First Impression Review: A Strong Start for GMMTV’s “Never Let Me Go”

Never Let Me Go Thai Drama

Basic first episode spoilers.

Watching the 2022 GMMTV trade launch back in November of last year, I was most intrigued by the trailer for Never Let Me Go. I had stumbled across random clips of its stars Pond and Phuwin in the months before that from their series Fish Upon the Sky. So I was very intrigued by this new series which looked like the complete opposite.

That interest led me to actually watching Fish Upon the Sky earlier this year. And though it definitely didn’t reinvent the wheel, it was a fun and enjoyable series nonetheless. And it actually made me a fan of its lead stars.

So it’s very exciting to finally have this series premiere more than a year later. And the first episode showed the series has a lot of potential.

If Fish Upon the Sky was as fluffy as fluff can get, Never Let Me Go (เพื่อนายแค่หนึ่งเดียว) is much more dramatic with hints of some darker turns possibly later on.

Never Let Me Go centers on Neungdiao (Phuwin Tangsakyuen), the heir of one of the most prestigious families in the country. When the family’s patriarch is murdered, Neungdiao is thrust into the limelight a bit earlier than expected. But with that comes danger as the threat that killed his father could come for him next. Neungdiao’s mother employs same-aged Palm (Pond Naravit Lertratkosum), the son of a loyal family employee, to protect him at home, at school and everywhere in between.

The first episode quickly establishes the soapy dynamics of the family business, where rivalries and politicking abound. But of course at the heart of the series is the relationship between Neungdiao and Palm. And for now, it is an icy relationship with Neungdiao apprehensive of having this stranger following hi around as his bodyguard.

Obviously, coming into the series, we know what direction Neungdiao and Palm’s story is heading toward. It’s a familiar bodyguard romance set-up. And the first episode definitely wasted no time planting the seeds of attraction already. But it wasn’t so much that they hit you over the head with it. Especially as there are also other characters (Chimon Wachirawit Ruangwiwat as Ben and Perth Tanapon Sukumpantanasan as Chopper) who might factor into the romantic angle of Neungdiao and Palm’s story as well. Not to mention potential involvement in the family business side of the series too.

The first episode’s brisk pace implies the series will have a lot of ground to cover. Things won’t be as easy or simple as falling in love and living happily ever after against the world.

Like I mentioned earlier, I was really looking forward to this series because it seemed so different from Pond and Phuwin’s Fish Upon the Sky. This will be the first time I’ll be watching the follow-up series of a BL pairing I actually follow. Granted, the only other BL pairings I ever followed are TayNew (who have only ever played the same characters through all their projects together so far) and PleumChimon (who sadly did not have a follow-up project after their initial series and Our Skyy special).

Pond and Phuwin’s characters here are already so different from their characters in Fish Upon the Sky. And I think both are more than capable of handling this heavier material. It’s not going to be cute fluff like Fish Upon the Sky. This first episode already showed that. And I know the show hasn’t even scratched the surface of the drama they will be diving into through the course of the series.

Though I haven’t watched many other BL pairings, I am certainly no stranger to the loveteam culture of Philippine entertainment. But even so, it is so interesting to me to see a pairing/couple in completely different roles in very different series in such contrasting genres. It’s certainly an opportunity for them to show off their versatility, both on their own and as a team.

And while Fish Upon the Sky had a happy ending, I am already bracing myself for quite the opposite here. And considering the genre, it wouldn’t be a shocking surprise. One can only hope that the journey getting to that potential ending will be worth taking. And having seen Pond and Phuwin in other series apart from each other as well, I think they can more than deliver with the potential material here.

Meanwhile, I’m also looking forward to seeing Perth and Chimon in their first project together ahead of their headlining series Dangerous Romance in 2023. Both are talented actors and I’ve probably watched them the most out of any Thai actors so far across various projects. Chimon especially is long overdue for his own lead role. Like I mentioned, I was (and still am of course) a fan of Pleum and Chimon’s supporting story from My Dear Loser. They were my second ever Thai BL pairing after TayNew. So I’ve always hoped that they would get their own series. Sadly that never happened.

But seeing the trailer and announcement for Dangerous Romance, I was very excited for Chimon. And getting to have a taste of the Perth-Chimon pairing here on Never Let Me Go is just another reason to look forward to this series for me.

Overall, Never Let Me Go had a pretty good start. The first episode’s brisk pace deftly laid down a solid foundation for a potentially exciting and very dramatic story. Whether it’s the potential romance between the main characters or the politics and betrayals of the family business, there’s plenty of elements to drive the twisty nature of the soapy story. A good cast supports the strong direction complete with its polished cinematography and moody atmosphere all to bring together an engaging package that has all it needs to deliver an intriguing time.

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