Oi vey! I’ve finished 5 episodes of Athena, which is about 1/4 of the drama, and I’m going to postpone further watching of it indefinitely or scratch it off my to-watch/finish list altogether because in short, Athena… is not a good show, and that’s putting mildly. Originally, I was thinking of writing a post on Athena, categorizing my thoughts into “The Good, The Bad, and The WTH?!” to pay homage to Jung Woo Sung’s movie. Although I haven’t seen The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it but when Athena was going downhill for me, I quickly canned that idea because I didn’t want to associate the movie’s good name with this crappy drama. Now, you might say, “Well, you’ve only seen 5 episodes. Isn’t that too soon to judge a drama’s quality?” And I might agree with you and be optimist, thinking, “Who knows, it might get better later on…” However, based on what I’ve watched thus far and read about later episodes, sadly, it doesn’t look promising.
To be honest, Athena was never on my list of highly anticipated dramas because the only actor that I care for in its main cast was Jung Woo Sung. And when the casting news of Sean Richard in a supporting role came out, my interest for it rose a little because I’ve grown fond of this actor who played the wonderful Dr. Allen on Jejoongwon. Unfortunately, both Jung Woo Sung and Sean Richard are playing characters that I don’t like. Sean Richard’s character is a baddie, so obviously I wouldn’t be rooting for him but performance-wise, he’s doing a decent job, especially with his eye-emoting; those kind eyes on Dr. Allen are now replaced with cold, menacing stare. I’m impressed.
Okay, let’s talk about JWS’s character and his performance, shall we? So JWS’s character is Jung Woo, an NTS agent, apparently a good one too, is the impression that I got. But Jung Woo is impulsive, has little to no regard for authority, and sometimes is such a dumb donkey, I wonder how he managed to pass all the presumably difficult training to obtain a position in one of the Korean government’s top intelligence organizations. And his portrayal is surprisingly wooden and unnatural in Athena, which is something that I did not expect.
On the romance front, I don’t feel any chemistry between JWS and Soo Ae or even Lee Jia. Additionally, I was scratching my head trying to figure out why Jung Woo is so infatuated with Hae In besides the superficial fact that she’s pretty. On their first meeting, he fell for her because yes she’s gorgeous but I’d like to believe that he was also attracted to her because from her interaction with the kids, she seemed like a kind person. But then when he sees with his own two eyes that Hae In isn’t who she appears to be, and the drama actually has a scene of Jung Woo thinking long and hard about his new discovery, I thought that his opinion of Hae In would change but no… He becomes even more fascinated with her. What the…?! And the following montages of their car dance/chase and pseudo date in Venice with the k-ballad blaring in the background was weird and random. It felt like I wasn’t watching a drama about spies anymore but a traveling commercial for popular date spots in Italy.
I don’t think I’m a drama snob or have very high standards for the shows that I watch. When it comes down it, at bare minimum, even if it’s a bad drama, it has to be entertaining because when I’m entertained, amused, or what have you, I’d be distracted from seeing all the flaws because my attention is focused elsewhere. Sometimes, I’ll still see the gaping plot holes and/or amateur editing, but I would just acknowledge them and move on. At one point, this was the case for Athena, during the save-the-president’s daughter subplot. I was drawn to the story, partly because I have some residual affection for Lee Bo Young after Harvest Villa and also because the rescue mission provided just what I wanted, some action in this action drama. Yes, I did stop to wonder about how Hae In could all of a sudden show up in Venice and was given a very important role in the mission when it wasn’t like Jung Woo, Jae Hee, or other members of NTS were too incompetent to do their jobs properly. But the suspense, urgency of the situation, and built up adrenaline kept me occupied and I was satisfied for the time being. However, when that subplot wrapped, I became bored with the storyline, didn’t like any of its characters, and in turn, grew increasingly frustrated with the way certain things were thrown at me, without them making much logical sense. Finally, I just gave up asking questions and tried to go with it for as long as I could tolerate, which I guess, was Episode 5 and no more.
To give credit where credit is due, I’d like to end this post on a positive note. Not like this is revelatory or anything, but the eye candy in Athena is insane, from the main and supporting cast, to the many cameos. Have a look at the pretty, it is aplenty.
(It must be nice to work in a place where your boss doesn’t care what you’re doing and is dozing off in the background.)