We review the Netflix K-Drama series Somebody season 1, which will contain significant spoilers, so be warned!
When I witnessed the trailer for the K-Drama series Somebody, I was locked in. The glimpse into the story was filled with potential, eking with mystery, and offered hope of a binge-worthy session. And then, the K-Drama nestles itself with Kim Young-kwang and Kang Hae-lim as the leading stars, giving a guaranteed feeling that this will be something special. However, once you reach the halfway line, it’s abundantly clear that Somebody became a unique pet project for the director Jung Ji-woo, who chose erotic thrills and crime-led ambiguity over storytelling.
The story of Somebody follows highly talented developer Kim Sum. She has spent years building a Chat AI Bot. After impressing an aspiring soon-to-be CEO, her technology becomes a top-rated dating app, named initially “Someone,” but becomes the titular title “Somebody.” The story moves forward quickly, bringing elements of Kim Sum’s lifestyle, and her self-proclaimed Aspergers Syndrome, to a time when the software Somebody is a prevalent dating application. The only problem is, a serial killer is using the application to their advantage to find their next target.
With the premise set, our elusive and mysterious Kim Sum has to embrace the world of romance and murder. The K-Drama is set to be a wonder, with sickly undertones and a sinister setting.
But, unfortunately, the Korean drama dwells on the idea for far too long. Rather than embedding itself in a sickly world where a serial killer smartly unleashes his methods on unknowing victims, it instead opts for style over substance. There is no doubt whatsoever that Jung Ji-woo has an eye for filmmaking; he’s created some impressive films, after all, but maybe an 8-episode adventure was too much of a stretch for his vision.
Driving itself forward with sensationalist subplots and sexually charged scenes, Somebody runs into a corner by the time you reach the penultimate chapter. It becomes a series of random chaos rather than a story with an ultimate message. It simply fancies itself too much.
What Somebody does rather well is highlight the loneliness of the modern world through the lens of Kim Sum, played wonderfully by Kang Hae-lim. The irony is that the character developed the world’s most popular dating app but is confounded about not knowing who she truly is. She lusts for love and intimacy, entwined with a sense of individual purpose. Her back story can be applauded as we see what she truly represents in a slow, unfolding way. This character was nailed on, and the series should have honed in on her more. The character of Kim Sum is a true positive of the story.
And even with a clunky and often jaded story arc, there’s no denying that the performances throughout are top-class from start to finish. Somebody is a missed opportunity in the K-Drama world, especially with the footing of being released globally on Netflix.
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