- Overall 9.0
- Story 9.5
- Acting/Cast 8.5
- Music 7.0
- Rewatch Value 8.5
Candle in the Tomb is the best out of the Winter batch of 2016/2017 Cdramas by a long mile, and that's largely because of the refreshing subject matter and its production quality. There are some green screens which were not processed properly in post-production, but in general the CGI is pretty good.
The drama is adapted from the uber popular same-name novel and hence the story is rich. A lot of it read more is just pure imagination on the author's part, but the good thing is that there is no cliches (like all the love stories you've been seeing), and it's a pretty "loyal" adaptation (yes, this is a dig at General and I). The directing is great, the jump scares are terrifying (the two kids in the first tomb and the professor in the penultimate episode - brilliant, brilliant acting on his part), the acting is decent, there's a little humour here and there, just bits of everything. But it's really well-executed, and that's what sets it apart from the awful The Lost Tomb*.
The main complaint I have about the drama is its pacing. The first episode is quite dull since it was mainly used to introduce the main and side characters, one which won't appear much in the rest of the drama at all. I think they have every intention to make a sequel (I heard that Da Jin Ya will have a larger role in the next books) and that's why they expended this much time in setting up everything. The first tomb exploration was quite eventful, and that's where things start to get interesting. However, the pacing problems began again. I mean, they took half an episode to bury Professor Hao!
Also, the whole archaeological team just seems like a huge burden to our three main characters. You're really just watching to see how they die out one by one, and it's difficult to feel sorry for them because of how useless they are. There's a huge reversal at the end but I won't spoil it here.
Other minor flaws include two dubbers for Shirley Yang because the original actor is Taiwanese, and the main dubber is not fluent in English, bad syncing for the English dubbed lines, Shirley Yang's exceptional picture interpretation skills, the archaeological team member who's obsessed with aliens (a horrible attempt at comedy) and so on.
It's difficult to elaborate on the highlights of Candle in the Tomb, because it is a very consistent drama, and thus the flaws stand out more. But trust me, despite what I have to say about the negatives, the drama is definitely worth a watch. In any case, I'm really looking forward to a second season, preferably with the same cast.
*There's bound to be recommendations for The Lost Tomb because the two dramas are of the same genre and are based on the same topic. Nevertheless, there's no need to spend time watching TLT. It's so bad that you should flush it out from your memory if you ever tried watching.