*Mild spoilers up to episode 2.
First the bad, then the good, and then some rambling thoughts about Lee Min Ho and Ryu Duk Hwan.
Ok, I like this show…but even I can tell there are some problems they need to iron out. Faith could use a better fight choreographer. Some of it is great (the luminescent portion of the 1st inn fight) but some of it is kind of dodgy (second half of the 1st inn fight). There also needs to be some brushing up on the set/prop/costume design side. The main characters are generally ok but the side character outfits and weapons sometimes look really fake.
That said, I still enjoy this show. I’m used to campy set design, costuming, CGI, and fight scenes. I’m a Whovian, a Whedonite, and a Trekkie all rolled into one. Camp-as-Hell is my forte. I can get over it if I like the characters and/or story and I like both here.
First, I like the magic. I like that so many people have it. I like that there are a myriad of abilities. I like that it’s designed so that it doesn’t make them all powerful but rather enhances certain innate abilities.
Then, I like historical politics a lot. Like…a lot a lot. Thus I’m really enjoying the late Goryeo period political drama just starting to unfold here. Only 2 eps in and there’s some fun political intrigue and international/intercultural tension that I find fascinating.
The basic story is what I call a King Making story. That means there either isn’t a king or the king is not the best king and the story follows turning him into one. I love stories like that especially when the ones who turn the king into a good one are the men and women under him. Yes, there’s time travel and magic and whatnot but at the core the story is about Eun Soo, Choi Young, King Gongmin, and Princess No Guk trying to build an independent Goryeo kingdom right in the midst of the fall of the Yuan Dynasty and the rise of the Ming Dynasty of Chinese history.
If you’re not watching this, you should be watching this. The review above is right on the nose for my experience of the show thus far. If you like k-dramas, you will enjoy this. If you think k-dramas could stand to be little less rigid about the formula, you will enjoy this. If you like chemistry and buildup between multiple pairings and fantasy and history, you will like this. Oh and if you just love Lee Min Ho, you are probably not reading this at all and are watching it right now…