THE SHORT VERDICT:
Despite my high expectations from all the rave comments online, I was still blown away. And that’s quite a feat, no matter which way you look at it.
The cinematography is gorgeous, the color palette is beautiful, and the writing is tight. The actors do a fantastic job bringing the characters to life. So fantastic, in fact, that Ji Hyun Woo fell for Yoo In Na for real. Which makes watching this drama extra awwww-inspiring coz you know all the lovey-dovey googly eyes he makes at her are for real 😉
It’s lovely, and worth a re-watch, even.
THE LONG VERDICT:
I love that the show is well-written and well-made, and the production values are high. Everything looks polished, slick and expensive. It just helps to transport you into a fantasy world where everything is gorgeous and exists in intense technicolor.
It becomes easy to believe that one can time travel between Joseon times and modern times.
Everything felt confident and assured, from the writing to the directing to the acting. I never felt like the show was draggy, nor did I ever feel like the writers weren’t sure where they were going.
At just 45 minutes an episode, the show manages to pack a lot of substance into that time, and I was mostly left satisfied and not ready for the next episode.
I have to agree with all the other netizens before me, that this show probably has the most amazing kdrama hero ever written.
He’s not a jerk. He’s genuinely nice. And highly intelligent. And dignified. And good at martial arts. And has a sense of humor. And cute. And most of all, he’s smitten with the heroine and looks at her with loving eyes. That was the clincher. *squeeee*
Of course, he did fall for her in real life and they are now officially a couple. But that just adds to the knee-buckling effect of the loving gazes, coz you know that he’s not pretending. So. Sweet.
Look at those googly eyes:
Many netizens said that they were ruined forever by this drama, and that all other kdrama heroes simply paled in comparison to Ji Hyun-woo’s Kim Boong Do. I can see why; he really is an amazing character and Ji Hyun-woo really brought him to life in a captivating way.
The chemistry between our leads crackles in every scene, and their couple moments are so happy, easy-going and cute. And the story of their love is compelling and so deftly executed.
And of course, not forgetting the kisses!
There’s this one:
And here’s one more:
There’re definitely more, but I’ll let you discover the other kisses on your own 😉
The writers manage the balance between modern day and Joseon times very deftly, and often intersplice the scenes between the two eras to good effect, not only in terms of style and polish, but also in terms of telling us the story of both characters in their respective eras. Impressive.
The music was lovely, and used judiciously to add to the atmosphere of the drama. I never felt like the music was intruding on my fantasy world. Rather, the music seemed to add to the fantasy. Perfect.
It is such a lovely drama, and it has a happy ending to boot. I wasn’t even sure we would get a happy ending, but the show pulled it off.
[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT]
A number of viewers didn’t like the phone plot device used to bring him back, but I buy it. It does make sense to me.
It wasn’t the phone per se, but his decision to die that caused her to remember all her memories and then try to call him. His decision to pay the ultimate price was what triggered the chain of events that brought him back to the present.
Instead of a convenient plot device, I actually find that it’s more of a well-thought-out plot development, at least to me.
[END MAJOR SPOILER]
In the end, I love pretty much everything about this drama. And even after I had finished watching it, it stuck with me for quite a while.
But it stuck with me in a different way than Rooftop Prince.This obviously had a more overtly happy ending, and we’re not left guessing in terms of whether the true OTP got their happy ending. That point was rather heavily debated in the drama-verse for Rooftop Prince’s ending.
This drama sticks with me because of Ji Hyun-Woo’s loving gazes for Yoo In Na.
It’s a huge bonus to know that he really did fall for her and that he wasn’t faking the loving gazes. He is smitten for real, and it’s a pleasure to behold.
Such a lovely drama. I will re-visit this for sure. Love.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
I can see myself watching this again, and more than once. Swoon.
I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t love this drama. I’m guessing you probably won’t be the first.
FINAL GRADE: A+