Sunday, 26 April 2015

Currently watching: Crime Scene 2

This is the second series of the remarkably effective murder-mystery game show in which five regulars and a guest try to work out which of them is the murderer for that week’s mystery.

Only two cast members remain from series one, which is a shame, but they’re the two strongest: Hong Jin- Ho and Park Yi-Joon. They are joined by the singer Hani, the film director Jang Jin and the shouty comedian Jang Dong-Min. I was a bit disappointed when I saw that Jong Dong-Min would be in the cast because he became a bit insufferable in the third series of The Genius, but thankfully he’s kept the shouting down to a minimum this time.

Apart from episode one, which was mostly about introducing the cast with a mini-murder mystery set in one room, the format is almost the same as before. The only big change is that one member of the cast is given the role of The Detective, which effectively means they can’t be the murderer. This has helped a lot, since in series one there was always one character who clearly had nothing to do with the murder. Not so much this time around, which is nice.

The new cast have gelled together very well very quickly. Hong Jin-Ho and Park Yi-Joon are comfortable in this situation, as you’d expect, but I’ve also enjoyed Jang Jin’s over-reliance on his own powers of story-telling to help him solve the crime, and Hani has proved to be more than a pretty face. Since she’s a singer in the girl band Exid, you might think she’d be an intellectual lightweight but so far she’s been a match for the others. Even Jang Dong-Min has impressed me with his detective skills.

So I’m really enjoying the new series. They’ve kept the format as it was, but changed the cast which has done enough to keep things new and interesting. The crimes are so well-staged that everything is a clue. If you think something doesn’t matter because the set designer maybe bumped something or put something in the wrong place, then you’d be wrong. I’m amazed how detailed some of the sets are.

It's a great piece of TV, and I remain bemused as to why it’s not on UK screens. Out of all the variety formats Korean TV has come up with, this is the most international. And this would be such a big hit here. It’s funny and tense and interesting and everything you want from a murder mystery. I remain eternally in the debt of the subber Bumdidlyumptious for their work.

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