Vampire Detective tells the story of a private detective who is turned into a vampire and tries to investigate the mysterious circumstances that led to his situation while solving crimes with his team.
First, a little heads up. If you really enjoyed Vampire Detective, I would recommend skipping this review as I have almost nothing positive to say about it. And this is a rarity for me.
If you’ve ready many of my reviews, you’ll know I tend to be very forgiving toward flaws in dramas. My number one criteria for drama enjoyment is to not be bored. As long as I’m entertained, I will overlook plot holes, sloppy writing, illogical behavior, unbelievable situations, etc. I’ll usually mention them in a review, but many times they don’t hinder my enjoyment of the drama. Not so with Vampire Detective. All of the things I frequently overlook are glaringly obvious in this drama.
Vampire Detective is officially the worst drama I have ever watched to completion. I’ve dropped dramas I liked far better. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t drop this one if I was so miserable, there are two reasons. The first is that I was doing weekly episode reviews, and I wanted to see them to completion. The second is that the drama did set up an interesting premise, and I was always just hoping at some point it would actually address the back story as well as San (Lee Joon) being a vampire. But for the most part, it never did.
The drama sets up our story by showing San’s pre-vampire life, his early days in training, and his subsequent undercover mission. This all results in an apparent terrible betrayal by the woman he loves, Yoo Jin (Kim Yoon Hye), who ends up shooting him and leaving him for dead.
Then as she flees, he witnesses her car explode with her inside. It was a nice set up, but aside from tiny snippets here and there, this back story was horribly underdeveloped with not near enough attention given to it throughout the rest of the drama.
Yes, there were a few (very few) moments of good sprinkled around. The acting was all wonderful, and our team sometimes gave us some moments of humor. But with every aspect of the story working against them, the characters of San, Gu Hyung (Oh Jung Se) and Gyeo Wool (Lee Se Young) were not utilized at all. Their potential was wasted both individually and as a team.
Yo Na (Lee Chung Ah) was the best part of the drama for me and was particularly good as our main villainess. Out of the entire drama, I was most interested in the episode that flashed back to her origin story. It had many elements that I like in a drama including romance, angst, and well, a cohesive story! And it actually showed how difficult becoming a vampire was for her and how it changed her life.
These were all things that should have been shown in our main story with San, but for whatever reason, they were almost completely omitted. We jumped right into San having these new abilities, but we don’t spend anytime with how he feels and is coping with the changes.
For the most part, he just goes on like nothing happened with a only a couple passing mentions of it and a few brief glimpses of his supernatural powers. San is still pretty much just a regular detective for the most part.
There are a few mysterious glances between San and Gu Hyung implying that they are aware that something’s up with him as well as San needing this “blood inhaler” that he was given by the doctor, but the show neglected to clue the audience in on just what they know.
I just feel like the execution of the drama was a mess. Seriously, you just don’t leave the viewer trying to piece together things that are common sense to address. There’s a certain amount of back story and information that you need to give viewers to keep us in the loop, but this drama just gives the absolute bare minimum and frequently does it in a way that leaves you just wondering what exactly does everyone know?
This all results in a serious lack of vampire elements throughout the drama. Aside from the little bit of back story and brief displays of power, this drama almost didn’t even need to include vampires in the narrative. If you want to watch a vampire story, I would pass on this in favor of practically any other vampire drama you can find.
As I expected, nothing with the back story was explored in depth until the last few episodes, and even then the story was pretty underwhelming with very little new information given. In the end, many questions are left completely unanswered. It felt like such a waste and was such a disappointing series.
I’m almost embarrassed by the rating I’m giving this drama, but I really did find it that terrible. I give the drama 1 point for the good actors and 1 point for decent production. Everything else was such a mess that I just can’t rate it any higher.
My Rating: 2/10
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