It’s messy and overstuffed with ideas and occasionally wonky CGI, but Takashi Miike’s k-drama Connect deserves some attention for being proudly, determinedly weird.
This review of the Disney+ and Hulu k-drama Connect season 1 is spoiler-free.
You can fault Disney for a lot of things, but they’re not the type to miss any kind of pop-culture boom. So, it was only a matter of time before the House of Mouse tried to shoulder in on Netflix’s relative dominance of the k-drama scene. Their latest effort is Connect, a genre-blending sci-fi body-horror fused, by big, long tendrils, to a serial killer thriller. There’s a lot going on here, arguably too much, but there are also some reasons to pay attention.
For one thing, Connect has six episodes, all under an hour, which makes it refreshingly brief for a k-drama. It’s based on a popular webtoon created by Shin Dae-Sung. And it’s also the first-ever k-drama with a Japanese director.
And not just any Japanese director! Connect is the work of the legendary Takashi Miike, one of the all-time greats when it comes to the kind of perverse horror you have to watch through your fingers while trying not to gag (this is the man responsible for Audition, after all.) So, Connect has plenty going for it. And it’s well worth a look.
I mean, check out this premise. Dong-soo (Jung Hae-in) finds himself kidnapped by organ harvesters, wakes up with an eye missing, and quickly realizes that he can still see through the missing appendage. Not only that, though, but the errant peeper is now being used by a serial killer who is arranging his victims – all women – in bizarre public art exhibitions. Dong-soo resolves to track the man down, all while trying to unpack the urban legend of “connect”, figure out why he’s still attached to his eye – not to mention why he has suddenly started healing himself like Wolverine – and perhaps even find himself in the process.
Needless to say, Connect is weird, and it’s sometimes too weird for its own good. The far-flung concepts don’t always fit together snugly, and as with a lot of Miike’s work, there’s a propensity here to just throw whatever at the wall in the hopes something will stick. Some stuff does, no doubt about that, but there’s also a more coherent story here that gets lost in the weeds of outlandish ideas and some admittedly wonky CGI.
Still, it does manage to hang together on a character level – I was pretty invested in most of the players – and the plot has enough basic suspense elements that I was consistently intrigued; easily enough to power through to the end. It’s not a conclusive ending – Disney is emulating Netflix even in that, it seems – but it’s at least an outlandish one, which ought to count for something.
You can stream the k-drama Connect season 1 exclusively on Disney+ and Hulu in the United States.
2 thoughts on “Connect season 1 review – Takashi Miike’s k-drama is all kinds of weird”
” it’s sometimes too weird for its own good. The far-flung concepts don’t always fit together snugly, and as with a lot of Miike’s work, there’s a propensity here to just throw whatever at the wall in the hopes something will stick. Some stuff does, no doubt about that, but there’s also a more coherent story here that gets lost in the weeds of outlandish ideas and some admittedly wonky CGI”
I’d interested to know which clips illustrate the above. Also, I thought Connect was on Disney not Netflix!
Connect is new, fresh, pushes boundaries, has an unpredictable storyline…I would never have guessed Lee Ri Rang was a Connect! Yes it is graphic in parts but nothing squeamish people like me can’t manage. It had me hooked from the opening credits and kept my attention throughout the 6 episodes…I binge watched without really noticing as one episode seemingly moved into the next. The cast put on stellar performances…I cried with Dongsoo & felt his pain. I hated Oh Jinseop and willing Dongsoo to kill him slowly. I loved Connect , and judging from the cliffhanger, I wager there will be a Season 2. Kdrama’s tend to be at least 1hr long and have 16/20/24 episodes. Connect is 45mins long an has 6 episodes! Roll on Season 2.
I actually really enjoyed it! Connect is a kdrama that didn’t feel like a kdrama. As a kdrama enjoyer, this is as far a kdrama can be, so in that sense, it’s fresh and unique. Violence and gore aside, it’s symbolic and deep. The lead character, Ha Dongsoo, feels very human and relatable, not to mention that the actor who played him (Jung Haein) did an excellent job. The CGI is very good, I esp loved the tentacles and the sound they make. It’s quick-paced at only 45min × 6 episodes. The only thing I didn’t like is they didn’t finish the villain/Oh Jinseop arc in season 1. Maybe they still want the character/actor to appear in season 2? Of the recent kdramas, Connect is the one that deserves a season 2 the most…and I’ll be eagerly waiting for it. 9/10 for me.