There were hints of good source material in this work and it avoided many a cliche and tried a different approach.
However, it is its major and basic flaws that ruin what those scarce good elements could have been built up to. When it comes to the brothers themselves, 'Triangle - Drama' fails to both develop them separately, but also develop their relationship enough. Most of the first half marginalizes the youngest, making him only a romantic rival with barely any existence outside that love triangle. The second half, on the other hand, does the same to the oldest, giving the character nothing to do but relay information and just exist in space without much function in the plot. Considering these three are mostly strangers, the reunions and development of their relationships as well as their interactions are extremely lacking. By the end, the drama resorts to the usual cheap statement that blood trumps all, as there is really nothing beyond that to connect these characters.
In its plot, the writer makes the same mistake. While the first half is a story about Yeong-dal gaining power and connections, the second half is dedicated to a revenge not all three main characters were part of before. But it is ultimately the writer's refusal to focus on his key concepts and plot progression that ruins 'Triangle - Drama'. It feels as if Choi Wan-gyoo spends most of the series trying to avoid focusing on the main plot by inserting as many characters as possible, using them for subplots that will not matter a few episodes down the road and then disappearing them as unsubtly as he wrote them in, only to replace them with new ones. This creates messy pacing as well, as the episodes linger on unimportant characters and events, but then rush through the things that required that time, such as the almost non-existent bonding between the brothers.
'Triangle - Drama' was let down by bad writing and a seeming unwillingness of its creators to focus on all the parts that had promise, all the parts that made this premise interesting. Ultimately, its failure lies in their betrayal of the expectations it built in audiences, by not staying true to its premise and not using its good elements to its advantage. Fans of Kim Jae-joong are a group which will want to watch this, as it is an important milestone in his career as an actor and a job truly well done on his part. Beyond that, there is very little to this work to urge one's recommendation. The premise has been done before, done better and while some might find redeeming qualities or even entertainment in this, it will surely not stem from the mediocre, if not plain bad, work of its creators.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'