Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Drama Recap

Happy new year everyone!

I can't believe it's a new year already. I wouldn't say 2017 flew by. I definitely felt it. But for me, personally, it has been an awesome year. I finished my first full year at a job, moved to a new country, made some awesome friends, and stepping a bit closer to my dreams. Drama-wise, I would say I'm pretty satisfied with the gems I found this year. Some were obvious duds (they can't be avoided), but many filled my heart with absolute joy.

Despite going awol on this blog this past year, I'm really excited to come back doing my annual year-end drama recap. It's always fun to compile all the dramas I've watched this year and since I wasn't active on the blog, I can now review all the dramas I've watched (which may be why this year's recap is a bit long. I have a lot to say). Again, as usual, the ranking will only comprise of dramas that finished airing in 2017. All the non-2017 dramas I watched this year will be mentioned separately, though there aren't that many this year. I also want to start mentioning what networks the dramas aired in because different networks can sometimes have different styles/types of dramas airing.

1. Buamdong Revenge Social Club
Network: jTBC
Since the dramas this year were really, really good, I had trouble choosing which should be my number one. Ultimately, this drama was the perfect combination of unique concept, interesting characters, compelling story, and a consistent comedic tone while providing a fistful of heart and more. One of the biggest reason I love Buamdong Avengers though are the characters. They were unique in profile alone. The main characters of this drama are a group of ahjummas, usually relegated as minor characters whose purpose is to support, or hinder, the main character's journey. Not in this drama. While in a sense they still were mothers and wives of others, the main focus of the plot was all about them. In the beginning, the struggles of Jung-hye (Lee Yo-won), Hong Do unnie (Ra Mi-ran), and Mi-sook (Myung Se-bin) were in relation to the traditional maternal role, but as the plot progressed they began to work on elevating themselves. This show is the perfect example of how an intriguing story can be told out of a group of older ladies who kick ass and drink all the tea. The younger members of the cast fared well alongside their older counterpart, although their greenness definitely showed. I was quite impressed with the youngest member of the club, Soo-gym (Jun), who is also Jung-hye's new step-son. It's his first drama role ever and he kept up with the strong performances of the ladies and held his own quite well despite a brief hiccup in the beginning where he gave misleading vibes with Lee Yo-won. If that didn't entice you, this is also a hilarious drama from front to back, with equally funny villains who are ridiculous in their mannerisms but detestable in their actions. Go watch it. You won't regret it.

2. Secret Forest
Network: tvN
After Goblin aired, it seemed tvN was in a bit of a slump and eventually ditching their Friday and Saturday drama slot by June. Secret Forest aka (the more boring international name) Stranger was their sort of putting all their eggs in one basket situation. They brought in big movies stars Bae Doo-na and my favorite Jo Seung-woo and created the new Saturday and Sunday drama slot. The result is as close to cinematic a drama can get. The story is tight and mostly unpredictable. Interestingly enough, this is writer Lee Soo-yeon's first big project. To say I'm looking forward to her next project is an understatement. With the smart plot also comes the amazing performances by basically the whole cast. The story is written so that we never know the true intentions of most of the characters, but the actors made them come alive and even more intriguing. Obviously, I love Jo Seung-woo and am so relieved he is finally on a project that I can say I truly love. I was initially worried that we won't get to see a lot of his badassery because Shi-mok was described as a character who can't express emotions. But being the veteran that he is, he still brought life to an emotionless man. Bae Doo-na is an actor that is so effortless, albeit her character here wasn't the mover and shaker of the plot. Those two are predictably good, but I'm most impressed with Yoo Jae-myung who played a senior prosecutor (his job title changed a few times throughout the drama). He's been on several projects in the past with some notable titles including Reply 1988 as Dong-myung's dad and in Jealousy Incarnate as the potential love interest of Lee Mi-sook's character. In neither of those projects were he a prominent character and I never gave much thought to his character (maybe because he was that good?). But it was in here that I was blown away by the complexity of his performance. I'm not much of a legal mystery thriller fan, but this drama is one I would recommend to even those who don't like them like myself.

3. Because This is My First Life
Network: tvN
Now here's a drama that is right up my alley, almost too perfectly actually. I guess I didn't realize it before, but I love contract relationships. One of my ultimate favorite drama, Sassy Girl Chun-hyang, is one. And this has joined the legion of good dramas of my favorite romcom trope. I really didn't expect it to be as poignant as it did and this is why I love it so much. These two weren't forced to be married per se, but the basis of their relationship is one of convenience instead of love. This made way to a string of very interesting conversations about love and marriage and how it changes through time and generations. Jung So-min is one of my favorite young actresses in Korea and she was a big reason why I became head over heels in love with this drama. She's quite subtle in her acting approach, but it fits perfectly with her character and the drama in general. Lee Min-ki was good, but he wasn't as good as portraying an emotionless man as much as Jo Seung-woo. He really shines in the more emotional scenes though. The female friendship in this drama is perhaps my favorite thing about his drama. I'm so happy that these three are so supportive and honest with each other, and that their plot lines didn't clash into each other in a petty manner. I also love how they're very different but complementary to each other. Ji-ho (Jung) is reserved and a dreamer, Soo-ji (Esom) is like a rose bush, prickly but beautiful and sweet, and Ho-rang (Kim Ga-eun) is cheerful and realistic with her dreams. Unfortunately for this drama, the ending was less than satisfactory. The drama was, for the most part, gave a fresh and modern view of relationships, but ended up falling to tradition for its ending. Since it was only for the last 2 episodes, I'm okay with it and would still give it a high score. But if only the ending was better, it would've been perfect.

4. Live Up to Your Name
Network: tvN
If Because This is My First Life had a lousy ending, Live Up to Your Name had a less than spectacular beginning. If it were any other drama, I'd skip it altogether. But so many people had high praises for it that I just had to go on. I'm so glad I did. This drama is an example of time travel done right. There were set mechanics, clear goals, an understandable enough origin. It was also used well and was an important factor in the characters' journeys. And obviously Kim Nam-gil. I don't watch him that often but when I do, I get excited. He's just so emotive and present. I was also impressed with Kim Ah-joong, this being my first project of hers. These two have amazing chemistry. The story itself though is what really made it count. It was unfortunate that the beginning was slow, but the rest was very engaging. It was a story of two doctors finding their true intentions as medical professionals, two individuals from two different backgrounds falling in love regardless of circumstance, and two people fighting the big guys to preserve the honor of doctors. Writing this, I can't really pinpoint any particular reason why this drama is good, and I think in essence this is why this drama is so good. It combined the different elements of its story with such effortlessness that no one thing stands out on its own. You can't talk about Heo Im's journey as a doctor without talking about his love for Kyung or how corruption plays a role in his worldview. And you can't talk about Kyung's journey as a doctor without talking about Heo Im and her grandfather's influence or how her past trauma made her a stronger person today. This drama is about growth and how, unlike how many other dramas portray it, is not just as simple as your parents dying or finding a new love interest. The drama celebrates this messy thing we called life. But I hated the needles. That was probably what I hated the most about the drama.

5. Seven Day Queen
Network: KBS2
Up until a few days ago, I was set to put Seven Day Queen much lower in the ranking. I couldn't get past episode 15 where everything has seemingly gone down in flames and I just couldn't imagine myself sitting through the horror (another reason why I would make a terrible fictional heroine). But I made it through, and the last 4 episodes made up for the horror I had to witness. This is the most romantic drama of the year. While it wasn't only about the love, power struggle being a staple in the sageuk repertoire, much of the inner conflict of the two main characters are derived from their deep yet devastating love. If only Yeok wasn't a prince of a tyrant king. If only their families weren't political opponents. Their pure and naive love is constantly threatened by the bigger picture thus made their love story that much more painfully satisfying. Yeon Woo-jin is brilliant in this, as he always is, but there's something about how he portrays Yeok's struggle, both in his love life and in his role in that particularly turbulent times. All his smiles and tears were amplified just because of the circumstances. Park Min-young was also so good, and this is probably the best I've seen her. Park was able to show Chae-kyung's reluctant restraints while still retaining the dignity of a lady of honor in Joseon era. Lee Dong-gun was the antagonist of this drama. He was good in a sense that I hated his character (which I hope is the whole point). Beyond the half-way point, Yoong was just despicable, so much so that I barely had an ounce of pity for him towards his demise. I feel like Yoong could've been portrayed better by a different actor, but that's just my opinion. Despite all the sorrow that Seven Day Queen had to go through, it probably had the best ending of the year. It was bittersweet and kept in line with the actual historical timeline, but remained selfless in its message of love. I cried about a bucket and a half during those last few minutes.

6. Age of Youth 2
Network: jTBC
Oh, Age of Youth 2. Where do I start with you? I want to say that it had perhaps the best couple of the year, even though they didn't officially become a couple in this season. Yet. (Dear dramagods, we desperately wish for a season 3.) I didn't really expect Ji-won (Park Eun-bin) and Sung-min (Son Seung-won)'s relationship to be this cracktastic, but it achieved all that and more, especially considering the fact that they were barely anything last season. What a year can do for you. Granted, this season was really all about Ji-won as she missed out on the traumatic past life party of last season. She came back with a vengeance and we were witnesses to the extension of Ji-won's eccentric personality. I was beyond impressed with how Park Eun-bin was able to showcase the roller coaster that Ji-won experienced this season, from sheer gleeful ignorance to full-blown angsty confrontation. This rather horrifying turn of events also became a testament to Sung-min's presence in Ji-won's life, unlike in the previous season. I want to say he was blinded by love, at least with the willingness (debatable) to be dragged to the other side of the country, but most of all he became her closest confidante despite how close she is with the other girls of Belle Epoque. If anything, this just shows how comfortable they are with each other and I already have a list of potential situations that will launch them into official OTP territory. But of course, what is Age of Youth without the trials and tribulations of the everyday young woman? I'd like to say that this season did it a bit better than the last since there were fewer dead/dying people, so I feel like the situations the girls faced were more relatable in comparison. Eun-jae (Ji Woo) with breaking up and liking herself outside of a relationship, Jin-myung (Han Ye-ri) with opening up herself and fully embracing the oldest unnie role no matter how painful(ly awkward), Ye-eun (Han Seung-yeon) with moving on from a traumatic experience and beginning to love again, and the new girl Eun (Choi A-ra) with being fully comfortable exploring her feelings. There are a few things here and there that could've been done better, like the pacing of Eun-jae's story or how I wish they were more explicit with the falling out of two friendship sets, but all in all, it was a great season. Dare I say even better than last. Here's to hoping for the third. We need you. For the sake of Ji-won and Sung-min's daughter.

7. Solomon's Perjury
Network: jTBC
Out of the three high school dramas I watched this year, I this one is my favorite. It was smart in both story and character, effective in storytelling, and a demonstration of what great directing can do to the performances of a green cast. Solomon's Perjury is an adaptation of a Japanese drama. While I didn't watch that, some accounts said this was better than the original. You be the judge of that. But the premise of a mock trial is quite unique and was executed better than some supposedly professional-led procedural dramas. Like what many high school dramas attempt to do, this drama highlighted some of the problems that may occur in a high school and was able to follow through and mostly resolve its conflicts. The cast was a mixed bag of a variety of different characters from different peer groups, of course, and for the most part, we were able to listen to the stories they each have to tell. The less experienced cast was apparent, but I think the director did well enough in bringing out the best performances of each actor. Jang Dong-yoon was the runaway talent of the bunch with this drama being his first foray into a major acting job (he was in a web drama prior). Granted, he was unable to keep up his potential in his follow-up performances, but I think it may be a matter of experience. The other after the title is the more "veteran" actress Kim Hyun-soo who was also one of the youngest of the cast. I believe this is her first leading role, with her mostly playing younger versions of lead characters in the past, but she held her own like nobody's business. Her character is the brain of the cast and she portrayed her with assurance and confidence, but still very much a teenager in every step of the way. The short airtime of only 12 episodes kept the story tight but was still able to fit in as much story as it could.

8. Duel
Network: OCN
I'm a shallow lady, so if I see a hot guy, I want to watch him. I remembered quite strongly back in the summer when it seemed like all I saw was Yang Se-jong getting praises left and right for his multiple-role performances in Duel. I'm not the thriller watching type, so I initially didn't bother. He did Temperature of Love for the autumn season and I wasn't feeling it. Then for some reason, after finishing all the dramas I could and with some time left over in 2017, I decided to pick up this beast. I figured the thriller aspect might make me want to marathon it. It sort of worked, although I do think that the last half was kind of slow in pacing despite still having plenty of story to tell. I wonder if they made it into a 14 episode drama maybe the pacing can remain as swift as the first few episodes did. I was quite impressed with how the writer was able to peel the layers of this massive cloning scandal. It got somewhat predictable once the crumbs were laid down and the fun sort of faded away a little. I didn't think they did enough with Prosecutor Choi (Park Jung-eun), who was more prominent in the beginning but became less edgy once she came around with the good guys in the end. I wish she was a bit more gritty, or the actress a little less plastic. And I was constantly in awe (and confusion) with how much pain Deuk-cheon (Jung Jae-young) was able to take because that man had borderline superhero level of endurance towards the end of the show. I admit this is a science fiction, but everyone without the stem cell secret potion (and the clones, obviously) should behave much like a human should. Maybe I'm nitpicking too much. In the end, I watched it for Yang Se-jong who, like all the reviews I've read, is as glorious as he can be. I'm so glad I found a hot and talented young star I can fawn over without feeling uneasy. I hope this relationship will last. Fun fact: this is also my first OCN drama! Finally, after all these years.

9. Lingerie Girls Generation
Network: KBS2
Some have said that this drama is like the grittier version of the Reply series, and I couldn't agree more. It had the nostalgic feel of an era drama, complete with a complementary soundtrack of the music of the era. But this drama removed the rose-tinted glasses the Reply series kept for much of its run. In Lingerie Girls, the family was not as loving, the love was not as sweet, and the friendship was not as easy. It may have reflected the atmosphere of the time when South Korea was under a militaristic regime. Life wasn't easy in general, and this played part in the lives of the teenagers who weren't completely sure of the mess gathering around them. Similar to the Reply series, we have Jung-hee (Bona) as the spunky main character whose main goal in life is to get her first love Son Jin (Yeo Hoi-hyun) to fall in love with her. But the menacing Dong-moon (Seo Young-joo) keeps tagging along and the new girl from the big city, Hye-joo (Chae Seo-jin) threatened the little progress she had with her crush. Similar to Solomon's Perjury, the short airtime of the show (8 episodes) was a big help in keeping the storyline as solid as it was. It wasn't a complex story to tell, and 8 episodes were the perfect amount. In line with the grittiness of the era, the characters were also not the most likable. They were likable in a sense that we want to root for them, but they were covered in flaws through and through. They were stubborn and selfish, short-sighted and simple-minded. They were the bits of a teenager that we want to forget but is important in the experience of being one. Watching this drama was painful because it reminded me of the times I was a pain in the ass because that's what teenagers can be. But in the end, through the mistakes we make, we become better people.

10. While You Were Sleeping
Network: SBS
For the amount of star power this drama had, it was so forgettable. Granted I would say that star power (Lee Jong-suk, Bae Suzy) resulted in top quality performances. Lee Jong-suk was a bit sloppy as his prosecutor Jae-chan, although that may be done on purpose. While Suzy is still terrible at acting. The concept of people being able to foresee the future in their dreams sounds cool on paper, it became boring in the long run because we were basically told certain stories multiple times. The fact that the story was overly procedural also makes the episodes feel repetitive. Writer Park Hye-ryun is one of those writers whose body of work is impressive enough for her to have a personal brand. Among them, I've only seen Dream High but this drama is probably more comparable to her more recent works like I Can Hear Your Voice and Pinnochio, all of them having similar procedural type stories and all of them starring Lee Jong-suk. Despite not watching the other two, based on the reviews I've read While You Were Sleeping was weaker in comparison. For me, I didn't hate watching this drama and I don't have any particular bad thing to say about it, but perhaps saying a drama is boring is already a heavy enough offense.

11. The Best Hit
Network: KBS2
I want to say that The Best Hit is divided into two parts, the superior first half and the disappointing second. Prior to its airing, it was touted to be a variety drama. I don't exactly understand what that means, but it's probably because the directors were former 1 Night 2 Days PD Yoo Ho-jin and actor and first-time director Cha Tae-hyun. The first few episodes were gold, especially when Yoo Hyun-jae (Yoon Si-yoon) just traveled to the future and he went from being the hottest stuff to being comparable to a country bumpkin. The comedy was a bit slapstick, but Yoon Si-yoon totally pulled it off. I think the series' biggest sin is not allowing the characters to live out their journey. Yoo Hyun-jae started having an awkward love line with Woo-seung (Lee Se-young) who I think is much better suited with Ji-hoon (Kim Min-jae), when he should be more focused on figuring out his mysterious past (which ended up taking a backseat to the romance and was rushed through). I could care less about Bo-hee (Yoon So-ha) and Gwang-jae's (Cha Tae-hyun) love line but was more interested in their struggle with reinventing themselves in the modern time. There's just so much potential with this drama but they just had to take the easy road of pairing people up and giving them awkward/unnecessary love lines.

12. Fight My Way
Network: KBS2
Compared to the more grounded slice-of-life dramas that came towards the end of the year, Fight My Way looks like a full-on makjang in comparison. To be fair, I'm not 100% sure the producers intended the drama to be a slice-of-life but I do remember distinctly that there was an emphasis on telling stories of people who are used to being extras in a generic drama. In a sense, I kind of agree. The characters were, on paper, people who are usually the best friends or petty enemy of a typical main character. Much like The Best Hit, I want to say Fight My Way is two dramas smushed into one. Whereas The Best Hit was divided between the first and second half of the episodes, Fight My Way was divided between the main coupling of Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won) and Dong-man (Park Seo-joon) and the secondary coupling of Seol-hee (Song Ha-yoon) and Joo-man (Ahn Jae-hong). If the story was more of the secondary couple, a long-term relationship that is at a crossroad due to the difficulties of their jobs, the uncertainty of marriage, and an unexpected third wheel, I would give this drama a better score. I love how the conflicts in this couple are very typical of your normal, everyday relationship and their struggles are very real to many modern people. The main couple, on the other hand, just doesn't feel real. Ae-ra's struggle with her career is relatable, but her family history (what with the ultimate makjang trope of secret births) isn't. And don't get me started on Dong-man. His only real issue with being in the shit hole that he put himself in is because he didn't want to be disappointed by the big heads again. I don't think he tries very hard in life and it took half of the series for him to realize that all the difficulties he has been in his head. On top of that, I don't like their romantic relationship. They were great as friends, but they became slowly but surely emotionally manipulative once they are an item. I don't know how healthy a relationship can be when one person is adamantly against the other's passion.

13. School 2017
Network: KBS2
The only other School franchise season I've watched was the 2013 version which I just recently officially finished. Even comparing this to that version this one is inferior in so many ways. But I think the most appropriate comparison would be with Solomon's Perjury, which was also set in a high school but also features a lot of the same actors (Jang Dong-yoon being among them). I want to say School 2017 had a lot of potential. But what they failed to do is completing the stories they started. Throughout the 16 episode run, there was a variety of subject matter that is very current and important but I always feel like none of them were thoroughly resolved. I understand that with the limited hours they couldn't possibly get to everyone's problems (which they didn't). But unlike Solomon's Perjury, which provided closure to the stories brought up, School 2017 sort of left them hanging until there is that final episode that basically only briefly mentioned what happened now after all that has happened. I blame it on the fact that they focused too much on the mysterious X figure which ran way too long for what it is, and also having the most frustrating teenage lovers I've ever seen. I guess the fact that Solomon's Perjury left out on the romance train made time for more important stories to be told. Also, since there was a lot of overlap on the newbie actors, I could really see the importance of a good director, specifically when you have such a green cast. Specifically, Jang Dong-yoon was nothing short of amazing in Solomon's Perjury, but he was mediocre at best in School 2017. Granted, I want to say the talent pool was better in general in Solomon's Perjury, with Jo Jae-hyun as the corrupt father, versus Lee Jong-won, Tae-woon's (Kim Jung-hyun) father, who is just utterly terrible. They two main leads, Kim Jung-hyun and Kim Se-jung, was okay but pales in comparison with Solomon's Perjury duo, both in performance and writing.

14. Tomorrow with You
Network: tvN
What drama gets the coveted (?) spot as the worst drama of the year? It has to be, without a doubt, Tomorrow with You. No matter how disappointing School 2017 is, it can't compare to the utter frustration one would experience when watching Tomorrow with You. There were a few time traveling dramas this year, some (Live Up to Your Name) were better in execution than others (The Best Hit), but this one not only didn't fully understand the concept of time travel but used it alongside the stupidest time travelers of all time. I understand that we don't necessarily need a likable protagonist, but we should at least root for them with the little humanity they have. Not so with So-joon (Lee Je-hoon). He was childish, selfish, foolish from the beginning right to the end. He makes all the decisions that shouldn't have taken, thus further digging the grave of his impending doom. It doesn't help that Lee Je-hoon is just disappointing in this drama. His brilliant performance in Bleak Night seemed nothing but a memory. I really think dramas are not his forte. Even his best drama (Signal) wasn't as good as his weaker film (My Paparotti). Shin Min-ah, on the other hand, is basically the only savior of this sinking ship. She was charming and lovely and her character acts like normal, functioning adult. She and the supporting friends Kang Ki-doong and Se-young (Park Joo-hee) were the only characters I liked. Everyone else was between you're annoying and I hope you die a horrible death. And don't get me started on the story. Doesn't make any sense. Conflicts were derived from misunderstandings and purposefully kept secret (and a psychotic villain, but that's not this drama's biggest problem, oddly enough), no one, not even the writer, understands how time travel works, and possibly the worst sacrificial move embedded in the most perplexing ending I've seen in a long time.

And here are some other dramas I finished this year that aired before 2017 (in order of completion).

Please Come Back, Mister (2016)
Network: SBS
I feel like it took me forever to finish this drama. And it all boils down to poor planning of the creators. Like a lot of dramas that were promising in the beginning, this drama totally failed once they had to resolve some conflict. I felt like there were pressure from guys above to make it better (?) but ended up making this drama an incomprehensible mess. I'm glad to tick it off my on-hold list of doom and am glad I don't have to think about this drama ever again.

School 2013 (2012)
Network: KBS2
I don't know why I left the last episode unwatched for basically 4 years. Maybe I was sad to let go of the endearing characters, or I didn't want to know the potentially sad future of the angsty duo (Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin). But finally, now it has finished. Honestly, because I stopped watching long ago, I don't even know what is happening in that last episode. I think I missed my chance for a proper closure. It felt empty and distant. At least, for a brief moment during the final episode, I could see the faces of today's superstars (Shin Hye-sun being among them). Still better than the 2017 version.

Women at a Game Company (2016)
Network: Naver TV Cast
Web dramas are a hit or miss, but more often misses. I wanted to watch this particular one because I was curious about Jang Dong-yoon's other projects after I watched his great performance in Solomon's Perjury. This drama was okay. It really wasn't that bad. But I don't think there's any plot. Like at all. Okay, there's a very thin plotline but it's so insignificant you could almost miss it. The performances were okay but nothing near memorable. Writing this, I'm trying to remember anything about that drama and I can't recollect anything. I'm pretty sure there are other better web dramas out there. If you know of one, please let me know.

Okay, so that's all for this year. I know I've been a terrible blogger, leaving my blog in the dust. But I watched so many great dramas this year that I was satisfied with it in general. If you want more up-to-date thoughts on what I'm currently, I tweet quite often on @conanblue32. I hope I can come back again next year, regardless of how active of a blogger I am, to talk about the dramas I watched in 2018. Til then!


  1. Happy new year! I'm glad to hear 2017 was so kind to you personally :)

    I see you watched quite a few shows that I didn't really get around to (Secret Forest, Buamdong Revenge Social Club) in the end or that I dropped early on (Tomorrow With You, While You Were Sleeping). I find it funny, though, that you seemed to dislike School 2017 and Fight My Way, which I both found quite charming. I'm still trying to finish the latter, but School 2017 was just endearing to me, even if corny and unrealistic. I think the fact that I liked the three main kids so much made it very likable to me. My favourite dramas of the year were definitely Age of Youth 2 and Save Me, however. But I think I liked most of the shows that I watched since I dropped the bad ones early on to save myself a headache. In result, I was able to post a pretty positive year-end review, in contrast with the reviews that say how bad 2017 was drama-wise. Lol.

    1. I thought 2017 wasn't too bad either! It was even odd to me that some thought it was one of the worst years in a while in terms of dramas. But like you, I tried out several dramas and dropped them as soon as my eyes started rolling. Or I looked at general reviews of other and if it was lukewarm to terrible, then I don't watch it. So I ended up with mostly very good dramas (hence a lot of 8s and 9s in mydramalist for 2017) and some that I thought were okay and one terrible, but mostly because I forced myself to finish it.