WHERE TO WATCH
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
When Bae Ta-mi suddenly loses her job as a top director at a web portal company due to an underhanded colleague, she sets out to prove herself again.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The title of this drama isn't something that will exactly draw you to it. Working in the digital space, I was intrigued after reading the synopsis. Let me tell you Search: WWW ended up being the drama I never knew I needed. And that title will make sense in the end.
What I enjoyed right off the bat with this show is that it is women-centred and all the gender stereotypes are flipped, with the men being the secondary background characters. All the women in this show – even the villain – are fierce.
It follows three badass, successful women at the peak of their careers at rival search engines. As they face challenges at work, they also juggle their personal lives and relationships. But their relationships never take the spotlight; it's just another aspect of the full lives they lead.
Bae Ta-mi "Tammy" (Im Soo-jung) is thrown under the bus by her boss and friend after her company Unicon was found manipulating real-time keywords in the search engine during a presidential campaign. Through some smart moves, she manages to shift the blame onto someone else but loses her job in the process. She then gets a job at rival company Barro, where she is the leader of a task force set up to take down Unicon and to become the number one search engine in Korea.
Tammy meets Park Mo-Gun (Jang Ki-yong), who she has a one-night stand with. Ten years her junior, she initially doesn't want to pursue a relationship with him; he wants marriage and kids; she doesn't.
What I liked most about this relationship are the frank conversations they had about their different wants and needs. I also enjoyed the fresh take on the sexual aspects of their relationship. A lot of K-Dramas shy away from this.
Song Ga-keyong (Jeon Hye-jin) is the managing director at Unicon and Tammy's ex-boss and friend. For me, she was the most complicated character to like. She is stuck in a marriage of convenience where she is emotionally abused by her mother-in-law Jang Hee-eun (Ye Soo-Jung), the CEO of a company with strong political ties. She uses Ga-keyong's position as a means to gain political favour.
The cat-and-mouse game between Ga-keyong and Jang Hee-eun provides a lot of the dramatic tension in the show. She has been dealt a bad hand by her parents and her mother-in-law, and her fight to gain her freedom will have you rooting for her.
The relationship between Song Ga-keyong and her husband, Oh Jin-Woo (Ji Seung-Hyun) is bittersweet. With all the baggage that came with it, they never had a chance.
Lastly, there's Cha Hyeon "Scarlett" (Lee Da-Hee). If I had to pick a favourite character, it would be her. She's a fighter, literally kicks butt and has to work with Tammy when she joins Barro. There's a love-hate relationship between her and Tammy as they have different beliefs when it comes to work, and she has been friends with Ga-keyong since high school. What I loved most about this character is that while she is strong, she also has a vulnerable side, which the writers balanced well.
Her love story is the "aww" one. She meets the actor Seol Ji-Hwan (Lee Jae-Wook), the lead character of her favourite drama, by chance, and they cautiously start a relationship. Compared to the other intense relationships in the show, this was a joy to watch.
I have to mention the drama within the drama; it is hilarious – I was as invested in it as the main show.
There is also a secondary plot involving the ethics around the "freedom" of the Internet and protecting users' privacy and data, which is very relevant.
When it comes to the acting, the three lead characters have great chemistry. I enjoyed this take on female friendship. It can be messy and complicated at times but they never stopped supporting each other, even when they were at odds.
What resonated with me most about this drama is the daily grind, the wins and the losses we have when building our careers and lives. There is a poignant scene between Tammy and Scarlett when she muses about life: one day you fail, and then the next day you have a huge accomplishment, and then something happens that frustrates you, but it all fades away when you do something that makes you happy, and it's all just part of living.
Search: WWW is one of those shows that is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. If you're into strong female characters and an engaging story, this is a must-see.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: