a spirited watch

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I like Goblin or officially Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. The plot is fresh and intriguing, visuals stylish, and overall rather unique. Gong Yoo is adorable and stirring at once, Lee Dong Wook is a hoot…and together they are a daunting force to be reckoned with. I can’t count how many times I chuckled at their juvenile, petty antics.

I wouldn’t think this is a Kim Eun Sook’s project if I hadn’t know better. I don’t really fancy her work, with the exception of On Air and City Hall. But I’m developed a liking for her latest work, mainly because there isn’t her stalwart endless, at most times meaningless, bickering and banter. The conversations are surprisingly meaningful and wistful at times, and characters thoughtful rather than flashy. The supernatural elements are weaved in wittily and with a touch of black humour.

I’m a little flabbergasted by Kim Go Eun’s performance so far. She isn’t exhibiting her usual naturalistic, seamless style of acting. She comes across affected and a little OTT as the high schooler who can see ghosts and whatever supernatutal beings floating around in the alternate realm. I can see potential chemistry brewing between she and Gong Yoo but I do hope she settles down in her character soon. I’m unsure whether it is the way the character is written or whether she is being directed to express Eun Tak in this particular manner. Plus, I wished Kim Eun Sook had written Eun Tak’s age close to that of Kim Go Eun or at least a college student. Chirpy high schooler seems a little jarring with regard to the rather grandiose storyline.

The directing and delivery are impressive and while the plot does it best to appear meaty, if you dig deeper and think harder, it feels like a more sophisticated take on those young adult fantasy novels. More substantial, of course in terms of characterisation, but I honestly don’t feel it is as deep and as it is supposed to be.

Gong Yoo’s solidly fluid, multi-faceted performance is really lending weight and gravitas to the drama, and the quirky Kim Shin is such a well-written, colourful, unpredictable character. The contrast between his intense gloom and frivolous vanity is a scream, and Gong Yoo is obviously having a great time hamming things up with Lee Dong Wook.

There are a few loopholes in the plot so far but I’m happy to ignore them if the overall storyline delivered is fascinating. The challenge is whether the drama can sustain its mysterious elements and whimsical vitality for the entire stretch. It is a promising cast so the writing only needs to serve well.

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