“Doom At Your Service” has wrapped up its run a couple of days ago, and as per the many requests I’ve gotten, a review is in order, but this one is a spoiler review because I’ll be getting into the nitty-gritty details.
The below “Doom At Your Service” review is my personal opinion and is subjective. Take it with a grain of salt. We’re all here to share our opinions respectfully.
I’ll go over the drama in its entirety to discuss what I’ve thought and if some of my thoughts following the first half review has changed.
Now, to the people who watched with much enthusiasm and were immersed in the drama, it will not be the type of review you expect. It will be a vastly different experience than yours.
The plot-line- going round and round
I stand by what I said in the first-half review of “Doom At Your Service,” the idea is still very intriguing and in its own way, very unique. If it was used correctly, we would’ve easily seen the next big HIT not only internationally but domestically as well.
For the record, “Doom At Your Service” is doing so well internationally with its rights sold to many countries around the world, on the other hand, domestically speaking, the ratings were disappointing to say the least. It started off with 4% which is solid for a cable drama but continued to trend downwards throughout the majority of its run ending with its second-lowest rating overall.
“Doom At Your Service” metaphors are beautifully written, even in the weak plot that we ended up getting, there were many beautiful moments that relied on metaphors, moments that were crafted well and with delicate attention to details, its shame the same energy wasn’t paid to all parts of the plot.
The concept of a goddess and a man who is doom himself was a nice idea. Fantasy kdramas tackle such subjects but in the case of “Doom At Your Service,” there was something special about the way they handled the topic, its unique to them. Not the same can be said about every other fantasy kdrama with similar elements.
However, this is where we hit a wall.
In the first half review of “Doom At Your Service,” I spoke about how worried I was about the plot direction. My worries were confirmed as we headed to the second half.
“Doom At Your Service” screenwriter was obviously struggling to fill in the run time resorting to using all sorts of cliché and repetitive story devices throughout the second half. She used them in the first half, but ramped it up during the second half to unbelievable territories. If you were among the people already feeling bored by the first half, the second was probably more difficult to get through.
“Doom At Your Service” writing turned out to be more cliché than I had initially expected. With the direction of episode 1 to 4, I expected better since so many of the themes being discussed were hella interesting, however, she favors an unnecessary push and pull that doesn’t feel deserved or necessary.
“Doom At Your Service” plot-lines feel like separate ideas that failed to be connected to a coherent story that wraps up nicely. It often felt like two different dramas in one. You can tell the screenwriter is trying to be different but she couldn’t deliver on that ‘different’ promise as much as alluded to.
So the drama ends up coming off like an attempt to be different without the effort. And this could honestly feel worse in the eyes of certain viewers, I am one of them. Not all will share my views.
Most of the dialogue between the main leads is immensely repetitive. You get a solid 6 episodes of them being in love while Myul Mang is in denial.
The push and pull game between Dong Kyung and Myul Mang is extended to beyond tolerable levels because you can tell there is no other place to take it from there. If they’re on the same page, in love and accept their fate, what is the story left to tell? Where do you go from there except towards the inevitable end and separation?
I dislike using the ‘erase memory’ plot device because its a weak attempt at extending a plot in whatever setting, often than not, it doesn’t feel earned and in this case. It wasn’t. It added about two episodes and we got basically the same scenes repeated again. I face palmed the entire time.
Also, the topic of what happens after doom is dead is never explored properly even though its alluded that the world can’t be without doom. This cheapens the overall feel of the drama in favor of a happy ending that doesn’t align with what the screenwriter has been writing thus far.
I am not the type of person who expects a happy ending when always watching, sometimes, a sad ending is in order because it is what the drama has been aiming for. A sad ending isn’t always a bad ending, but it appears that the screenwriter favored a happy unnatural ending that doesn’t feel on the same wavelength of what she’s been writing since the get-go.
The love triangle- Frustrating, childish and toxic
What pains me about “Doom At Your Service” is just how perfect the casting was and how wasted the potential was as well.
The love triangle is almost never properly integrated into the story. Aside from that, it is very boring.
It took so long to start and when boiled down to the basic idea feels very childish and unnecessary. Not to mention just how immensely toxic both male leads were. Joo Ik is so manipulative and mean its astonishing how Lee Soo Hyuk was ever able to make him likable.
He kisses a woman without consent which is a huge issue that is brushed off as nothing and painted as a ‘romantic’ thing when its not. Imagine if this happened to you, and some man just came up to kiss you like that…. How would it feel?
Added to that, the woman he kissed is his younger friend lover, adding insult to injury. To top it off, when asked why he’d done it at first, he says he felt pity on her. If this isn’t the most condescending disrespectful answer I’ve ever seen in a kdrama…
He keeps saying he knows he’s bad… I am like ‘no sh*t bro.’ what do I do with that? As if his acknowledgment that he’s done some terrible things amend for his actions. And he continues to pursue her at that.
Hyun Kyu is also extremely childish in a different way. He is a douche who hurt her deeply. I honestly don’t know which one is worse.
Watching this love triangle unfold was interesting at first but upon further inspection feels very disturbing and annoying. As if you’re watching people in their late 20s unable to move on from a high school crush. For being the rather human side of the story, this is also absurd for obvious reasons. From the way it began to the way it played, it was also dragged when the verdict was clear from episode 10.
Na Ji Na shouldn’t have ended with either, she is frustrating as well but she deserved better.
“Doom At Your Service” and the 16 episodes dilemma
When you boil it down, the idea behind “Doom At Your Service” is simple, a bit too simple for 16 episodes and this is where the biggest issue lies. The progression of the plot often feels as filler content rather than something that contributes to the overall arc of the story we’ve got. Rendering the story redundant and confusing for the sake of the ‘climax’ that doesn’t feel ‘right.’
The screenwriter deliberately keeps things very confusing not because its complicated but because she needs that tension that wouldn’t be achieved otherwise. 2 sentences can summarize the entire drama, that’s not a good indication in many ways.
I’ve seen a shift in recent years, fewer kdramas are being produced with 16 episodes in mind, I am glad we see this change but I wish it was implemented more often. Many great ideas of kdramas ended up being diluted because of the 16 episode standard format.
“Doom At Your Service” would’ve still been a fun watch had it been 8 or 10 episodes. 8 episodes would’ve made it a killer kdrama, it would’ve made it so much better. SOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER.
Because many of the scenes are repetitive, you get either fan service moments or fillers. Fan service is fine and all but in moderation as well. You can clearly tell the production is betting on the actors’ star power to carry the weak plot.
The casting is perfect, the chemistry is so so good. Seo In Guk and Park Bo Young make a great on-screen couple. This is why despite the repetitiveness, there is a feel of sincerity to their acting which helps the audience remain invested in the drama. Had this couple chemistry been terrible, it would’ve been impossible to watch.
“Doom At Your Service” had so much wasted potential that it pains me. I love all the actors involved in this project and I watched almost all of their dramas, this is why I am this sad to see how it turned out. I was hoping this drama turns out good, I am disappointed.
This drama isn’t the worst thing to have happened or ‘bad’ in any way, but it is boring and that’s not to be taken lightly.
So these are my thoughts on Doom At Your Service, so what about you guys? did you like the drama? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.