‘A Time Called You’ (2023) Review: Did Netflix K-drama Series Overplay The Emotions?


A Time Called You made no secret of the fact that it was going to be extremely emotional and that its audience should be ready with a box of tissues before starting it. The audience was waiting for that since Korean dramas are known for their high production value and minute explorations of every emotion. While we get that in A Time Called You, we cannot understand why we needed 12 episodes of it.

In a world obsessed with making content catering to the lessening attention spans of people, it is quite unforgivable when the makers miss out on the right presentation of content. Keep in mind that A Time Called You was released all at once instead of weekly, and it deals with heavy emotional matters, which affects the binge-ability of anything. Wouldn’t this show have benefited from a shorter duration? There is an exhaustion that sets in when, episode after episode, you have to constantly evaluate the changing feelings of the protagonists and why they may be behaving the way they are. This means that after a certain point, even though the story is still interesting, we end up being unable to watch it.

However, people with a high capacity for emotional drama might also agree that A Time Called You stretched out a little too much. We haven’t seen the Taiwanese source material it is based on, but we are guessing that the Korean drama was made with the assumption that since there is a different and wider demographic that will be watching this version, they would have to do a recreation from the beginning to the end. It is not the wrong idea, but some differences would have been welcome. For example, the story could have started immediately with Jun Hee waking up as Min Ju. Even those who haven’t seen the original knew this was going to happen because of the trailer, so why not start with this?

But other than this, it also feels like people have forgotten about what chemistry means. Jeon Yeo Been and Ahn Hyo Seop effortlessly slip into the roles of a couple in a relationship or that of two kids falling in love with each other, but throughout it all, there was just something missing. Sometimes, the audience’s faith in a love story is not because of how well-written the script is or how well-acted the roles are, because both of these aspects score very highly in A Time Called You. The faith comes from whether the actors have good chemistry or not and whether you can feel the attraction and love between them through the screen. It is really something that is either there or isn’t, and for a show like this, it was absolutely compulsory.

We should have shared Jun Hee’s belief and fear that she wouldn’t ever be able to get over Yeon Jun. Instead, we were left thinking that she could do it with time and therapy, and that made everything else feel like an unnecessary waste of time. This may be a bit harsh, but we are just unable to accept how unimportant chemistry has become for Korean dramas, the one place we can still count on to give us good romantic content. It makes us think of the last few Korean dramas we have seen. In King the Land, Sa Rang and Gu Won looked good together but had no physical chemistry. In Heartbeat, even that was missing, and See You In My 19th Life lacked a development of the relationship of the leads in the present day that would have added to their story of over a thousand years. Our expectations are high only when it comes to Korean romance dramas because they are the only ones who care and are putting in effort in this genre, so we want them to get it right.

Despite our criticisms, we will continue to say that this was an excellent story that deserves to be watched. The complications are on point, and there is really no miss-able moment in the entire runtime. The only complaint, or rather a summary of it, is that we would have loved to give the show our undivided attention a little more if the editing and chemistry had been sharper.

Now that we have said it, perhaps it is the result of watching close to twelve hours of such a heavy subject matter that a rather cheeky thought comes to mind: to balance our brains a bit. Remember that scene from The Big Bang Theory when Amy Farrah Fowler tells Sheldon Cooper that even if Indiana Jones had done nothing in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the end result would have been the same? We feel similarly about A Time Called You.

Without the element of time travel, people would have gotten along in their lives just as they did, and our star-crossed lovers would have met or not met in the same way. We are quite sure that they will end up together, but this could have happened without the whole story. That “inexplicable” connection between them need not have been the shared past of which they had no memory. It could also have been an instinct or just a happy accident. But if we had to look at it under a microscope, the point of the entire ordeal seems to have been for Min Ju to learn to treat herself better. If only she had a good friend who could tell her that, perhaps Si Heon or In Gyu at some point, there would have been no need for all of it. But anyway, life happens, and sometimes it has fun with us, as it did with all of the characters in A Time Called You.

The bottom line is whether you should watch the series or not. We believe A Time Called You is worth a shot, just to see how much love can affect a person, whether you remember it or not. You may have to ignore that Si Heon initially fell in love with a 36-year-old woman trapped in the body of an 18-year-old, but we suppose these are minor details, no matter how we feel about them. We would also advise that you take your time watching this whole thing instead of rushing into it. Otherwise, it is a golden series, almost.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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