Together with the female-centric melodrama Thirty Nine, Forecasting Love and Weather gave JTBC the much-needed ratings boost it needed after a year-long dry spell. The workplace drama maintained consistent domestic ratings throughout its run, its lead stars Park Min-young and Song Kang made it to the Good Data Buzzworthy rankings, and the series was popular enough on Netflix. While audience reception was mixed, we feel it could still be a pleasant enough view for some. We help set the expectations in this k-drama review.
Forecasters at the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) balance family life and love while striving to meet the demands of the public for accurate and timely weather forecasts.
I thought I would preface this review with a short note about expectations, particularly when it comes to k-drama genres. As someone who not only spends a lot of time actually watching k-dramas but reading what people have to say about them online, I've noticed that a lot of viewer disappointment comes from when a show turns out to be of a different genre than how it was marketed or what they expected based on the lead actors.
Having said that, if you're considering watching Forecasting Love and Weather thinking you're in for another cute Park Min-young office rom-com where she has sizzling chemistry with her leading man and is surrounded by endearing supporting characters (like What's Wrong with Secretary Kim and Her Private Life), then you will probably be disappointed. However, if you're up for a workplace drama that depicts realistic characters—metaphorical warts and all—and the day-to-day challenges meteorologists face with every season, then this might be up your alley.
Forecasting's strongest point comes from its unusual office setting. While there are plenty of medical, legal, and law enforcement dramas, only a few shine a spotlight on professions that we often take for granted but are actually quite interesting. Like last year's Jirisan, which focused on the daily lives of mountain rangers, this drama dives deep into a work environment unfamiliar to many of us.
The early episodes of Forecasting have the urgency of a newsroom drama, where you can really appreciate the impact of what meteorologists do. The drama does a great job of portraying the human and economic cost of untimely and/or inaccurate forecasts, like how an unannounced hailstorm can cost billions in damage and how fishermen's livelihood depends on warnings being lifted so they can go out to sea. Screenwriter Kang Eung-kyun (Doctor Romantic) put to good use the eight months she spent at the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), and much like a medical drama, the cast had to memorize a lot of scientific jargon, an achievement worth mentioning. The result of the extraordinary amount of support they were given by the KMA in script development is lots of clever weather metaphors. Each episode revolves around a specific meteorological concept (signals, temperature, discomfort index, etc) and each theme is woven into the relationships of the characters both at work and at home.
Now about those relationships...
Forecasting foregoes the classic k-drama format of making the audience wait at least six episodes for a chaste (sometimes "accidental") kiss and 12-14 episodes for a steamy bed scene, if any at all. Opting for a more realistic approach to modern relationships which is slowly becoming more common in k-dramaland, the drama jumps almost immediately into what could really happen when two very attractive and newly single people (Shin Ha-kyung, played by Park Min-young and Lee Si-woo, played by Song Kang) find themselves working in the same department. And just as in real life, rebound relationships don't always work out, so we spend most of the drama trying to predict if and how these two very different people can make things work, especially since they've decided to keep their relationship a secret.
Park Min-young is famous for having really great chemistry with her leading men, but while she and Song Kang do look good together and there's some chemistry there, it kind of dissipates over time. While there's some charm to the pairing, it's just not up there for me in terms of what we've seen from her past dramas (again, expectations).
Another weak spot is the drama's second lead couple (played by Yoon Park and Yura) who I think is the most annoying I've seen since Shin Min-a's character's ex-boyfriend and frenemy in Oh My Venus. It's kind of crazy how much time was spent on the two characters who dumped our leads in pretty awful ways, like the writer actually wanted us to empathize with and root for them? Nope.
As for the other characters, as I mentioned earlier, this drama is populated with realistic characters, which means that a lot of them are downright unlikable. There's Lee Si-woo's dysfunctional father, Forecaster Um's bitter wife, and even Kim Mi-kyung who I normally love in every role she's in (Healer, Go Back Couple, It's Okay To Not Be Okay), really tested my patience as Ha-kyung's overbearing, nagging mother who's obsessed with marrying her daughter off. I was thisclose to hating the character and I probably would have if it were it not for the goodwill I have towards the actress playing her. The one bright spot is the cute romance that develops between Ha-kyung's co-worker/neighbor and her older sister, a children's book author.
Basically, if you've decided to give this slice-of-life weather drama a shot, just be prepared to feel more than a little frustrated with people and situations. Despite my own frustrations, I didn't find it too hard to keep watching until the end and am glad I stayed for the satisfying payoff.
Overall, Forecasting Love and Weather is really not that bad a drama as long as you go into it without too many expectations, and makes for an interesting enough watch if you have an inner science geek and a high pain threshold.
Stream: If you're curious about what goes on behind-the-scenes at a national weather agency.
Skip: If you're looking for a fun rom-com.
16 75-minute episodes. Available on Netflix