I have a confession to make. . . I’ve never seen Train to Busan. (Yes, I just heard that collective gasp of disbelief from drama fans around the world.) But zombies just aren’t my thing and I’ve been perfectly content to pass on that sub-genre of entertainment. Until now. Curious how I came to this crossroads and why I decided to hit play on the newest zombie-themed drama to hit our screens? Read on!
First a quick synopsis from our friends at MyDramaList:
A zombie and a writer team up to solve crimes in this thrilling drama that explores what happens when someone actually comes back to life. After being secretly buried on a hill, Moo Young comes back to life as a zombie thanks to illegally dumped medical waste. With his memory gone, he eventually accepts reality and does whatever he can to walk and look like a human. Luckily, his peculiarly developed sense of smell allows him to position himself as one of the prominent businesses in the field of private investigation, finding the bodies of those who are reported missing. Seon Ji, who once was a writer for a TV show that deals with issues regarding current affairs, is employed as a part-time assistant at Moo Young’s agency. While being emotional, hot-tempered, and willing to stamp out justice at all costs, Seon Ji finds out that Moo Young is a zombie. As she helps the zombie detective look for the traces of his lost memories, she comes to realize how Moo Young is related to one of her previous cases.
Diary of a Zombie
Based on the teasers, I was hoping this story would be more of the zombie-lite variety and I was relieved to find that to be true! No eating of brains, no jump scare attacks. Just a zombie, trying to find out how he fits in the world now that he’s no longer human. Rather than being focused on the murder mystery at hand, I found myself most curious about our title character and how he might have a chance at a happy ending when all is said and done.
Monster vs. Human
Choi Jin Hyuk. Yes, he is one of my Kdrama biases and was ultimately the reason I decided to give this mystery drama chance. His characterization of this role is a great mix of slapstick humor, determined survivalist, and introspective observer. Kim Moo Young’s inner monologue as he grapples with his newly begun life as an undead creature is highly entertaining and surprisingly thoughtful. And his observations of the humans around him makes you pause and wonder who the monster in this story really is.
Park Joo Hyun, a brand new name to Kdrama-land, plays the scriptwriter-turned-detective’s-assistant Gong Seon Ji. She is one of those tough on the outside, marshmallow in the middle type characters. And while I wasn’t keen on her pushiness at the beginning, I recognized that her dogged determination came from a heart that was genuine and soft towards others. I’m confident her fiery passion will aid Moo Young in solving all the forthcoming mysteries in this drama.
The supporting cast is slightly eclectic and I’m hopeful their characters get fleshed out a bit more in the coming episodes. For now, they are mostly broad-stroke characterizations. I was most delighted though, to see Hwang Bo Ra (who always reminds me of Joan Cusak) portraying Seon Ji’s older sister. I might have giggled more than once over her toilet paper tube curlers!
And bonus — for all my fellow Kpop fans out there, A.C.E. had a cameo in the second episode. I was so excited to see them pop up on my screen as a zombie dance crew!!
Watch or Not?
Lately, my drama choices have been pretty polar – either dark and intense or super fluffy and fun. I feel like Zombie Detective, with its equal parts campy, dark humor, and mild zombie horror, is the perfect mix of both worlds for me. And if nothing else, I’m all in for Choi Jin Hyuk, who looks as equally dashing sporting his zombie make-up as he does his noir detective garb!
What about you, drama fans? Are you watching Zombie Detective? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi