Thanks to the internet, watching TV no longer means sitting in front of a television set at a specific time. The iPlayer, Catch-up TV and torrenting now mean you can watch what you want when you want, as long as you know where to look. But Running Man is only direct download, and my internet connection is pretty useless between 5 o’clock and 10 (in fact, I’m writing this at 5.34pm and a download has just failed). This means I always end up watching this show at around midnight.
But instead of resenting this, I’m almost glad that I have to watch it at night. It seems to add to the show. Running Man is all about mock thrills, film references and silly physical games. When it gets it right, it’s a real roller coaster of excitement, and even when it gets it wrong, it’s still pretty funny.
In episode 52 – perhaps the best since episode 7 – the show’s regulars are hunted down one at a time by the guest, Choi Min Soo. This episode is structured almost like a horror movie: it starts humorous and enjoyable before the cast are picked off one by one. Choi Min Soo really enjoys his role and plays his part to the full.
And the series as a whole is one of the highlights of my week. When it becomes available, all other downloading and internet activity stops, since I hope that’ll help it download quicker. The seven regulars are all comfortable in their roles and they work together really well. Sometimes, you can tell that a certain bit is staged to take advantage of the location, or to make the game more exciting, but that’s fine.
After 50+ episodes, Running Man is still a great big dollop of fun, and I’m amazed that this format hasn’t been bought by a UK channel. On the other hand, I’m glad it hasn’t since I doubt a British version could match this for its mix of excitement and comedy.