Drama

Doom At Your Service: Destruction and Creation

Warning: Spoilers!
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INTRODUCTION

Doom at Your Service (referred to as DAYS hereafter) is one of those dramas that has commanded hype and attention. It has a well-known cast and that’s going to bring a huge audience regardless of the topic.

Reception of the drama has been mixed, however, and in this article we look at what makes this drama tick and what viewers and reviewers thought about it.  Hopefully, it will help you decide if you want to watch it and we also look forward to debating the highs and lows of this drama in the comments! 


DRAMA DETAILS

Doom at Your Service

(어느 날 우리집 현관으로 멸망이 들어왔다)
One Day Destruction Came Through My Front Door

Country: South Korea
Aired: May 10, 2021 – Jun 29, 2021
Episodes: 16  
Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
Genres:  Comedy,  Romance, Drama, Fantasy,  Supernatural  
Where to watch: Viki


SYNOPSIS

Tak Dong Kyung has just been told that she has a brain tumor and will die within 3 months. Drunk and angry, Tak Dong Kyung shouts from her rooftop that she wants to bring doom upon the world – just when Doom himself is listening. Doom agrees to a contract with Tak Dong Kyung, she will ask him to bring doom upon the world before her three months are up, she will live pain free for those three months and he will grant her a wish. If she fails to do so, the person she loves the most will die.

The main secondary plotline covers Tak Dong Kyung’s best friend Na Ji Na and how she is locked in a past love that ended badly.  She is unable to move on, constantly stuck in a land of “what if”. 


MAIN CHARACTERS

Tak Dong Kyung 

Kim Sa Ram/Myeol Mang

(Park Bo Young)

(Seo In Guk)

An orphan who lost her parents at a young age, loves talking with the writers she manages at her job but hates her boss, has a brother who is a bit of a rogue, and kind of feels like she has got the world on her shoulders as the resident “adult”. She is generally coping well and is a strong-willed person who is sharp and intelligent.  

He is Doom, the end of things. An immortal being created to help God. He doesn’t eat, sleep, cry, or love, but he’s tired of his existence and he’s tired of everything around him being about the end. When Tak Dong Kyung wishes for doom upon the world, it sounds like he’s found just the person he needs to truly end it all.

Cha Joo Ik

Na Ji Na

Lee Hyun Gyu

(Lee Soo Hyuk)

(Shin Do Hyun)

(Kang Tae Oh)

Cha Joo Ik is the son of a wealthy father but he hides that wealth from his colleagues and friends, seeking normal relationships. He is the team leader where Tak Dong Kyung works and has a flat and dry personality.

Best friend of Tak Dong Kyung, and one of the writers that she manages. She’s struggling with a previous romance that never really ended, it just stopped. She and Tak Dong Kyung are more like sisters.

Na Ji Na’s previous boyfriend who left suddenly for the US, leaving her behind without any notice. He’s now back in Korea and has set up a coffee franchise shop which he runs with help of Tak Dong Kyung’s brother.


SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

So Nyeo Shin/Deity
Tak Seon Kyung
Kang Soo Ja
Uncle Kevin
(Jeong Ji So)
(Dawon)
(Woo Hee Jin)
(Daniel C. Kennedy)

The manifestation of “God” as a young girl who has a bad heart problem.  

Tak Dong Kyung’s brother is a youthful rebel that mooches off his sister. When he should be studying, he goes to the PC café to play games instead.

The twin sister of Tak Dong Kyung’s mother took on guardianship and raised her sister’s two children as if they were her own without a moment’s hesitation.

Kang Soo Ja’s Husband is a Canadian who speaks little Korean, he is very compassionate and cares for his wife’s family a lot.


THEMES

Worst Case Scenario

It’s a terrifying thought, you’re basically feeling ok but you have a bit of a headache. You go into the doctor’s because it’s been going on for a bit long and your painkillers aren’t helping much now. After some tests, you find out you have only three months left to live. How would you cope with receiving that news? It’s important to place yourself in the position of Dong Kyung as she processes this to try and understand her character and how she reacts and lives with this.

The Contract”

The contract creates the bonds that tie our two characters together, Myeol Mang wants to bring about doom on the world and Dong Kyung seems to be in the right place in her mind to ask him to do it. He gives her a contract, making her life pain free and even granting a wish but in return, she must ask him to bring doom about the world. All contracts have penalties if they are broken and this is no exception, if she tries to wriggle out of the contract by simply sacrificing herself then the one she loves the most will die instead of her.

Letting Go Of The Past 

Na Ji Na is stuck in the past, a previous relationship didn’t really end properly with the guy just disappearing off to the US and she hasn’t been able to move on. It has affected her writing badly and to get on with her life, she’s going to need to let go of the past.

Religion And The Role Of God In The Story

God is represented in a different way to most dramas, as a young girl who is sick and dies to forgive the sins of humanity. It’s clearly based on Catholic beliefs but doesn’t follow the traditional story exactly. In this story, God did not create humanity, it was the other way around, humanity created God to look after them and guide them.


THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

The Flower Pot

It’s there all along, and hints at God’s intentions right from the very start.

The Red Bracelet

In many cultures, Red Bracelets represent protection, bring luck or remind the wearer of vows. It will prevent Tak Dong Kyung from feeling pain but must be recharged every day by them holding hands at midnight. Myeol Mang warns her it could become her weakness, but could it also become his?

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

A star-studded soundtrack for this one with some of the most popular and common names from some of the best OST’s present like Ailee, Davichi and Gummy to name just three, the main tracks are listed below in order of their popularity on Spotify. 

  1. Breaking Down – Ailee (에일리) 
  2. Love Sight (널 보면 시간이 멈춰 어느 순간에도) – TXT (Tomorrow X Together) 
  3. UBaekhyun (EXO) 
  4. I Wanna Be With You – Gummy
  5. All of My Love – Davichi (다비치)
  6. Distant Fate (아득한 먼 훗날 우리가) – Seo In Guk
  7. This is Love – Sondia

Of additional note are the instrumental accompaniment tracks that sit in the background of the story, some really nice music that always fits the scenes well. 

On Spotify, aside from the instrumental versions of the main tracks, the most popular three are:

  1. Doom – Shin Minyong
  2. Destiny to Love – Daniel Lee
  3. The Other Side of Life – Yoo Jong Hyun

INITIAL RECEPTION OF VIEWERS – BY NUMBERS

Source: Doom at Your Service (2021) – Episodes – MyDramaList 

At the time of writing, this drama has 150 reviews and 9250 ratings averaging 8.4. Episode Reviews show a generally level trend in review scores around 9.2 – 9.4 until the last few episodes, when it notably drops albeit only to 9.0. It’s also interesting to note that the number of reviewers per episode starts around the 90’s and gradually drops – making the biggest drops between episode 6 and 9, before generally settling around 30 reviewers per episode for the remaining.

South Korea Viewers per Episode (Thousands) 

Source: “Doom at Your Service” Wikipedia 

Average audience share throughout coming in at 3.027 % nationally and 3.43 % in Seoul. 

The audience share graph shows a general but gentle trend downwards as the story progresses, suggesting that it wasn’t quite keeping its entire audience interested enough. Something happens around episode 13, however, where we see the numbers spike and we wonder if this was the result of an advertising push once the national numbers went down to below 2.5 % to re-engage viewers.

Numbers and graphs like this aren’t any good if you can’t compare them with something, so comparing to another drama, Vincenzo was another recent tvN drama generally regarded extremely highly, with popular actors and its Male Lead was also an Anti-Hero. Its numbers look rather different:

Source: Vincenzo (TV series) – Wikipedia

Here we can see a drama which captivated audiences much more strongly and with much bigger numbers, growing its audience to ultimately a huge crescendo of viewers for the finale.  

Looking at the two main leads’ last dramas, Abyss (Park Bo Young) follows a similar trend with a similar audience share, as did The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (Seo In Guk) – so the audience share levels seem in line with the kinds of audiences you’d expect with these two headliners – slightly higher in fact. (Sources: Abyss – Wikipedia, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes – Wikipedia)

What we are left with, then, is that gradual decline present in all graphs covering DAYS, which does suggest some viewers disconnecting with the plot as it progressed and quite strongly reinforces some of the critical comments left in reviews. 

Pinnochio: “I’m sick of living as a puppet. I want to grow up and become an adult.”

Fairy: “You can become an adult. But in order to do so, you need to become qualified. You just have to try to be a good kid all the time.”

REVIEWERS’ COMMON THEMES

Given the polar feedback on this drama, we thought we’d take a look through the reviews and pull together a list of the common themes raised by reviewers, both positive and negative, to help you see at a glance roughly what those moved to write a review thought.

LIKED

DISLIKED

  • Unique plot that was unpredictable
  • Character growth
  • Chemistry and main cast’s acting
  • Cinematography, costume, and OST
  • Dragged a bit
  • No suspense/action like other supernatural KDramas
  • Lots of staring and no dialogue in places
  • Second couple love story / love triangle

Special thanks to all those who reviewed the drama, while you have not been referenced directly, we do want to specifically call out that this section comes from your thoughts and we appreciate the time taken to write those reviews. Please do go and read the reviewers’ thoughts on this drama and drop them some feedback!


PERSONAL OPINIONS

MATT: This is the story of Doom. Everyone else plays a part, but make no mistake, this is Doom’s story. Doom is becoming aware of feelings and every day, his existence becomes more and more painful and unbearable; God has a plan to help him but it isn’t as simple as these two simply falling in love, because they’re both on a self-destructive path. 

I’ve watched this one twice now, the first time around I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the best drama I’d seen or anything, it just felt good to watch. I watched it again so I could check my facts and ensure I was paying full attention ready to help write this article, but this time it’s been a different experience. Knowing how it plays out, recognizing things right from the start that you wouldn’t even necessarily know to see, meant that the story took on deeper meaning. Where once I didn’t really understand Myeol Mang’s change of heart from Bad Guy to Good Guy, now it was plainly obvious, it made sense and happened so much earlier than I had realized the first time around. 

A great story, combined with an absolutely stunning soundtrack that rates right up there with Crash Landing on You and Hotel del Luna, definitely make this one of my favourite dramas this year.
CHO NA: I found DAYS is compelling in a way that it’s unpredictable, for each episode’s and the final endings. I had to ‘digest’ the dialogues. Many of them are symbolic and philosophical, as you have seen in some image/GIF examples in this article. It took me 6 days to binge-watch it, instead of the usual 2 days breezing through a 16-episode Kdrama.
I also found the main characters Myeol Mang and Tak Dong Kyung intriguing. I watch mostly Chinese romantic dramas, which many of them are xianxias (historical Cdramas with magical characters). In xianxia, the romantic plot is usually formed between a human and a human-form of deity/demon/animal/plant/inanimate object. The supernatural being is usually depicted as cold, stiff, and has no clue about human traits. Myeol Mang, though he is heartless and emotionless, is an expert in mimicking humans perfectly with sarcasm and wit. He is intimate with, yet detached from, mortality.
His counterpart Tak Dong Kyung is equally unconventional, even to the amazement of Myeol Mang himself. Words like “let’s live together” (as depicted in the first GIF) or “let’s sleep together” are cringey or sexual in normal situations. However, as they come from someone nearing death, they have interesting meanings. Indeed, it needs someone as unusual as Tak Dong Kyung to be chosen in the humanization process of Myeol Mang to Kim Sa Ram.
In my opinion, DAYS has its own charm; different than usual, even supernatural, romantic dramas.

I think I understand what you’re running away from…

It sure must be lonely to love the things that disappear the moment you touch them.
Lonely enough not to ever love them. 

CONCLUSION

After the details above, we thought it might be right to ask – why didn’t it keep its viewers? The best answer we can give is that we think some of the more important details of the story were perhaps not visible enough, or that this simply didn’t match up with people’s expectations so they switched off. We think there might have been almost a “Lois and Clarke” effect when Myeol Mang appears to turned away from his bad boy traits, as this seems to be where viewer numbers start taking their biggest hit.

Answering the question “is this a show that I should watch” is difficult because of the polar responses, it might be exactly what you are looking for or completely the opposite. Read reviews if you do not mind risking a spoiler or two, or just go in based on appreciation for the cast and see how you get on with it.  Hopefully, our little recap of DAYS will help, too!

THANK YOU FOR READING!


Thank you to the editors who edited this article. We do not own any of the images used. Credits go to the respective owners. Images are taken from the drama stills/posters/screenshots, and Wikipedia. GIFs are made by Cho Na from drama scenes. 


Edited by: devitto (1st editor)

park bo young
lee soo hyuk
kang tae oh
seo in guk
doom at your service
shin do hyun

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