Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
What would you do if you only had 3 months to live? Would you slip into a depressive state of hopelessness? Or would you try to do everything you can to live life to its fullest? It’s a tantalizing question, and one that forms the crux of tvN’s latest fantasy/romance hybrid, Doom at Your Service.
At the center of this series of unfortunate events is Dong-Kyung, who lives an unremarkably ordinary life. This soon changes though when she learns she’s terminally ill and will die in 3 months time.
Cursing the heavens, Dong-Kyung wishes for the world to end in her depressive state. Through the cacophony of wishes and demands littering the Korean skyline, doom-bringer Myul Mang hears her wish and soon comes running.
Emotionless and intent on seeing the world burn, Myul-Mang strikes a deal with Dong-Kyung. What starts as an innocent and unnerving deal soon blossoms into juxtaposing forces brought together at the right place at the right time.
Their hopelessness, loneliness and despair soon changes as the pair grow closer together and spend more time getting acquainted. When I say this show is a slow-burn, that’s an understatement. For some, Doom at Your Service will be as dull as dishwater.
There’s barely any movement on the overarching plot for large swathes of the 16 episodes, instead focusing more intently on the characters and seeing them grow and evolve over time. In a way, Doom at Your Service is much closer to a slice of life drama than outright fantasy.
Luckily, both Dong-Kyung and Myul-Mang have crazy chemistry together and they help elevate this series. The idea that suffering is what makes happiness possible is a good one and it’s a motif reflected through both of these characters.
During the rare moments that they’re not together – especially late on – the real problems with this drama start to rear their head and it’s hard to look past.
Alongside the Dong-Kyung and Myul-Mang romance is a love triangle that just doesn’t work. Joo-Ik and Hyun-Ku are best friends and end up entangled with budding writer Ji-Na. It’s your usual “who will the girl choose?” trope without the panache or excitement some of the better offerings can come up with.
This subplot takes up so much of the run-time too and it’s just not interesting. The show does keep you guessing until the end but given how tasty the main romance is, this subplot feels like chewing on cardboard by comparison.
The main couple and their romance is what holds this show together. Without that, the entire premise would fall apart. Tale of the Nine Tailed, for example, attempted a high fantasy alteration of this story but the lack of chemistry between leads absolutely killed it.
As an amusing polar opposite, Doom at Your Service has barely a sniff of fantasy but instead leans into the natural chemistry its two leads have on-screen. When it comes to the best romance of the year, these two are definitely in the running.
If you’re in the mood for a slow-burn character-driven romance then Doom at Your Service is worth checking out. It’s not perfect, and the show does bring with it some baggage involving its supporting characters, but there’s enough to like here nonetheless.
Verdict - 7/10