Kdrama Review: Tunnel(2017)

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Alright let me begin by being upfront and letting you all know that I full-heartedly back this show. It honestly surpassed all my expectations by being a more well-rounded crime drama than I thought it could ever be. Which coming from me has got to be some kind off mighty high praise because honestly, prior to this I wasn’t feeling the genre anymore to say the least. Dare I go as far to say I was outright hesitant to even give this a chance. But fortunately for me the fans of this drama were quite loud and boisterous when it came to voicing their praises. And one of you peeps in particular was even kind enough to fill me in on the little fact that it had a time travel element. Yup that’s right and as you may have noticed… reviewing those has kinda turned into my thing. lol ๐Ÿ˜

I suppose prior to learning this, the specific reason I didn’t check it out was because I’d felt like had I already gotten my moneys worth. From watching all those countless crime dramas that you can find airing here in the States like all the time. I’m talkin’ about your CSIs, NCISs, Law and Orders, Criminal Minds, and all of their corresponding spin-offs too. O____O They basically overloaded my tiny and oh so feeble brain with so much content that I thought I forever burnt myself out on the genre. I mean the ones I listed weren’t even all the ones I use to follow! Which only goes to highlight the ridiculous amount we get over here. X_X However I suppose that in the end all I needed, funny enough, was a show with an actual END… cuz you just know that American shows tend to go on and on and on and, you get the idea. So thank you for being able to give that to me Kdramas!!! ๐Ÿ˜›

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Which leads us to the “big” question, what the fudge is this drama all about? Well for starters you have Detective Park Gwang Ho, who serves as our main protagonist. The whole drama surrounds him and a case that he started working on back in 1986. In fact it’s a case he gets close to solving one day when he manages to get a hold of the perp having him literally in his grasps. That’s because he chases him down into a tunnel were the two got into a bit of a tussle. Unfortunately for our lead though, he gets knocked out. And when he comes to, he is still in the exact same spot and yes very much alive. Except for one tiny little difference. He somehow made a time jump to MODERN DAY! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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This was a move that surprisingly made me feel a lot of weight to it because the drama does a solid job of setting us up in 1986 first. It’s like the beginning episode plays almost like a movie that you could watch on it’s own right. It’s pretty fast paced compared to other first episodes I’ve seen in that regard. What’s amazing is that it’s supposed to be a bunch of set-up but it doesn’t feel like it in the slightest. So much goes down that you will feel like it’s a self contained story despite knowing otherwise from the description. That’s cuz it manages to get you invested into not only the main character but all the happenings surrounding him too. The murders, detective work, side stories, the victims, and more. At one point I kinda didn’t want the time travel thing to happen anymore because I was so invested in the past and it’s 80s aesthetic. Down to the more rough and tough type of detective work that went down back then.

However, we inevitably do get to modern day and I’m not gonna lie, I was thinking it was unlikely that this drama could get any better but it did. You see when Detective Park gets to our time period he quickly realizes that the murders/his case is still open. Not only that but the killer is out on the loose taking more victims. So after having to take the identity of another detective, we get to see him work on those past cases while at the same time working on some new ones. And yeah it’s definitely way convenient how he is able to get his new identity so easily so I do gotta call out the writing on that. The way it was handled seemed sorta lazy. Luckily however, there weren’t any more glare ups on that level after.

Instead what we got was a nicely written through line that got a slow build to it but at the same time some smaller cases to keep things fresh and a little bit more lively. A combination that works when you know it’s not a show that will drag multiple seasons. ๐Ÿ˜€ We also got some light humor to offset what could have easily turned into a completely grim and dark drama. Mostly through the “fish out of water” scenarios that our lead finds himself in. Seeing his old school style of detective work clash with the modern way of doing things was funny almost always. He clearly has a good heart but yeah you shouldn’t beat up your suspects… O.O”

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Most of the joy for you though will undoubtedly come from the character interactions. That’s cuz they each have their own types of outgoing personalities. Ok maybe not all of them like Prof. Shim for example. She was a waay over the top “Ice Queen.” She’s the profiler they use to help solve cases but when you first meet her you can’t help but feel something is off. Although if you like characters like that who slowly open up then you will love her. Regardless there are many other fantastic relationships in here that develop to entertain you. No not necessarily in the romantic kind. Yes there are some sprinkles of that too to go around but this is a crime drama first and foremost. So what I’m really talking about is the comradery or more specifically the freaking bromance. Although not on the same level as the reaper/goblin bromance from Goblin: The Great and Only God, I do think it comes close and that is saying something.

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My fave specifically would have to be Detective Park’s relationships with both Sung-sik and Sun-jae. His thing with Sung-sik was cool because that’s the character that bridges together the past and present day. You see, he was a rookie working under our lead back in the 80s but now he has moved up in the world and is the freaking Chief! And man I don’t think I can adequately express how funny it was when they both figured that out. And no that’s not a spoiler since we as an audience know this early on.

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My other fave was his partner Sun-jae . He was like the opposite of our lead. While Park is more of a rough and tough kinda guy, Sun-jae is more on the reserved and calculating side. With a bit of a hand up since he is obviously more in tune with the new crime solving techniques of modern day. Seriously, seeing them tackle cases in their own way was plain awesome. What was even more awesome than that was to see them open up and become true partners over time. If you normally like romance angles in dramas then you can pretty much get a lot of that flavor from this bromance instead. I know it sounds weird but looking back on their development, it almost parallels exactly what you would get in a romantic one. ๐Ÿ˜› hahaha

As for the villain in this, he may seem not as developed or interesting at the start. Specially since we don’t really get inside his psyche until right up at the end. With that said, I thought he was utilized perfectly for this story. Even if we didn’t get to know him much, his presence was definitely felt throughout. And all his actions had consequences that led to other characters getting their development. When I think of it like that I can’t help but say he was a good villain. Plus he felt like a viable threat and you felt like he could cause some serious danger for all the leads involved. That’s a win I think.

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The only big negative here that I could find is that I wish we coulda played with the actual time travel element more. It’s like they tried to do that later on but it was mostly gimmicky to me. Even the rules were a bit lax, although at least we got somewhat of an explanation on how our lead traveled there. And with the ending I was left wondering how things would go moving forward. Don’t get me wrong the ending was satisfying for the most part, Its just I wanted a couple more answers than i got.

All in all though it’s a fantastic drama that will keep you wanting to see how things will play out. You will also love the characters and seeing them start to open up to each other is gonna feel fulfilling. So if you are like me and have been feeling burned out by the same ol’ same ol’ crime dramas then please at least give this a chance. I’m sure it can get you within the first episode. With that, until next time. ^____^

If you wanna watch it legally/free click here. Or head over to dramafever for yourself.

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12 thoughts on “Kdrama Review: Tunnel(2017)

  1. What great and very eleborate review. You are so right about the American crimeseries, there are just way too many of them and they all look the same or at least have the same vibe to them. As for Tunnel, I wish I could see it, but as with so many great K-dramas it is not available for me here ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair a lot of them do start off pretty good. My only wish would be for them to have an end game. Right now the plan seems to be to churn them out and milk them as long as possible. It would be nice to have at least a couple of them end on a high note. Instead they only end once the ratings are low and by that point the shows are a shell of their former selfs.

      That’s why I love asian dramas and british tv. They don’t overstay their welcome most of the time. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • True enough, the only one that I kind of still think is pretty good is Criminal Minds, the rest of these series ate just being milked could not agree with you more ๐Ÿ˜Š
        Well, another advantage that I think these dramas have is that they usually don’t get cancelled, and the storyline is completed before it ends ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  2. Cool! You finally watched it. Glad you enjoyed it. I actually watch a lot of Korean crime dramas and some, quite honestly, will have similar vibes, lots of gore, violence, and a lot of shouting. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s great that Tunnel gave it a little twist. I agree though that time travel became a gimmick of some sort at the last episodes. Hey, if you like time travel which is becoming a trend, you can try Manhole. It’s a comedy. Can’t say much about it since it’s still ongoing but give it a try. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  3. Great review. Tunnel was such a solid series. I too was drawn in by the time travel element. I do wish they would have utilized it more, but for the most part I was happy with it. And as a crime drama, it definitely felt refreshing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Come to think of it, this is the only time travel drama I’ve seen so far that was a crime drama. All the other ones I’ve seen have been romance. Hope we get more along these lines in the future. To diversify things a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. After watching first episode I kept it on hold and when I continued I didn’t regret. I did fast forward last few episodes while binge watching. Overall it was a good drama. I was looking forward to dramas of Second lead and now he is in Witch’s Court which is a very good drama too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree it got a bit draggy towards the end but overall it was definitely worth the time. As for Witch’s Court I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. It’s on my list of things to do though. ๐Ÿ˜€

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