Within the last decade, there has been a sudden surge in popularity in serious crime/mystery K-dramas that have a more mature tone. This trend probably started when the Orion Cinema Network (OCN) premiered Voice.
Since Voice, there have been many K-dramas of this genre to air with almost all of them being hits during their airtime. Some like Voice and Save Me were so popular, they broke the commonality of K-dramas being a single season as both of these series has multiple seasons aired.
Now the latest K-drama of this genre has recently aired on the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), The Game: Towards Zero. In it, Taecyeon and Lee Yeon-Hee will use their know-how and capabilities to solve a serial murder case.
A prophet and a detective team up to stop a serial killer
The Game: Towards Zero — also known as The Game: Towards Midnight — is a criminal/mystery K-drama currently airing on MBC. The main cast consists of Taecyeon of K-pop boy group 2PM, Lee Yeon-Hee (East of Eden. Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island), and Lim Ju-Hwan (Uncontrollably Fond, The Bride of Habaek).
Kim Tae-Pyeong (Taecyeon) is a “prophet” who has the unique ability to see a person’s moment of death by looking through their eyes. Because of this, he is often sought out among the wealthy and well-connected for his abilities.
In his latest “prophecy,” Kim Tae-Pyeong happens to be a part of the situation. Ergo, he makes preparations to stay safe, preparations that look peculiar to Seo Joon-Yeong (Lee Yeon-Hee), a detective working at the Yongsan Police Station who happens to be on the case.
Eventually, Seo Joon-Yeong figures out Kim Tae-Pyeong’s unique abilities and by working together, they are able to “save someone from their fated death.” Together, they continue to help each other as they try to solve a serial murder case.
A slow start in Korea, high praise internationally
The Game: Towards Zero utilizes the “Golden Time” theme which was made very popular in the Voice K-drama series. For those unfamiliar with what “Golden Time” is, it is the most vital time when solving a case.
If the case or situation goes past the “Golden Time,” the chances of the case being solved with a positive outlook or even being solved at all go down a lot.
The Game: Towards Zero is airing on the least-popular free-to-watch Korean network. Domestic viewers for the network may not be into a K-drama that is so suspenseful.
If The Game: Towards Zero was airing on a premium (pay-to-watch) network especially a network that caters to such a demographic like the OCN (known to air suspenseful crime/mystery K-dramas), the viewership would be high.
Unfortunately, the local viewership for The Game: Towards Zero is bad for a free-to-watch network. All four episodes scored less than four percent in viewership for the nation, according to AGB Nielsen Korea.
On the other hand, international ratings have so far been high. On Rakuten Viki, The Game: Towards Zero is scoring an average of 9.8 out of 10 among 67 viewers. To be fair, The Game: Towards Zero is just starting out. The series has 28 more episodes to polish out its characters and story to be more appealing to viewers.
The Game: Towards Zero will air subsequent episodes on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 8:55 p.m. KST on MBC up to 32 episodes. Two episodes will air back-to-back on each day.
For international viewers, The Game: Towards Zero is available on Rakuten Viki. Viewers will need a Viki Plus Standard subscription in order to watch the K-drama on the streaming service.