Warming Up Slowly
TVN’s new weekend drama Melting Me Softly is a bit of a mixed bag. Focusing more on drama but interwoven with elements of science fiction too, Melting Me Softly has an interesting premise but right now, the execution is a little haphazard. Whether this new show will reach the same success as Hotel Del Luna or Arthdal Chronicles remains to be seen but right now that looks like a bit of a stretch to reach those heights.
We begin in the year 1999 with a man walking down a very dark corridor. He walks inside a strange lab with cryogenic chambers and tells the professor in charge that he’ll help him make his experiment a success by taking part himself. We then flash-forward and see a camera-man, Hyun-Ki, filming the experiment and explaining that two of the candidates are Director Ma Dong Chan, who first started the program, and Mi-Ran.
We then flashback to see Mi-Ran receiving a call from a job interview, telling her she didn’t get the job. At dinner, she gets called to the broadcasting station where she says goodbye to her disabled brother. Once there, she has to be filmed being projected into water and we see that the person filming is none other than her future frozen partner, Director Ma.
During an award ceremony, Ma Dong-Chan wins an award for his show “Infinite Experiment Paradise”. During his speech, he tells them he has a new idea for his next show and presents his girlfriend, Ha Young, to the audience. When Ha Young finds out her boyfriend is going to participate in his upcoming experiment she protests, telling him it’s not safe. He shows her a video of the scientist conducting the experiment on a dolphin.
Dong-Chan decides that he also needs a woman in the experiment, so they think of Mi-Ran, who has been a regular on their variety show. Hyun-Ki is sent to speak to Mi-Ran about participating in the experiment and despite initially refusing, when she’s offered a lot of money she has second thoughts.
She’s then taken to the Professor who explains the conditions behind the experiment, but also that he’s the only one able to revive anyone frozen. Mi-Ran remains unconvinced, deciding instead to visit a fortune teller who reveals that she’ll meet the love of her life 20 years from now.
Dong-Chan tells Son Hyun-Ki that professor Hwang’s supervisor was apparently murdered when he worked in the States and that concerns him. He asks Hyun-Ki to find out more about it and after watching both candidates going on a date with their respective partners, we flashback to the present time where Hyun-Ki tries to see who the other participants are. The professor arrives in time to stop him though, before we flashback to find Doctor Johnson killed on the floor and surrounded by fire.
Before the experiment, Dong-Chan tries to convince his boss to accept his idea for the new show. He tells him it’ll be good for Korean broadcasting but when he doesn’t get anywhere, Dong-Chan decides to try convincing Mi Ran himself. They find her in a park with her friends where suddenly, Mi-Ran finds her boyfriend with another girl. Shocked, she decides to confront him but ends up kicking him in the face instead, creating an even bigger scandal.
The next day, Dong-Chan speaks to Mi-Ran about the experiment. He tells her it could change the world and help cure diseases. Thinking about her brother and all the bullying he had to endure throughout his life, she finally accepts.
Back in the present, the professor orders Hyun-Ki out of his lab as he doesn’t want him to film the thawing process. As he leaves, we see him being followed and then chased down the road. Despite escaping his tormentor, his car suddenly explodes, killing him instantly. Back at the lab, as the countdown reaches zero the bodies start to defrost. The assistant panics and switches the power off in the facility. The episode then ends with the lab suddenly shaking and being opened from the outside.
Melting Me Softly’s first episode mainly serves as a backdrop for our characters, and a way to set the scene for what’s to come. While a little slow at times, the episode’s biggest problem alongside it’s numerous time jumps comes from the tone, which feels a little sporadic and uneven. We learn about Dong-Chan and Mi-Ran’s lives and what leads them to be the candidates in the experiment, and hopefully this introduction is simply a way of proverbally clearing out the cobwebs before delivering something more substantial.
There’s no denying that Melting Me Softly’s premise is an interesting one and while it has been done before (1992’s Forever Young comes to mind), the show does promise to offer plenty of fun after setting the, somewhat shaky, foundations here. Hopefully Melting Me Softly can improve but right now, the show doesn’t quite live up to expectations, delivering an average slice of drama.