‘Long Time No See’: The spy themed K-drama to keep your adrenaline up
Have you ever thought to yourself: why are there no action-packed spy dramas featuring a queer storyline between the two males leads? Apparently Strongberry studios, a small LGBT production company, had the same thought, decided to supply a demand, and delivered it hot & fresh.
The drama in question is Long Time No See, a mini-web series with only five episodes and a run time of fifteen minutes each. It might seem like a meager offering but each episode is crammed with romance, action, and intrigue and we savor every moment of it. This love story between two opposing hitmen may be one of the best queer Korean dramas we’ve seen so far.
Long Time No See introduces its two protagonists as “Flying Dagger” and “Wild Dog”. Flying Dagger (Tak Woo-seok) is otherwise known as Chisoo, a renowned private hitman, adopted by the leader of an underground network known as “Black Rose”. Wild Dog (Yeon Seung-ho), or Gi Tae, is a hired assassin employed by a rival group opposed to Black Rose (Kim Myung-hwan).
While incognito, Flying Dagger and Wild Dog meet and fall in love. They are eventually thrown together as rival hitmen and are forced to reveal their secret identities. Each continues to love the other despite their situation and the forces that try to break them apart.
Realistic queer relationship
Many times in BL dramas we see intense relationships that are quite frankly, unhealthy & disturbing. Too often there is an unbalanced power dynamic between two men that puts the consensual part of the relationship in a dark gray area.
In Long Time No See that power dynamic doesn’t even enter into the equation. Chisoo and Gi Tae fall in love because of their shared ideals. They grow together, make mistakes, and forgive. There is passion, there is romance, but also a deeper connection of care & compassion that makes their relationship more than just sex.
Strongberry is a small studio so there are no grand fight scenes but like the rest of this series, the action hones in on small, impactful moments rather than large spectacles. Nevertheless, we are caught on the edge of our seats as the action progresses, unsure of the outcome, and deeply invested in the characters.
The story also doesn’t romanticize the life of a hitman or connections to the mob. It brings the consequences of living a life of crime into stark reality, making each encounter with Flying Dagger and Wild Dog more weighted & intense.
From the very first moment Chisoo & Gi Tae lay eyes on each other, we recognize that they have an unspoken connection. Their romance blossoms quickly and within their next meeting we know that they’re in love. They have tender scenes together, brimming with deep-felt emotion and passionate kisses (which, let’s be honest we anticipate the most in any BL drama).
Chisoo & Gi Tae both have elements of light & dark in their characters, providing depth to their interactions and building a dynamic that allows them both to lean on each other as equals. Their relationship is deeply caring and the sweet scenes shared between them are a small oasis in the otherwise dark subject matter of the series.
Small production studio
It’s exciting to see original projects done by small companies, particularly stories with the quality of Long Time No See. The drama is a no frills production, stripped down to bare essentials, but that’s arguably what makes it more impactful at its core.
To watch Long Time No See we recommend you find it on Vimeo. It’s $10 to watch but the money goes straight to Strongberry productions — also it’s worth every penny.