At its heart, Show wants to be a heartwarming, feel-good sort of story, in a Disney-Hallmark sort of way, but ultimately, it feels that Show was never confident enough, in its own skin, to just do what it most wanted to do.
Instead, Show attempts to spice up its story with feints towards darkness, and even makes an attempt at makjang, in its later stretch. These were not my favorite things, by far.
However, Show’s characters and relationships are just warm enough, that I was persuaded to stick with them until the very end, even when I was most underwhelmed by Show’s uneven tone.
It’s a pity, though, because Show could have been so much better, if it’d just stuck to the heartwarming stuff, because that’s what it does best.
Show really is everything that many of us have come to love in kdrama.
It’s gorgeous to look at, our actors are pretty darn capable all-around, our characters are mostly endearing, there’s amped-up, epic romance to be had between an OTP that shares solid, sparky chemistry, and, well, Hyun Bin is appealing in this, to a rather staggering degree. Flail.
As a bonus, Show possesses a cheeky sense of humor around drama tropes, even as it revels in them. In addition, the glimpse into North Korean life feels fresh and novel as well, and is a major highlight.
On the downside, there’s a bit of drag in the mid-to-late episodes, which is compounded by rather heavy-handed narrative angst, and Show’s long episodes. That can feel a bit or a lot hard-going, depending on your appetite for angst.
Overall, though, Show does a great job bringing the feels, and is well worth the watch.