Review: ‘Miss Night and Day’ Is Another Guaranteed K-Drama Hit

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 18, 2024 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
0
View all
'Miss Night and Day' Netflix Review - Another Guaranteed Hit
Miss Night and Day | Image via Netflix
3

Summary

With its fun premise and cast, Miss Night and Day is almost guaranteed to be a hit, even if it sometimes indulges in more obvious storytelling techniques and obligatory tropes.

Sometimes you just know a show is going to be a hit. This instinct rarely has anything to do with quality, either. Miss Night and Day won’t be the best K-Drama any long-time fans have ever seen, for instance, but within two episodes it supplanted The Atypical Family’s ratings in the same time slot, only proving my point.

So, what’s the appeal? With Netflix dropping two episodes of several Korean shows both midweek and at the weekend all throughout a given year, how can anyone say that one will do better than another?

It’s a science, I guess. Miss Night and Day has a just-right concoction of crowd-pleasing genres, attractive actors, and novel ideas, and the tone flits between comedic romance and more serious thriller with respectable alacrity.

As I say, sometimes you just know.

Miss Night and Day has a fun premise. In it, Lee Mi-jin (played alternately by Lee Jung-eun and Jung Eun-ji) is a twenty-something jobseeker who, through a series of unfortunate events involving a failed job interview, a fortune teller, and a presumably magic cat, manifests the ability to transform into a middle-aged woman during the day.

With these Tom Hanks in Big vibes established, Mi-jin settles into a routine of utilizing her new appearance to latch onto the career opportunities she has been consistently denied as a younger woman. She gets a job as part of a senior citizens initiative in the prosecutor’s office, which brings her into the ambit of Ji-woong, who has recently been transferred to the area while investigating a series of disappearances, including that of Mi-jin’s aunt, Im Sun, whose name she takes in her older form.

It’s obvious from the title and every editing and stylistic choice the show makes that it doesn’t intend to be subtle about the binaries of society: young and old, experienced and inexperienced, and yes, indeed, night and day.

The obviousness of the point doesn’t sap any of its relevance, though. One of the more compelling angles the show takes with Mi-jin as a character is highlighting the weird space she finds herself in on the job market, being considered both too old to be youthful and energetic but too young to have any meaningful experience. She exists outside of the binary, so she’s ostracised, forced to fit somewhere she isn’t suited to.

The radical difference in perceptions and treatment that Mi-jin is met with as both a twenty-something and a middle-aged woman are mined for a lot of comedy, but also some genuine insight. Again, drawing attention to this through split-screen editing is a bit hammy, but it does the job.

Any concerns about Miss Night and Day arise in the other things it’s trying to do outside of this core body-swap premise. There’s clearly a romance brewing between Mi-jin and Ji-woong, for instance, which is always par for the course in these kinds of dramas, and the end of Episode 2 shifts more into crime drama territory in a way that may not be quite as charming in the long-term.

Of course, if there is one subset of fans virtually guaranteed to forgive an indulgence in unnecessary tropes, it’s the K-Drama crowd. But still, it would have been nice if Miss Night and Day was content to be its own thing away from the usual trappings of your average weekend show.

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
View all