Show works out to be a solid homage to the xianxia genre, while still managing to be its own thing.
And, as its own thing, Show manages to stick to its internal mythology, while mixing its more dramatic arcs with spots of comedy and levity, and remains interesting and engaging, all through its 20 episodes. That in itself feels like a writing coup, credit to the Hong sisters.
Our cast is generally strong and varied, and I especially enjoyed the performances by Lee Jae Wook and Jung So Min, which I thought worked to ground the emotional beats in particular.
A very enjoyable ride from start to finish, and here’s hoping that Part 2 (review here!) will remain just as good.
Show is a lot of things, and attempts a lot of things (some with more success than others), but one thing I can say for certain, is that Show is bold, and dares to try new things.
When the things that Show try don’t go so well, Show can come across as rather uneven, but when Show is at its best, it is a wild, absurd and completely absorbing ride of the best kind.
Our story world and our characters lean dark, yet this is all served up with strong lashings of screwball comedy. It sounds weird, but when Show makes it work, it’s glorious.
Our cast is very solid, but hands down, the one who shines the brightest, is Song Joong Ki, as our titular antihero. So much matter-of-fact, cool badassery, served up with a side of comedy; I just couldn’t look away.
Sometimes Show got uncomfortably dark for my taste, but Show gets brownie points, for unabashedly daring to be its own thing, for better or for worse.
Dear Kfangurl, Are supporting actors too funny to ever cast as leads?
I keep waiting for my favorites – Park Jin Joo, Kim Seul Gi and my all time favorite, Kim Sung Oh to be part of an OTP or at least a single lead in their own dramas. I’ve seen all of them give snippets of really moving scenes so their acting talent is not in question. What gives?
And phl1rxd writes:
I would love to see an article on your favorite supporting actors|actresses.
There are so many that pop up in our drama world all the time, and while they are not the leads, their work is great none-the-less.
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.