The Korean cable channel Orion Cinema Network’s (OCN) fantasy thriller “The Uncanny Counter” released its last episode on Jan. 24 and ended with a successful finale. Based on the hit webtoon “The Amazing Runner,” the series gained enormous popularity last winter and is now the highest-rated OCN production so far. From the outset, the show captivates the audience by introducing the teenage protagonist, So Mun, and the fascinating world of “Counters”—exorcists with special abilities who are obliged to banish the evil spirits in the fictional city of Jungjin. As the story progresses, So Mun becomes one of the Counters and unravels the ugly truth of his past as he goes through the thrilling journey of battling with demons.
“My first impression of the show was very different from how I felt after watching the whole series. In the beginning, I thought the show was a bit childish for me due to all the fantasy elements in the plot,” Claire Lee (10), an avid fan of the series, said. “But my thoughts on the show completely changed after watching a few episodes because I realized that the fantasy aspects actually made the story so much more compelling and adventurous. I think the most memorable scene is when Ga Mo Tak (one of the Counters), finally recalls his lost memory, but his beloved girlfriend gets murdered by one of the demons. This was one of the moments where I felt deeply connected with the characters and their emotions.”
The show truly shines when it comes to storyline and character development. Unlike other exorcism television shows that tend to place more emphasis on surrealism and horror, the show presents and develops underlying life lessons throughout the episodes. Specifically, while exorcists are usually portrayed as priests or nuns in popular media, the Counters are ordinary human beings who work together in a noodle restaurant during the day. By establishing such a unique setting, the characters form a deep friendship with each other, creating a strong synergy as the story progresses. Furthermore, So Mun’s character development is another element that fascinates the viewers. In the beginning, he is portrayed as a typical high school student who is known to be sympathetic and somewhat naive. However, by the end of the story, So Mun becomes a heroic character who learns how to control his emotions and the special power he possesses. While this might seem like a cliche storyline of a superhero novel, the compelling details of the episodes and the extraordinary challenges the character encounters enthralls the audience to connect with the show.
“I absolutely love how the show was unique and different from today’s so-called ‘Kdrama.’ When watching the series, I felt as if I was watching a sci-fi movie because of the excitement and thrills the drama holds,” Michelle Choi (10), a viewer of the show, said. “There are so many unexpected twists and mysteries that left me on the edge of my seat after every episode. Our whole family was really into the series, and I think everyone can enjoy this show regardless of their age. I would definitely recommend watching this series.”
Although the show received acclaim for its intriguing plot, fans of the original webtoon were disappointed with the alteration of the storyline. During the second half of the season, the show underwent an abrupt switch of screenwriters after Yeo Ji Na, the initial screenwriter, withdrew from the production team after mutual disagreements about the ending of the series. The number of plot threads that were introduced at the beginning of the show remained entangled as the new screenwriter shifted the show’s focus to merely extending the existing conflict. By doing so, the spark of the series dimmed towards the final episodes and left some fans dissatisfied with the somewhat expected ending.
“I think the moral behind the show is that one should prioritize saving someone rather than wanting to get revenge. I think that the change of the screenwriter in the middle of the climax was a great backlash the show had,” Hyeonseo Park (10), a fan of the series, said. “I agree with a lot of the criticism regarding the shift in directors and the story plot. If you like fantasy drama, I would recommend it, but if you don’t, you would want to reconsider watching it because I personally think the ending was not as great as I expected.”