Ever wish you could dive into the world of your favorite K-drama? Wish the characters would fall for someone else, take that job, make that choice? In Dramaworld, your wish is their command.
Seth introduces Claire to Seo-yeon. © VIKI, 20.05.2018, Drama Beans.
Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson) is a 20-something college student obsessed with K-drama. An only child raised by a single parent, Claire finds company in the romance, lovable characters, and seemingly perfect world that is Korean Drama. However, her habit tends to get in the way of her job at her dad’s deli, where she’s either driving the customers away with her overzealous rambling about the latest plot twist-or worse, finding herself so into the drama playing from her attached-at-the-hand cell phone that she ignores them altogether.
Drama calls. © VIKI, 19.05.2018, DramaBeans.
Claire is sucked into Dramaworld. © VIKI, 19.05.2018, DramaBeans.
After a less-than-perfect day at the deli, and a lecture from her disappointed dad, Claire promises to keep the K-dramas to a minimum while at work. However, when an alert for a new episode of her favorite drama, Taste of Love, flashes across the screen, Claire caves. While deeply absorbed in a plot line gone awry, an unexpected guest creates chaos in the deli. Completely unaware, Claire clutches her phone, screaming at the characters on the screen, when suddenly she slips-opening a portal directly into the drama.
© VIKI, 20.05.2018, Cinematologia.
After quickly scrambling out from between two of the show’s principles mid-kiss, Claire is whisked outside by Seth, a meek, glasses-adorned, man dressed as a waiter, who explains she’s landed in Dramaworld (“capital D, one word”) and that she’s been chosen to become a fellow facilitator in order to fix the glitches that have been happening within it. Seth pulls out a large leather bound book, the guide to Dramaland, and explains the rules of being a facilitator. “1. Know your character. 2. Do not effect events directly 3. Do not ‘watch’ the drama,” and most importantly, “4. The characters cannot know they are in a drama.” And if they find out? Dramaworld (and K-drama as we know it) will cease to exist.
As Claire struggles to keep an arms length distance from the characters she’s come to know and love, she finds herself more and more entwined with the story. When happy endings are suspended and characters begin dropping off like flies, Claire becomes determined to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Armed with her trusty guidebook, the help of the cast, and her knowledge of K-drama, Claire must race against the clock to save Dramaworld.
The Drama bible. © Dramaworld, VIKI, 20.05.2018, The Fandomentals.
Claire and Seth celebrate a smooth facilitation. © VIKI, 20.05.2018, IMDb.
Joon and Claire come up with a plan. © VIKI, 20.05.2018, IMDb.
Filled to the brim with references to enough tropes to make even the most stoic drama-viewer chuckle, Asian streaming service VIKI knew what it was doing when they made the bold decision to work with both American and Korean studios to produce Dramaworld. The cast, made up of both fairly well-known Western and Eastern actors, is lead by Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet) and stars Justin Chon (Twilight, Gook), Bae Noo-ri ( Moon Embracing the Sun, Mysterious Personal Shopper), and Woo Do-hwan (Shut Up Flower Boy Band, The Great Seducer, Tempted).
For the most part, the ensemble displays beautiful chemistry, executing their roles with ease. However, at times we found that Hewson (Claire) seems to “play emotion,” with the acting choices feeling a bit more fitting for the theatre rather than the small screen. Her co-star, Sean Dulake (Joon, the leading man of the drama) seemed to suffer from a bit of the same with a side of stiffness. In the end, the real show-stopper here is Chon. In an effort to keep this article spoiler-free, we’ll just say this: clearly comfortable in Dramaworld, Chon doesn’t hesitate to showcase his full acting abilities here. That said, unfortunately even he couldn’t save the odd Sageuk rap scene thrown in the middle of the series. On a positive note, the cinematography is top notch. We also really enjoyed the creative and sneaky ways “Episode Number____” popped up within the frame at the beginning of each episode.
Rapper YDG makes a cameo alongside Chon as a rapping magistrate. © VIKI, 20.05.2018, KDRAMASTARRECAP.
Joon suddenly gives a drunk woman a piggyback ride. © VIKI, 20.05.2018, Asia Pacific Arts.
With just 10 episodes, each clocking in at at just 15 minutes, this series is perfect for anyone who thinks they’re too busy for another drama. Though an easy binge, we wish we had spread our viewing out in order to savor this series. With tongue-in-cheek rules like “leading men cannot let a woman fall to the ground,” random drunken piggy back rides, love, murder, betrayal, product placement jabs, Kimchi slaps, and gems like episode 2’s moment of confusion as several tropes (the drunk girl stumbling down the street, lovers on a romantic evening walk, and a crime drama unfolding in the middle of it all) begin to blend into each other, Dramaworld is a fun fan-fueled romp in genre play guaranteed to be your next guilty pleasure.
IMK Rating: 3/5
Where to Watch: VIKI, Netflix
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Featured Image Source: © dramaworld-poster, VIKI, 19. 05. 2018, Pajiba.