Unfortunately there will be a slight change to the format for random musings this week. My body has decided that now would be a good time to welcome all the flu related viruses in the world for a party. Bird flu, influenza, swine flu, you name it and my body is probably cultivating a nice batch of them inside of me right now. In short I’m sick with the common flu and staring at a white word document to type out a standard random musing article will probably cause my eyes to burst out of its socket in annoyance. So this week I’ll do a quick review of the new season of 1N2D and list out a few articles of interest over the week.

New Season of 1N2D, re-adjusting our expectations.

The first episode of the new season of 1N2D aired yesterday night (At the time of writing) and I’ve now watched it a few times, which hopefully will be enough to give a reasonable first impression of the new season. Quick recap of the episode before we begin this first impression. The 3 original members (Kim Jong Min, Lee Soo Geun, Uhm Tae Woong) meet at Incheon Port, where they are told that they will be going around to various islands to pick up the new members. Meanwhile the new members are each picked up by the staff at their respective locations and are then taken to the port, where they each board a small boat and are supposed to head off to their respective island. However due to clearance issues, only Joo Won ends up going to his island while the other new member (Sung Si Kyung, Kim Seung Woo, Cha Tae Hyun) end up going on the same boat as the 3 original members. They then talk with each other, meet up with Joo Won, play a few games and go on a walk. To be honest it’s pretty standard 1N2D affairs.

First of all, let’s get this out of the way, if you were perhaps hoping that the format will change drastically because of the new cast and production staff then you will be bitterly disappointed. They are following closely with the old mantra of “If it’s not broken then don’t fix it.” The program is still easily recognizable as 1N2D at quick glances and even if you watch it for a few minutes. However that doesn’t mean everything is the same. The new staff does seem to have a different musical taste to the old staff, not saying it’s worse or better, it’s just different. Na Yong Suk PD’s team had a distinct musical taste while Choi Jae Hyung PD’s team tried to follow the style closely but it was clearly different and noticeable. Shall I say it seemed a bit more child-like and innocent? It definitely didn’t seem to have some of the grandiose musical tones that Na Yong Suk PD seemed to pick often.

The program also flows differently. If you liked 1N2D for its fast paced antics and story then the new episode is going to disappoint you as well. This episode at least was much slower paced than the vast majority of prior 1N2D episodes. There was a lack of urgency that prior 1N2D had and everything just appeared much more laid back. It could also be that there was no competition during this first episode. The format of the prior 1N2D episodes were pretty much Competition to see who got to a location first -> Some brief respite -> Competition for Lunch -> brief respite etc. The new episode was pretty much filled with just talking with each other and playing a few short games to fill in the time. A lot of this obviously has to do with the fact that it’s the first episode but it just feels like the new format will continue to be slower paced than the old season, which isn’t a bad thing perse since it might suit the cast a bit better. The old season was fast paced because it suited Kang Ho Dong’s style and they just retained it even after he left. The new cast will need to find its own pace and I just don’t believe it will be as fast paced as the old season was. The more they try to imitate the older episodes the more awkward it’s going to get. The biggest job for the staff members will be transistioning as quickly and naturally as possible to a format to which they are comfortable working with. That could be completely different to the original concepts but if it suits the new cast members and staff better then so be it.

Finally let’s talk about the cast briefly. All the new members seem enthusiastic and they seem to gel together reasonably well.  The stand out of the group was definitely Cha Tae Hyun thou. He does seem to be a bit lazy at times but that’s always been his character but when he is talking, it’s usually funny and adds substance to the scene. My only worry with him is that he seems like the type that will burn out quickly and I’m just worried that he might run out of energy or ideas sooner rather than later. He hasn’t been a permanent member in variety show before, and while he has shown to be great in the occasional appearances, he needs to be able to maintain his motivation for the long run. The other new members all seemed fairly enthusiastic as well, especially Kim Seung Woo, who seemed to be trying very hard to acclimatize to the show. Some might say he might be trying a bit too hard but you can hardly fault someone being passionate about something. Joo Won and Sung Si Kyung seemed fairly comfortable with the environment and played their own part in the group along with the original members.

My only negative about the new cast is that there doesn’t seem to be a center figure in the team. We had an article that said that Joo Won might be the new host but that was clearly just a little playful post. There needs to be someone like Kang Ho Dong that can regulate the show from the center and pace the show as required. Lee Soo Geun seems the most likely candidate for this but I’m not convinced by that. In the previous few months when Kang Ho Dong was absent from the show, it was usually Lee Seung Gi who will be the one MCing the show and Lee Soo Geun providing support. Lee Soo Geun previously seemed to work better as a supporting MC but now he is going to have to step it up and take the center position with authority. If not the show is going to lack direction and it’s going to feel haphazard. We’ll see how it goes but it was a pretty good start despite what’ve said so far, I can recommend that people should watch the new season, just make sure you re-adjust your expectations to match.

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Articles of Note Through The Week.

Just quickly going through some articles of note through the week, first we had the black face issue with “World Changing Quiz” in both our news section and some discussions on our forums. There has also been a post on the Gawker site Jezebel about Black Faces in K-pop with a follow up discussion in our forums. In last week’s random musing, i mentioned the idol popularity ranking article in the midst of my Girls’ Day fanboying, which was followed up this week by a chart that ranked girl groups by heights and it looks like there is an updated one of those in this reddit post on the kpop sub-reddit, which was slightly disappointing as a fanboy since they took out Girls’ Day, which was in the original height article. We had our exclusive behind the scenes look at the new SBS MTV “Music Island” show along with exclusive BTS photos of the show. Continuing on with this music show topic, CN Blue appeared on Japan’s MTV Unplugged and were the first Korean artist to do so. EXO released yet another preview (It won’t be long before there is so many previews that I can scream out “It’s over 9000”) and finally I will end with some Girls’ Day fanboying with an article that state that Girls’ Day member Hyeri has been cast for the upcoming SBS drama “Father and Daughters.”

If there is perhaps any articles above you want me to discuss in depth next week when I’m not drugged up with every flu medicine imaginable, just leave a comment about it below. Hopefully we’ll resume normal duties next week, sorry about the poor quality this week.