Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 17 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Lovestruck In The City is an interesting experiment that doesn’t always work as well as it should. In its simplest form, this 17 episode long Korean drama takes numerous face to face interviews and attempts to blend this documentarian formant with a more conventional, messy set of love stories. The result is an uneven and turbulent rollercoaster, one that has as many high notes as it does bum notes. While certainly more unique than the average K-drama offering, this uniqueness sadly doesn’t translate into a better show.
The story here is essentially split into three different relationships at various stages of their lifespan. The first sees Rin-I and Kyeung-Jun happily in love and seemingly on course to become a cute couple we follow across the season. Of course, nothing is ever that simple and soon a rift starts to grow between them.
Meanwhile, Seon-Gyeom and Kang Geon have their own relationship woes, with the former jealous about Kang Geon’s female friends. This inevitably sees the two start to drift apart too.
The final couple, and the most dominant storyline here, comes in the form of Jae-Won and Eun-O. Both of these characters meet on a whimsical summer romance and seem to be destined to fall in love and live happily ever after. Only, Eun-O has a dark past and has adopted a new name for her holiday, Seon-A. Completely fooling Jae-Won and jokingly getting married to him on his RV (he doesn’t think it’s a joke though), the two eventually agree to meet up in Seoul when they get back.
The only trouble is, Eun-O completely ghosts him and refuses to contact. Even worse, she keeps hold of Jae-Won’s expensive cameras. The truth around why she’s done this does eventually come to light, leading the pair into a whole series of toxic situations where you can’t help but feel they’d both be better off alone.
This story does eventually crescendo into a decent pay-off, but the ride to get there is certainly a mixed bag of feelings.
Stylistically, Lovestruck In The City does do quite a good job sticking to its documentary format… most of the time. There are a few episodes where it’s completely abandoned and other times where it’s not always clear whether Lovestruck In The City is playing it straight or trying to move into satirical territory. There’s a few self-aware moments of product placement, subtle references to other dramas and even a few tropes finding its way here too.
This tonal clash eventually culminates in an ending that works reasonably well… if this show is renewed for a second season. Although there is a definitive resolution to Jae-Won and Eun-O’s story, the other two pairings are left with massive question marks over their future. The show even introduces a brand new couple right at the end too.
While it could be argued that this show is just portraying a true slice-of-life snapshot, it also feels betrays the frenetic energy during the first episode and some of the later episodes too.
In fact, Lovestruck In The City has a real problem with its pacing in general, with the first half of the show stagnating into a real slog to get through before quickening the pace late on and actually injecting some much-needed answers over why certain characters are acting the way they are. Given the weekly format to this one, I can’t help but feel that Lovestruck is going to work a lot better as a binge-watch.
Ironically, Lovestruck In The City feels like it’s been designed in that way too. Unlike the conventional hour-long Korean dramas we’re usually given, Lovestruck In The City sees each episode clock in at around 30 minutes or so, making it an incredibly easy show to get through.
Having said all that, Lovestruck is an interesting experiment that doesn’t always work as well as it should. There’s definitely potential here for more seasons but the unique hook is going to fragment the fanbase over those who love and those who loathe this format.
A meandering first half does pave way for a better and more vibrant set of episodes to finish things off but it never quite feels like enough to shake off the shackles of mediocrity.