“Pandora: Beneath the Paradise” criticized due to complicated story developments and Lee Ji Ah’s awkward acting

“Pandora: Beneath the Paradise” (hereinafter referred to as “Pandora”), which aired the first episode on March 11th, is a revenge drama about a woman who leads a life that everyone envies, but seeks revenge against those who manipulated her fate by recovering her lost memories from the past. 

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“Pandora” received keen attention even before its broadcast, solely because writer Kim Soon Ok participated in the project as a creator. Viewers’ anticipation was raised even higher as soon as the casting of “Penthouse” actress Lee Ji Ah, Bong Tae Gyu, Park Ki Woong, etc., was revealed. Previously, “The Penthouse” series by Kim Soon Ok recorded the highest viewership rating of 29% and created a sensation. Lee Ji Ah, who played Shim Soo Ryeon in that work, was praised for her elegant yet confident appearance in seeking revenge.

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Lee Ji Ah, who showcases action scenes as a killer in “Pandora”, said at the press conference, “Since I play a killer trained with murder weapons, I wanted to have a strong body to do action scenes. That’s why I worked out and even built abs.” She added, “I lost a lot more weight than during the time I filmed ‘The Penthouse’. I lost about 5-6kg, but I wanted to maintain a slim and agile body for action scenes”, raising fans’ curiosity about her acting transformation.


Perhaps expectations were too high. In the released episodes of “Pandora,” Lee Ji Ah’s awkward acting with little facial expression broke viewers’ immersion in the drama story. Even in situations where she had to act out the emotions of drastic changes, such as discovering her identity after losing memories for 15 years, the actress’s expressions stayed emotionless consistently.

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Furthermore, the developments of the drama, which mixed various elements such as adultery, politics, murder, and action, ruined the identity of the work. Although “Pandora” was introduced as an entertaining drama for weekend evenings, the dark and complex developments gave viewers discomfort and frustration rather than joy. People wanted a refreshing and thrilling revenge drama but it turned out to be too gloomy.


The fact that the initial popularity of this drama came with high expectations for the name of screenwriter Kim Soon Ok added to the disappointment of viewers. Episode 1 recorded a poor rating of only 4.9%, which is only about one-third of the rating achieved by the final episode of her previous work “Penthouse” (17%). In comparison, the rival drama “Taxi Driver” is maintaining its good performance with a recent rating record of 14%.

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Despite gaining attention through word-of-mouth, “Pandora” is still receiving negative responses even after releasing several episodes. The biggest problem is that the content is not entertaining and the actors’ acting performances are awkward and unnatural. “Pandora” lacks a hero like Cheon Seo Jin (Kim So Yeon) in “Penthouse”.

Although Lee Ji Ah worked hard to build her body and lost weight for action scenes, her expressionless face hindered her efforts and acting performance. Her unique mysterious beauty also couldn’t benefit her killer action acting. The fame of “Kim Soon Ok’s return work” remains as only a tag. As “Pandora” has not yet ended, it is still unknown whether it can overcome this atmosphere and gain better results. At this time, the production team and fans are having more worries than expectations.

Source: Daum

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