Take 1 review – contestants give the performance of a lifetime

By Romey Norton
Published: October 14, 2022 (Last updated: December 30, 2023)
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Surprisingly fantastic. I was expecting another average talent-reality series, but instead was taken on personal journeys, perfecting their once-in-a-lifetime performance. 

This review of the South Korean Netflix reality series Take 1 season 1 does not contain spoilers.

Netflix reality talent series called Take 1 feature some of South Korea’s most popular artists, including Rain, AKMU, and Mamamoo.  

South Korea has had extreme and impressive media growth in the last ten years, with more and more being consumed and demanded in the west. Some of the biggest pop stars in the world call South Korea their home, with boy bands such as BTS and Exo, girl bands such as BLACKPINK and Red Velvet, and solo artists like IU, BoA, and Sunmi. It’s true that music unites and brings the world together and I think this series will do just that. Not just for music fans, if you’re a fan of theatre, film, art, and reality competition programs, this is one to add to your list. 

This series consists of seven episodes lasting roughly under one hour each, there are subtitles available that seem to be of decent quality. They’ve definitely improved since the debacle over the popular series Squid Game. 

So it is no wonder Netflix is on board to take advantage of this and heavily invest in K-Dramas, films, documentaries, and now, reality TV. Each episode of Take 1 features a different artist from South Korea, with the goal being to perform one song putting on the performance of a lifetime. This certainly exceeded all my expectations, for sure. Each act is given a countdown timer for when they’re about to perform, which is very daunting and dramatic. They’re allowed to take control of when, how, and with whom they perform. The catch? They’ve got to do it in one take. This is a one-time, one-chance-only kinda-deal, so the stakes and pressure are extremely high and you can feel their excitement, anxiety, and desire to do their best. 

It’s pretty nerve-wracking watching them perform. We’re given interviews with the contestants, learning about their lives, their history, hopes and dreams, and the time and effort they’ve put into building their performance is impressive and inspiring, to say the least. This isn’t the bog-standard show where someone comes on stage and sings a well-known hit that they’ve made their own. Even in the first episode the contestants are putting on grand performances with an orchestra, dancers, and actors, and making a full show out of the experience. They’re big-budget, dynamic, and like watching a Hollywood blockbuster on stage! We get shots of the audience’s interactions, and even through the masks, you can tell if they’re entertained or not. 

This was an interesting watch for me. As reality-competition-talent shows go, a lot have similar formats and similarly talented people. This one felt a little more special and serious. It was extremely nice to see the passion for music and performing rather than passion for being famous and making money, which is where I think a lot of Western reality programs like this lose respect and credibility. They’re expressing their talents and not all have a sad, sob story to emotionally manipulate the viewer, but instead give us great visuals. If anything, the final performances are well-worth watching as there are some truly talented people in this series.

What did you think of the South Korean Netflix reality series Take 1 season 1? Comment below!

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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