Following his web drama series Love As You Taste and Spring in Summer, that bagged an award at the Catholic Film Festival in 2018, Director Hwang Da Seul is making a return this time with BL series When Your Eyes Linger. As the drama genre continues to make waves in many parts of the world, South Korea is beginning to see an unprecedented shift of focus when it comes to romantic tales of love.
Korean Name: 너의 시선이 머무는 곳에
Genre: Drama, Romance
Channel: W-STORY, Viki
Number of Episodes: 8 episodes
Episode Length: 10 to 16 minutes
Recommended For: The program is for people who can’t stay still and watch a regular 60-minute episode of a series without getting sidetracked by their phone’s buzz.
NOT Recommended For: The series is strongly not suited for people with a mentality trapped in the old ages.
Han Gi Chan as Han Tae Joo
Jang Eui Soo as Kang Gook
Choi Kyu Ri as Choi Hyemi
Jeon Jae Yeong as Pil Hyun
Meet Han Tae Joo, the 18-year-old student and successor to the TB Group. Blessed with a wealthy family, good looks and popularity, he has few worries. Gang Gook, his thoughtful childhood friend, is physically strong and is trained in different martial arts disciplines. Tae Joo is Gang Gook’s only friend. Tae Joo trusts Gang Gook and feels at ease around him. Tension erupts between them when a new female student, Hye Mi, shows interest in Gang Gook. As the two go on a date, Han Tae Joo becomes irritated, and soon after, long-suppressed emotions start surfacing. Could there be more to their platonic friendship?
When Your Eyes Linger has been welcomed positively by countless avid BL (Boys Love) and K-drama series enthusiasts around the globe. Despite several plot snags and tropes we commonly see in a television show, many were thrilled to see South Korea beginning to step on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
When Your Eyes Lingers’ plot is largely driven by romance and the strifes of revealing one’s individuality in a culture, where falling in any letter of the LGBTQIA+ acronym is condemned and regarded a mortal sin. The show is fast-paced, which is understandable because each episode only runs between 10 to 16 minutes—and I think it’s a contributing factor why some holes on this small screen series have surfaced. I wish When Your Eyes Linger was two more episodes longer, and let me tell you why; it seemed slightly rushed.
The series isn’t heavily dependent on flashbacks, but it could’ve been nice to see a fleeting reminiscence of how Tae Joo and Kang Gook met. Apart from their relationship’s genesis, the viewers’ broader glimpse into the lives of these characters were somewhat lacking. When Your Eyes Linger has typical tropes you’ll often encounter in a K-drama, and while it may not always be a bad thing, the show wasn’t spared from becoming predictable in some parts.
From Viki via Soompi
All the actors on this show performed based on what their respective character is asking, and it deserves an appreciation. It’s understood that these actors already know a thing or two of being in front of the camera, which resonated in their scenes. Eui Soo, having been a part of two K-dramas, delivered a fine performance without overshadowing his on-screen partner Gi Chan. Eui Soo’s heart-compelling line delivery and the naturalness of his actions never took an absence throughout the show’s run.
When Your Eyes Linger is Gi Chan’s acting debut following his stint on Produce X 101, and he did well for his first lead role. He was effective in playing the role of a rich, bratty and unpredictable young man because there were moments he made me annoyed and feel sorry for him. The supporting characters, Choi Kyu Ri and Jeon Jae Yeong were also good because they both gave a fun relief to some of the show’s intense moments.
The right mix of on-screen chemistry between a pair can’t be effortlessly accomplished, but Gi Chan and Eui Soo were able to pull it off up to the very last sequence. They compliment each other, and their pairing is nonetheless perfect. It didn’t seem forced, and some of their interactions can stir up emotions.
From Viki via Soompi
I don’t think the short running time of every episode compromised an exhibition of character growth from Kang Gook and Tae Joo respectively—it was apparent. From being a spoiled and impulsive 18-year-old, Tae Joo was able to show that he can also make tremendous sacrifices for Kang Gook. On the other hand, Kang Gook showed a realistic kind of romantic emotion that’s strong and patient but also knew how to let it go when needed.
When Your Eyes Linger’s OSTs are all worth a spot on your playlist, the drama has a total of four songs (excluding instrumentals), which also reflects the story’s narrative.
The drama’s cinematography doesn’t contain too much harrowing symbolisms, but it has a diverse mix of camera shots that allows viewers to feel the characters’ emotion beyond their dialogues. The same thing also goes for its color palette, which is well-put-together and fits the mood of every scene.
Overall, When Your Eyes Linger is a good show. The actors’ great chemistry and moving storyline will keep your attention glued on the screen until you finish it. In a country where LGBTQIA+ remains a taboo, it’s nice to see production houses finally stepping under the spotlight to produce shows that represent stories of the rainbow community.