Don’t you just love it when you come across a show you didn’t even know existed and end up enjoying the heck out of it? Some of them are real hidden gems, others just ones that people may well be watching but not writing/talking about. I don’t really know which category I’d put Under the Skin in but I did come across it only because Karie the Magne @ Dramas with a Side of Kimchi posted her first impressions of it. I was intrigued enough to check it out myself. Yup, loved it. Enough to go through all 10 episodes available @ Viki so far. 😀
There has been some pretty good to excellent Chinese crime shows in the past few years. The best ones, or at least the most lauded ones, probably part of the Light On series. Those have generally been a bit too dark and depressing for me in my current life situation so I didn’t watch any of them. Under the Skin isn’t quite that harrowing though there is certain amount of darkness in it as well. It is a somewhat typical buddy cop drama with the case of the week framework (that sometimes spills over to the next epi) but there’s just something different about it and the cases have been quite interesting. I also think that having an artist as the other half of the seluthing duo gives the whole thing a slightly different spin. Capitan Du Cheng of the Haicheng Public Security Bureau and Shen Yi, a very skilfull painter and formerly a student in the Academy of Fine Arts, are as unlikely a pair as you can get. They have a pretty rocky start as partners due to an incident 7 years ago that resulted in the death of Du Cheng’s mentor detective Lei Yifei. His murder is still unsolved. Du Cheng was not happy at all to be paired up with Shen Yi but as time and cases go by and he gets to know Shen Yi more, his opinion of the young artist starts to change. Their different outlook and the way they handle the cases are in fact complementary and results in a very good working partnership. Both are also desperate to find a way to solve Lei Yifei’s case, a common goal to strive for. Then there’s rest of the team, the colleagues in the same department and in the forensics team. I’m always a happy camper when I get The Team, ha.
I also love how the drama is filmed. So many beautiful shots and I like the colour palette a lot. It’s kinda artsy without being artsy-fartsy. The cinematograhpy is complementary and not intrusive or gimmicky, giving just the right amount of atmospheric “boost” to each scene. The opening credits are gorgeous, though maybe a bit… disturbing, especially towards the end. Which is probably an indication that there will be some darker episodes going forward. I’m just hoping they won’t spoil everything with a “stupid ending”. There have been some pretty bad ones in some of the Chinese crime/detective shows I’ve watched in the past. So, kdramas are not the sole offenders when it comes to WTF! endings. 🙂 There is still 10 more episodes to go, we’ll see how it goes.