Signal/시그널 [Drama Review]


“Each handcuff holds 2.5L of tears.” – Lee Jae Han (Signal)

HELLO EVERYONE!!!!!!! I’m here with a review of an ah-mazing drama, Signal. I was too immersed with the drama every single week. 75 minutes felt like 15 minutes! How to even review this drama. It’s the most brilliant drama I’ve watched since Bad Guys (OCN, 2014). How to even put my admiration towards this drama into good words. Just amazing, brilliant, nerve-wracking, a perfect drama that I’ve been craving for since Bad Guys. Every episode puts me in awe. A well-rounded drama that’s beyond my expectation and imagination.

The casts are out of this world. They got Kim Hye Soo, Lee Je Hoon, and Jo Jin Woong in one drama. Don’t forget Jang Hyun Sung, Kim Won Hee, Jung Hae Kyun, and all supporting casts. From casts alone, it’s a must-watch drama already. Then we got Kim Won Suk PD who also directed tvN’s most successful drama in 2014 Misaeng and screenwriter Kim Eun Hee the one who wrote 3 Days back in 2014. BOOM. Everything you’ll ever ask for from a drama is here, in Signal.

CAST + ACTING + IMPRESSION (10 out of 10)
I can’t say anything. Every single cast did an outstanding  job in carrying out their role.

I don’t need to say anything about the 3 leads because as you can see it yourself, they rocked their role. Lee Je Hoon can act you guys. He was great in this drama. His pronunciation might be off at times especially n the first few episodes but overall he nailed his job. Kim Hye Soo is totally everyone’s girl crush. She could pull off two different sides of Cha Soo Hyun, the charismatic Cold Case Squad team leader and the clumsy maknae who loved her sunbae.

Jo Jin Woong was damn great! I really don’t think anyone else could play this role except him. Lee Jae Han’s rage and sadness were delivered brilliantly. Jang Hyun Sung really put me in awe. I knew he was a great actor but I didn’t know he was this great. He has such a wide spectrum of acting. He was so believable as Kim Bum Joo that make you want to slap him. He was embroidered to this role. He made it his own like he was born as Kim Bum Joo not as the actor Jang Hyun Sung who play the role as Kim Bum Joo.

Not even one bad actor in this drama, something that’s pretty rare and very precious in this dramaland lately. Even the child actors were so good. When the young Park Hae Young cried his heart out while calling for his brother when he’s taking away by the police, you can see that the child actor really gave his best. You could feel him, you could sympathize with him.

For the cameos, I really think that the first criminal (that crazy woman (ep 1-2)) is one of the scariest murderers in my drama watching history. The character was insane already then the actress, Oh Yeon Ah, portrayed the character in such unbelievable way. Who can forget her “I…. did not kill her.” line??? No one can! She’s a psycho.

CINEMATOGRAPHY (10 out of 10)
One scene delivered a million emotions. The director, Kim Won Suk, was excellent in capturing the right emotion. I like the camera angles, it was great. We had two different timelines in this drama; the present and the past. The past timeline was shown clearly by stretching the scenes vertically so the casts looked taller and skinnier then they in the present timeline. I think Signal is the first drama that has ever done it.

The styling team also did a great job dressing and presenting the character Lee Jae Han. They changed his hairstyle every time he and Park Hae Young worked on a new case. Because Park Hae Young didn’t only worked with Lee Jae Han who lived in 2000, but also with Lee Jae Han who lived before and after that year.

PLOT/STORYLINE (10 out of 10)
Every episode was filled with tension. It was brilliant and solid watch from start to finish. I remember I watched the first episode the next day after the episode aired in Korea. It was around 10pm when I played it. I couldn’t sleep because it left me with so much curiosity so I decided to download the raw around 1am lol. I skimmed through the raw but couldn’t understand anything then I just shutted down my laptop in frustration. Because of that I decided to learn Korean, a thing that I should have started waaaay before. So, if you ask me what is my real reason learning Korean, I will answer because I want to understand what my idols are saying in their interviews. But, if you ask me what is my motivation learning the language, my answer is because of Signal. I didn’t want to wait for few hours to watch the drama because I had to wait until the eng sub was released by the subbers.

I thought that they would drag Park Hae Young’s classmate’s case for 16 episodes but I was wrong. On episode 2 they had to solve a new case again and more nerve-wracking than the first case. But not going to lie, the first case leaves a deep deep impression, for me, because it was my first time watching a very well-made and well-written case in my Korean drama watching history.

Each transmission Park Hae Young and Lee Jae Han shared was carefully planned out. Every case had many little details. All of those, at the end, connected to one another.

I liked how the writer didn’t let us see the big picture -the young Park Hae Young and Lee Jae Han in the past-. She peeled it layer by layer, slowly but surely. But she kept on teasing us by giving us little details about it.

SPOILERS AHEAD. I can’t review if I don’t give spoiler lol.

Episode 13 broke me into a billion pieces. I didn’t sign up for this drama for this. I held myself not to be too emotional but I completely lost it at their transmission. They both wished each other to be happy and be safe but fate was playing with them. Park Hae Young’s omelet rice won the saddest dish in the world award. I didn’t know that omelet rice would be this saddening.

Episode 14 brighten the mood a little bit with Cha Soo Hyun’s love confession to Lee Jae Han. It’s the funniest yet the most sincere confession.

Some things better left as it is. This show also taught us this. Some things just cannot be changed even if we want them to change, even if we know we can change them. A great example for this are Lee Jae Han’s first crush’s case and Park Hae Young’s brother’s death. If it’s not suppose to happen, then it won’t happen. It’s heartbreaking though, seeing the characters going through that phase but life must go on that’s what people say.

The last episode was both saddening and beautiful. There are unanswered questions in the last episode maybe because of the time limit. But again, I’m satisfied with everything as long as Lee Jae Han survive his death and alive. I didn’t really mind with the plot or anything I just wanted Lee Jae Han to survive. I’ve never known that wanting a character to be alive effect my judgement about the episode. Ep 16 was amazing in almost everything. The drama had an open ending with unanswered questions but it’s all satisfying as long as Lee Jae Han was alive in the present timeline. This character deserved a thing called happiness!

OST (10 out of 10)
Support the OST on MelOn ->
Support the OST on Genie ->

Every song is great. I keep replaying them over and over again. The OST album comes with 2 CDs with a total of 40 tracks. I haven’t listened to the album yet, I don’t have Genie credit or code at the moment how saddening.

But, there are of course my favorite tracks from CD 1 which is track number 2, 회상 (Reminiscence). It’s also the title track. Another personal favorite is  떠나야 할 그 사람 (The One Who Will Leave) sang by 잉키 (INKY). In the OST album it’s the 3rd track. 길 (Road) by 김윤아 (Kim Yuna)  is another great song. Those 3 are my personal favorites. Definitely check them out!

Signal’s OST are doing great on charts and the viewership on the official MVs on CJENMMUSIC Official youtube channel is great compared to other OST MVs.

If you ask me is it necessary to listen to the songs on official CJ’s official youtube channel or stream it legally on Korean music portals, I would say definitely. It’s important to show to the singers and composers that we enjoy and appreciate their work. By streaming the songs legally we support their work and they get paid too. Don’t forget to hit the like/love button when you go to MelOn or Genie or CJ’s youtube.

Overall rating :  10 out of 10
Will I Watch it Again? HELL YES!

Mad respect to everyone who worked hard for this drama. Thank you for the last 8 weeks. You’ve done great. What should I watch after you say goodbye T_T

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Drama Reviews | Red watches TV

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