Based on its synopsis alone – that this story is about a Queen who does everything she can, to protect her sons – Show could have been boring and dry, revolving around court politics.
In execution, though, Show is vibrant, engaging and absolutely compelling, and the secret to that, I think, is because our story is just so personal.
I love that this is more about a Mama Bear protecting her babies with all her heart, rather than about bearded men standing around and talking and talking about politics. THAT I can get on board with, and get on board, I did.
Our cast is solid, with some excellent stand-outs, but the one who stands out the most, for me, is Kim Hye Soo as our titular Queen. She’s commanding, yet vulnerable and full of heart, at the same time, I couldn’t help but love her, and by extension, her babies too.
A warm, heartfelt little show, Mystic is sometimes a little (or a lot) sillier than I usually like, but is, on the whole, so sincere and full of heart, that I can’t quibble with it too much.
Hwang Jung Eum is quite wonderful as our protagonist Wol Joo, and importantly, displays zero screechy tendencies in this role.
Choi Won Young and Yook Sung Jae round out the little Mystic team really nicely, and these three make a surprisingly endearing trio, as they strive to help their customers resolve their grudges – for heavenly credit, of course.
The overarching backstory is bittersweet and poignant, and Show does a nice job tying it in with our grudges of the day, with an impressive degree of consistency.
Importantly, Show starts strong and manages to end strong as well, making for a solid and satisfying watch, overall.
An excellent ensemble cast made up of skilled industry sunbaes; faceted, detailed deliveries that feel convincing and engaging; a tightly written narrative that delivers some surprising twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Thoughtful directing and execution; an expertly applied OST that can be hauntingly ethereal one minute and then pulsing with tension the next; SKY Castle has it all, and it all comes together in one polished, dysfunctional package.
This drama is a very solid, compelling social satire that manages to make its characters come alive, even as it makes its social commentary.
On the downside, Show suffers from an ending that feels like a tacked-on epilogue written by a different team altogether.
Happily, that’s easily fixed by thinking of the last episode as just that, because Show manages to tell a story in its first 19 episodes that feels reasonably complete even before it presents its finale.
An understated, quiet creature compared to its other prime-time cousins, Twenty Again manages to prove its worth while bucking quite a few drama trends.
Despite having a central romance, Twenty Again’s main focus is consistently about one woman’s journey of discovery – discovery of truth, discovery of self, re-discovery of her self-worth – and everything else, including the romance, fits around that in a satisfyingly organic, uplifting way.
Wonderful performances by our leads bring that journey to life, and make it completely worthwhile.
Far from flashy, but winsome and inspiring in all the best ways.