Lovers of the Red Sky (2021)

Drama: Lovers of the Red Sky (홍천기)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 30 – October 26, 2021
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

This fantasy sageuk is about King Seongjo looking for a divine painter to seal the Devil in the king’s portrait while a blind scholar plots revenge on the king and everyone who ruined his family 20 years ago.

Main Cast
Kim Yoo Jung – Hong Cheon Gi
Ahn Hyo Seop – Ha Ram
Gong Myung – Prince Yang Myeong
Kwak Si Yang – Prince Joo Hyang

I didn’t realize when I started watching that this is a fantasy drama but episodes 1 and 2 were interesting and I loved the actors who played the younger versions of Haram and Cheon Gi, the background story was enough to get invested in the couple.

I loved the paintings, it was so amazing that simple brushes can make these fantastic masterpieces. I did take big brush and small brush calligraphy when I was in school so I know how to feels like to write using these brushes. It is hard and my penmanship was bad so I can’t imagine having to actually draw these kinds of paintings. The best episodes were the painting competition, although it was still unbelievable that a young inexperienced painter can win against everyone else when her butterfly painting was not even that great to be honest.

I loved the Baekyu Painters Society and how they always had Cheongi’s back, esp her two painter friends. And the friendship between Haram, Prince Yang Myeong and Cheon Gi.

The story got messy and a lot of things were unexplained. More than halfway and I still didn’t get the reason for the ring, or why they need to seal the devil inside the painting (because the drama said so), how Cheon Gi is the divine painter (when it turns out without Hwacha’s power her painting was useless so what was the point?), why Joohyang was still alive when his body is supposedly rotting away, the king knew all about Haram’s plan and never told him the truth (rendering his whole life’s revenge plot unnecessary). And the whole nonsense about Haram’s grandfather. And what about Maehyang and her mysterious hatred against the royal family? It was never revealed. The whole showdown with the devil, Samsin and Ho Ryeong was also anti-climactic. Even the death of Haram’s bodyguard wasn’t that memorable.

The ending kind of redeemed the entire story since they get their happy ever after, but still don’t understand why they decided to live in an area so faraway from the city. The last scene between the two princes, at first I though the story is incomplete, now thinking back I guess they are trying to say that life goes on.

Haram was also blind for 20 years but he is extraordinarily aware of his surroundings that he doesn’t look blind at all! He looks straight at the person he is talking to, he fights against the soldiers when blind, he can interpret the stars without seeing them. It was too weird.

Rating: 7/10 (i should give a lower rating but the four leads were so pretty)

Alice (2020)

Drama: Alice (앨리스)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 28 – October 24, 2020
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00-23:10

Park Sun Young is a time traveller from 2050 who decided to stay in the past to give birth to her child. Years later, she was mysteriously killed and the child (Jin Gyeom) eventually grew up to be a cop. Fast forward to 2020, Jin Gyeom continues to search for clues on the night of his mother’s murder and meets a professor who looks just like his mom. Together, they try to solve his mother’s murder and fight against the time travellers who wants to stop them.

Main Cast
Kim Hee Sun – Park Sun Young / Yoon Tae Yi
Joo Won – Jin Gyeom
Kwak Si Yang – Min Hyuk

Warning: The last 30 minutes ruined the entire show for me 😭

The first half was so interesting and intriguing. I loved the twists at every last scene. But story got so confusing esp episode 14 that i had to stop watching coz it was a big WTH just happened? The final reveal of who the Teacher was unexpected and i loved the main conflict of killing the son or the mother. It’s like chicken and egg dilemma. Wished they explored this earlier rather than giving out all the information in the last 2 episodes! I dont know if Park Sun Young is selfish or selfless. I really liked her more than Yoon Tae Yi who is supposed to be a professor but doesn’t have a lot of common sense.

The time travel rules kept changing to suit the story when it didn’t make sense. I already gave the show a pass on a lot of things. My main issue here is that the show keeps insisting that the people in each dimension may be the same but are different. How can that be when it’s just the say person, you just went back in time to your own self? So whatever you do while you time travel should affect yourself. Plus, what’s the point to going back to time travel if the person is not really you? I think they were pushing this theory to justify that Jin Gyeom fell in love with Profession Tae Yi who is not his mom because she’s from a different dimension. I mean, c’mon! Tae Yi and Sun Young are the same person and have the same DNA!

The unnecessary romantic vibes between Jin Gyeom and Taeyi grossed me out for most part of the show but i kept on watching hoping there is a valid resolution to this. And up until episode 14 i thought the show finally put a stop at it. Had i known this was where the show was really going i would have stopped watching earlier on. Too bad because I really liked the interaction between Tae Yi and Jin Gyeom when they are being non-romantic.

Further to the stupid theory, in the latter episodes, Jin Gyeom and Tae Yi met their own selves and when they went back to 2020, suddenly the memories from their different dimensions are merging and now they’re saying they are actually the same person! LOL! Really couldn’t handle that weird logic.

Probably the main highlight and only reason I continued to watch the drama is because of Minhyuk 🥰🥰🥰 He shined in every scene. I was already expecting that he will make this “big” sacrifice to show Jin Gyeom that he could have been a good father to him had he known. I think his character’s story could have been meatier. Can i propose a prequel of Minhyuk’s and Sun Young’s love story? Or maybe create another dimension where they survived and lived happily ever after? (Without Jin Gyeom haha)

Overall, I would have given this an 8 despite the flaws but the ending made zero sense. Spoiler: if all time travellers reset then why is Jin Gyeom alive and why Jin Gyeom and Tae Yi were able to retain their memories?

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Rating: 7.5/10