Friday, June 3, 2011

Initial Thoughts on "God's Quiz"

There are a lot of ways one can get acquainted to a work that might interest them. You might see a teaser. You might spot an actor you like. You might even just randomly pick something. And sometimes, it's the promotional work and image of the show that gets you. Especially if you are artistically inclined.

It was a bit of 2 of these, for me., which Graphics Team I was a member of by the way, has a poll going on at the moment. It's about kdrama that will be released and asks users to vote on which should be subbed by the community. God's Quiz Season 2 was one of those works. As I was scrolling down the list, I noticed Ryu Deok Hwan's name and picture. The "mini-cutie", as I call him. I also call him "little marvel" and "seed", but let's not get into that. I have to find a name for him that's not related to his height. Cause frankly, the kid rocks.

So, when I saw his name there, I got interested. I googled it, like a good little nerd, and I found the page for the series, where I saw the poster (click for full-size):

And that just got me. I loved the design of it. It just attracted me for some reason. So much that I made a banner for DSS about it, even though the show isn't out yet and it's not even decided if they will sub it. I tell ya, never googled so many medical certificates and autopsy reports before. It was unnervingly satisfying... Also, the result looks nice, if I may say so myself.

But anyway, I got interested in this series and decided to find subtitles for the first season, only to realize there aren't any. See, a medical/mystery/crime drama without any hot (by usual standards) male leads is just not the kind of thing that would get subbed. Why? No fangirls. No fangirls = Not many in the kdrama loving online community know or even care about it. And you certainly can't find many willing to sub it since there is no romance or comedy or hot guys having showers all the time. There is an english subbed DVD set out and I might buy that at some point. No cash for it now though. Also, I read in the descriptions, that there are errors in the english subs and for them to admit that, they must suck bigtime indeed. Still, I watched the first episode of the series, hoping to at least see what it's like. And here are my thoughts on it, based solely on the first episode, which I watched without subs and mind you, my Korean is not that good...

So, as you see in Dramawiki, Han Jin Woo is an all around awesome medical examiner sent to work with a team of his peers to solve crimes or deaths. I got the impression he was tricked into this during the first episode, but obviously, he makes himself at home soon enough. Maybe the hot detective, Kang Kyung Hee had something to do with that.

Just maybe...

First of all, if you think this is CSI, it's not. If you think it's Dexter, it's not. So far, at least. It's not Numbers and it's not Law and Order. But it's somehow all of those, in a sense. It's a show about the medical team investigating the cause of death of each body they get rolled in. They have their experts, medical examiners and a cop lady who is there in case there is foul play. And they do have their "Numbers" kinda-genius guy. But he's far more cheerful than Charlie Eppes and he also doesn't seem to be anything more than smart and observative. At least so far. So, no cranky or geeky genius. Just smart and interested. And very huggable, but that might just be my cute gland acting up.

Or my nerd gland... I can't resist a guy who loves his Xbox360

The first episode is about a guy found dead after falling on some rocks. We see how he died in a CSI close-up-into-the-x-ray-vision-effect-thingy-while-showing-the-event-they-do-on-these-shows. He's all dressed in black, has fangs, too much hair and is also full of rashes and blisters. And this was the only kiiiiinda disappointing thing about this episode. It took boy-not-genius and his team of 4-5 professional examiners half an episode to figure out he had porphyria. Which doesn't explain the fangs, to my knowledge, but maybe they explained that too and I just didn't get it. So, not exactly for the smartest of crowds. That said, finding out what happened to the guy had more to it, since you're not sure who did it or if anyone even did it. It felt like the porphyria deal wasn't the huge revelation so I didn't mind it much as a viewer. It didn't feel like the show was going "Ha! See?! Big revelation you didn't expect!". It felt more like a little mini-mystery, there to surprise the slower viewers without being the focus too long and boring out the rest. I won't say what happens further to avoid spoilers.

His not-so-genius moment of discovering the porphyria

What the show did differently here though, was how much soul and humanity this story had. Most of these series do have a piss-poor excuse of an attempt to move and get the viewer thinking, but most of them only touch the surface. I don't think this one went much deeper, but it did devote more time, more directorial and musical tricks and also very good acting to tell this story. I actually got some tears in my eyes and I've never had that with the western shows of this type. The acting, like I mentioned, helped a lot. Koreans are seriously talented in that area and the problem with the guest cast of such shows in the US is that, for the most part, the guests suck. You can't feel for a victim's family if they're bad actors.

The series is also very visually pleasing. The flashback scenes that got me to tear up were amazing and accompanied by awesome music. They also had the lovely idea of placing the male lead in those scenes, as if he's seeing them happen in front of him as he hears about what went down. The visual quality of the show kicks western ass, to be honest.

He'd be in tears too, if he didn't have the cool examiner image to maintain

And here's where this kitty is in a pickle. I want more... I want more, badly. But if I watch this show without subs, I'm missing out on a LOT of things due to language barriers. So, do I give in and watch anyway, understanding the gist of it and what I can, or do I wait and watch with subs at some point? But, should I maybe watch and make sure I do want to buy this one day, since you can't really judge a show by 1 episode? I think I might do this. It's too fun to postpone and although the second season coming out might cause people to sub the first season as well, I don't think I can wait for such an uncertain thing. So, after I thoroughly search for subs and try to coerce.. err, I mean encourage anyone interested to sub this, I will watch it.

So far so good and I'll be back to this as the series progresses. It's the 3rd non rom-com Korean series that I watch (City Hunter, The Devil) and I expect more from it than what I got from The Devil. Cause that one had major plot holes and issues and it also turned romance/melo towards the end, replacing all the coolness and sickness with angst and "talking about feelings" and "He's a murdering freak but I have a crush on him despite having witnessed his "work" first hand". It just didn't feel consistent and the characters annoyed me because of it. Or maybe Zeni Geba and Monster spoiled me as far as genius manipulating sociopaths go.

But anyway, very interested in God's Quiz. If all else fails, it's Ryu Deok friggin' Hwan. He's ALWAYS cool to watch. If this kid keeps being so awesome, he'll be a major talent by the time he's 27-30. Maybe sooner. Hell, he already rocks! As for the subs, too bad, but I won't lose hope. Screw the kyaaing idiots. I can fangirl over this series all by me onesies.

Back soon with more on this. ^^

P.S: Is every picture I posted featuring Ryu Deok Hwan? I guess he has a new fan. :P So here's another shot of the not-so-genius console game-loving nerd. Probably the only guy who can play videogames and solve crimes at the same time. Ok, maybe Castle too...

He actually makes gaming look badass

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