Wednesday, March 1, 2017

White Nights Season 1 Netflix Series Pilot Review

White Nights (2017-)
Night Light (also known as)
Bulyaseong (Original Title)
Season 1 - 20 episodes (2017)
Watch White Nights Season 1 on Netflix
Created by: Ji-Hoon Han
Starring: Yo-Won Lee, Jin Goo, U-ie, Hae-in Jung
Rated: TV-14

Plot
In this Korean language drama, an heiress and an ambitious new hire war over money and power.

Verdict
This is corporate espionage with a soap opera production and tone. I have to imagine the subtitles aren't the best translation because the dialog always felt slightly off. There is a near continuous music backing track that sounds like free stock music. It's terrible. The music never fit the tone of the show, or not the tone I expected. This has a distinctly light and almost comedic tone for the content. It's more of a comedy than a drama and that is NOT the intention... at least I don't think so.
Skip it.

Review
The drama and dialog are stilted, just like a soap opera. Like that same genre, this borders on parody unintentionally. It would be easier to turn this into a comedy than it would a true drama. This looks like a soap opera with low production values and very basic shot framing. This has the classic trick your enemy into overpaying at an auction and a Russian roulette scene.  At no point does the pilot build the tension it should or even could. I don't care about the characters because they are thin. Granted, it's the pilot, this needs to at least hook me.
Yi-Kyung and Si-jen.
Se-jin meets business owner Yi-Kyung at a charity and then hires her to steal information from a rival's phone. This is played up as an intense sequence, but the music might as well be from Benny Hill.

Yi-Kyung then pays Se-jin to impersonate her. It's a bit of a ruse as Yi-Khung knows that her business rival will abduct her for discovering evidence of embezzlement but tells Se-jin it's an appointment to buy art. I would guess the season deals with the friction between these two as well as Yi-Kyung trying to conquer her business rivals. The business world can be sordid and twisted. Yi-Kyung wants to prove her rivals wrong, they accuse her of riding her father's coat tails.
While Se-jin knows she was tricked will she continue to work with Yi-Kyung or attempt revenge? She doesn't have the means to do revenge which is why she was hired in the first place.

My issues with the show could also be the cultural divide. This is a Korean show not made for me. The title screen isn't even translated. Netflix calls this White Nights, but I've also seen it called Night Light. This leads to my questioning of the translation. Was it a rush job? Is there more depth to the show than the subtitles convey? Even if there is, I'm not sure it can make up for the horrid musical backing.

2 comments :

  1. It is not that deep true.
    I found the subtitles to be too fast sometimes.

    Having watched various Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese shows/movies and Anime - the show was interesting enough for me.

    There is a massive cultural difference to adjust to with these shows too coming from US/Canada/Australia/NZ/UK/etc, having adjusted over the years this doesn't really get to me anymore and like to simply see the differences (what I like most about foreign shows/movies that feature that culture's everydayness front and center).

    I've only watched the first 2 episodes so far, I'll keep going.

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  2. Some odd stuff going on in this drama, and we are not newbies to Asian people, languages, dramas, etc., to include subtitles. No spoilers, here, but there are times when I know that they are failing to really make me want to be behind her. Sometimes, you can't help get behind a character: they run deep and true in some dramas (the main character's persona) and you cheer them on, feel their pain, and want them to win. Here, it is not so convincing and I wish it were. Scale of 1 to 10 with 10 the best? I'd give it a 7.5, but it is barely holding it...

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