The Matchmakers Season 1 Review – A rom-com and political thriller clubbed into one K-drama

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
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 – 5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 3.5/5

The Matchmakers is the latest sageuk to grace our scenes but it is not your usual historical rom-com. It takes modern tropes and the Cupid myth and sets it in ancient Korea aka Joseon. To complete the appeal, it has an ensemble cast led by none other than Rowoon who previously completed his hit K-drama Destined With You along with Cho Yi-hyun of All Of Us Are Dead fame. 

The Matchmakers season 1 follows the adventures of two widowed people who are complete opposites of each other. Rowoon’s Shim Jung-woo is a grumpy royal whose wife, the Princess dies on their wedding night and since then, he has been studying every law to figure out how to get his marriage annulled.

Meanwhile, Cho Yi-hyun’s Jung Soon-deok is the widowed but bubbly daughter-in-law of the ambitious Left State Councillor Jo. To the world, she is perfect but she has a secret – she moonlights as the matchmaker, Yeojudaek as she has a knack for matchmaking. When Jo comes for the throne, the King’s decision leads to an unlikely partnership between his son-in-law and Yeojudaek to get the Crown Prince married and secure his position.

Let’s be honest, among the currently popular idol actors, a lot of them tend to get typecast even if they can act. Rowoon is sort of getting there with the constant clumsy, goofy roles. Though we are not complaining about Jung-woo, it is fun to see the role reversal with him being the damsel and Soon-deok constantly saving him.

And Rowoon has shown his range but this is getting a little old now. Can we maybe see a revenge action, thrilling espionage situation next, Rowoon? He’s not too good at picking his projects but one can hope.

Then there’s the female lead, is Rowoon cursed or do none of his recent female leads have any chemistry with him? In fact, Jung-woo seems to have better interactions with Maeng Ha-na, the spinster he is matchmaking. Cho Yi-hyun does have good comedic timing and holds her own in emotional scenes but romance is not her forte. The final act is where she truly shows her acting chops so she does have potential. 

And maybe that is where the script messes up. Rowoon seems to be in a rom-com while Cho Yi-hyun is busy dealing with the in-laws and their political espionage. It is a strong concept but with an unbalanced execution. The rom-com plot is hilarious but buried for the sake of the royal conspiracy and mystery. But unlike shows where the subplot is subpar and unnecessary, the Jos’ storyline is thrilling and exciting.

However, it would have been better if they had divided The Matchmakers season 1 into two shows instead of clubbing the rom-com and political thriller. Because of it, the Maengs are sidelined, the matchmaking is forgotten halfway, and their storylines are put on pause until the end. This is quite unfortunate as the spinsters and bachelors are all pretty loveable and easy to root for. 

Also, it has been a while, or more like years since we got a K-drama that wasn’t perfect on the technical end, which is a testament to the Korean entertainment industry. So, the amazing production quality doesn’t phase fans anymore. But it is worth noting the refreshing interview format at the beginning of each episode of The Matchmakers.

It sets the comic aspect of the show while also giving a glimpse of all the characters and their thought process. We even get insights into the minor characters from Bong to Ye-jin. It’s definitely a clever plot device as it fleshes out all the characters without affecting the actual pace and action of each episode. 

Anyway, while the rewatch value of The Matchmakers season 1 isn’t high it is still a fun show. We wouldn’t mind getting a sequel of this one with the misadventures of Jung-woo and Soon-deok as they go about matchmaking single people with the help of the Maengs.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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