In the vast world of K-drama, fans may think that they've seen enough strange plots not to shock them by the next offering, but Netflix's My Holo Love would like to refute that idea with its take on technology. We've seen artifical intelligence, or A.I., in K-dramas before (see: I Am Not a Robot) but nothing quite as advanced as this.
So, as a general recap, an isolated So-Yeon who suffers from face blindness, was handed a high technology prototype of a holographic A.I.—that only its users can see while they wear a pair of glasses. This was a chance encounter after its creator's sister was caught in a car chase and was forced to leave the spectacles in a stranger's bag. As Holo and So-Yeon get closer and more attached together, Holo's creator Nan-Do is determined to figure out why Holo is acting more human-like, and inadvertedly, is drawn to So-Yeon in the process.
My Holo Love tries to pack in all the dramatic aspects diehard Hallyu fans would want to see, and perhaps pushes the envelope a bit too far in this regard.
What I Liked About It
Yoon Hyun-Min does a great job in portraying both Holo and Nan-Do.
One minute our leading man Yoon Hyun-Min is the intelligent, kind, and caring Holo, who is seemingly the ideal—albeit holographic—boyrfriend in a story akin to S1mone or My Fair Lady, but in the next minute he shifts to the untrusting and broody genius that is Nan-Do. He moves from one character to another with finesse and audiences get to witness a whole range of Yoon Hyun-Min's acting chops.
More than a romance, it's actually all about self-actualization.
It might draw viewers in with the promise of romance between two (or three?) characters, but My Holo Love is ultimately about So-Yeon and Nan-Do's growth and their individual journeys to self-acceptance. With Holo and Nan-Do's help, we see our heroine evolve into a confident woman who learns to live with her flaws and be unapologetic toward it. On the other hand, Nan-do had spent most of his life as a ghost, obsessing over Holo, who was one of the handful of people who knew he still existed. After he reconnects with So-Yeon through Holo, his life has renewed meaning. It's refreshing to see a script that's more than just kilig moments.
It plays on the lighter side of A.I.
Leave it to the Korean drama producers and screenwriters to take a subject as serious as artificial intelligence and turn it into a plot for a romantic comedy. There was good rapport between the characters that took attention away from the fact that the series was juggling unusual subjects such as face-blindness and A.I. software developing emotions. Where Western films and television series turn A.I. into potential threats against humans in a dystopic setting, we see how A.I. can be used for good, and very specifically aid those with disabilities.
What I Didn't Like About It
It's anchored on very predictable themes and elements.
Netflix has had a streak of churning out Korean dramas that delve away from the conventional third wheels and convenient marriages, which this reviewer has enjoyed very much. They've showed us a more mature side of genre that touches on real-life issues and more complex human problems. While My Holo Love promises to be novel with all these concepts, this series in particular falls flat and becomes very predictable. While AI and face blindness are generally rare topics to tackle, they're very much overused in the K-drama realm, which makes it fall in the ranks of a predictable series a la 2007.
It failed to captivate in the first few episodes.
One of the success factors of a great K-drama is its ability to hook its viewers and for many audiences, it only takes the pilot episode for viewers to determine whether it has that binge-watchable quality that high-rated dramas such as Crash Landing on You and Descendants of the Sun possessed. The pilot episode was almost forgettable and there was little chemistry among the main characters.
So Should You Watch It?
It certainly isn't the best that Netflix has to offer, but if you're looking for a light watch to pass the time with while waiting for the next big drama, then My Holo Love is a suitable choice to fill that void.