It’s called Hallyu : Circle (2017) – Series Review

Hello and welcome to another edition of its called Hallyu where we check out everything Hallyu! I am super excited to bring this post up because it’s been something I’m dying to publish on my blog ever since I finished watching! Now this review is spoiler free like all other reviews on my blog but you can find the episode recaps below as well if you’re interested! Now onto the review!

Episodes 1-4 recap

Episodes 5-8 recap

Episodes 9-12 recap

Country of origin : South Korea

Language : Korean

Title : Circle – Two World’s Connected

Created by : Lee Myung Han

Written by : Kim Jin Hee, Yoo Hye Mi, Ryu Moon Sang and Park Eun Mi

Directed by : Min Jin Ki

Starring : Yeon Jin Goo, Kim Kang Woo, Gong Seong Yeon, Lee Gi Kwang

Number of seasons : 1

Number of episodes : 12

Status : Completed

Broadcast date : May 22 – June 27 of 2017

Genre : Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Now there’s a reason the title of this series says “two world’s connected”. Each episode has two parts which are set in two different years – 2017 and 2037. The parts in 2017 are titled “The Beta Project” and the parts in 2037 are titled “A Brave New World”. The two world’s are connected from some incidents that happen in the years 2007-2008. Feeling confused? Trust me it’s not that confusing when you watch the series!

The crux of this story is based on this female character is the picture. Her name is Byul (which means “star” in Korean) . The two boys are twins – Woo Jin and Bum Gyum. One night as the twins debate on the existence of aliens a literal UFO chases them and they run to be caught up by their father Kim Gyu Chul. As a bright light comes from the UFO, Byul walks out from it and collapses in front of them. That day, onwards Byul has lived with the Kim family. These and the incidents surrounding this are set in the year 2007-08.

The Beta Project (2017)

The twins have grown up but their living circumstances are very different – Kim Woo Jin is working part time jobs and is on a scholarship at a university. There is no mention of their father and Bum Gyum is a convict for pushing a girl down from a building with a Taser and having mental issues. His brother comes out on parole and all seems well until Woo Jin comes to know that a series of student suicides at his University had one thing in common – a man with a Taser. Coupled with finding that his brother came out on parole long before he approached him he starts suspecting his brother.

As he questions his brother he finds out that his brother firmly believes that it’s all the doing of an alien – Byul – who he has been on the lookout for quite some time. As the brothers argue, they see Byul walking in the road and climbing a bus. Woo Jin finds out that Byul is actually Jung Yeon who studies at his University. Initially be believes his brothers suspicions and stalks her thinking she’s an alien but he finds out she is an ordinary girl and the daughter of their professor. The brothers argue again and the two split angrily.

A Brave New World

The year is 2037 and the world is not a happy place. It’s all in ruins and the fine dust pollution is so bad that it’s lethal. It’s completely dirty and polluted and the sky looks yellow. It’s at this point we meet detective Joon Hyuk who is a detective at the Seoul station on Normal Earth.

It’s at this point that we are introduced to the concept of Smart Earth. No, it’s not another Earth but rather a utopian island far far away where the sky is blue, theres no pollution and is peaceful and crime free. You can enter Smart Earth and live there – but there’s a catch – you need to implant a Smart Care chip into your brain behind your ear. The chip will stabilise your emotions and stress at all times which is the secret to Smart Earth being crime free – or so they say.

It’s at this point that Normal Earth police station receives a call from a woman called Kim Min Ji saying she’s kidnapped. Only thing is – she’s on crime free Smart Earth. The police immediately pitch in and they find out a murder has happened on Smart Earth. The officials there are insistent they must find out how it happened as it’s a matter of reputation for Smart Earth. Joon Hyuk is appointed the responsibility of investigating that case which is when his chief hands him a case of the missing twins – the twins Woo Jin and Bum Gyum went missing in 2017 and it’s related to Smart Earth – it’s up to Joon Hyuk to find it out.

Sounds exciting right?

It might seem like I gave out a lot of the story but trust me I have given you the tiniest portion possible.

Now we all know that this drama is not the most well known or popular ones in the world of K-Drama but boy, does it deserve some love and attention. Whether it’s intricate plot, character depth, story they’ve got it all!

Let’s start with the story. At the beginning I’ve explained that there are three timelines that are culminated into this series. Most of the times flitting between timelines in a story may be too confusing to the viewers if not executed properly. That’s where this series stands out. It was the perfect balance in the stories and it didn’t leave me in doubt or confusion at any point. And is the story good? You bet it is. Science fiction is a genre that is so rarely explored in Korean dramas and I wish to see more of them because this one was terrific!

At the beginning of the series we would expect maybe alien invasions and what not but the story just twists off in a totally different channel – it’s all on us humans. And do the tables turn in this series? You can bet it dies, and that too a lot! It keeps you guessing in a good way which means you are kept entertained as well all the time! There’s no drag, no unnecessary comedic or romantic relief scenes. It’s all to the point and seriousness of the story.

The story explores some rather interesting themes as well – the power of our memories, about being HUMAN, ethics when it comes to scientific advancements and so many things! With the budget they had I’m happy with how the future looks like – the set, the graphics, everything. I didn’t focus too much on the set details because let’s face it, the plot grabbed all my attention.

Onto the characters – apart from what I’ve mentioned in the plot premise there are a lot more characters. The leads are fantastic on their own but the supporting roles were on par constantly on screen. If one character it wouldn’t have felt the same! They really did great at their jobs – the actors who stood out for me was the young Woo Jin, Joon Hyuk and Byul for sure!

After reading all this if you’re still thinking whether to watch this, I recommend you dive straight in. It’s a truly underrated masterpiece that deserves a lot of love! The end of this season has sparked off a Season 2 which I hope with all my heart will come! I do hope to watch more dramas like this going forward as wl. It’s short, to the point and well executed, maybe slightly short on how much they depicted the future but nevertheless I would highly highly recommend.

For episode recaps please click the links at the top!

7 comments

  1. […] The setting of the story is set in the modern day and I’m assuming the city of Seoul and other states and districts around South Korea. I’ve been talking a lot about the plot but it’s what makes this drama this good and it’s something that I haven’t come across really good in a while. It will leave you confused, guessing, shocked, crying, happy and everything in between. Kudos to the story writers for the wonderful plot! The last I’ve seen something so imaginative was in the drama Circle. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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