Review: The Night Watchman

Friday, November 7, 2014

taken from

Also known as: Night Watchman's Journal / Records of a Night Watchman / Diary of a Night Watchman
Episodes: 24
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2014-Aug-04 to 2014-Oct-21

Main Cast
Jung Il Woo as Lee Rin
Go Sung Hee as Do Ha
Jung Yoon Ho as Kang Moo Suk
Seo Ye Ji as Park Soo Ryun
Kim Sung-Oh as Sadam

The Story
The story revolves around Lee Rin, a Joseon dynasty prince. His parents, the king and queen, died in a tragedy—the king, who was under a spell killed the queen and then committed suicide. Although Lee Rin was the rightful heir, the ministers deemed Lee Rin unsuitable to the throne and crowned Prince Ki San, his older half-brother and the son of a concubine, as the new king. Thus, Lee Rin was sent away from the palace because he was considered a threat to the king’s throne.
Lee Rin has been living his lonely life outside the palace as a playboy, going in and out from one gisaeng house to another. Kang Moo Suk, the king’s trusted bodyguard, is sent on a mission to gather information about Lee Rin, especially to confirm whether Rin really has the ability to see ghosts or not. The king is becoming more and more paranoid because he realizes that he is not the rightful heir to the throne and afraid that Lee Rin will take over his throne. It was said that the rightful heir to the throne was the one who possess the ability to see ghosts—an ability that Lee Rin has been hiding since childhood.

Lee Rin’s playboy life changes after he meets Do Ha, a young shaman from Mt. Baekdu who is searching for her sister. With the king’s paranoia growing worse and many evil spirits seem to cause chaos in Hanyang, the king then assigns Sadam, a Taoist priest, to ward off evil spirits that have been haunting him. The evil spirits is actually Sadam’s doing so that he can control and use the king in order to once again revive the dragon god. Lee Rin, Kang Moo Suk, and Do Ha seem to get tangled up in some problems created by Sadam. They learn about Sadam’s plan and, therefore, decide to restore the Night Watchmen—a group of soldiers created to handle monsters and spirits—with the three of them as the members in order to stop it.

My thoughts
Joseon era Ghostbusters was the first thing that crossed my mind when I watched the initial episodes of this drama. But I forgot that back in Joseon era, they wouldn’t have ghost vacuum or the vault. Besides using personalized weapons, they used talisman to contain and banish the evil spirits. When I finally witness the Night Watchmen trying to exorcize the evil spirits, it reminded me of the Chinese hopping vampire movies I used to watch in the 90s. I was expecting to see some scary evil spirits hunting only to find that the spirits were not scary at all, and there weren’t that many spirits hunting either.  

The plot was moving way too slow in building the main characters and the story together. It would be enough with 16 episodes but they had to drag the story to 24 episodes only to make the ending seemed way too easy.

Okay, maybe it was not that easy, the night watchmen of course had to come up with plans and to struggle in order to defeat Sadam. However, the dragon god was supposed to be this powerful monster but when it was finally resurrected it didn’t really show its power. With all the troubles Sadam had to create to bring it back alive, it just didn’t show its powerful greatness. The night watchmen, although having to face many obstacles, managed to defeat the dragon god and eventually Sadam sans any significant struggle. It was supposed to be this life-and-death battle. The dragon god was supposed to be more powerful than Sadam but the night watchmen seemed to suffer more because of problems created by Sadam than because of the resurrected dragon god. The story built up in a way that led me to believe that, once the dragon god resurrected, the battle with the dragon god will be epic. It was not.

This drama was simply confusing. The only thing that kept me watching was, as usual, curiosity. 

Don't think this drama is confusing? Drop your comments below and let me know why. 

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