Updated: Jul 4
Taxi Driver finished as the 4th highest Friday-Saturday rated show of SBS ever. The series with phenomenal performances by its ensemble cast led by the indefatigable Lee Je-hoon, treated its audience to suspenseful episodes every week. Fans of the show have been clamoring for a second season. Who wouldn’t want another 16 episodes of the kick-ass ragtag team of Rainbow Taxi Company exacting revenge on the most elusive criminals? Unless the producers follow up the success of the series with another season, we’ll have to look elsewhere for our fix.
If you want more of the revenge theme:
According to Kang Ha-ri (Song Seung-heon, Dinner Mate), the world is fuelled by both money and tricks. And who possess these two in spades? Big Corporations. Big Corporations who use money and sleight of hand to bend and shift the laws of men to their will. As an honest and righteous con-man, will Kang Ha-ri let them get away with it? The answer is obviously no. Bringing together a hacker (Lee Si-eon, Cheat on Me If You Can), a fighter (Tae Won-seok, Private Lives), and an escape driver (Krystal Jung, Search), this ragtag team hatches up plans to see these big corporations crumble and make some money along the way.
Player is a short drama series that explores the possibility of righteous criminals, using their own set of highly illegal skills to dole out punishment to those who seem untouchable by the law. While definitely not as riveting as Taxi Driver, Player is a fun drama that will help tide you over from your k-drama hangover.
*Trigger Warning: Rape
Avengers' Social Club (2017)
There are many things your own family could do that hurt others and yourself. For women who are expected to protect their family (even at their own expense), silence is golden. But should these women remain quiet and let these crimes go for their own benefit? Hell no! At least, according to the women (and man) of the Avengers' Social Club.
The viewers are introduced to three women (and their token handsome young man) of different social statures who are all living in quiet desperation due to different circumstances (mostly caused by men and money) in their lives. Unhappy with her husband's decision to let his illegitimate son live in their house, Kim Jung-Hye (Lee Yo-won) brings together fishmonger Hong Do-hee (Ra Mi-ran) and housewife Lee Mi-sook (Myung Se-bin) to form a revenge club called BJ club (BJ meaning Bok-ja, the Korean term for revenge). Along the way, Kim Jung-hye's stepson, Lee Soo-gyum (Lee Jun-young) joins their little club. Together, these four band together to make their husbands and tormentors pay for their wrongdoings, and—as a bonus—form meaningful bonds with each other. They eventually become what Kim Jung-hye aptly describes as "strangers that are closer than family."
While it may not seem like it, Avengers' Social Club is a hilarious drama that shows how far women will go to take revenge and right social injustice when pushed too far.
*Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse
Money Flower (2017)
"Premium oppa" Jang Hyuk delivers the makjang-drama goods as Kang Pil-joo, an adoptee-turned-right-hand-man of the Chairman of the legendary Cheong-A Group. As a their family lawyer, he has no qualms getting his hands dirty for his questionable clientele. In no time, his ruthlessness and skills earn him the family's absolute trust and devotion -- and even access to their dark chaebol secrets. However, Pil-joo harbors a dark secret of his own as well: that he is doing all this in order to bring them all down one day, and avenge the tragedy that the Cheong-A family had inflicted on his real family a long time ago.
Part Count of Monte Cristo, and part intimate-invasion makjang drama with shades of the Pygmalion myth, Money Flower shows the corrosive quality of vengeance, and the heartless lengths some people will go through in order to win any semblance of retributive justice in this cruel world.
*Also, the suits Jang Hyuk wears all throughout this drama are just *chef's kiss*. If you gotta mete out vengeance, better look fantastic while doing it, yes?
If you want more of Lee Je-hoon:
In 2015, criminal profiler Park Hae-young (Lee Je-hoon) stumbles upon a walkie-talkie that somehow allows him to speak from a detective in the year 2000. Hae-young quickly realizes that if he helps detective Lee Jae-han (who lives in the past) solve the killings with the knowledge that DNA testing and forensic science gives him now, these cases would finally see justice. However, things are never without consequence, and in solving past crimes, many current people and issues would also never exist as well.
For its clever combination of sci-fi smarts and human drama, Signal won the Baeksang for Best Drama, Best Screenplay, and gave a Best Actress nod to Kim Hye-soo. Jo Jin-woong, as the idealistic detective from the past, is particularly electrifying to watch, and his performance won him the coveted Daesang (Grand Prize for Television) as well at the tvN10 Awards and the 1st Asia Artist Awards. The rest of the cast, including a younger Lee Je-hoon, further gild the lily of this justice melodrama with equally absorbing performances that will have you glued to your screen for hours on end. Click here for a more detailed review.
Move to Heaven (2021)
In this Netflix original, the lead trauma cleaner is Han Geu-ru (Tang Joon-sang, Crash Landing on You) a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who has to run the family trauma cleaning business, Move to Heaven, after his father (Ji Jin-hee, Undercover) passes away. Helping (and annoying) him is Cho Sang-gu (Lee Je-hoon), an uncle he didn’t know until after his father's death. An ex-convict and street fighter, Sang-gu has to learn to become a proper guardian to Geu-ru and employee of Move to Heaven over three months. Keeping a close eye on him is Yoon Na-mu (Hong Seung-hee, Navillera), Geu-ru's neighbor and best friend.
Move to Heaven is not a show you would describe as heavy. It isn’t difficult to watch or painful to plod through, nor is it overbearing about its lessons. In fact, it is light-hearted throughout much of its running time, with a sprinkling of laugh-out-loud moments, courtesy of the unusual relationship between Geu-ru and Sang-gu. Click here for a full-length review.
If you want more of Esom:
Samjin Company English Class (2020)
Set in 1995, this Baeksang-awarded movie stars
Esom, along with Go Ah-Sung and Park Hye-soo, as friends who work at the prestigious Samjin Company. The trio grow more and more discontent with the limiting -- and often misogynistic -- culture at work and dream of finally doing "real work" instead of making coffee for the bosses every day (among other things). So in an attempt to get themselves promoted, they enroll in a TOIEC (Test of English for International Communication) English review class. While improving themselves, they realize that they also grow in courage -- something they need when they accidentally uncover massive corruption within their company.
Because This Is My First Life (2017)
Three best friends (Jung So-min, Esom, and Yang Ho-rang) enter into their thirties and navigate the complex demands of careers and relationships. As they grow from their experiences, they find their voices and learn to take control of their lives. This finely written series boasts of great ensemble acting. Although Because This is My First Life is marketed as a romance, it has so much more to offer. At turns poignant and funny, it gives a sobering look at the struggles of modern women and the pressures they face from family and society. This heartwarming drama is a must-watch not just for women but all those who want to understand them.