Nostalgic, fresh, and so full of feels, Twenty-Five, Twenty-One is the show that I didn’t know I needed, in my life.
The writing is thoughtful and tender, and combined with great casting and excellent delivery, our characters pop with so much life and heart, their relationships feel so raw and real, and their journeys feel so familiar and relatable, that I couldn’t get enough of it all.
To top it all off, the music is pitch perfect and excellently applied, making the already great feels land with extra oomph and amplification.
Some lens adjustments are necessary (and so important!) – which I’ll talk more about shortly.
Because I’d enjoyed Mystic Pop-up Bar very well, I was immediately intrigued when I saw that Dramaland was bringing us this little mini series. I mean, from the premise alone, this one sounds kinda-sorta similar, right?
The reality is, this one doesn’t quite vibe like Mystic Pop-up Bar, after all. Instead, it feels like a slightly more vengeful cousin – but who ultimately still wants to have a good heart.
This little show feels different from most other web dramas, because it manages to feel interesting and original, and quite meaty, despite its short running time.
On top of that, it manages to feel breezy and fun, making for a fun ride where I consistently wanted to go back for more.
As a bonus, we even get lots of cheeky little nods to Goblin, which is clearly an inspiration for writer-nim (Kim Eun Sook – who penned Goblin – is this show’s Executive Producer, just for a bit of context).
Altogether, Show feels like it’s at least several notches above the average web drama. The bright, rich Spring palette, polished shiny finish, and pleasant OST complete this very pleasant little package.
The overall effect of all this, is that I felt like I was watching a full-fledged drama – just with all the filler sliced out.
My last foray into a fantasy kdrama dealing with angels and devils didn’t go too well (I’m looking at you, Angel’s Last Mission, cough), so when I heard some rumblings of dissatisfaction on the grapevine about how this show about selling one’s soul to the devil seemed a little all over the place, I was ready to give this one a blind pass without actually taking the time to check it out.
Thank goodness for blog regular Putri, who convinced me to give this show a try, after she’d watched it and really liked it herself.
Once I actually got going with this show, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging I found it, and now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I’m happy to report that Show even manages its mythology reasonably well.
Since one of my pet peeves with fantasy dramas is that the mythology isn’t clearly presented, &/or crumbles on itself by the end of the story, I count this a pretty big plus in Show’s favor.
The mythology presented isn’t perfect, sure, but it retains its structure enough, and is true enough to itself, that I found myself reasonably satisfied on this point.
Which then also helped me enjoy the rest of the story more, too. Plus! I even found myself jiving with Show’s humor, uh, most of the time. Win, win, and win.
Thank you, dear Putri, because I hafta say, I’m glad I didn’t end up missing out on this one.