Set against the Gwangju Uprising of May 1980, our story is primed not to be an easy one, from the outset. However, Show does a fantastic job of bringing its story to life via our characters, their experiences, and their relationships.
I felt invested almost immediately, particularly in our OTP lead characters and their burgeoning connection, thanks to the thoughtful, tight writing, and also, the wonderful performances by Lee Do Hyun and Go Min Si, who are likable, sympathetic and so naturally easy to root for, both separately and together.
Although the OTP was my personal highlight, I also wanted to mention that our entire cast is strong, to the extent that the arcs of some more minor characters managed to be surprisingly affecting, even.
A rollercoaster of emotions that’s not easy by any means, but that’s completely worthwhile.
Thoughtful, understated, and yet so full of accurate teenage feels, At Eighteen is the youth drama that we didn’t know we needed, but which we absolutely deserve.
You don’t even need to generally be into youth dramas to enjoy this one, methinks, because this is arguably the most “grown up” youth drama I’ve seen yet.
There’s no hyperbolic cutesy here; growing pains and teenage euphoria are portrayed in such an organic way that it makes me feel like these writers remember exactly what it’s like to be a teenager growing up, and with amazing attention to detail, to boot.
Show manages to create a world that feels real and raw, while still retaining enough pretty and polish to give it that drama lift. The entire cast does an excellent job, but extra kudos goes to our young actors, for making their characters come to life in such an organic-feeling manner.
As a bonus, the music in this is by turn breezy-heartfelt, tinkly-ethereal and gently poignant; all astutely applied just so, to give the watch experience that extra dimension of immersion.
Have you ever been hearts-in-eyes infatuated with someone – charmed by their good looks, sweet words, and thoughtful chivalry – only to be later disappointed by their glaring flaws, on deeper acquaintance?
Whether it was with a real-life crush or with a celebrity Oppa, I feel like many of us would likely have felt this way at some point in our lives.
That feeling, my friends, is how I felt, watching this drama. For Show’s first half, I was very much smitten, and gobbled up episodes back-to-back, pacing myself only because I sincerely dreaded running out of new episodes.
The bum thing was, Show became a lot less cracky for a good chunk of its second half. On the upside, Show comes back with a reasonably solid finale, so it wasn’t all downhill.
When you think about it, family dramas are pretty expensive in drama hour terms, aren’t they? I mean, they cost the equivalent of at least 3 whole prime-time mini-series’ worth of drama hours, after all.
Which is why, even though I really enjoy a good family drama every once in a while – not the makjang-fests where screaming, scheming, kimchi slaps, birth secrets and trucks of doom are regular everyday features, but the kind of family drama that’s warm, comforting, hopeful and tends to make you feel all toasty-warm inside – I don’t often actually commit to one.
This is one of those rare times where I did commit myself to one, and I’m super pleased to report that Five Children is solidly worth the drama hour spendage.