MBC’s Arang and the Magistrate and SBS’ Faith, both of which have gathered great interest as the comeback pieces of hallyu stars Lee Joon Gi and Lee Min Ho, actually haven’t been doing very well.
In viewership ratings, the situation isn’t too bad, because both have been garnering a little over 10 percent, but most of the viewers in that 10 percent say that they’re just watching because of Lee Joon Gi and Lee Min Ho, not because the dramas are any good.
The dramas’ viewer boards are covered with posts reading, ‘When is Lee Min Ho going to play a part? Kim Hee Sun, Ryu Deok Hwan and Choi Min Soo seem to have more weight’ and ‘Lee Joon Gi just chases after Shin Min Ah’s coattails; I think this drama should be titled “Arang” and not Arang and the Magistrate.’
Viewers agree that they watch because they like the leads, but the quality of the dramas don’t live up to their leads’ names.
Viewers say that the problem with Arang and the Magistrate and Faith is that they are either too unfriendly or too friendly.
It is true that Arang and the Magistrate is supposed to be a mystery drama, but it has been throwing out too many unanswered questions and no clues, only leaving viewers confused and cutting off any hopes of solving the mystery.
The most recent third and fourth episodes contained many questions, but the story progressed so slowly that no clues were uncovered. How Arang (Shin Min Ah) died, why the Great Jade Emperor (Yoo Seung Ho) and the King of the Underworld (Park Joon Kyu) are listening closely to Arang’s story or how Arang is related to the incident that occurred 400 years ago still remain as big unanswered mysteries.
On top of that, the drama continues to pile up on the questions, such as what it is Moo Young (Han Jung Su) regrets in his past life, why Joo Wal (Yeon Woo Jin) needs to deliver young girls to a mysterious woman at the full moon or why Lord Choi (Kim Yong Gun) is at odds with his foster son Joo Wal.
There are even more mysteries outside of the obvious stated in the drama, such as how Arang’s body managed to survive in the earth without decay, how Eun Oh (Lee Joon Gi) can see ghosts and fight so well even though he’s not a shaman and why Arang has Eun Oh’s mother’s hairpin or why Lee Seo Rim’s body doesn’t.
Viewers have said, ‘I think Lee Joon Gi’s talent is being wasted. He’s just chasing Arang around, and he has less character than even those other supporting roles’, ‘Lee Joon Gi just seems to be Arang’s romantic partner. The magistrate is nowhere to be seen; there’s only Arang’, ‘Please don’t sell this overseas in Lee Joon Gi’s name’ and ‘The story is so slow.’
Faith, on the other hand, has been put under fire for opposite reasons.
The drama is said to be too repetitive in its attempts to be friendly. Although the real main character is Kim Hee Sun’s ‘doctor from the heavens,’ most viewers watch the drama to see Lee Min Ho.
Nevertheless, the only thing the Goryeo warrior Choi Young, who Lee Min Ho plays, has done so far is get stabbed with knives, fall down and get up again.
Explanations of each character pop up too often in flashbacks, making the main story too boring. The third and fourth episodes used 20 minutes each to explain why King Gong Min (Ryu Deok Hwan) and Princess No Guk (Park Se Young) are so cold toward each other and why Choi Young doesn’t want to live anymore.
Viewers took to the boards to point out, ‘Is this really a 10 billion won drama?’, ‘The cameo Choi Min Soo looked more like the lead than Lee Min Ho’ and ‘The animations and awkward special effects cover up Lee Min Ho’s acting.’
Will Arang and the Magistrate and Faith be able to put their male leads to proper use and grab the attention of their viewers anytime soon? Viewers can only hope.
Photo credit: MBC, SBS