“The First Responders” will follow as the next work after “One Dollar Lawyer.”
SBS Friday-Saturday drama timeslot faced another crisis. Although “One Dollar Lawyer” starring Nam Goong Min, seemed to be on a roll with a viewer rating exceeding 15%, following its sudden early end and reckless cancellations, its following drama, “The First Responders” was also plagued by various controversies even before its premiere. In addition, “The First Responders”’s rival is “Reborn Rich,” starring Song Joong Ki, the trump card of JTBC. This is why the future of SBS’s Friday-Saturday drama, which frequents the 1% rating range recently, has darkened again.
Currently, “One Dollar Lawyer” has only one episode left, but the situation is not good. Both its ratings and viral topics fell due to the aftermath of the conflict between the production company and the writers. On top of that, “The First Responders,” which will be launched as its next drama, is also problematic. “The First Responders” was originally scheduled to air early this year, but filming was suspended for about four months after the late producer Lee Him Chan, who worked as its production manager, committed an extreme choice in January. The deceased, who had worked as a PD for Studio S for about 10 years, made an extreme choice after leaving a note saying “Everything is too much.” about 20 days after the drama “The First Responders” started filming.
Since then, a joint investigation committee has been held to determine the cause of death, and “The First Responders,” which stopped filming, only resumed filming in May. And on Nov 8th, four days before the show’s first episode, the production company made an official apology to the deceased and his bereaved family. The joint investigation committee clarified that the late producer Lee, who usually had a lot of affection and responsibility for his work, committed extreme choice due to work stress. The production company said it will make efforts to set up a union-level system to prevent such things from happening again in the future.
This is not the only problem. The person who now directs “The First Responders” is PD Shin Kyung Soo. He is also the one who directed “Joseon Exorcist”, which was suspended after 2 episodes due to controversy over history distortion. At the time, PD Shin apologized, “I failed to be cautious and more careful about expressing the story that uses both the real names of historical figures as well as the Joseon Dynasty as the background. I feel responsible for this and am reflecting deeply. All responsibility for the drama’s contents and related decisions should fall on me, the director.”
Starring Kim Rae Won, Son Ho Jun, and Gong Seung Yeon, “The First Responders” is a joint response field log between the police who catch criminals and firefighters who put out fires. The police station and the fire station jointly respond to fierce scenes between crime, disasters and emergencies. Following season 1, which will premiere on Nov 12th, the series was scheduled for a season 2 in the second half of 2023. As it was filmed in a seasonal system even before airing, SBS’ expectations are exceptional. However, these controversies have, more or less, damaged the image of this work.
On top of that, its competitor is Song Joong Ki’s “Reborn Rich”. Attention is focused on whether “The First Responders”, which starts one episode earlier than “Reborn Rich”, will be able to overcome its controversies and succeed in getting a head start.