Somewhere inside Goblin, buried under a mound of PPL and tears, is a good show trying to get out. The first two episodes suggest what might have been, deftly mixing intense action and off-beat humor in a dark world filled with ominous reapers, wounded goblins, ghost-seeing teenagers and cabbage-wielding grannies. The stage seems set for a life and death clash of epic proportions. Alas, it soon becomes apparent that the writer forgot to include an antagonist. The goblin-reaper face-off devolves into a chummy bromance, leaving “fate” to play the role of spoiler. Unfortunately, it’s hard to fight disembodied destiny. Whole episodes are spent weeping in pretty scenery and eating Subway sandwiches. The talented cast tries to up the urgency, but with nothing tangible to battle, the pacing slows to a crawl. The extended episode lengths and the director’s tendency to linger a little too long on every moment exacerbate the problem. Even the romance falters on the uncomfortable age gap between the protagonists.
Every so often. interesting ideas pop up about guilt, redemption, and the role of kindness in a cosmos more random than rewarding. Alas, the fickle gods that rule this universe stay above the fray. A drama that actually allowed its characters to take them on rather than simply lamenting their cruelty could have been powerful indeed.