Loose Thoughts, Possibly Pseudo-Review on Nine: Nine Times Travel.

Nine (2013)
Nine: Nine Times Travel (2013)

So I just finished Nine: Nine Times Travel and my mind can’t seem to turn off…

I literally just completed my three-day marathon of the show – I can so imagine my mum’s outraged expression if she were to ask, “So what did you do during your break?” and this is very likely my response ha, “…”. I then went straight to Javabeans’ two-part review of the show because the ending… the ending… ah, that. She totally knocked it out of the park though, with those reviews.

I came running here because the show does this to its audience, I think – leaves you with this pressing feeling of wanting, needing to talk about it long after the credits roll because well, what was that all about?! Not necessarily questioning in an angry way, just… still trying to absorb and reason. I’m late to the wagon though and realize that there are now so many write-ups out there which discuss, dissect and analyze the show so well and more cohesively than I ever could I think. With that said and as of now, with my head still spinning thanks to the ending, I doubt I’ll be writing an overall review or anything of that sort on this show. That in itself requires so much thinking and I really think so many others do it way better.

One thing I will admit is that I think I’m in the minority when it comes to this show – I like it, but I don’t love it. I appreciate it because the writing was one hell of a mindfuck ride but so tightly and intelligently done that there’s absolutely no doubt the show is worthy of every accolade it has received. My problem is that while I did watch it to the end, strangely, the experience was such a chore. I kept having to consciously motivate and push myself to keep going because whenever I stop to take a break, I find myself minimally interested to pick up the next episode. While we’re at it, fine I’ll admit this too – the heroine annoyed the hell out of me. Her bubbly attitude was ugh, too much cute going on for me that I wish she’d just tone it down a notch or two. I know she’s cute and all, but seriously…

But anyway, moving on. The third point is that this show is actually only the second time-traveling Kdrama I’ve watched (the first being the much-loved Queen In Hyun’s Man by the same writer-director team …which likewise, I appreciated but did not love) so I can’t draw comparisons and specify how, where and why exactly the show is superior to the rest of the year’s crop. Honestly though, I don’t think it actually matters when it comes to this show cos like I said earlier, once you’re suckered in it doesn’t take long before the show has your attention.

The writing is truly impressive because it is tight, mind-boggling and clearly well-thought out, from (most of) the small details to the larger ones. While the time-jumps and internal set of rules felt convoluted, that’s more so because it’s a sci-fi kind of topic that’s out of norm, but once you consider them within the context and world of the show, here’s where it’s cool and when I know the writer is kick-ass awesome – lots of them actually made sense. In addition, I thought the directing complemented the writing very, very well with split screens, clearly outlined timelines, sepia colors and different ensemble of cast to separate the past/present.

I hate being a wet blanket and would love to discuss the ending – oh the ending! – but I do feel it’s important that you know my stance with this show; I’m not all over it. I appreciate it, no doubt about that but strangely this show never captured me the way it did to so many others, based on year-end reviews I’ve read. I actually felt emotionally disconnected throughout (was it my own doing though, did I build the hype myself and went in with over-expectations?) and though I noted and thus, appreciated the finesse in all aspects – writing, directing, acting and even abstract, big-picture elements – somehow it just never owned me. Weird.

My mind is still reeling from the after-effects of the show, so I’m going to stop here… I’m probably already saying too much anyway. Can’t promise an overall review with this one – in all seriousness, I think it would be hard to produce! – but… I dunno. I’m actually more interested in the ending or third arc of the show more than anything, so I might just focus specifically on that. We’ll see.

It’s 241 AM here as I sign off, so I’m off to bed. G’night!

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6 thoughts on “Loose Thoughts, Possibly Pseudo-Review on Nine: Nine Times Travel.

  1. You finished! Cool!
    I’m glad you were impressed by the writing – it really was fabulously tight. But though I loved it completely (or nearly..) I can see why you might not have been so attached, especially to the girl. Oddly enough, I kind of liked her general immaturity in the context, especially how her character was always the same in every timeline. But, that’s just me. My perspective was skewed, maybe bc we initially skipped the whole courtship phase, and that kiss in ep 1 blew me away.

    The end… Lmao. How I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall of the writers’ session, coming up with this whole script. My husband and I have spend Hours discussing all possibilities, beyond what even I wrote down for my review, half of which I can’t remember anymore. It makes sense!! If.. you want it to. Lol. That’s all I can say.

    After I watched this, and rewatched it with my husband, and rewatched most of the end with my mother – I was super excited to see what She would say about it. Like, completely antsy waiting for her theories. And she just looks at me and says. “Hmm. Okay. Doesn’t really need thought though.”

    Me: “……………………. what? How can you even say that?”
    Mom: “………….”

    -_-

    1. The kiss at the end was the one that blew me away. SO HOT.*fans self* hahahaha. But for reals, when he locked the door and walked up to her, I was like “OMGGGG.”

      +1 for the conversation between your mum and you! Honestly that is soooo totally how my mum would react too. Cos like the other day I texted her to say I finally finished Empire of Gold (I spent my summer watching it with her) and wanted to discuss the ending, and I was going all deep with this whole concept of redemption per the ending, only for her to reply something briefly in return, before moving on to relate to her life or something like that. Yours and my expressions: -_- Ahahahaha. I’m so jealous (okay, kinda) of the fact that you’re able to pull your husband with you in the watching and discussions! I’d love to throw theories back and forth about the show overall, not just the ending. Now I’m just kinda tired cos I spent quite a bit of time reading up different reviews and thoughts etc. I’m happy with accepting the conclusion I did based on all that reading :p

  2. I think the consensus here in Dramaland is that Nine is appreciated more for its brilliant writing than its emotional effect on the audience. So, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone! It never managed to capture my heart, but damn if it wasn’t able to hold my brain hostage. And… that ending!!! @__@

    1. Oh yay, thanks for letting me know that! Cos I feel almost – almost! – guilty that the show just never emotionally pulled me in, despite all the good stuff that took place. Haha “brain hostage” – completely agree!! And the ending! I actually read through the comments thread at JB’s ending analysis and wholeheartedly accepted the theory/interpretation about the full circle thing – the beginning and end of the show – so much so that I realize I’m no longer “OMG WTF?” kinda thing in my head anymore haha. I also really appreciate people who took their time (and patience!) to rewatch and point out how detailed and in-depth the writers and PD were in making sure things were cohesive – down to the small details of something being there in past and present or the different alterna-lives – and thus, connected the dots to arrive at the conclusions they did, especially with the whole full circle thing. I definitely didn’t hate the ending and actually thought it was well done, but then that short scene when the credits roll happened and I’m like “ayeeeee what do you mean now??”

      But yes, now I’m rather at peace after reading through quite a number of opinions and realizing I’m heavily skewed towards one or two theories in particular :)

  3. “leaves you with this pressing feeling of wanting, needing to talk about it long after the credits roll because well, what was that all about?! Not necessarily questioning in an angry way, just… still trying to absorb and reason.” Yeah, when I finished watching it, I needed to talk about it. Or at least, I needed to read other people’s reviews of it. I think it’s great that even if people didn’t love the show as much as other viewers did, everyone had the same need to discuss it. It does show that at least the writing was done well even if other things didn’t pull you in. I personally liked the main girl, but i know a couple of people who really didn’t, and I can see why. I didn’t like her in the first episode but she quickly grew on me. Or, it might have been his feelings towards her that I was appreciating rather than her as a character? But I liked the romance aspect of the drama, so that totally sucked me in. I could have done without the over-the-top villain. He started off normal and then got more and more crazy, and while i think they chose to do that for probably a very good reason, it basically just annoyed me, lol

    1. I think her extremely bubbly attitude made me more annoyed than in love haha, but I think it’s just me frankly (I typically can’t stand super perky people). I will say that one thing I thought the writing could work on was the pacing – wasn’t bad, but it did slow down in the meander those periods were omg, so hard for me to keep going. I like that the writers took their own time, but at the same time there were times in the middle especially where I went mentally, “okay I get it. Heartbreak. Difficulty in accepting. Can we get a move on now?” I totally agree about the OTT villain though! He was just ridiculous at the end and the facial expression annoyed the hell out of me haha.

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