Based on the eponymous webtoon by Kang Full, Moving is an engrossing fantasy-action K-drama on Disney+, set in a world where superpowered humans exist, hidden among the populace. Instead of becoming public superheroes, most of them are bred and trained by various government agencies around the world as black ops operatives. The series follows the struggles of a handful of retired agents after they settled down to live normal lives in Seoul, and their unsuspecting teenage children who’ve inherited their parents’ special abilities.
This first season in particular focuses on three kids in the same high school who must hide their powers from the outside world for the sake of their survival. There’s Kim Bong-seok (Lee Jung-ha), a sweet and awkward boy with enhanced senses, which he got from his mom, and no control over his ability to fly, which he acquired from his late dad. He’s raised by the loving but overprotective Lee Mi-hyun (Han Hyo-joo), who overfeeds him to keep him heavy, and forces him to walk around with weights, so that he won’t accidentally float into the sky in public.
Next, we have transfer student Jang Hui-soo (Go Youn-jung), an athletic and kind girl able to instantly heal from any injury. She’s raised by her similarly powered single father Jang Joo-won (Ryu Seung-ryong), a hardworking man who’s barely scraping by. Finally, there’s class president Lee Gang-hoon (Kim Do-hoon), an upright but tightly wound boy with incredible strength and speed. Naturally, all three have trouble keeping their abilities in check, especially when facing physical and emotional challenges in school.
If Moving has one superpower, it‘s definitely Kang Full and director Park In-jae’s ability to craft fully fleshed-out and vividly resonant characters. This series does a fantastic job of slowly parsing out everyone’s motivations, backstories, personalities and traumas. Each main character feels real and relatable in different ways. The major fault of most family dramas is that the narrative tends to side with either the parents or the children, with the former seeming old-fashioned and unreasonable or latter seeming petulant and naive.
However, Moving‘s dynamics are carefully balanced, presenting believably valid reasons for why the adults and kids behave the way they do. Case in point – as Mi-hyun’s gruelling past is revealed, we understand why her helicopter parenting and insistence on keeping Bong-seok oblivious to the dangers facing them is necessary. Correspondingly, viewers also see how the increasingly repressed Bong-seok will eventually rebel and desire autonomy.
Go Youn Jung in ‘Moving’. Credit: Disney+
From Bong-seok and Hui-soo’s adorable developing romance, to their relationships with their worried and anxious single parents, the show’s phenomenal interpersonal beats are the key to getting the audience invested. Oftentimes, Moving’s more mundane aspects are so absorbing that one can forget that this series takes place in a heightened fantasy world. That’s where Frank (Ryoo Seung-bum) comes in, a C.I.A. assassin sent to eliminate South Korea’s super-people.
Despite its considerable strengths, the show’s kryptonite is how immensely uninteresting the series’ larger stakes are. The shadowy authority figures working to kill or control our protagonists are atrociously derivative – a thinly-sketched caricature featuring bad acting and cartoonish villains in suits. Besides the scary yet sympathetic Frank, the show’s antagonists are a chore. Perhaps these poorly executed sub-plots are so startling because they stand in such stark contrast to its exceptionally grounded storytelling, emotional complexity and exciting action.
Obviously, high schoolers with superpowers is as shopworn as a premise can get, but Moving overcomes the genre’s tired tropes by consistently living up to its title. Whatever deficiencies it may have, this K-drama more than makes up for with its ample heart.
Moving is available to stream exclusively on Disney+