Doom at Your Service is a love story that makes us wonder, would I be willing to give everything I have, including my life, for the one I love?
“To die is nothing, but it is terrible to not live.” – Kim Sa-Ram
Receiving a cancer diagnosis with the probability of living only three more months;
finding out from his wife that your new boyfriend is married and will soon be a father, and then discovering a video of your conversation posted on the internet;
being reprimanded by your boss in front of all of your colleagues;
a complete stranger making a secret video of you while you’re on the subway –
Any one of those scenarios would be difficult to handle but poor Tak Dong-Kyung gets all of them dropped on her on the same day. Turning to alcohol in an effort to cope with her insurmountable trials, or maybe just drown her sorrows, a drunk Dong-Kyung catches a glimpse of a falling star while she is alone on her rooftop and exclaims – “I wish everything stopped existing. Bring doom upon the world!” Interestingly enough, Doom himself overhears her plea and decides to enter into a contract with the despondent young woman, carefully explaining that if she promises to formally wish doom upon the world before she dies, he will shield her from pain during the 100 days she has left and grant her one personal wish. However, if the contract is broken, the person she loves the most at that very moment will die. Not surprisingly, a groggy, scared, and hopeless Dong-Kyung agrees to the deal while hesitantly taking the hand of Doom.
Tak Dong-Kyung’s parents passed away when she was a little girl so she and her younger brother were raised on Jeju Island by her single aunt (their mother’s twin sister). Dong-Kyung works as an editor and manager at a web novel company called Life Story and is liked by the writers she is in charge of. She lives alone in a small but nice rooftop apartment. She loves her brother but is often disappointed at his lack of direction and commitment. Although most people would lean on family and friends for love and support during a time of life and death, Dong-Kyung has chosen to remain silent about her cancer diagnosis and pretend like nothing is wrong.
Although Myul-Mang’s very existence brings doom wherever he goes, the man was made for humanity – like a butterfly that was created for the flowers in god’s garden. Not being human, he neither eats, sleeps, or cries. Because he has existed for so long, he is not only knowledgeable but also skilled at many of the things human can do. Myul-Mang speaks the truth and doesn’t sugar-coat facts. He thinks of humans as simple creatures below himself and therefore is close to no one which, in turn, has made him very lonely. Myul-Mang has the ability to hear human’s thoughts, whether he wants to or not, which has made him tired of people. He says, “Everyone thinks they’re the best and they’re the most pitiful.”
Na Ji-Na is a romance web novelist signed to Life Story, the web novel publishing company Dong-Kyung, her best friend, works for. Although it has been nine years, she still has a crush on her high school sweetheart, Lee Hyun-Kyu, who left to study abroad after graduation, and who is the leading man in all her romance novels. She is older than Dong-Kyung and met the teenager when she went on a school trip to Jeju Island. She thinks of Dong-Kyung as a little sister.
Cha Joo-Ik is Dong-Kyung’s editorial team leader at Life Story. He is a quiet man who mostly keeps to himself. His co-workers have no idea he is the son of the building owner and lives in the penthouse. He was Lee Hyun-Kyu’s tutor/mentor while the boy was in high school, caring for him like a brother, and claiming he helped raise the young man. No one is aware of the fact that he harbors feelings for writer Na Ji-Na and has signed an exclusive, secret contract with her.
Lee Hyun-Kyu and Na Ji-Na met while in high school and quickly became an item. Both were head over heels for each other but Hyun-Kyu went abroad to study swimming (for reasons we are told about later), breaking Ji-Na’s heart. Although he won a silver medal in swimming, things didn’t work out for the athlete the way he had hoped so he went back to South Korea and opened Mellifluous Café. He still cares for Ji-Na and would like to get back together with her.
Park Bo-Young is the darling actress that plays the part of Tak Dong-Kyung. You’ll find some information about her by going to my review of Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon.
When a writer has conjured up an amazingly complex character, such as Myul-Mang, I’m sure casting directors get a hold of Seo In-Guk. The man’s impressive acting abilities during this 16-hour run, playing Myul-Mang/Kim Sa-Ram (the name Dong-Kyung gives Myul-Mang)/Doom, just landed him a spot on my favorite actors list. His acting is flawless in The Smile Has Left Your Eyes and I Remember You (both on my perfect score list and both dramas in which his character is a highly complicated individual), High School King of Savvy (in which he plays dual roles), and Shopping King Louie (where his character is a spoiled, lonely, rich guy who loses his memory and becomes a “normal” person). You can read about Seo In-Guk by navigating over to my Shopping King Louie review.
The only thing I can tell you about 25-year-old Shin Do-Hyun, the gal who plays writer Na Ji-Na, is that as well as being an actress, she is also a model. Dramas I’ve seen that she’s credited for being in are Switch: Change the World, The Third Charm (on my favorite dramas list), and the first season of Hospital Playlist (on my perfect score list).
Lee Soo-Hyuk, whose character happens to be Cha Joo-Ik, is excellent at playing aloof, methodical individuals. You can read a bit about him in my Born Again review.
The part of Lee Hyun-Kyu is played by Kang Tae-Oh. By skipping over to my Run On review you’ll be steered in the direction of a few more reviews that have some information about him.
I love how Kim Sa-Ram’s house personifies the god of doom perfectly. Gorgeous in its own way, the house is spacious and dark with small fires flickering everywhere, void of color and any kind of softness or warmth, and built/decorated with nature – rock and wood, the place screams lonely. Dong-Kyung’s home is the exact opposite of his – small, colorful, filled with things, comfortable, and it screams welcome. How fitting that when Dong-Kyung comes into Myul-Mang life, her tiny home becomes attached to one corner of his – a human’s existence is added to that of a god’s. Imagery that is profound and enlightening.
It was interesting to me that several times throughout the show different characters are shown with a cigarette in their hand or mouth but it is never lit, never. In fact, Dong-Kyung, Ji-Na, and later Sa-Ram mention how smoking is bad for your health. Because it’s not a significant part of the storyline, I can’t help but wonder if the screenwriter was deliberately trying to bring that message home to the audience.
The only thing about this drama I wasn’t thrilled with was the fact that the story makes us think that the trials and negative events in life are due to things that are beyond our control – it’s Doom’s fault and has nothing to do with the decisions we’ve made. Yes, I think some things happen just because of Doom, but many of the difficulties we experience in life are the natural consequences of our own bad choices, and that’s something we all need to remember.
The character growth in Doom at Your Service is quite profound. Each main person learns valuable lessons and goes through experiences that alter their thinking and behavior, making them happier and emotionally more healthy.
This story brings theology to the forefront by talking about how god willingly suffers for humans because she loves them, and how bad things need to happen to good people in order to give them experiences that will contribute to their growth… things like that. It’s very interesting. (I’m using a lower case “g” when referring to the god in the drama because she mentions that she was created by humans so she can’t be the capital “G” God.)
The kisses in this drama are real and quite delicious. Seo In-Guk is extremely talented in his on-screen kissing abilities (passionate in everything I’ve seen him in) and the director was smart enough to take advantage of that, allowing Seo In-Guk to shine at something he does so well. A+ indeed!
If you’re really watching carefully you’ll see that the opening of Doom at Your Service is drawn to perfectly foreshadow the beginning of the story. The red ribbon around Dong-Kyung’s wrist, god’s garden, being on the subway, the different cities Myul-Mang shows Dong-Kyung as she peers out the peephole of her door, the strawberry birthday cake, god telling Myul-Mang he is a butterfly, Dong-Kyung’s comforting beach… everything! Whoever drew that opening piece definitely needs a raise!
Sadly, Doom at Your Service lost the interest of some of its initial viewers, ending with only around half the audience it started out with. Personally, I had no trouble staying with the show. I enjoyed the budding relationship and chemistry of Dong-Kyung and Sa-Ram, was interested in the love triangle between Joo-Ik, Ji-Na, and Hyun-Kyu, loved the aesthetics, liked the theology elements, and savored the lovely ballads. With this particular drama, I suggest you ignore the fact that its ratings went down and give the show a shot.
I always enjoy it when an actor/actress in the drama participates in the show’s music and Seo In-Guk did just that, adding his lovely tenor voice to the soundtrack with a song called Distant Fate. There are several really good ballads in the show – I Wanna Be With You, sung by Gummy, and I’m Breaking Down, performed by Allie, are the two songs we hear most often. Tomorrow X Together (TXT) is responsible for some gorgeous harmony in Love Sight, and Baekhyun, from EXO, sings some amazingly high notes in the beautiful song simply entitled U.
Doom at Your Service has some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous and diverse cinematography I’ve ever seen in a Kdrama. The ocean/beach, an amusement park, a garden… you name it and we see it. Everything is so lovely.
If you’re looking for a romantic fantasy that is 100% original, full of excellent A-list actors, has a good moral, is filled with lovely music, is slightly emotional, and is just plain beautiful to look at, Doom at Your Service is the drama for you.
Several great actors
Great chemistry between leads
Interesting theology elements
Good character growth
No bad guys
A couple small “oops”