I’m not even exactly sure why, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for high school shows done right. That even extends to tweeny high school shows – again, when they’re done right.
When I started this show, I was in the mood for something light and fun, and a reaper angel coming to earth and learning to navigate high school, humanhood and teenhood, sounded like just the ticket.
THE BETTER STUFF – RELATIVELY SPEAKING
Despite clumsy logic fails and earnest-leaning-to-stiff acting almost all around, this show managed to charm me for at least the first several episodes.
The biggest draw, for me, was Kim Sae Ron, who really is winsome as Seul Bi. She’s got a natural charm that makes her innately likable, and her pixie-like features make her look rather other-worldly, especially with the genie-esque ponytail she sports in the earlier episodes.
Some of Seul Bi’s bemusement at human things was refreshingly amusing too. I giggled at the moment she tried to cycle on a parked bicycle and was completely flummoxed when it didn’t move. Cute!
It was also pretty cute to see Seul Bi getting used to feeelings, not just as a human, but as a human teenager. Talk about emotional overload, going from zero to about a hundred on the feelings scale! 😄
As for her leading men (er, boys?), though, I was a little less charmed.
At first, I felt like male lead Shin Woo Hyun looked like a little thug whenever his character Woo Hyun got even a little bit upset, but even then, he eventually grew on me. Plus, his relationship with his Gran (Jung Jae Soon) was sweet and definitely tugged at my heartstrings.
Lee Sung Yeol’s character (also conveniently named Sung Yeol) reminded me of Park Hae Jin’s character in Bad Guys, except executed with a lot less skill.
While not terribly well-acted nor well-written, the production values of the show were good and the music was also cute.
All in all, the early stretch of this show didn’t quite hit the drama sweet spot for me, but it sorta hit near enough, in a clumsy sort of way, and I felt like it was a reasonably good tween show. Which was enough to keep me going, at least for a little while.
WHEN IT ALL STARTED TO GO DOWNHILL
What I would’ve liked, is for the show to have stayed firmly in light, cute territory, and maybe allow Seul Bi to be an angel with powers who could interact with the kids at school. That would’ve been cool, to see her have her superpowers at her disposal, and have her use them to defend herself against bullies and other teenage tyrants.
Unfortunately, this show chose to go with more staid and adult kdrama tropes, and circled around birth secrets, over and over – and over – again. Which made the entire show feel uninventive, really, except for the supernatural angel bit.
Still, I managed to hang in there quite well, until things got really heavy at around episodes 13 and 14.
Essentially, everything in the show starts to go wrong after Woo Hyun’s Gran dies.
The abrupt introduction of debt collectors, and Woo Hyun’s sudden swerve into sullenness were just the early warning signs of what essentially became a heavy melo for teens, bordering on makjang.
Later on, birth secrets get uncovered, while second lead Sung Yeol gets an apparent lobotomy and a complete and very perplexing change in personality to go with.
Even in the hands of skilled actors, such shoddy writing isn’t going to do a show any favors.
Compound that poor writing with actors who are mostly neither skilled nor experienced, and all the angst, delivered with earnest woodenness, became really, really hard to watch. The more emotional moments couldn’t land with the resonance that they needed, and ended up coming off hollow and mechanical instead.
On top of that, the heavy melo tone just didn’t blend with the tween concept of the show, and together, it all made for a very uneasy combination. With the story being all doom and gloom, it was extra weird that the soundtrack continued with the same cute boppy tunes.
Because of my early affection for the characters, I tried to hang in there. Plus, I was mildly curious about where the story would end.
By the end of episode 14, though, Show had started to actively aggravate me, and I just didn’t have enough Show goodwill to carry on, no matter how much earlier cute had been served up. I ended up dropping out after 14 episodes.
Still, for the record, here’s a little spot of cute:
Aren’t they quite adorbs together, when they’re allowed to be? Too bad there was so little cute by the later stretch of the show.
This was the song that I liked best on the soundtrack, and it was this song that kept me coming back for more even though the show was clearly starting down a slippery slope of no return. That’s some skillz, right? So here’s a taste of that very nice breezy song, just coz.