As I already explained in my 'IRIS' - A Short Review post, I had issues with Season 1. It tried doing too much and did most of it poorly, letting what could have been an epic action series end up a mediocre "another soapy attempt" one.
Now we're up for Round 2 with the sequel, 'IRIS 2', taking place three years after the end of the first series and following a new NSS team as they take on the evil global organization IRIS yet again. We have some of the original cast returning, mainly the secondary characters and also the main villain of the first season, who was revealed to be only a tool for the real villain, whom they plan to shed some light on this time around.
First things first, let me make this clear. I didn't even care to watch 'IRIS'. It was after hearing news of Lee Beom Soo being cast here that I decided to watch the first series. It turned out to be a bittersweet experience, as I saw some potential being murdered by several problems, which I sincerely hope won't still be present.
One of my least favorite characters, thankfully dead. It seems he will have a cameo in 'IRIS 2'.
So let's start with the worries and then the good and the weird, for a light finish.
We've been getting some good material on 'IRIS 2' lately, including a trailer/CF showcasing the KIA K7 car sponsoring the show. And here's my first worry. This is an expensive series. The more expensive they are, the more money they need to make. Will the action here be made for the story or will it be based on PPL and exaggeration? And weird live-action shows at award ceremonies? Come on. What next? A musical?
Which brings us to the second worry. Melo brings ratings. Melo also managed to royally mess up the first series, which didn't know if it was a tragic romance story or an action thriller. Are we going to get more love triangle woes which, you know, are our priority when the future of two countries is at stake, or will they manage to focus and just do one thing and do it well?
I'm proud of them acknowledging the existence of libido, but this isn't the "action" I asked for.
They say we learn from our mistakes so here comes the third worry. Have they? Can they actually write something not riddled with plot holes and empty characters? Can the villains finally have reasons for being evil this time around? Can we maybe get more characterization for all the important characters now?
The sequel curse is a bit scary as well, but having royally screwed up with the spin-off, they might have gotten the point. I'd like to think so, at least.
Last, but not least, some worry over the cast. Idols. You know it had to be said. I haven't seen Lee Joon or Yoon Doo Joon act, so I can't judge and we still don't know if they'll cast a female idol too, but if TOP is anything to go by, they'll only act a bit and be there for no good reason. At least season 1 was sensible in not giving him much screen-time. However, might I remind you Korea has many good actors who are dying to get jobs? Maybe you should hire some of them. Then again, maybe you want the extra money the idols can bring and don't give a damn about giving talented people jobs, when they don't have a fanbase screaming after them... We can be ridiculously optimistic and think these 3 can at least act well.
Which brings us to the good.
Lee Beom Soo. Of course. I'm not saying I trust all his choices, since he's done his share of crappy works the award of which goes to the infamous 'Dr. Jin', but at least he is always doing his best and that's all I ask for from him personally. I'm sure he'll act well and he and his muscles are looking pretty darn sexy. A bit fancy for a North Korean, but being a defector, maybe he escaped to the tunes of 'Don't Stop Me Now' and went straight for designer goods and fancy hair salons for therapy.
I don't know what he's using that for, but my money's on him.
Another good thing? Cars and guns and 'splosions n' shit. This is an action series. I want to see expensive things ruined in creative ways. But I have complained about this, because it has to be good and not just for the sake of being there or for PPL. Kdrama has been getting more and more quality oriented in its action lately, so I expect better things than Season 1 and I expect at least some amount of storytelling and characterization to go with the action this time around.
'IRIS 2' also seems to focus on IRIS more, which I really am looking forward to. We barely got to know the main antagonist network in the first series and it feels as if we just grazed the surface of a potentially very interesting group. I want to see their motives and driving force. I want to have some epic clashing of morals and values. I want the fight to be about ideals, not just who has the better car and bigger... gun.
Jang Hyuk is a potentially good thing, as I hear very good words. His hair, however, isn't. It's realistic enough for an agent, but considering everyone else has fancily stylized scalps, his seems poor by comparison. The fact that it also reminds me of Spock, Frankenstein's monster and Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber' is not helping. But he can beat people up nicely, looks good topless (come on, we all appreciate that) and if his character is not as boring as he looks, I'll be happy.
I feel you, Ms. Lee. I can't bear to look at his hair either.
Im Soo Hyang is by no means a top actress, but she is likable, so I am curious to see her as a villain. Considering my dislike for Lee Da Hae, it's good that I can focus on the other ladies, who I do see potential in. I just hope the women here are not the pathetic stereotypes they were in 'IRIS'. Easy on the sexism, show.
My wish is for this series to be bigger and better than the original. I hope my worries are going to disappear and that this will be epic. I hope the story rocks, moral issues get explored, characters get fleshed out and action looks great. Being a realist, however, I just hope it's bearable.
If it's going to suck though, at least give us a topless oiled fight between the guys, or something. If you can't respect my brain enough to challenge it, I have no choice but to focus on who has the firmest moobs and which car shatters to pieces more spectacularly. If you can give me quality and fun, though, I'm yours.
'IRIS 2' begins its run on February 13th on KBS2 and March on KBS World (Eng sub).
Images Credit: Original creators of the series and Soompi.