Review: Sungkyunkwan Scandal

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Light, frothy, fizzy fun, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is perfect for viewers who are new to sageuk and feel intimidated by period / historical settings. Dressed in Joseon robes but possessing a fresh, modern, rom-com sort of feel, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is easy to love, even for the sageuk noob.

Helped by a breezy, ear-wormy OST and a pretty great cast, SKKS manages to pack a lot of fun – and heart! – into a zippy, peppy package.

Plus, everything – and everyone – is just so darn prettyyy.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal OST – Too Love

THE LONG VERDICT:

I will always, always have a soft spot for Sungkyunkwan Scandal. It is literally one of my all-time favorite kdramas.

This show was my gateway into sageuks, and I couldn’t have asked for a better or easier way to acclimatize myself to sageuks, to be honest.

As a fusion sageuk, SKKS manages to create a drama world that looks like Joseon, but possesses a sensibility that feels modern, breezy and cute enough to make even the most die-hard rom-com fangirl feel right at home.

Because SKKS has a girl-dressing-as-a-boy at its center, it’s easy to call it a kinda-sorta Coffee Prince, Joseon Edition. Honestly, though, SKKS is completely its own unique beast, and is a wonderfully cracky, fizzy, spring-summery sort of watch.

YES, THERE ARE FLAWS

…But Song Joong Ki’s not one of ’em!

There is no perfect kdrama, although some are closer to achieving perfection than others, which means that SKKS has its share of flaws.

For the record, here are some of the less-than-ideal bits of this show:

1. The acting from some of the cast is a little flat.

Offenders include our female lead Park Min Young herself, whose acting was certainly of the one-note variety. However, to me, her saving grace was her winsome smile, which I found endearing and quite charming. Plus, she managed to come across as earnest and likable, which counts for quite a lot in my books.

Another offender in this category, is Jun Tae Soo, as resident antagonist Head Scholar Ha In Soo. The expression he wore most often was a fierce glower, so much so that I began to think of that as his resting face.

Thankfully, Jun Tae Soo’s glowering didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the show too much. 😉

2. Pacing slumps a little, from time to time.

The show is mostly a fabulously fun and breezy watch, and gets seriously addictive in stretches.

I have to admit, though, that there were a couple of (short-ish) stretches, in the mid to later episodes, where the pacing dipped noticeably. When this happened, though, it generally didn’t last long, but it was noticeable, and did add a bit of drag to an otherwise jaunty pace.

3. The ending is a touch weak.

Without being spoilery, let me just say that the ending could’ve been stronger and better. There were a couple of things in the final episode that I found overly neat, &/or rushed, &/or unexplained.

At the same time, I understand the constraints within which the writers were trying to stay, and how those would’ve likely influenced where the writers chose to end our story.

Don’t panic, though! It’s a happy ending. And for that, I am grateful. 🙂

BUT! THERE’S SO MUCH TO LOVE!

General Stuff

I love the entire atmosphere of the show, which feels youthful, modern, and energetic, and I really love the breezy OST as well. The music really is a strength in this show. It reflects and evokes moods so well. It’s full of breezy, happy, thumping tracks that evoke such a youthful cheeriness, that you just know that nothing terrible is going to happen in a world backed with peppy, poppy music like this.

The sly little touches peppered through the show, of Joseon takes on modern gadgetry, also amused me greatly.

Despite its peppy vibe, the show manages to inject pathos into various narrative beats, and allows that pathos to hit home, while still managing to maintain an overall tone of lightness and fun. This delicate balance is not an easy feat at all, and SKKS does it admirably. Kudos to writer-nim!

Characters and Relationships

My favorite, favorite things about this show, though, are our main characters and their relationships. Boys Over Flowers had their F4, but to me, this Joseon 4 wins, hands-down.

Here’s a quick shout-out to some of my personal picks, for best of this show’s best.

1. Park Yoo Chun as Lee Seon Joon

Some viewers have categorized Yoo Chun’s performance in SKKS as “wooden” and I beg to disagree.

Lee Seon Joon the character is a big ol’ square, and is as upright as they come; I felt that Yoo Chun’s delivery was true to that, which is why he comes across as a little wooden.

Cast a slightly more careful, discerning eye on his performance, however, and you’d find that Yoo Chun imbues Seon Joon with a great deal of heart-tugging nuance. Despite the stiff outer surface, Yoo Chun manages to give us insight into Seon Joon’s inner emotions, and I appreciated that a lot. He plays Seon Jun straight, mostly, but it’s the little flashes of cheeky; the gaze in his eyes; the suppressed smile. Those are the little details that make him so endearing, and make Seon Joon come alive as a character.

Plus, just look at the little melty smile in the screenshot above, with that slight sheen of tears in his eyes. How could I not love him, right?

Here are a couple more shots of Yoo Chun, being in turn, fierce, gentle, impassioned, and tender-hearted as Lee Seon Joon. Just, lovely.

2. Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin / Geol Oh

I confess that the first time I watched SKKS, I was so mesmerized and distracted by Yoo Ah In as Geol Oh that I found it kinda hard to focus on anything else. That’s how wonderful, and amazing, and well, hawt he is, in the role.

On a shallow note, Yoo Ah In rocks the goatee, the mane of glory, and the smirky sensuous swagger, so, so well. Every time he appeared on my screen, my eyes glazed over a little, from his charismatic screen presence and general brand of laid-back badassery. Swoon.

At the same time, Yoo Ah In genuinely delivers in the role. Beyond the inevitable heartache as our second lead, Moon Jae Shin is an angsty, conflicted character, and Yoo Ah In portrays that inner struggle with an emotional weightiness that I found very compelling indeed.

Also, can I just say, I found Geol Oh’s hiccups super cute, and very, very adorable. Squee!

Because I loved Geol Oh so much, here’s a bit of a screenshot spasm for your gazing pleasure. Well, ok, fine. For my gazing pleasure too.

Have I mentioned that my eyes have a deep appreciation for Yoo Ah In? 😉

Uuunnngghh.

Swoon. Spazz. Puddle.

3. Song Joong Ki as Gu Yong Ha / Yeo Rim

I hafta say, Song Joong Ki is simply fantastic as the flighty, flirty Gu Yong Ha. I don’t even know if anyone else would’ve been able to bring Gu Yong Ha to such teasingly coquettish life.

Every twirl of his hanbok and every subtly naughty curl of his lip was a delight to watch, and his antics on my screen caused me to giggle out loud on many occasions. Yeo Rim’s playful curiosity, often complete with his trademark flirty wink, was one of the most awesome things about this show.

At the same time, Yong Ha as a character is far from being just a vain playboy. Beneath the awesome twirling and winking, Yong Ha has his own angst and inner struggles as well, and Song Joong Ki kills it all. I was blown away by Yong Ha’s deeply emotional scenes; Song Joong Ki delivered with such deep-reaching, reverberant passion that he clean blew me away.

Despite his serious moments, though, in trademark Gu Yong Ha fashion, he always looks like the naughty curl of his smirking lip is never far away.

Impassioned, with eyes blazing fury, or reveling in his trademark twirl, Song Joong Ki as Gu Yong Ha is pure joy to watch. Just, so, so awesome!

As a marvelous bonus, Song Joong Ki gets to have some of the most memorably cheeky expressions on the show. Take a lookie!

A.dor.able.

4. Relationship between our OTP

The Pure Connection

Despite my huge soft spot for second lead Geol Oh, I found Yoon Hee and Seon Joon as our OTP very lovely to watch indeed.

I love how we get to witness their budding friendship, as they continually defend each other, and challenge each other, while each forcing the other to become a better person; to conquer new boundaries. Before the romance ever came onto the horizon, these two connected as people, and it’s endearing, uplifting stuff indeed.

Kudos to writer-nim as well, for building the conversations between our OTP on such a contemplative, meaningful and pure foundation. Many times during the show, I swooned not only because of Yoo Chun’s delivery of the subtle melty gazes, but also because of the poetry and purity of the conversation.

[SPOILER ALERT]

One example of the truth and strength that gets imparted between these two, is this exchange in episode 7, before Yoon Hee goes up for the final shot.

Uncertainly, Yoon Hee asks Seon Joon, “First place. Do you think I can get it? You are not one to pay lip service.”

Impassively, Seon Jun answers,  “No. Your shoulder that supports the bow is still small, your arm that pulls the bow string is still weak, and your breathing is unstable. So don’t overstretch yourself to come in first.”

Yoon Hee’s face falls and her shoulders slump, but after a brief pause, Seon Jun continues, “But… at least this hand… I love it. While training for this day, you’ve lived better than the best. Even if you get disqualified or lose, In my eyes, Kim Yoon Shik, YOU! You’re already a champion. Daemul. Go on and show them the skills of a champion.”

Seon Jun smiles his encouragement, while Yoon Hee beams, and I melt.

What an earnest and sincere and completely pure moment. Love. It.

[END SPOILER]

The Romance

Once the show started hinting at romance between our OTP, I have to confess that, even during my second watch, these two had me swooning to the floor.

The close proximity and skinship, and more than that, the way Seon Joon looks at Yoon Hee, with such gentle, tender eyes. It’s just so, so melty.

Of course, with Yoon Hee spending much of the show in disguise as a guy, the budding romance also gave rise to lots of hilarity.

Here, I’d like to highlight my favorite examples of each.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Hilarious Crossed Signals

In episode 10, we get lots of laughs when Seon Joon’s completely discombobulated from having seen Yoon Hee (whom he still thinks of as a man) dressed as a girl.

Yoo Chun plays it so, so well – he inflects his usual stony demeanour with so many details that give away his confusion: his shifting gaze, nervous swallows, mild stuttering, trembling fingers, fidgeting, and uneven breathing.

So well done, and so very amusing, heart-melting, and completely lovely to watch!

Not long afterwards, the moment when Seon Jun requests Yoon Hee never to appear in front of him in women’s clothing again is extra hysterical coz he’s all confused inside, and is all like, No. I must not see him as a woman! I must not be drawn to his lips!.

At the same time, it’s sad for Yoon Hee, who’s all like, Oh no. Oh no oh no. He’s disgusted at how I look as a woman. He will never be able to see me as a woman. Tear.

It’s kinda sad coz he’s unknowingly telling her not to be a woman to him, or to be herself. But honestly, the multiple crossed wires are hysterical and absolutely golden.

Melty Romance

Honestly, there are so many melty moments between this OTP, and it’s largely due to the way Seon Joon keeps looking at Yoon Hee with so much gentle tenderness. It just makes me swoon.

If I had to pick a favorite scene – and to keep this review to a reasonable length, that’s exactly what I’m forcing myself to do – it’d have to be the kiss scene in the elevator!! Eeeee!!

In episode 17, after various failed attempts at kissing Yoon Hee, Seon Joon finally successfully makes his move.

Seon Jun, taking out the ring that he’d bought for her, “Did you say it would all end once we leave Sungkyunkwan? There’s no such thing as the end. Because I’ll… just start over again and again every day.” Swoon.

And then he gently and deliberately unties her gat and then his own. And he does an adorable quick nervous swallow and looks at her with such incredible tenderness as he slowly leans in to finally kiss her.

Eeeee!!! The feels!!!

The moment is so tender, so gentle, so deliberate. There’s nothing wild or impetuous about this; his heart is full and he is intent on kissing her; and her heart is full and she is ready to receive his kiss. There is nothing hurried about the moment or the kiss. You can feel him taking his time to let the moment sink in as he savors it.

So. Good.

Plus, the undoing of the gats.. it’s so sexy. It feels like he’s undressing her, even though all he’s doing is taking off her hat. Spazz.

And after the kiss, the way he so very gently takes her hand in his, as he gently smiles and gazes into her eyes. Melt. Meltmeltmelt~

[END SPOILER]

5. Bromance between Geol Oh and Yong Ha

Since the friendship between Geol Oh and Yong Ha is arguably the bromance that started the whole bromantic trend in dramaland, a review of SKKS simply would not be complete without at least a shout-out to these two awesome friends.

From the outset, the show doesn’t give us a lot of history nor context to their friendship, but even from the early episodes, we get many in-yo-face, almost-skinship moments between them. It’s tantalizing, and just borders on scandalizing. After all, these two didn’t win couple of the year for nuthin’. 😉

Without being too spoilery, let’s just say that Yong Ha’s forthright, intense care for a gruff, taciturn Geol Oh was awesome to watch, in all of its forms. And despite more being left unsaid than said between them, the deep care, understanding and love that these two shared gave me the heart tingles.

As a little tribute to these two’s awesome bromance, here’re just a couple of great Geol Oh-Yong Ha screenshots.

Adorbs, I say.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Besides the individual growth arcs, the OTP romance and the bromance, I also really enjoyed seeing how close our Joseon 4 became as a group, over the course of the show.

Eventually, I came away pretty satisfied with the ending, in that the futures depicted for each of our beloved Joseon 4 felt true to each of their personalities.

At the same time, and as I mentioned in the beginning of this review, there were definitely things that I wished could’ve been treated just a little differently. That would’ve made the ending much more satisfying to me.

Still, SKKS is so charming and engaging in so many other ways, that I just can’t bring myself to hold a grudge, y’know?

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Flawed, sure. But so cracky and addictive that you’ll forgive the show, and then probably come back for seconds.

FINAL GRADE: A

TRAILER:

For those who haven’t watched the show, here’s a trailer that will give you a glimpse of the The Pretty:

MVs:

Here’s one of my favorite breezy tracks from the OST. I find the manhwa iterations of our characters very amusing too.

A sweetly poignant track, for gazing at the beauty of Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin:

Plus, here’s a fantastic tribute to flirty Yong Ha and his knock-you-over wink:

BTS:

For a bit of BTS goodness, here’s a Star Date clip from part-way through the show:

And then another Star Date clip at the end of the show:

78 thoughts on “Review: Sungkyunkwan Scandal

  1. merij1

    Dual bottom line:

    A. We enjoyed this one tremendously
    B. Despite being struck once again by the laziness to which K-drama writers so often succumb

    If I had to summarize this show’s vibe by comparison to something else, I’d go with Harry Potter.

    In both we follow a cadre of talented young people bonding over the thrill of entering a very special school for comparably talented youth. Despite being mere freshman, the male and female lead enter school with instant stature conferred by good-guy adults, thereby attracting the resentment of a young villain whose father is the primary bad-guy in the outside world.

    With a mix of decency, intelligence, pluck and an endearing talent for winning the support of others, our young heroes consistently beat the bad guys despite all their vile tricks and traps. This ebb and flow evolves from innocent first-year student hijinks to a deadly serious proxy war in which good- and bad-guy adults come to rely on their respective representatives at the school to solve a serious political problem they can’t resolve on their own.

    The main difference is that SkkS also features K-romance, complicated by the Coffee Prince trope: “I love this man (who I don’t realize is actually a woman) so apparently I’m gay – yuck — yet this OTP is so strong it threatens to transcend my disgust with all-things-queer.”

    Did all this work? It certainly did for me and my wife.

    (first of several posts)

    Reply
    1. merij1

      As for the casting:

      Park Min Young as the FL, Kim Yun-sook/hee, AKA “Dae-mul.” We liked her, even though the acting was indeed a two-trick pony, alternating between frozen wide-eyed shock and an endearing smile.

      Much more annoying was how her character was written as such a dumb cluck, despite being book smart. Over and over, she babbles secrets — seriously big ones that should have gotten her or her friends killed — amongst other students or strangers or in rooms where a person might easily be hidden just out of site, never once even bothering to look over her shoulder before speaking. (Speaking of lazy writing, in other shows this idiocy often happens in a public rest room, with the clueless heroine sharing highly embarrassing comments with herself, out loud, without considering that someone else could easily be in one of the other stalls. Sheesh.)

      That said, Park Min Young was reliably endearing and we had no trouble imagining all these other people choosing to support her.

      Park Yoo Chun as the ML, Lee Seon Joon AKA “Ga-rang.” We thought this part was perfectly cast. In other shows where the ML is written as wooden/emotionally shutdown,we’ve often been frustrated by the limited range of the actor, who never evolves beyond a blank stare into the distance for every situation. Whereas in SkkS, Park Yoo Chun convey many subtle aspects of this stiff, book-idealistic character who slowly grows to be tortured by the complexities of real life humanity. The plotline that the success of this charisma-challenged stick-in-the-mud would come to be supported by far more interesting characters felt very solid to us.

      His complex and quickly evolving relationship with his powerful father was especially well-handled, no?

      I was very sad to read this actor’s career failed to recover from scandal. (Btw, what the heck with that? So many actors charged with felonies. I take it this was a thing for a while, the South Korean morality police cracking down on celebrity drug use?)

      Yoo Ah In as secondary ML, Mun Jae-sin AKA “Geol-o.” As some of you know we didn’t like him in Secret Love Affair – despite loving the show — and hated him in the film, Burning. So it was a pleasant surprise to like him so much in SkkS. Great character, very well conveyed.

      Song Joong Ki as the mischevious Gu Yong Ha AKA “Yeo-ri.” So I guess he’s a huge Hallyu star, but he was new to us. Talk about charisma, his was off the charts. We enjoyed his evolution from a detached Loki-type joker to someone who cares enough to put his own skin in the game. (And yeah, we’ll probably watch Descendants of the Sun next.)

      Without going into detail, the adults were also so well cast. The king, Lee Seon Joon’s father, the Defense minister, the two good-guy professors. Other than the defense minister, we’d seen all these actors in other shows, but these were their best performances we’ve seen thus far.

      The defense minister’s sweet but boring daughter and the elegant lead courtesan were also excellent.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Yoo Ah In as secondary ML, Mun Jae-sin AKA “Geol-o.” As some of you know we didn’t like him in Secret Love Affair – despite loving the show — and hated him in the film, Burning. So it was a pleasant surprise to like him so much in SkkS. Great character, very well conveyed.

        Song Joong Ki as the mischevious Gu Yong Ha AKA “Yeo-ri.” So I guess he’s a huge Hallyu star, but he was new to us. Talk about charisma, his was off the charts. We enjoyed his evolution from a detached Loki-type joker to someone who cares enough to put his own skin in the game. (And yeah, we’ll probably watch Descendants of the Sun next.)

        Without going into detail, the adults were also so well cast. The king, Lee Seon Joon’s father, the Defense minister, the two good-guy professors. Other than the defense minister, we’d seen all these actors in other shows, but these were their best performances thus far.

        Reply
        1. beez

          @merij1 – Park Min Young – When I first watched this, being relatively new to the world of Kdrama, I was fairly disgusted with her casting as she’s so tiny and delicate that I felt there was no way anybody would mistake her for a dude! Now, when I rewatch it, I don’t bat an eye and can’t see what my problem was back then. 😆

          Park Yoochan – While I’m not into Kpop so I never follow these stories too closely, his scandal started with false accusations of rape in a restaurant bathroom which were eventually proven false because his concert touring schedule proved he wasn’t even in the same country as the accuser on the date of the alleged rape. But it took so long for the vindication – because in S.Korea the slightest scandal, especially back then, ruined careers. I believe (but, of course, could be wrong) that his drug use started with stress while he had fled back to the U.S. away from the hatred in S. Korea. And you know how bad drugs are here. Our celebrities treat cocaine like Coca Cola.

          Yoo Ah in – you liked him in SKKS because he wanted you to like him. In Burning, he’s portrayed as a loser who I’m not sure we’re supposed to like necessarily. But the extremes is exactly why he’s on my bias list. Despite not meeting my minimum 6-pack requirements, the man is THE actor of his generation. (I count Jang Hyuk as a generation before him).

          Song Joon ki – as you said “charisma” for days. And aigoo. (Do men have aigoo?)
          Trust me, you won’t regret watching Descendants of the Sun. I suggest watching his movie A Werewolf Boy first. (It’s not a horror film. It’s got a bit of whimsy.) It will give you a sense of how most of us realized that Song Joong ki was more than a flower boy pretty face and waited anxiously for his return from the military. He made the movie then entered the military and upon discharge, immediately made Descendants of the Sun.

          Reply
    2. merij1

      As for the lazy writing tendency in K-drama:

      I don’t know. What’s really up with that? I get that some of it comes from the pressure to write quickly while a show is already airing. But don’t these writers aspire to more? Don’t they dream of great plots and/or read or watch classics for ideas beyond the 20-30 tired K-drama character tropes and the 30-40 tired plot twists they fall back on, over and over, to keep the initial dramatic tension from being resolved too early in a show’s run?

      Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to spend one’s idle time each year coming up with something new? Couldn’t they allow the initial source of tension to resolve organically, then introduce new ones that are just as intriguing?

      Instead, we are forced to watch characters whom we learn to love and admire act like total fools for 10-15 straight hours, lest they see things that are totally obvious to the rest us too soon and thereby resolve whatever tension the writers led the show with in Episode 1.

      Cue overused tricks to delay resolution as long as possible:

      The Noble Idiocy trope – well described elsewhere, so I won’t belabor it

      What I call the “Don’t Share Information!!!!” trope, wherein characters consistently fail to share simple intel that would empower their teammates or romantic partner to perceive things clearly and act accordingly

      The “Only I Can Do This” trope, which is sometimes a hybrid of #1 and 2 and other times a more ego-centric notion that they alone are qualified to take on some monumental task

      Inexplicable failures to anticipate one’s enemy — apparent denial of the certainty that villains will respond to their recent defeat with some new nefarious scheme, resulting in absolutely zero time or mind power from the good guys being directed at anticipating what that scheme might be.

      In SkkS, that last one was especially egregious. Over and over, the bad guys spy on the good guys and steal clues that give them a leg up. Yet the good guys continue to say ridiculously stupid things in front of others and/or leave crucial clues lying in plain sight for their enemies to find.

      You get the impression the good guys think they live in some bubble where the bad guys cease to exist the moment their latest scheme is defeated. Whereas the villains think of nothing else but their enemy and how to destroy them.

      Reply
    3. merij1

      The ending, logic gaps and such:

      We thought the last three episodes were great. Episode 18 (out of 20) in particular. I’d rank that episode with the best I’ve seen in any show. And that’s coming from someone who tends to be highly judgmental about how well these shows manage their endings.

      The notion that our FL could go back to pretending to be a male scholar — and eventually a professor — at the school was utterly ridiculous, obviously. But who cares? It was fun.

      On the other hand, the king’s rage when he learned she was a woman felt very realistic. Up till then he had been portrayed as this saintly man of infinite wisdom. So his inability to transcend the misogyny of his era was actually refreshing. And even then, he ultimately made the right choice, delaying the fulfillment of his own dream to save her life.

      Ditto for what we learn about Sun-joon’s powerful father – his actual role in the murders ten years prior and his nuanced thinking about those events and the relative importance of higher political goals vs. family goals. And the way he came to respect the FL was also gratifying – to the point where once he learned she was a women, he begged her never to leave his son’s side. And those tense scenes between him and his son were excruciatingly real. Two proud man, suddenly at odds.

      Ditto for our FL’s epiphany about her dad covertly teaching her to read and risking his life to help create a world in which someone like her could flourish.

      The epilogue:

      We loved that scene on the rooftop where Geol-o runs down his successor antifa-ninja, only to chastise the hurried-quality of her prose. Ha!

      Misc thoughts:

      I wished we’d seen more of the courtesan’s storyline. That was definitely a missed opportunity. But oh well.

      The OST was a bit lame for our taste. Also the times it blatantly stole famous nursery rhymes or Christmas carol melodies. But at least it wasn’t distractingly bad.

      Reply
      1. Georgia Peach

        Well, there you go. Thank you for liking SkkS in spite of its flaws and it was flawed in many places. And thank you for being sympathetic towards Park Yuchun. His is a tragic story. But I have come to the conclusion the flaws are…in part… one of the reasons I enjoy Kdrama. American TV and movies are so realistic that they don’t give you any ‘escape’ from real life. Kdrama on the other hand seems to go more for an emotional reaction from the viewer. Example: Medical dramas. In the Kdrama it’s all about the patient and the effect that patient has on the family or friends or colleagues. American drama works to hard…for me… on the correctness of the medical apparatuses connected to said patient or the medical procedures to keep them alive. If you have/had a loved one in the hospital Kdrama gives you the opportunity to cry/grieve for your own loved one. Same seems to go for crime dramas. How could the Korean police let so many criminals slip through their fingers…well, writernim WANTS them to get away so the plot can thicken and rest of the episodes can continue. They almost look inept by American standards, but the police are secondary to the hero or heroines progression in the drama. Hope I’ve explained it well enough. It’s like Fangirl says…adjust your viewing lens!
        I do recommend Descendants Of The Sun…flaws and all. And An Innocent Man…also flaws and all for a good Song Joon Ki watch. Arthdal Chronicles…not so much ( he was divorcing his wife during filming), but if ya’ll get into him… watch it. Battleship Island is a movie and a good watch with SJK and So Ji Sub. Not so true to history, but what? Its a movie!
        I listen to Kim Junsu and Kim JaeJoong’s songs from this drama a lot and love the melodies. Christmas and nursey rhymes ??? Am I too much into fangirling over my people I traveled to Seoul to see and hear sing?

        Reply
        1. merij1

          To clarify, the sampling of melodies was not in the songs (the ones with lyrics) but the instrumental background music. I’ll try to find an example.

          Reply
  2. Bosuji

    :-I

    I dropped the show around Episode 6 ..

    I was getting antsy around Episode 2 .. by episode 3 I could hear the bells tolling .. I reached Episode 6 on the strength of the story .. so hilarious and well knit .. so promising of troubles to come that would require sorting through .. characters to mend and shape ..

    WHY did I drop it ..
    I couldn’t accept that the “stick in the mud” Lee Seon Joon character was being groomed by the script to be the main lead in the OTP ..

    – which in itself would have been fine BUT I found Park Yoo Chun to be such a ‘robot face’ actor .. there was nothing “sexy” oozing out of his body and face .. and me who LOVES and falls in love with nerds like that (snap of fingers), it wasn’t about the stick in the mud either.

    ( Try rethink that role with Hyun Bin 10 years ago, acting chop and looks – he does (did in CLOY) ‘stick in the mud’ while oozing oomph with just his eyes; and an expression in restraint of face and body.)

    Lee Seon Joon as character was absolutely believable .. strait-laced .. by the book .. idealistic .. humourless (aigoo) accomplished and all that .. the role was well drawn BUT as I watched I could see that he was being shaped to be the Main Lead in the romantic OTP – and his act didn’t hold for me .. It was becoming clear that show (and actor) was not going to whip up any chemistry with Yoon Hee even if they. were whisked in a power blender 😦

    ESPECIALLY BECAUSE show gave us a glimpse of Jae Shin AND Yong Ha .. Damn Yong Ha!!! You killed the show for me ..
    YESSS, ESPECIALLY a character like Yong Ha (as played by the phenomenally talented Song Joon Ki – my first show with Joon Ki).
    He grabbed my attention as Yong Ha (Yeorim) right at the loading of the first scene and he stole my heart with that smile and wink… I was already primed to follow him (like ducklings hatching and following the first thing that catches their eye)

    The insightful, impish character who’s also obviously a brainiac given that he’s sunbae at the scholar school who sees thorough things, is smart and street wise .. delightfully witty and quite capable of fencing with words and wit with our feisty actress playing Yoon Hee.
    I recalled Ta Hwan from Empress Ki .. the peculiar .. funny, silly crown prince you fell in love with, rooted for and looked forward to as his character arc blazed over so many flavours, of the improbable becoming the probable OTP till show ending.

    IMO SSKK with a triangle created with the bromancing pair of Jae Shin and Yong Ha & Yoon Hee would have been far more explosive ..
    The nerd boy Lee Seon Joon could have been the foil for those two .. someone Yoon looks at with respect and more of a “older brother” father figure sort because he could dial in ‘gravity’ and responsibility and righteousness for all the encouragement, help, and faith in herself he gave her ..
    Thus making Yoon Hee not fall for him – he’s so deadpan, unexciting, and un-sexy .. he could be the second or third lead a poignant unrequited love angle. .. since Jae Shin could round up as a strong second lead .. “Not husband material” – too gangsta and non-academic .. cant hold against Yoon Hee’s intellect ..

    How and why does Yong Ha get magnetised by him at all .. He’s boring ..

    EMPRESS SPOILER:

    the way Wang Goo was boring in Empress Ki. The strong brainy perfect male to fall for is such a yawn inducing trope .. YUP he’s more up Hye Hyo Eun’s alley .. She should have got him ..
    —————————-

    Out of spoiler zone

    To confirm my suspicion I did the dreadful stab in the back of the show .. checked online to see who she ends up with .. BOOM I dropped and jumped off ..( I am always the one of those people who claps her palms over her ears when people discuss a show / film that I am planning to watch.)
    16 hours is a long investment .. I decided to choose sleep over staying awake .. and those hours will be put into a different basket.

    And as USUAL .. I am heartbroken and sad ..that I got off such an attractive train because it was set on a route that didn’t hold excitement or joy for me. This oh so promising show failed to amp it up .

    Ive been having this issue now with a few of the dramas, a second lead syndrome .. the second leads that are far more off beat, unexpected and so superbly acted that they outshine the main lead actor.

    – Cheese in my Trap’s In Ho comes to mind .. played by Seo Kang Joon
    – Heir’s Kim Woo Bin – wanted him to get something .. although Lee Minh Ho’s seduction was strong enough to balance some of that power act from Woo Bin
    – K2’s Choi Yoon over Anna as Je Ha’s romance story

    When Shows did explore and build on off beat, non-ideal characters as the main love line they came out way more engrossing and challenging eg. FULLHOUSE and What Happened in Bali.

    ;-p

    Sorry needed to vent a bit (at length whining you may call it) .. even though it’s to someone who loved it enough to watch it twice
    xxx

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, that’s too bad that this didn’t work for you, Bosuji! I did love this one a lot, but I was also able to accept Seon Joon as our male lead. 😉 I did very much love Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In in this, so I think it’s a bit of a pity that you missed all their great scenes. But it’s perfectly fair that this show just didn’t float your boat. 🙂

      As for second lead syndrome, I feel your pain! I guess we can’t always have the pairing that we think works best.. Thankfully there are so many dramas to choose from, that we will literally never run out! 😅

      Reply
    2. beez

      Full House? Offbeat? I guess, Rain was hella goofy but his character was a big movie star (or something). Did you really mean Full House or maybe it’s sequel (which I didn’t see)? Then again, I barely remember much of Full House.

      As to SSK – Yoo chun was definitely stiff. I think that’s his debut role. I too would’ve preferred any of the boyz but him to be half of the OTP for this role.

      Reply
    3. merij1

      second lead syndrome .. the second leads that are far more off beat, unexpected and so superbly acted that they outshine the main lead actor.

      [such as] K2’s Choi Yoon over Anna as Je Ha’s romance story

      I couldn’t agree more on your The K-2 example.

      However, I thought the primary romantic pairing in SkkS was perfect. True, Lee Seon Joon was the least charismatic of the potential leads, but the personal evolution he had to achieve was nonetheless deep and interesting in its own way. And, temperamentally, I thought he was truly the best match for Kim Yun-sook/hee.

      That said, I would never question another person’s choice to drop a show that, for whatever reason, doesn’t ring their bell. Also, fwi, SkkS was 20 hours long, not 16. So I’d say you made the right choice . . . for you!

      Reply
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  4. Anya

    Spot on! Couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve written- kudos and thank you for writing your thoughts!

    Reply
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  6. S

    We all love a good kdrama but better yet an insightful review. I love the way you review dramas. And also basing my ‘what to watch’ list on them.😉
    A well worded review is a great relief. Thank you.😘

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thank you S, that’s very kind of you to say! <3 Thanks for enjoying the reviews, and I'm glad that they're coming in handy for your drama planning purposes! 😉

      Reply
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  10. Snow Flower

    One of the first kdramas I watched, and still a favorite. Historical dramas are my favorite, but many are usually very tragic. Lighthearted historical dramas done right are so rare. This one is a true gem. Another one I also enjoyed is Tamra the Island.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Yes, lighthearted historicals are very rare, and ones done well, even rarer! SKKS is that unicorn of a drama, so lighthearted, yet so full of feels, and so accessible too. This was my introduction to historicals, purely because I felt like it was more accessible than the average historical. I haven’t seen Tamra the Island.. it’s on my very long list! Oh, if you haven’t seen Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, you might enjoy that one! 🙂

      Reply
  11. Cris

    Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki are the reasons I have to watch and rewatch this drama. I noticed the camera man’s love for Ah In In particularly as he gets the most marvellous oh so close close ups I would wish I could touch Ah In’s nose and lips! He is just adorable and I am so mesmerised by this awesome actor. Too bad PMY is so one dimensional here all I notice is her wide-forever-moving eyes. Is that all the acting she knows?

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki are absolutely excellent reasons to watch this show. <3 Love them both. As for PMY, yes, she does come across as rather flat in this drama. I thought she was fantastic in Healer though (which is also an amazing show, imo). If you haven't yet watched Healer, I highly recommend it! 🙂

      Reply
  12. whiterainbowblog

    Thank you for another great review!! I almost dropped this one, but I read your review again and was convinced to resume it. And I’m glad I did! The initial episodes bored me a little bit, since the leads were mostly cold and distant to each other; it also didn’t help that I find the side characters boring and exhausting (Ha In Soo is THE most boring villain I’ve ever watched!). However, I genuinely enjoyed it once the quartet warmed up to each other. The OTP mostly didn’t work for me though, as I was among those afflicted with the 2nd lead syndrome for this one!! I find Geol Oh’s affectionate ways so heartfelt and charismatic, compared to the more stoic Seo Joon. Yoo Chun’s delivery of Seo Joon isn’t lacking though, it’s just the character itself that didn’t quite capture my heart.

    Despite the hit-or-miss swoony moments, I find Yong Ha’s presence eternally captivating!! I find myself looking forward to his appearance consistently throughout the show. He really lightens up the show for me, cuz sometimes I find the OTP’s Confucius talk way too serious and preachy for comfort. It feels like Show is trying too hard to teach me something, and I didn’t like it. Anyway, thanks to the quartet’s dynamic, and especially the bromance, I was able to enjoy lots about SKKS!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m glad this review helped you to enjoy SKKS, whiterainbow! 🙂 I don’t blame you for being on Team Geol Oh – I was ALL about Crazy Horse on my first watch too. It was only on my second watch that I came around to the OTP appeal. And OMIGOSH, Yong Ha! Song Joong Ki is just delightful in this, I couldn’t imagine anyone else as Yong Ha 😍😍😍 I’m glad you didn’t drop this one, in the end! 🙂

      Reply
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  14. Super_gee

    One of the few historical dramas that I love. Yoo Ah In definitely stole the show with his great acting. And who can ignore the bromance between Geol Oh and Yong Ha?

    Reply
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  17. viv

    I liked your review and thank you for the youtube videos behind the scenes. I must say, I shipped Yeorim and Geol Oh… 😀

    Reply
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  19. phl1rxd

    As always, an excellent review!

    I know I am late to this party and I hope I do not offend anyone, but I lost interest in the OTP about 3 episodes in and became absolutely mesmerized by the relationship between Geol Oh and Yong Ha. Seriously, one of the best KDrama scenes is the one where Song Joon Ki cries at the danger that faces YAI. It was so moving and was brilliantly! acted by SJK. Throughout the episodes I kept waiting to see what he would do next to save the day and I somehow trusted that he would.

    On a side note, it is my personal opinion that the writer/s were making a statement behind the bromance. This may be because Song Joon Ki was so, so very good in this role. I dropped DOTS (not because of him) and I have seen him in a few other dramas but he really dominated this drama for me. He stole the show.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ah, I’m glad you enjoyed SKKS, phl!!! And yes, Song Joong Ki is SUCH a scene and show stealer in this!! So wonderfully flirty, and yet, carrying so much substance at the same time. I loved his bromance with YAI as well. It’s little surprise that they won the Best Couple award during awards season that year!

      As for the OTP.. I watched this show twice, and the first time, I wasn’t much taken with Yoo Chun’s delivery, and found Park Min Young serviceable at best. I was – kinda like you – more taken with Geol Oh and Yong Ha. But, on my second watch, I was surprised to find myself enjoying all 4 of them very well. I’m not quite sure why, really. But, I consider it a very positive trajectory indeed, that I found more to love in the show on my second watch! Maybe someday you might have a similar experience, who knows? 😉

      Reply
  20. twinky27

    The ending was kind of lacking, maybe because i liked all 19 episodes so much, i had way too high expectations? I dont know, like, what happened to their professor? To her family? That other annoying professor calls her Yoo Shik, so… What? Weren’t the schoolars at the end looking at her as a woman? Wtf? She kept on disguising as a man? She totally stole her brother’s name for life? No one ever guessed she got married? Wtf xD What about the king? Did they end up moving the capital? What about the president? Did he get the girl in the end? So many questions…
    Anyways, besides that, my final thoughts would be… I loved Yeorim. He’s such a funny yet complete character, not just one of those that make jokes all day (well, kind of, haha) and are dumb af. He’s smart, good looking, interesting, like i said before, funny, and i absolutely love when he walks while swirling around. I have to say, i’m glad he didn’t fall for Yoon Hee… It would’ve been predictable, after all that “all women are the same” speech… (Although, without finding him a girl now it’s a bit off) And seeing the 2nd (or 3rd in this case) male leads i like, being rejected and hurting breaks my heart everytime. So, yay! He’s still free! (/^▽^)/
    Geol Oh.. Uh.. Well, i obviously loved him too, but even if i wanted him to end up with Yoon Hee, they were such close friends and he always thought of HER first instead of “them”… It would’ve been awkward. That last Geol Oh scene though, what were those clothes?! HAHAHAHA
    Lastly.. Seon Joon… Uhmm.. Well, sorry, but i didn’t like him at all. It’s about him being stiff as a stick until the very end. He didn’t change his facil expression unless it was strictly necessary… And i get it, believe me, i get that’s how the character’s supposed to be… But still, that kiss on the library? He stood there with a face that said “everything’s okay”.. I didn’t get the “shocked” feeling. Although i have to admit.. That last scene… It was so weird yet so freakin’ funny, with Yoon Hee smiling half embarrased/half happy and he still had his poker face on haha… (The book, too.. Don’t forget to thank Yeorim, for God’s sake xDDD)
    Anyway! I feel like i laughed waaaaay more than i should have throughout this dorama. Loved it! Wish it had a different ending, but until then, the story, actors, everything was perfect. Can’t complain! 8/10 ヽ(*≧ω≦)ノ

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Yes, the ending did have quite a few holes in it.. It didn’t make logical sense to me either. But it was so warm and feel-good that I couldn’t hold a grudge. I agree that Yeorim was better off not being written to like Yoon Hee – after all, Yeorim’s major relationship in the show was always Geol Oh. Those two deserved that Couple Award that they won! 😆

      As for the last Geol Oh scene.. it’s been a while since my rewatch. Are we talking about the scene where he’s chasing someone? If memory serves, those clothes were police/magistrate type clothes. I thought it was a nice turn of events, that Geol Oh was using his skills on the right side of the law in the end. 🙂

      Reply
    2. merij1

      @ twinky27, in case you ever come back to read replies, here are two answers:

      Like the king, the professor portrayed by Ahn Nae-sang is an historical figure, Jeong Yakyong AKA Jung Yak-Yong AKA “Dasa.” He lived another 46 years — to the age of 74 — following the events in this show. He is considered one of the primary thinkers of the late Joseon era, known in particular for his openness to Western thinking as an adjunct to Confucianism.

      The king lived another nine years and was indeed successful in moving the capital to the town where his Crown Prince father was buried, which turns out to be the modern city of Seoul.

      Upon the king’s death, the professor had to flee for his life but continued to write as many as 500 volumes of prose and poetry in exile or partial exile.

      Reply
  21. neve

    This was my gateway drama to YAI. I just finished rewatching it, swooning way too many times whenever Geol Oh is onscreen, and swooning twice as much when both Geol Oh and Yeorim are onscreen 😍 😍 These two in the same frame is just pure visual treat! I never know where to look, so much hotness! I hope there will be another drama where these two and their cute bromance take center stage again. Better still, as adults in a modern day setting. I’d like to see if the magic is repeatable 😉

    I agree that PYM is rather one-dimensional here. She did the goldfish eyes a lot, and the pretty crying… That’s everything in her acting range. I supposed she learned a lot between 2010 and 2014, because she truly redeemed herself in Healer. She also seems to have better chemistry with JCW IMHO.

    SKKS is one in my Do Not Delete folder. Still so much fun the second time around, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to rewatch it again and again.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh yes, SKKS is definitely one of those rewatch-worthy, do-not-delete dramas! 😄 I wrote this review after my second watch, and I loved my second watch as much as my first watch, if not more. I can totally see myself reaching for this one again sometime. Especially since YAI and SJK are so wonderfully swoony in this. 😍 I’d love to see them reunite onscreen sometime. I won’t even mind if it’s in another sageuk – coz YAI does rock the mane of glory SO well in SKKS! 😁 Agreed that PMY grew a lot between this and Healer; that’s probably also partly why she seems to have better chemistry with JCW. 😊

      Reply
      1. San

        Can i reply to this, kfangurl? 😉 yes, i agree that skks should be one of kdrama that you must not delete from your kdrama collection!! After all this year, you will have an urge to come back to this drama for the sake of nostalgia, maybe? And for me, i love this drama enough until i crazily searching for the original novel, and some great fellow of skks fans kindly translate the novel from korean to english and put it on internet. I love it enough and then two year later the novel available in my country!! One local publisher decide to translate it from korean to my country’s language. Even after two years, i still excited to get the copy. Oh god, now i miss them 😀

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Wow, that’s so cool that SKKS fans actually translated the novel into English! That’s a labor of love indeed, and I’m sure fans everywhere are very grateful! As a serious SKKS fan, you should totally get the novel! 😄 This is one of those dramas that I classify as comfort food – always a lovely pick-me-up, whenever you feel a bit slumpy or tired. And who could ever get tired of Yeo Rim and Geol Oh, right? 😍😍

          Reply
      2. neve

        A reviewer said Love in the Moonlight/Moonlight Drawn by Clouds has the same feel as SKKS. I want to watch it but it’s only available on Premium Viu 🙁

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Sorry this reply is late neve.. Have you managed to check out Moonlight Drawn By Clouds yet? I looked on Viu, and it didn’t appear that it was restricted to premium users – at least, when I looked today. 🙂

          Reply
          1. neve

            Yes! Dramalove to the rescue! It’s also available free on Viu 72 hours after premium member access, and with better resolution compared to Dramalove. But nothing beats PBG and KYJ in full HD 😍😍

            Reply
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  23. San

    I watch skks while it airing in korea so it test my patient to know the next episode, i even read the review on dramabeans, knowing that i need around one week to wait for subtitle. It sure take my life revolve around skks at that time. Lol. I’m big fans of yoochun start from his dbsk era so this drama excite me a lot. And i dont dissappointed, instead i feel happy i got the chance to come to saeguk era, which i avoid a lot because of the stigma that saeguk are boring. Well, skks become a new gate to any saeguk drama i watch after: Jumong, hong gil dong, princess’s man etc. And skks become the first drama i found about song joong ki. Well, with the craziness of DOTS now, i often wondering, where is anyone all this time, when we who know him long before DOTS that he is one fine good actor and not to forget that he is cute handsome smart guy? Hahaha, forget about this rant, he sure got his fame explode now and i am happy for him. Back to skks, now i feel the urge to rewatch this drama again, after the dissappoint of watching rooftop prince a while ago. I dont know, i just dont like the story, but i guess i still need some dose of yoochun to overcome this feeling, no? 😃

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      SKKS was my gateway into sageuks too! Such a fun watch; I loved it just as much on my rewatch – maybe even a little more, even! 😉

      The ending of Rooftop Prince upset a fair number of viewers, I think, coz it was so open-ended. But I leapt through multiple mental hoops in order to make the ending work for me, so I’m ok with the show overall. In terms of Yoochun’s projects, though, I do have a soft spot for SKKS, since Yoochun is so endearingly sweet in this. I definitely think you’d enjoy your rewatch! 🙂

      Reply
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  26. Lora

    I just started watching SKKS and I’m finding it a bit hard to get into, and a bit slow (for the first two episodes). Is it just me? Did you love it right from the beginning? I’m going to keep on with it for a while though. I remember not really liking the first two episodes of the classic drama Hotelier very much, and I almost dropped it, but after the first two episodes it became one of my all time favorites! So maybe that will be the case for me here. I hope so, because I love Park Yoo Chun!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Lora! I enjoyed SKKS from the start, and only grew to enjoy it more with each episode. Hopefully, this means that you’ll warm up to it nicely even though you’re not feeling the first 2 eps. And I LOVED Yoo Chun in this, so if you enjoy him, I’d say, keep going! 🙂

      Reply
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  28. cecile lumer

    After reading this review I revisited SKKS. I agree that Yoo Ah In (whom I think is an incredible actor) was his usual sensitive self.. And, I loved Song Joong Ki as well as, the relationship between the two which moved me. No wonder they won an award for the best same sex couple. I did not appreciate our main actress. Her smile was sweet, but that is not enough to make an actress. Still I enjoyed revisiting this and thank you for your review.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed your revisit of SKKS, cecile! I loved all 3 boys in the show, they all did excellently, I thought. Park Min Young’s acting was the weak link, but I’m glad that it didn’t dampen the drama experience too much. I’m impressed with how much better she seems to have gotten, with Healer! I loved SKKS even more on my revisit, and I wouldn’t mind revisiting it again sometime for a 3rd serving of fluffy warm feels! ^^

      Reply
  29. Timescout

    Ah, SKKS… I have SUCH fond memories of watching it while it aired. All that spazzing and discussing @ Thundie’s Prattle and LJ. So much fun! 🙂 I was even moved enough to make a boatload of icons again, ha. It really is such a pretty drama. I guess it’ll always hold it’s own special place in my heart, also for many of the reasons you stated here. On hidsight, it’s perhaps not as great a drama as it felt back then and the ending especially was sort of fanservicy and lacked real oomph but I can live with all that and still think it was 20 hours well spent. And I’ve got a director’s cut DVD box to prove it. XD

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I can only imagine the live-spazzing in the community, SKKS is SUCH an adorable drama!! I loved it on my first watch, and I think I loved it even more, on my second watch! I rewatched it end 2013, and it felt just as fresh as other currently airing dramas – in some cases, even fresher 😉 So I always think of this as an evergreen sort of drama.. Always fresh and summery, always fun and cracky, and able to hold its own against newer dramaland offerings. The ending was a little weak, but I completely agree that it was 20 hours (or in my case, 40 hours!) very well spend indeed!! ^^

      Reply
  30. Saema

    Hi kfangurl!
    Coincidentally, I have been rewatching Sungyunkwan Scandal because I needed something cute to watch after Healer ended and this seemed perfect. ( Also, Chae young shin!!) I’m seven episodes in. I’ll come back to finish reading your review after I’m done with the last episode. 😀 But I cheated and read half of it. Your review looks great and I looooove the screen shots. Also, the points mentioned are right on target. The bromance ❤❤ and that fluttery feeling in my chest when the ost plays ❤❤❤ Also I loved Yong ha. A perfect character. I remember searching for more characters like Yong ha played by Song joong ki. Couldn’t find any 🙁 And then I watched nice guy which was just too sad.
    It feels slightly weird, your review and so many of us re watching this series at the same time 😀
    dramapenchant is watching it too!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Wow, I had no idea so many people were watching/rewatching SKKS!! 😀 It must be a post-Healer effect, at least in part. I rewatched this ages ago, at the end of 2013, but finally got in the right headspace to write the review, coz I got my friend Jo watching it post-Healer, and her live squees brought back all my SKKS memories, and I just had to give it the review I’ve always wanted to give it!

      And yes, isn’t Song Joong Ki just PERFECT as Yong Ha? I just can’t imagine another actor in the role, now that I’ve seen him in it. So awesomely flirty and bromantic, and also, intense, when the occasion called for it. LOVE. <3 I don't think he's done another role similar to Yong Ha, to be honest. I watched Nice Guy too, and that was.. REALLY different. So I'm really glad you're enjoying SKKS, and I'd love to hear how you found it all, when you're done! ^^

      Reply
  31. n394

    Wow, is this fate or coincidence, because I’m right in the middle of watching this drama in between catching the other on-air dramas. Currently at ep 10 now. I love seeing Song Joong Ki character on screen and I’m drooling over Yoo Ah In too! But the plot was getting a wee bit draggy so this review came quite timely! At least now I know if this drama is worth burning another 10 hours of my life on, lol. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Wow, what perfect timing!! 😀 Indeed, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In take SKKS to a whole other level of awesome, they are both so excellent in their roles!! And yes, plot-wise, it does drag a little in spots, but I found that the drag usually wouldn’t last long, and the amount of time we spend with our Joseon 4 often made up for it too. I watched this one twice, and loved it even more on the 2nd watch, in spite of its flaws – I hope you’ll find the final 10 hours of the show worth your while too!! ^^

      Reply
  32. Michele

    “Plus, the undoing of the gats.. it’s so sexy. It feels like he’s undressing her, even though all he’s doing is taking off her hat. Spazz.”

    The “Spazz” at the end of that sentence elicited yet another audible squee….but this was SO TRUE. It was intimate and sensual and he did it all while never losing eye contact which was even more spazz-inducing. I just LOVED him in this.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Tee hee. I love how this show – and this review too – can still bring out the audible squees, despite our watch being over a year ago! Thank you for being so patient with this one!

      And, YES. That elevator scene. OMG. I spazz just thinking about it, it’s so swoony, and intimate, and slowly, deliberately sensual. It’s Be-careful-you-might-combust levels of feels! And you’re so right, that unwavering eye contact was dead sexy too. Uumph. Yoo Chun was very excellent in this indeed. <3 <3 <3

      Reply
  33. snow

    I loved this show…one of my all time favorites….except the ending, I loved everything about it — the OTP, the bromance, acting, music….I think all 4 leads did a fantastic job…♥
    Coincidentally I was rewatching some of its scenes a few days back!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Oh, fancy that! What great timing, that you were rewatching some SKKS scenes recently!! Must be the season for some SKKS love! 😉 And for good reason too – I love so many things about the show, just like you! The ending was a little weak, but I still found it acceptable. Mostly, I give it a pass coz of the many other things that the show did right! ^^

      Reply
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