Dropped: Lovers Of The Red Sky

Well, my friends. It looks like I’m pulling the plug on this one, despite my good intentions.

I sincerely wanted to like this one, which is why I watched 7 episodes of this, while waiting for it to really “get good.”

..But the unfortunate truth is, I don’t think it has, and 7 episodes in, I just can’t seem to muster enough interest or goodwill to keep on watching, unfortunately.

MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS ONE

When I started watching this one, I have to admit that I was pretty taken aback by the fact that Show leans much more heavily into the magic and mysticism than I’d expected. However, I decided that I found Show interesting enough, and our leads likable enough, that I wanted to give this a fair chance.

However, I have to admit that as I’ve progressed through the episodes, I haven’t found Show to be very compelling, and my interest has waned with each successive episode. Oops.

MY PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS

There were two main things that I looked forward to, during my watch of this show:

1. Dreamy OTP scenes

The dreamy OTP scenes tended to be quite ethereal, and made me feel like this romance could be lovely and sublime, if given the chance.

2. Lovely painting scenes

I’m not an artist myself, but when the focus turned to the painting and the amazing work that a talented artist could produce, with just a brush and ink, I found myself quite entranced.

Unfortunately, Show has served up both these things, in rather sparse amounts. Far from enough, for me to find it satisfying, basically.

EVERYTHING ELSE [BROAD-STROKE SPOILERS UP TO EPISODE 7]

There’s.. quite a lot, going on in Show, aside from these two things. Here’s a quick list of just the main things:

1. Magic. A LOT of it, served up with lots of CGI and black smoke. There’re lots of narrative bits up in the air on this one, because where I’ve stopped, Show hasn’t pieced it together for us yet. Therefore, whenever the magic shows up, it’s not just heavy-handed and in-yo-face, it’s mostly rather confusing too, because we don’t quite know what’s going on.

Part of the confusing magic has a lot to do with the OTP’s childhood connection, and that childhood connection is so strong, that it could probably break through steel, if it had to. 😂 This pair has been pining for each other for 19 whole years, powered in part by the magic. This magical connection just makes the OTP connection more complicated and confusing than it needs to be, I feel.

2. Revenge. Our male lead Ha Ram (Ahn Hyo Seop) has an elaborate revenge plan in place, and there’s a bunch of stuff related to that.

3. Treason. Prince Juhyang (Kwak Si Yang) has plans to steal the throne, and there’s a bunch of machinations around that.

4. The love triangle. Prince Yangmyung (Gong Myung) has a strong interest in our female lead Chun Gi (Kim Yoo Jung), and is starting to show it. The thing is, Prince Yangmyung just doesn’t come across as very princely, nor does he feel like serious competition. It feels like Gong Myung got roped into a sageuk-themed fancy dress party, and was only told at the last minute, which is why he kinda still looks rather surprised, heh.

5. Chun Gi’s father’s survival. At this point of the story, Chun Gi doesn’t really have time to romance either Ha Ram or Prince Yangmyung, to be honest, since she’s really worried about her father’s ill health, and is desperately trying to find a cure for him, before he dies.

Also, while we’re talking about Chun Gi, I have to admit that I found Show’s characterization of her a little too broad for my taste, on occasion. This.. didn’t help matters, generally speaking. 😅

SAYING GOODBYE

The thing is, not only does Show keep the OTP dreamy scenes, and the painting scenes relatively sparse, to be brutally honest, it feels like everything else that Show does, isn’t very compelling.

There’s a lot going on, in our story world, but I didn’t find any of it terribly interesting.

Even though Show’s heavy on the magic and everything else I just mentioned, I believed that Show would do best as a dreamy romance, and so I kept waiting for the romance to really get into gear, but 7 episodes in, it feels like too little, too late.

As you know, I’m a fan of adjusting my viewing lens, so I did try to see if Show was really trying to be something else, instead of a dreamy romance, and the thing is, I don’t know if Show knows what it wants to be, at this point. 😅

When I paused episode 7 halfway, out of boredom, so that I could toy with the idea of dropping this one in favor of something else that I might find more engaging to watch, I kinda knew that that was the beginning of the end. Since then, I haven’t been able to convince myself to go back and give episode 8 a try.

..Which is why this is goodbye for me, with this show.

If you love this show, I’m sorry I couldn’t do the same.. Please give Show a little extra love for me?

PATREON UPDATE!

The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Lovers of the Red Sky, is The Bond [China], mostly because a number of you have been raving about it. I’ve taken an initial look, and I really like it so far. In fact, it’s turning into a very personal watch for me; I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes of this.

*The Bond will be covered on the VIP Early Access (US$15) Tier on Patreon*

If you’d like to join me on the journey, you can find my Patreon page here. You can also read more about all the whats, whys, and hows of helping this blog here. Thanks for all of your support, it really means a lot to me. ❤️

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Cheri
Cheri
1 month ago

The thing that made it hard for me to watch was the necessity of re-watching a lot of something I’d already seen in order to get a little bit of new exposition. I’ve seen it in other dramas, although I can’t remember which ones right now, but never to this extent. I had the sense of a writer or director who was trying too hard to make something artful by circling back–I felt like the allusion to painting was intentional, the way you lay in basic shapes or values, then continue to refine–but it doesn’t really seem to work all that well in this case. Maybe a shorter, movie form, and maybe leaning into the serious, emotional aspect more strongly, and it could be something exciting, but this just really tested my patience.

redmistsD
redmists(@redmists)
1 month ago

I was really intrigued with this show before it aired + the teasers were pretty! I thought the best eps were still ep 1-2 haha. I watched til ep 8 til I dropped it completely, the last 4 eps I watched – drama was in the background whilst I did other stuff.

what didn’t work

  1. Nothing made sense lol. Writer (who seems like a newThe bie from what I hear) had several different themes/threads running at the same time. Yet nothing made sense, none of these themes/threads were properly explained (like the whole thing with mawang), there wasn’t much progression each week and things just kept repeating itself without any resolution.
  2. No character arcs/growth. I actually wonder why any of the main 4 took this drama. Plot is a mess, but the character arcs for each were bad as well. Like Kim Yoo Jung’s HCG only existed to simp after Haram and paint. Gong Myung’s character was straight up annoying. And Kwak Siyang’s villian was just a one-note dude that didn’t appear much anyway.
  3. Very little chemistry amongst the cast and between the leads. I wonder if this is also due to the writing. cos I thought AHS and KYJ had some semblance of chemistry in the initial eps, but it disappeared suddenly. BTS – everyone seems awkward with each other, esp AHS who usually has no chemistry with any of his leading ladies anyway.
  4. Really basic dialogue between characters. Dialogue is a tool to let the audience learn more about the characters themselves, to reveal thoughts, motivations etc and to give a sense of the dynamics between characters. But you have characters instead repeating things the audience already knows about and saying the most inane things which didn’t move the plot forward
  5. Acting. None of the main 4 could elevate their acting above the bad writing. All the characters were one note, though I felt that Haram – if given to a different actor – could have been more complex, more nuanced and layered and more emotional. AHS is okay here, but he just had the same usual facial expressions and rarely emoted. PLUS it really bothered me whenever he seemed to know who/what to look at. Isn’t Haram blind as a bat?! Yet he could ride horses, fight with people (whilst looking at them etc). What even. This became blindingly obvious in the later eps. Also, I feel like I’ve not seen KYJ in a good role since MLDWC. Her saguek roles all seem to be the same.

Aesthetics were gorgeous, there was alot of potential, but this is one huge mess. The people who seem to like it on other sites are mostly shippers shipping the leads. It’s little wonder SBS barely promotes this, they probably knew how bad it was before it even aired.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago

i was waiting for it, a woman painter in korea, blind, an art college at that time in this country , – totally up my alley. how can i miss something like this? i really do not care at all about the fantasy parts in general, but the art theme intrigued me. so sorry to hear that the drama is a bummer, but i still must watch it at least a bit.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris,

Have you seen The Painter Of The Wind? It is an older drama, from 2008 I think. Actual paintings from the Joseon period are integral part of the story line.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

very interested, but no, did not seen it. i’ll try to find it, as the topic is of high high interest to me. thanks.

JJ
JJ
10 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Thanks, Snow Flower! I am going to suggest this one over on Patreon since several expressed interest in the Painting in this Show. Too bad this Show completely fell apart when it had so much potential.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
1 month ago

Fangurl – I am still watching and almost done. I long ago threw away any interest in trying to figure out the supernatural aspects of this drama and how they fit into the story. I am just blindly following the process of the artwork/s (the painting of the previous emperor at this point) and what little I am getting from the OTP. I am determined to finish this regardless.

Last edited 1 month ago by phl1rxd
beez
1 month ago

To MUCH dark mysticism for me. I checked out, I think, around midway episode 4

Timescout
1 month ago

I never got past the first two episodes. I felt rather iffy about them so I decided to trust my gut feeling and dropped the show. Looks like my ‘gut’ was right. 😄

Trent
1 month ago

I just finished ep. 14, and I have to say you have probably made the right decision, alas. It felt like there was a bit of a lull there magic-wise for a few episodes, but then it kicked into high gear again in ep. 13, and will no doubt be magic heavy in the last episode or two as well.

I think one of my biggest complaints is that

spoiler for the OTP
the evolution of the OTP is just so undercooked that it really doesn’t make much sense to me. I discount the supposed super-deep connection between the characters from 19 years ago because it’s a paper explanation; it doesn’t carry any particular emotional charge, to me at least. And there’s no real development in the present day to speak of. They have a few desultory encounters…they sit down on the river bank and share a kiss, after which Ha Ram tries to repudiate it and push her away because he’s “dangerous” and being close to him will harm her (shades of “noble idiocy”?)…and then, a couple episodes later, she’s confessing to someone (Prince Frat Boy, I mean, Yangmyeong?) that she loves Ha Ram and he’s her one and only. And I’m like…huh? When did that happen? Did I blink or something? Like I said, way undercooked for my taste.

I’ll go ahead and finish it out next week, but although it’s inoffensive and blandly pretty, overall it’s a disappointment. I expected more…

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent, I agree with you. I am still watching, but I am kicking myself for not dropping the show sooner. I am morbidly curious about what is going to happen in the final week. I kind of expect a Deus Ex Machina type of conclusion. The King’s Affection seems better so far.

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

@Snow Flower Yeah, I don’t think it has tons of upside potential with only two episodes left, but at this point, my completist instincts are completely in control..

So far, I am enjoying The King’s Affection quite a lot; I really liked the first two episodes, even though Park Eun-bin only showed up in the last quarter of the 2nd ep. — I like the young actress who played the FL at the beginning a lot, thought she did a really good job. Ep. 4 maybe got a little more conventional, but hoping it gets back its mojo and stays strong. As we’ve seen, these things can go south after a promising start!

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I may be atypically positive on TKA so far? I dunno, something about how the plot elements were woven together the first couple episodes really drew me in, and then episode 3 seemed very briskly paced, so although it required a broad and accepting lens (aka some suspension of disbelief) for some more unlikely developments or logic lapses, it was still quite fun to be introduced to PEB as the FL dashing quickly through events. And the young-version ML is pretty pedestrian, nothing to write home about, but as I’ve mentioned, I really liked the young FL a lot, and was actually glad to be able to spend a relatively extended time with her. I do hope it develops in a positive direction and doesn’t “go south”…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd(@phl1rxd)
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – I am enjoying it as well. I am really glad Beez turned me on to this,

Vivie
Vivie
1 month ago

Dear , as usual you’ve said what I’ve been thinking. I haven’t watched past episode 5, it just isn’t compelling. At first, I was excited about the whole demon fantasy thing bringing a fresh setup to the inevitable romance but the spark never caught. I got bored too, in short. As there are so many other shows to watch, I’m moving on.

Kdrama One The Woman is an entertaining watch so far. And Cdrama Jun Jiu Ling has me hooked too. Hope to read your review of them in the near future.