Love Alarm Season 1 Review: Algorithm Of Your Heart

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 22, 2019 (Last updated: November 15, 2023)
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Love Alarm (Netflix) Season 1 review: Algorith to your heart


A timely meditation on how technology and romance intersect that doesn’t arrive at any particularly novel conclusions.

Love Alarm Season 1 debuted on Netflix on August 22, 2019.

These days, there’s an app for everything. One of the great drivers of technological advancement is the desire to automate as much of our lives as possible. Inherently, we’re lazy — and we’d like to be lazier. We’d like our cars to drive themselves, our phones to charge each other, and our shopping to be delivered by someone else. This is the future we live in. But how much further can we take it? How many more of our human needs and impulses can be catered to by an algorithm? The new eight-episode Korean series Love Alarm suggests that love is next on our agenda.

This isn’t much of a reach. Many people already meet their romantic partners using apps; many happy and successful relationships began with a swipe to the right. The app in Love Alarm is vaguer. It doesn’t introduce you to people, it just lets you know when potential love interests are within a 10-meter radius. The introductions need to be made on your own. While the app might guarantee there’s someone nearby who’ll love you, it doesn’t help you figure out who that someone is. This presents… problems, to say the least.

These problems are to be dealt with by Jojo (Kim So-hyun), a young student living with her aunt, dealing with competing affections from her friends Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang) and Lee Hye-yeong (Jung Ga-ram). The app doesn’t make things easier — on the contrary, by reducing human feeling to ones and zeroes, it makes things a lot more complicated.

The thematic underpinnings of Love Alarm Season 1 are obvious. In our desire to automate our lives, what are we losing? Does efficiency and (implied) accuracy outweigh the value of meeting and getting to know someone without any guarantees or assurances? Can any app or piece of technology possibly hope to emulate the complexity of human emotion? These were all questions raised by the 2014 Korean webtoon by Chon Kye-young, on which Lee Na-jeong’s Love Alarm is based. But they’re questions that have relatively pedestrian answers. This is a show for those who value the journey more than the destination — I suppose that’s part of the point.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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