An extended period of prohibition in the Joseon era proved that the restriction of alcohol was no match for human desire. Laws against imbibing, buying or making alcohol created different challenges for these inhabitants: Inspector Nam Young from The Office of the Inspector-General who left his hometown to achieve fame in Hanyang and restore his family status; Kang Ro Seo, the aristocratic but impoverished lady who makes moonshine to reduce her debt, allowing her to continue buying her mother’s medication and her brother’s books; and even Crown Prince Lee Pyo, who was prone to scaling the palace walls in search of a tipple. This trio has a fateful encounter leading to the discovery of a hidden stash of alcohol. Revealing this secret would only result in certain death. (Source: Soompi) Edit Translation
- Native Title: 꽃 피면 달 생각하고
- Also Known As: Thinking of the Moon When Flowers Bloom , Flower Blooms, Moon Shines , Thinking of the Moon When the Flower Blooms , Kkot Pimyeon Dal Saenggakhago , When Flowers Bloom, I Think of the Moon
- Screenwriter: Kim Joo Hee
- Director: Hwang In Hyuk
- Genres: Action, Historical, Comedy, Romance
Cast & Credits
This drama does spend a whole lot of time telling us things, rather than showing it to us. Both with the romance and the mystery, which goes in too many circles and consequently loses its tension after a while. It does ramp up again in the second half, but by then a whole lot of people will have lost interest in it because the buildup wasn’t there.
It all comes down to how difficult it is for the drama to make up its mind whether it wants to be a romantic comedy set in the Joseon era or more of a mystery about a young policeman who chases after people who break the law and the people who get in his way and complicate the whole matter. And the story never really manages to combine the two into one solid story no matter what it tries.
The structure of neither of those plot points is strong enough for it to work properly because the buildup wasn’t there, and there is a lack of balance between all these different elements of the story as well.
The plot seems too rushed at times; it never really stops long enough to explore things or build them up enough for it to hook you in. There is a lot of tell, and not enough showing us things. Showing us the main couple falling in love for example. Things just happen because they are supposed to happen. But at the same time, the story drags its feet so much and the plot and the character go in so many circles - which is a shame because the cast is great, but not used all that well within the story.
It’s Ro Seo who manages to shine the most in this drama and her character manages to be the heart of the story someone you can really root for. Hyeri is so likeable here. And if the story had been built solely around her, we might have gotten a better story. But it is Nam Young and his story halts the story so much. He is only there because Ro Seo needs some contradiction to her character and her story, but he does not get enough to do so that it has a strong enough impact on the story. His character hardly matters in the grand scheme of things.
This role insufficiently used Yoo Seung Ho, one of South Korea’s most talented actors in his age range, which is a damn shame. And while Yoo Seung Ho uses all his charisma and puts as many emotions and empathy into Nam Young as he can muster, the writing does not match his energy, so no matter what he does, Nam Young feels flat as a character. Which is frustrating to watch. He is a plot-point, not a solid character who influences the story itself. Most of the story he is just there.
Moonshine falls into the same pit that I think many period dramas like it fall into and that is to put too much emphasis on the palace politics and the royal family and uses it as a crutch or a tool to carry the story forward or build suspense - like the evil mother-in-law is used in rom-cos to add drama and stakes to the story and the romance. And it doesn’t really work. There is a certain skill that needs to make that work within a story, and it must be used with a purpose, or it becomes so dull. And many of these lighter period dramas, like Moonshine, don’t know how to utilize it. To me it comes off as a possible lack of courage in the story itself from the writer.
There is a lack of stability or focus in the story, especially towards the middle, which improves slightly as we get towards the end, but the story never really allows the moments to linger (and therefor there is a lack of buildup) and often seems too hasty so it comes across that the characters move with the story, but not the other way around. Things just need to happen. Therefore the tension in the narrative isn't really there.
Moonshine is an overall drama with lots of potential, but with such an aimless narrative that hesitates to take risks and break away from the norms of its genre, with crown princes, palace politics and forbidden love between classes etc. It leaves the mystery of the story in the dust and therefore the structure of the story, some of the character and many of the side-plots feel rather flat and they lack a little focus and depth. The drama wanted to do too much, but at the same time too little, with the time it took to tell this story. I cannot say that I was bored watching the drama, but rather that I was frustrated by the wasted potential of it all. The cast carried the drama through for me.
Keep calm and drink on!While modern affairs says Moonshine is a brand of corn whisky, according to medieval literature, it means high-proof liquor that is produced illegally and the name was derived from a tradition of creating the alcohol during the nighttime, thereby avoiding detection. The drama, in fact, is based on the same concept and truly depicts and justifies throughout.
Literally titled "When Flowers Bloom, I Think of the Moon (꽃 피면 달 생각하고)", the show is created by KBS Drama Division & 2 other companies and distributed by KBS. This drama is a debut for the writer Kim Joo Hee and directed by the exclusively KBS PD Hwang In Hyuk.
A period of 10 years ban on alcohol leads to the formation of hidden Moonshine organizations who secretly produce alcohol to do business and to take advantage of the ban by earning plenty. Sequence of events lead to the discovery of stash of such alcohol and while unveiling the forces behind everything, even bigger truths are disclosed which seem to be involving the main leads as well.
Inspector Nam Young (Yoo Seung Ho), appointed at the Prohibition Office (Sheonbu) is a law-abiding officer who craves for justice and truly carry out the ban as ordered by the King. Kang Ro Seo (Lee Hye Ri) is a poor noblewoman who got no skill but to make excellent quality liquor. To live a normal life by making money, she dares to disobey the laws but got a pure conscience and uprightly morale. Byun Woo Suk plays the naive yet calculative Crown Prince Lee Pyo and Kang Mi Na plays Han Yae Jin, a noble lady who is easy peasy and believes in being honest.
In supporting cast, there are many familiar faces like Choi Won Young, Jang Gwang, Jung Young Joo, Moon Kou Kang, Park Ah In, Kim Gi Bang, Im Won Hee, Seo Ye Hwa, Hong Yeon Pyo etc. The acting department was full of decent actors and the performance was overally very good except for Byuk Woo Suk. He didn't show any improvement from his previous dramas and him playing a main character wasn't a good impression though his screentime was significantly reduced in the later half.
Most of the major characters are likable, especially, the ones played by Seungho, Hyeri and Mina; I liked their roles and their characters. The one with the least experience is Mina and I was actually happy seeing her doing good in here.
Plot development is more than just good. It's not a brainy intriguing watch with lots of angst or even heart-fluttering moments. Plus, unlike most of the Korean sageuks, where the central plot gets diverted to plenty of political conspiracies and somehow becomes romance-centric with the goal of uniting the ML & FL in the end, this truly sticks to its main plotline for most of it's parts. The first 2 introductory episodes were able create some impression regarding the moonshine businesses and the progression throughout remained up to snuff and satisfactory.
It obviously has several peak moments as expected but not that stupefying in general; I think that's the speciality about this drama. The ending sequence however got a bit repetitive but it was okay. There's not really much to discuss about the development honestly and it was a good watch throughout. In addition, the pacing remains constant plus up to par and it didn't demand me to skip anything or even fast-forward it at all. I think the biggest plus point for this was the fact that it never ran out of substance involving the main theme, despite an average storyline.
Hwang In Hyuk PD-nim is a familiar face in KBS Drama Division with more than a couple of hugely acclaimed dramas in his resume and the decades of experience seems to have been reflected despite the drama being not a masterpiece of some sort. The screenplay management, premise settings, the scenario conduction and the cinematography have been well taken care of. The overall screen editing is nice, and despite the least amount of emphasis on colour pallettes, the vibe organization using appropriate hue, is brilliantly done. The pacing is good as well; which at few places (for instance ep 9 & 11) felt like becoming slow, but glad they picked up the acceleration shortly.
Writers making a decent delivery in their debut is not new, however, this was indeed a beyond decent one from Kim Joo Hee, and I believe, she should be paid her due credit. The overal value of the script is way more than average though I can't deny the flaws, but I feel those were manageable and I'm sure many of the viewers wouldn't notice. The plot development is simple, steady and entertaining. Some plot elements could be predictive for avid watchers but that clearly doesn't decrease the quality; I must mention, it's a light and decent sageuk. Unlike 90% of recent sageuks, the screenplay doesn't have any fillers and complementary side plots just to complete the 16 episode quota.
In fact, the amount of romance is very less and equally balanced with the bromance line. The development of bonding between different characters including the love relationships, is simple, good and not exaggerated. The patriarchal dominance is almost nonexistent and to my delight, this has so many feminist female, and not to lie, male characters. Using a contrary approach, the female lead here is the saviour of the male lead and in way, anything misogynistic has been included either.
Composed by Park Se Joon, the OST album ha a total of 9 songs and all of them are likable. My most favourite is "Even Though" by Monday Kiz which has beautifully written lyrics that render your heart. "Love Me Again" by Sojung (Ladie's Code) has the old K sageuk vibes. "Who You Are" by Ha Sung Woon is a song with is a soulful romantic track. "Missing You" by Minseo is a heart-rendering song with great vocal values. "Once In A Minute" by Seo Eun Kwang (BTOB) is a jolly track. Other tracks are:
# "Fly High" by LUCY
# "Moonshine" by JAIME
# "Someday" by Miyeon
# "Love Your Everything" by Golden Child
What I liked...
# The feminist female characters.
# The plot transition
# The character arcss and their growths
# The unique conspiracy plot
# The balance between different factors like: romance, bromance, family aspect, royal affairs, conspiracies, comedy, fighting & stunts, etc.
Final Remarks... Overally, "Moonshine" was a good watch in my opinion. It was likable, engaging and not time-wasting. It could have been a very good thing given the concept and storyline but the fact that it is one of those dramas with least amount of noticeable flaws, makes it an average and decent piece. I won't say it's a must watch but please do it in case you're not looking for a simple sageuks with typical yet balanced elements.