Drama

Currently Watching: From Now On, Showtime! (A Romcom with 3Ms)

WARNING! Light spoilers on the character descriptions.
No spoilers on the cases and the main plot. Episodes covered: 1 to 4.

INTRODUCTION

There are so many dramas released recently, so it’s easy for one to be overlooked by overwhelmed watchers who try to catch up watching airing dramas. From Now On, Showtime! (FNOS) may be one of them. Soon after the release date, for unknown reasons, this drama experienced a plunge in rating on MDL. It started strong with a rating of 8.7, then in several days it dipped down to 6.5 after two episodes were released, despite positive feedback from watchers. It climbed back up after the second week’s releases, as shown in the graph below. Therefore, with an underrated and under-the-radar situation, MDLers may easily fail to notice this drama. Hereby, I will tell you why I think this drama is worth checking out.

Data was taken on 4 May, 2022

Personally, when it was first announced on this site, I was interested in FNOS for three reasons. First, urban fantasy drama is my favorite subgenre. Second, when I wrote my article on 25 Most Popular Korean Actors on MDL, Park Hae Jin, the Male Lead, is the only one of 25 actors whose works I have never watched before. After a failed attempt to watch Cheese in the Trap (2016), I want to watch him in this drama. On the contrary, my third reason, Jin Ki Joo, the Female Lead, is one of my favorite Korean actresses, and I fell for her radiant smile since her first main role debut on Wednesday 3:30 PM (2017).


          From Now On, Showtime!          

Native title: 지금부터, 쇼타임!

Genres: Mystery, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy

Airs: 23 April, 2022 to 12 June, 2022

Airs On: Saturday, Sunday

Episodes: 16

Duration: 1 hr. 11 min.

Where To Watch: Viki       Trailer: Viu

STORY

In summary, FNOS is a romantic and hilarious collaboration between a famous magician and employer of ghosts, and a passionate and upright female police officer with supernatural powers. Besides magic, there is a mystical aura in this drama, with shamanism, a powerful deity, evil spirits, and dead souls. Moreover, the main plot contains a past unsolved mystery, as well as side stories of recent complicated criminal cases faced by our ‘partners-in-crime’ (left picture).

Now, I want to clarify something about the drama’s synopsis on MDL that was taken from Viki. It says that the Female Lead Go Seul Hae “can also see ghosts – but is afraid of her abilities”. However, up to episode 4 there is no indication that she is able to see ghosts. As I read the comments, the synopsis causes confusion for many viewers and is a let-down for some. I don’t know where Viki got the synopsis from, but according to the drama’s official website MBC, she is destined to carry out the heaven’s will for the human realm (right picture), and Wikipedia states the Female Lead has supernatural powers.


MAIN CHARACTERS

Park Hae Jin as Magician Cha Cha Woong

Cha Cha Woong is a popular TV and stage magician. Although cynical and arrogant, he is sought after because his tricks dazzle the audience. But little do most people know: he has a gang of secret helpers. These are no ordinary magician’s assistants. They are actually ghosts! He treats them as his employees, and they him as their boss. For this reason, he establishes the Magic Factory. As payment, he takes care of whatever needs the ghosts have agreed upon, including their room and board.
His supernatural ability to see and converse with ghosts is a family inheritance. They were shamans, but Cha Woong refused to be one. Instead, he uses his psychic power for his fame and fortune. He dreams of retiring to an isolated island, far from humans… and ghosts.

The dazzling magician

Jin Ki Joo as Officer Go Seul Hae

Seul Hae is a passionate civil police officer with a strong sense of justice. She became a police officer to follow the steps of her late father, Go Young Sik (Kim Jong Tae). He was a detective who was killed on the job ten years ago. Since then, she has been looked after by her father’s colleagues. Although an orphan, she has a positive and caring personality.
Seul Hae’s career goal is to be a detective like her father. However, for some reason, every time she applies for a transfer to the crime department, she is rejected. Her collaboration with Cha Woong gives her opportunities to tackle some criminal cases. Hopefully, with the experience, she can finally become a detective.

The hot-blooded police officer

Jung Joon Ho as General Choi Gum

Choi Gum is a 2000-year-old ghost general. He is the mighty guardian spirit of the Cha family, and in turn, they have served him as shamans from generation to generation. When Cha Woong’s grandfather Cha Sa Geum (Kim Won Hae), a legendary shaman, passed away, it’s turn for Cha Woong to serve the General.

Although Cha Woong refuses to be a shaman, Choi Gum managed to convince the magician to volunteer at the police department. Since Seul Hae knows Cha Woong’s trade secret, the magician insists on partnering with her. The collaboration is for everyone’s benefit. For the General, he gains enough virtue points needed to enter Nirvana!

The mighty general


SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

Go Gyu Pil 

as Director Ma Dong Cheol

Park Seo Yeon 

as Kang Ah Reum

Jung Suk Yong

as Chief Nam Sang Gun

When alive, Director Ma was a gangster. He is single and has never dated before. Therefore, he works for the Magic Factory to fund him on blind dates with unmarried ghosts to find himself a bride. Since Director Ma is strong, he supports the magician’s work with his physical strength.
When alive, Ah Reum was a mechanical engineering student. After her passing, she works for the Magic Factory to fund her gaming obsession. She is in charge of mechanical and technical equipment, and is also a computer expert.
When alive, Chief Nam was a caring family man. He still is. After his passing, he works for the Magic Factory to support his wife and daughter. Because of similarities in body postures, Chief Nam poses as Cha Woong’s stuntman when the magician does dangerous tricks.

Below are three more supporting characters, alive, whom until episode 4 have not shown much of their involvements in the main plot, yet. Because explaining their roles in this drama is somewhat revealing, I will only describe each of them briefly.

Kim Hee Jae 
as Officer Lee Yong Ryeol

Jang Ha Eun 
as young Shaman Cheon Ye Ji

Kim Jong Hoon
as Detective Seo Hee Soo

Seul Hae’s patrol partner.
Granddaughter of Shaman Na Geum Ok (Cha Mi Kyung), who was a colleague of Cha Woong’s grandfather.
His father, Chief Seo Chang Ho (Jung Jae Sung), took Seul Hae in to live with them when she lost her father.

Different from my usual approach in writing currently watching articles, I will describe the magic, mystic, and mystery elements in FNOS that make this romcom a compelling watch. The terminology definitions are taken from dictionary.com.

MAGIC

Magic is “the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.”

It is a given that there are a lot of magic performances in this drama, because the Male Lead is a magician. Yeah, we can say he ‘cheats’ because he employs ghosts to perform his magic tricks, as you will see in the GIF below. There are also other magic performances by his strong rival in this drama, Lee Eun Gyeol (right picture), played by none other than the real Lee Eun Gyeol, a renowned South Korean magician who has won the world championships of magic (source: Wikipedia). The difference between Cha Woong and the character Lee Eun Gyeol is that, according to Cha Woong, the latter does not get help from ghosts.

So, you have seen glimpses of Cha Woong’s work performance in the two GIFs above. What I won’t show you is his ‘other’ magic performance in helping Seul Hae solve criminal cases, as you just need to watch the drama.

What happens ‘behind the scenes’


MYSTIC

Mystic is “involving or characterized by esoteric, otherworldly, or symbolic practices or content, as certain religious ceremonies and art; spiritually significant; ethereal. “

The mystic aspects in FNOS are in Korean shamanism, dead souls, evil spirits, and General Choi Gum. Although the Cha family has served the General for generations as shamans, so far, we will not see much of the shamanistic practice in this drama because Cha Woong refused to be one. However, we can see the folk practice of exorcism at the beginning of the drama. Below is a glimpse of expulsion of an evil spirit from a little girl performed by Cha Sa Geum, Cha Woong’s grandfather. As a warning, the overall exorcism scene can be disturbing or frightening, especially if you don’t like horror.

This drama also tells the stories of some dead souls, including the background of our ghost trio. Since some stories are subplots of this drama, I will just let you watch it to avoid spoilers.


MYSTERY

Mystery is “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown”.

As per synopsis, Cha Woong and Seul Hae form an “unorthodox partnership” in their attempts to catch criminals. How unorthodox is it? As a civil police officer, crime is not in Seul Hae’s scope of work. By profession, she cannot work on criminal cases. And Cha Woong is a celebrity magician who often shows up on TV and his face is easily recognizable in public. Therefore disguises are necessary, as seen in the GIF below.

Besides case-by-case crimes that so far are solved in one or two episodes, the drama is overshadowed by the focal mystery that involves the main characters. It starts with a big secret that is placed inside an ancient bottle that is buried on the bottom of the sea (left picture), and is waiting to be unraveled as the plot moves. More revelation other than that is a major spoiler.

After only watching 4 episodes, I have some questions, they are non-spoilers, that hopefully I will find the answers later in the drama. For example: What happened to General Choi Gum in the past that he needs that many virtue points to enter Nirvana? How did the Cha family come to serve him as generational shamans? How is Seul Hae fated to carry out the heaven’s will? Will she eventually become a detective? How did Cha Woong meet his ghostly employees initially? Will he be able to retire to his dream island (bottom picture)? And lastly, will these ghostly characters move on to the afterlife in the end?


ORIGINAL SOUND TRACKS

Any Kdrama won’t be complete without a lineup of original sound tracks. So far, FNOS released three songs. I really love the cover artwork of the singles, as shown below. Click on each title to take you to each music video. All songs are credited to 뮤직그라운드 MUSICGROUND on Youtube.

Freak Show
by Jeon So Yeon 전소연

I’ll Be There
by Ahn Da Eun 안다은

Time” 
by Paulkyte 폴카이트

In the end, this article won’t be complete without talking about the romance between the main couple, right? I have written and showed you bits and pieces of the comedy, magic, mystic, and mystery features of the drama. How about the romance? I must say, I love their team-working and their chemistry feels natural. They feel so at ease with each other as seen in behind-the-scenes clips. Other than that, let me tease you with the GIF below, without giving you away other juicy parts. So, just go watch this show if this is your cup of tea. In the drama, this scene below is accompanied by my favorite OST song in this drama: “I’ll Be There”.

How can a ‘date night’ at a cemetery full of ghosts be so romantic?

Thank you for reading and happy watching!


AcknowledgementsThank you to the editors who edited this article. Credits: The OST images are linked to their sources. Other images are taken from the drama page on MDL, screenshots, and MBC. Emoji is taken from emojiall.  Self-made GIFs are taken from the drama scenes.
Edited by: devitto (1st editor)
park hae jin
jin ki joo
jung joon ho
urban fantasy
from now on, showtime!
magician

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