Radiant Office Review


Synopsis: Radiant Office is a 2017 kdrama whose 16 episodes tells the story of 3 contract workers who are desperate to become permanent hires and the office environment they work in. The added twist is one of them has a serious illness but they don’t know which one.

What is a contract worker?
Contract workers are not regular employees. Statistics show they earn 56% of the wages of regular employees. They are cheaper because companies do not have to provide insurance and other benefits that regular employees receive (employment insurance, national medical insurance, industrial accident compensation insurance, national pension system) (per google sources).

Why I watched: I watched this drama for Ko Ah Sung who I loved in Heard It Through the Grapevine. She didn’t disappoint in Radiant Office. Hers was the standout character of the series.

What I liked about Radiant Office:

* Leading lady Eun Ho Won portrayed by Ko Ah Sung. The tag line for this character could be “open mouth and insert foot”. She could not keep her opinions silent. She boldly declared her beliefs which were often counter to the controlled office environment with a strict pecking order of power. She grappled with being a throwaway contract worker who wanted a permanent position to finally provide the security her previous part-time job(s) could not offer. She believed in loyalty to her friends, though they didn’t always provide that back to her. She believed everyone had worth, though contract workers were not valued. Along the way, she found her own sense of satisfaction through work relationships that challenged and finally respected her.

* Leading man Seo Woo Jin portrayed by Ha Seok Jin. I’d not seen this particular actor prior to Radiant Office. This character was not a manly man and some cute moments came from that fact. His negative opinions on contract workers and strict standards of professionalism were repeatedly challenged by Ho Won. He revised his thinking. Woo Jin hesitated to engage in romance either because of Ho Won’s contractor status, their boss-employee status, their 10 year age gap, etc. If you want romance, Radiant Office kept it light.

* While office politics can be tiresome, I found Radiant Office’s characters were based in realism. I have worked with the types of employees these characters represent – the suck up, the woman that can’t progress up the management chain due to the glass ceiling, the boss that uses you to promote himself, the co-worker that throws you under the bus, etc.

What I didn’t like about Radiant Office:
* Office politics were not always engaging. I’ll admit to fast forwarding through certain characters during the series. By the end of the series, I would watch the entire episode with minimal fast forwarding but it took a while to watch all the politics and characters.

Writer’s Note:
* Radiant Office was written by Jung Hwe Hyun, a rookie screenwriter who won the 2016 MBC TV Drama Screenplay Competition in Miniseries category (per wikipedia).

Would I recommend Radiant Office?
If you like office politics with a side of friendship and a nibble of romance, Radiant Office might work for you. I liked but did not love this series. Radiant Office is a one and done series, I would not be drawn to watch it again.


Asian drama fan

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Kdrama, Reviews
33 comments on “Radiant Office Review
  1. Lady G. says:

    Thanks for the review, i have this in my list, but I wasn’t sure about it. I’ll still give it a try. I was a contract type worker for over 10 years. I was really sad they didn’t move me up just to clerk in the one job i stuck out for 7 1/2 years. I loved working in the library so much but stupid budget cuts and layoffs in the whole library system since the recession in 2008 would not let me get ahead at all.

    • What I liked about the show I enjoyed but the fast forward button did help me get through what I didn’t like.

      Interesting that you were a contract worker too. My friends that are contract workers see the pluses and minuses. When it’s time for the renewal of the contract, things get tense. Will the company renew or won’t they?

      • Lady G. says:

        I misspoke when I used the term – contract worker. I was actually considered a part-timer. But the situations are very similar. Our jobs were always on the chopping block if the budget was cut, and every year when the budget ran out we had to take forced “vacations” without pay sometimes for a month or 2 come the winter and summer.

  2. Beez says:

    @Lady G – I question whether keeping an employee in contact stasis really does that much to save companies money. Unlike you, most contact employees don’t have loyalty to stick around (nor should they since loyalty is not offered to them) because they’re looking elsewhere for the stability of health benefits, paid sick days, etc.

    But I worked in corporate America for 35 years (a few early years as a “temp”) and I think the companies would benefit far more by hiring permanent workers. We often complained that the moment we got someone trained properly so they could provide assistance to us,it was time to train someone new in an endless cycle so we never really got help that, would save us time because by the time they learned the job well enough to be of some use…

  3. Beez says:

    Hi, kjtamuser!
    Radiant Office – It was watchable because the actors were all more than competent. Sigh. I guess it just never became quite any one thing – not really a comedy nor a melodrama.

    It was never anywhere near bad but it would never be on my list to recommend to anybody either. *those K-watching hours are precious*

    I wanted to love this because of Go Ah Sung. Part of me was glad we left the initial set up and [thought] it was resolved fairly early on, but another part of me feels like it didn’t really have anywhere to go after that.

    Perhaps because the two main leads (the actors themselves) have naturally subdued and reserved personalities and each should be paired with more exuberant or charismatic OTPs. Even when they’re happy they’re reserved. It’s not a bad thing but we need some one to provide the charisma factor.

    Picture both leads. Now picture them both at their happiest, most exuberant moment in this series. I can’t even picture a full on tooth-showing, radiating from the eyes, smile.

    I kind of regretted the 16 hours spent, although nowhere near like some dramas that I’d like to take revenge on (Flower in Prison; Hwarang).

    • *those K-watching hours are precious*
      Agreed Beez. Embrace the fast forward button. That’s what got me through the parts that didn’t resonate with me reducing the time commitment.

      another part of me feels like it didn’t really have anywhere to go after that.
      I agree. After that was resolved the direction was less clear.

      Even when they’re happy they’re reserved…picture them both at their happiest, most exuberant moment in this series. I can’t even picture a full on tooth-showing, radiating from the eyes, smile.
      I found them charming and sweet (when given the chance) but not memorable. I liked that she opened his eyes to more possibilities of behavior at work and in life.

      I kind of regretted the 16 hours spent, although nowhere near like some dramas that I’d like to take revenge on (Flower in Prison; Hwarang).
      I was wondering what kdrama was the biggest waste of my time, goodness I typically manage to see positives in every show but the teenage 2015 Cheer Up wasn’t worth the recap.

      • Beez says:

        I never heard of Cheer Up, thank goodness cause of you didn’t like it…

        After watching Five Enough, which was so VERY VERY good, I do wonder what good dramas I miss out on by only relying on Dramabeans to tell me what’s coming out. Especially the longer daily and weekend dramas which they tend not to focus on.

        Yes, I agree that both Ha suk jin and Go Ah Sung are charming. I just hope to see them each in the future with more extroverted partners. Both give off a peaceful aura (which did add to the funny whenever Woo jin was scared.) 🙂

  4. Kay says:

    I know I told you I was worried about how I would feel about this one, but I’m pleased to report that I really enjoyed it! It definitely had its share of office politics, but thankfully it sold me on the characters right from the start so I was always interested in them and their struggles. I enjoyed it all the way through 🙂

    Also, I just became aware of Ha Suk Jin at the end of last year, and I really like him. He usually plays similar character types to this, but he’s perfect for them. He was more subdued in this role whereas in Drinking Solo he’s very animated and funny, and in 1% of Anything he is quite swoony and adorable (lots of romantic couple moments in that one!). Even though he plays similar character types he usually brings a little something extra to the table in each role 🙂

    • I know I told you I was worried about how I would feel about this one, but I’m pleased to report that I really enjoyed it!
      I’m glad you enjoyed this show. I was just commenting that I usually find something to like in every show.

      Also, I just became aware of Ha Suk Jin at the end of last year, and I really like him…he usually brings a little something extra to the table in each role 🙂
      I shake my head at how many kdrama actors that I don’t know. With the plethora of products the korean entertainment system pumps out, I can’t keep up. I’m glad that Ha Suk Jin is a winner. I enjoyed his subtle smile and comedic moments.

      • Beez says:

        Yeah,I feel like it’s flooded with idols.I can’t keep up especially when they’re all cookie cutter, as we discussed before.

        When I first began watching Kdrama and catching up on the classics – the actors all looked so different from each other – Song Seung Heon, Gong Yoo, So Ji sub, Kwang Sang woo, Joo Jin mo, Kim bum and, of course, Lee Min ho. The ladies – Shin min a, Shin Se kyun, Hye-seon Ku and Song Hye kyo.

        They all looked like individuals. I probably butchered the spelling of their names, but the newbie idols, I don’t even know who I’m looking at much less their names.

    • Jane Tilly says:

      I’m more confused about watching Radiant Office. I respect your opinions but I like Hwarang despite its cheese 🧀 factor.

      We’ve all seen dramas not worth recommending. Like KJT, I look for good things in dramas. We’ve even seen decent stories tainted by Soju 🍶 inspired endings. I have a bias for happy 😸 endings, however a unhappy 😾 ending doesn’t automatically mean a dislike a series. Some dramas I have seen not worth my precious kdrama time were:
      ⚪ What Happened in Bali.🏝 Watching So Ji Sub and Jo In Sung did not outweigh the depressing storyline and self-destructive 🔫 characters.
      ⚪ Fashion King 👑. Watching Yoo Ah In and Lee Je Hoon did not overcome the depressing, revenge 🔫 obsessed storyline, and wishy-washy female lead in the ❤ 🔺.
      ⚪ Will it Snow at Christmas? 🎄 Not only was there NEVER a mention of Christmas, although there was one scene with Christmas decorations in the background, it only snowed 🌨 a couple of times. Since I watched this at Christmas 🎅 time, I had expectations that were NEVER remotely satisfied.

      • Beez says:

        I hear ya, JT. To each his own cause I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t regret watching Fashion King. I understand why everybody hated it. You’re absolutely right about the characters. I’m just die-hard when it comes to watching certain actors do their thing. I chalked FK up to the show showing us self destructive losers. Besides watching for my biases, I’ll also watch for subject matter that I’m interested in, even if the show is a dud or a hot mess.

      • I’d watch Radiant Office if you like office politics or Ko Ah Sung. This is NOT a compelling drama. It may fail to make an impact, either good or bad, with you. This is a middle of the road drama, aka like not love. If you are looking for something to add to your watch list, I’d recommend Chicago Typewriter over Radiant Office .

        • Beez says:

          @Jane Tilly
          I second what kjta said about Chicago Typewriter. Although give it a few episodes. I liked it immediately because I suspected where it was going and so far, it hasn’t disappointed me.

      • Jane Tilly says:

        I watched Fashion King because of Yoo Ah In and Lee Je Hoon (my intro to Je Yoon was in “Tomorrow With You”…he was terrific!). Both of them did a great job playing their parts, I just didn’t like the story FK started well enough, I’m always interested in the fashion industry, but when revenge was the gift that kept on giving until there was no one to receive it. What a waste to let revenge consume their lives, instead of using that energy to further their creativity and careers. By the way, the girl was the winner of the Fashion King contest, but was she really THE Fashion King? I thought Yoo Ah In’s character was really the King.

        I’ve started Chicago Typewriter, but life keeps getting in the way of my kdrama time. I hope to catch-up soon. I’m already paying for Dramafever, but I think I’m going to have to break down and buy a Viki subscription. OR does anyone have any better options?

        • Beez says:

          I pay $4.99 a month for Viki (no ads) and $10.99 once a year to DramaFever.

          My reasoning is that I like Viki’s apps better on all my various devices. DF apps tend to have glitchy issues on my ipad and on my Amazon Fire tv stick where the ffwd and rewind buttons suck (no 10 second or 30 second back option so a missed subtitle means going back and forth trying to get close (but never close enough) to the spot. Frustrating. Viki has both fwd and back 10 seconds on all my many devices.

          With the $10.99 DF subscription, there are ads but they’re minimal.

          Of course there are plenty of sites to stream for free, but most of them have these weird pop ups that try to give you a virus if you accidentally click or hover over the wrong thing on their sites. That’s why I pay Viki and DF but the hold up with Netflix owning the rights to “Man to Man” has forced me chance the free sites. If rather be legal but…

        • Beez says:

          @JT – I meant to comment that I agree that Yoo Ah in was the Fashion King although Shin Se kyung’s character was shown to have more talent.

          I’m not one to be upset by the possessive wrist grabbing in Korean dramas (I like assertive men and recognize this is a cultural thing that doesn’t bother Korean women either as long as it’s the right person doing the grabbing), but this female character –
          wishy-washed whatever any of the males told her to do. Male 1: “Go back inside and stay there.” Male 2: Leave him and come with me. Male 1: I refuse to work with Male 2 because he looked down on me and that’s unforgivable. But you need to put aside your petty little grudge that this woman stole your dead parents money and business and child abused you and work with her.”

          And she literally went back and forth from one scene to the other without any thoughts or reasons of her own other than they said to.

        • I’ve started Chicago Typewriter, but life keeps getting in the way of my kdrama time.
          I keep waiting for someone to hand me a bag of cash 💰, a box of chocolates🍫, a remote and urge me to watch kdramas 📺 all day!

      • Jane Tilly says:

        Hey y’all thank you 🙏 for the viewing suggestions.

        Beez, I agree Shin Se Kyung’s character was talented, but wishy-washy. It drove me crazy that she obeyed to the “flavor of the month” 🍦 and never took charge ⚡ of her life. Yoo Ah In’s character had a massive 🏔 ego. It’s hard to believe he expected the girl to let go of her abusive past but was unwilling to forgive being slighted. That would be hard to take, even from You Ah In. Take your own advice Buddy!

      • Jane Tilly says:

        When you find the provider of 💸, 🍫, and all day 📺KJT, let me know and let’s clone him 👥!

    • Joyce Campos says:

      I must agree. I enjoyed watching RO. The first 3 epis are a little dragging but after that each epi becomes interesting. Love all the characters- they all played an important role in the series and not just for “visuals”. The story is very relatable as it seems I know someone in real life who is kinda like each character. (lol)
      This maybe because I prefer more mature type of dramas and not those teen dramas.

      • The story is very relatable as it seems I know someone in real life who is kinda like each character. (lol)
        I agree. I have or currently work with each of these characters. ☺️ Thanks for the comment!

  5. Beez says:

    JT has the best emoji’s. Do you create them yourself?

    • Jane Tilly says:

      My emojis ✨🌟✨ are courtesy of my Motorola DroidXX and it’s standard software. There is a search feature, which helps a lot. I do not have the awesome butterfly KJT used recently in a Tunnel recap – I was a bit jealous 💚.

  6. Jane Tilly says:

    Let’s see if copy paste works on my cell: 🦋

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

May 2017
« Apr   Jun »

© kjtamusings.wordpress.com, 2014-2019, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to kjtamusings.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: