Shine or Go Crazy (2015) poster
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,077 users
# of Watchers: 8,298
Reviews: 15 users
Ranked #4515
Popularity #1855
Watchers 3,077

Wang So, a Goryeo prince, was born with the name, “Shine.” Shin Yul is a woman hailing from the Balhae kingdom and believed to have the powers of an oracle. A prince who suffered vile remarks because of a cursed prophecy finds himself attracted to a former princess from a fallen kingdom who faces death because of her fate to become the light of another kingdom. Their love is at a point of either shining or flaming out. (Source: MBC) Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Jan 19, 2015 - Apr 7, 2015
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday
  • Original Network: MBC
  • Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 3,077 users)
  • Ranked: #4515
  • Popularity: #1855
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Where to Watch Shine or Go Crazy



Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo
Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo
Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo
Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo
Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo
Shine or Go Crazy (2015) photo


unterwegsimkoreanischenD Flower Award3
32 people found this review helpful
May 2, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 1.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

About prince Wang So of Goryeo. A love story with wit, charm & affection. Makjang alert. Toxic, too

First of all: "Shine or Go Crazy" is a love story from head to toe with all the trimmings. Nevertheless, it is also about the dazzling historical figure of Wang So - King Gwangjong from the early hours of the Goryeo era. Thus it is a beautiful character study about the young prince, who at last became king, but who had by far not been the preferred prince of choice as far as the future throne was concerned. How did HE happen to become not only king but such an outstanding one as well - one who is NOT automatically (as so often) a jumping jack for his ministers, eunuchs and palace ladies? Who or what motivated and inspired his rather grounded, almost visionary, innovative, citizen-oriented policies?

This KDrama offers a (possible) answer to history, as well as an epic love story, playfully sprinkling disguise of origin and confusion of gender.

----------------- SIDE NOTE: --- Wang So, 4th son of Goryeo King Wang Geon, and later King Gwangjong
During his 26-year reign at the end of the first millennium, King Gwangjong laid solid foundations for the next four centuries. To this end, he introduced some popular reforms for the common people (yet unpopular among the nobility). Above all, these concerned slavery. Additionally he instituted the national civil service exam, which allowed people to serve the country according to their ability. Introduced during his reign, too, were so-called "Daebi-won" - medical centers for the free care of the poor. Finally, he secured the borders of the empire with military measures. Throughout, he consistently had to deal with opponing noblemen ... and eliminated them uncompromisingly. "Shine or Go Crazy" is a dignified multimedia monument to his rulership, that in general rather focused on the needs of his ordinary citizens than aristocracy.

The KDrama "Shine or Go Crazy" (as well as "Moon Lovers" who deals with King Gwangjong, too), offers a conclusive explanation for this King´s particular career. Whether this is historically justified by sources, I could not find out yet. In any case, Prince Wang So becomes tangible and understandable with the help of this fictional setting: The KDramas tell his story as at a young age being banished from the palace and sent to the mountains - thus hopefully avoiding a bloody prophesy from coming true. There he lived a life beyond the palace intrigues, yet close to nature and its existential everyday struggles for survival. Like that, his everyday life inevitably came quite a bit closer to that of the ordinary people of his time. This socialization in 'freedom' and largely grounded normality shaped him in a completely different way than his (numerous) direct and indirect siblings within the palace walls and thus makes him a resolute and popular monarchical free spirit. At the same time, this lays the right foundation for placing a completely unorthodox, unexpected and inspiring commoner´s love at his emotional side. Like that the fictional K-Drama helps to on the one hand understand the sharp edges of his disappointment because of parental rejection as well as his self-doubt due to his curse. On the other hand, however, this is balanced by down-to-earth experience of authentic affection and love. Historically true or not, the extrordinary historic personality of prince Wang So is painted in an impressively tangible, comprehensible way.

------------------- SIDE NOTE --- Trading at the time ---
An aspect of historical detail that's (in general rarely) brought into focus in "Shine or Go Crazy", too, is the importance of thriving international trade at the end of the first millennium. Throughout Korean history, life on the peninsula (not only, but also in KDrama) is rather isolated and self-centered. In this story, at least, business relationships with the immediate neighbors and with the rest of the world are given some space, at least to some extent.

-------------------- SIDE NOTE --- Balhae / Late Balhae
Also rarely a topic in the focus of KDrama is the Korean history BEFORE Goryeo - the time of the three kingdoms Silla, Goguryeo and Baekje. In "Shine or Go Crazy," the female protagonist is a princess from the Late Balhae Kingdom in what is now Manchuria. This dates back to one of five kingdoms that in 37 BC united to form the kingdom of Goguryeo. The first Goryeo King Wang Geon (posthumously Taejo) at his time attempted to reconquer the former territories of the original Goguryeo Empire and thus set his kingdom on proven, solid ground. Balhae being one of them, had previously fallen victim to the Para-Mongolian Kitan. Some (many) Koreans from ancient Goguryeo, who formed the ruling Balhaen elite, escaped to Goryeo - with the crown prince, the nobles and parts of the population. The female lead is set in this context (and also personally associated with an alarming (fictitious) prophecy regarding the future of her people.)


Back to the (love) story between the 4th son of Goryeo King Wang Geon and the Balhaean princess, who is an independent prosperous business woman.

In proven KDrama style, there are subplots with their own stories and characters with their own motives, who courageously get involved in the (love) life of Prince Wang So. The political stage is intransigently characterized by malevolent power intrigues. There aren´t any scruples anywhere. Upright people hardly exist, loyalty and dependence being mixed up and confused. There's a lot of bad stuff going on everywhere. It gets pretty ´toxic´, too.

Set in this context is the affectionately and also humourously told relationship of young prince Wang So with a smart, proficient, quite self-confident lady in a double role in disguise as young man. These encounters inspire and enhance Wang So´s pragmatic world view. The dynamic between them is fun to watch - with wit and charm, since his queen of hearts is sometimes hidden behind a veil and sometimes in men's clothes. At times, Wang So has to seriously doubt his gender orientation (... not that this would have deterred him...).

Ah. Yes. The ending... Reviews I had read often blamed the ending. I was ready for the worst. Probably that was a good thing. Like that I was pleasantly surprised as I had expected even worse. In fact, whether I liked it or not, the ending made quite a lot of sense to me. (After all, this is about a historical character - the prince becomes king and has an archetypal task that is greater than himself - during his reign, Gwangjong sets the course for future generations.) Nevertheless, KDrama land even got us a little candy at the very end, too.

My criticism, however, refers to the soundtrack! Unfortunately, this is the first time I definitely have to complain! Shallow songs can have their time, I don´t mind. But in this case (at least in my acustic sound system) as soon as romantic vibes gently started to develop, an inappropriately dull, meaningless song (in my perception) acustically dominated the scene and thus insensitively destroyed each and every moment (again and again). A real shame! (I would like to hope, that this was just due to my technical device...)

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26 people found this review helpful
Apr 9, 2015
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 6
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
Why is it that TV & film writers feel the need to make drastic changes to the source material whose popularity provided the reason to make the drama? I'm talking major PLOT changes - especially endings! Which brings us to this drama.
I enjoyed the beginnings - quirky, good cast, interesting storyline, et al. I found that as the story progressed it did somewhat lose track of the beginnings, but not terribly, and the main love affair kept on track very nicely. It differed enough from the real history of this king that I didn't worry about the kids (shown in the first episode) too much & just wondered about the resolution.
Well. What resolution, I ask myself after finishing this? What happened? How? I don't know. I highly suggest one NOT watch the last 10 minutes of the final episode. Make up your own ending & watch the credits roll. Go read the book, which has a satisfying, logical ending. Don't expect to have any questions answered by this sageuk :(

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  • Drama: Shine or Go Crazy
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Jan 19, 2015 - Apr 7, 2015
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday
  • Original Network: MBC
  • Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older


  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 3,077 users)
  • Ranked: #4515
  • Popularity: #1855
  • Watchers: 8,298

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