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Completed
Hikaru no Go
8 people found this review helpful
Dec 29, 2020
36 of 36 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.5

One of the best dramas of 2020 , Highly Recommended

I found this show to be a real gem and a great way to end 2020. As a viewer who hasn't read the original manga or watched the anime, I didn't have any ideas or expectations going into this other than seeing a couple of great reviews here on MDL.
But the drama blew me away with the first few episodes and I ended up binge watching the show in just two days.
The five main things I look for in any drama are:

1) Plot/Storyline - Solid plot. This would be a great example of a character driven storyline. It falters a little bit towards the end and that's why I've taken 0.5 points off, but overall a very warm, heart-touching storyline that strongly delivers. The friendships portrayed in this show are simply beautiful to watch and very realistic. I loved bonding between all the characters.

2) Characters/ Character growth - The story treated all of its characters with a lot of care, even the minor characters who did not have a lot of screen time. I normally would find other minor characters subplots used as fillers in other dramas but here each and every character had his/purpose for being there. I felt emotionally attached to a lot of the characters and felt myself cheering for all of them. Another thing I loved was that all the characters including the main character Shi Guang went through some or other form of character growth throughout their journeys.

3) Acting - I think the actors did a great job with this. I especially loved the main actors who played Shi Guang and Chu Ying , Yu Liang as well as the child actor who played young Shi Guang. I loved how Chu Ying could very convincingly go from being this godly and serene persona to being childlike and silly the next second.

4) Overall Message/Theme - I loved the message of the drama and how it was also rooted in reality. We saw characters find their passion, how talent sometimes overtakes passion and hard work, how sometimes people have to give up their passions to survive in this world, how friends and healthy rivals can help you improve yourself, how its okay to lose sometimes as long as you learn from it, how to pick yourself back up if you've fallen down. I loved the scenes where Chu Ying imparted these little life lessons while playing Go.

5) Music/Production Quality - This was set in the mid 2000's for most of the show and the production/ set design was pretty great. I loved the Ending OST (didn't skip the ending theme one in all 36 episodes). I read somewhere that it is the same as the anime OST only in Chinese so that was pretty neat of them to do.

Overall, I would say this is a must watch for any drama enthusiast! 10/10

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Completed
The Day of Becoming You
8 people found this review helpful
Jul 1, 2021
26 of 26 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

Best Chinese Rom-Com of all time for me!! Extremely funny! A Must watch!

This show just made me so happy! It's extremely rare to see such a gem in this genre, considering how mediocre most of the rom-com dramas in modern settings are. They took such a classic trope of body swapping and made it into such a funny, mature, and entertaining drama. Hats off to the entire production team for such a masterpiece!

What I loved:
The story - It's extremely funny, so many laugh-out-loud situations, and so many embarrassing moments with the body-swapping trope. Their reactions to the body swap are so realistic and logical and not over the top in any way that you immediately relate to their situation. The writing is intelligent. Characters are logical, and the dialogue and flow are very reasonable and rational.

The acting - Wow! I am blown away by the acting of both our leads. They are so good at playing both of their roles; before and after the switch, they never break character. After the switch, I can believe that Steven Zhang is a woman and Liang Jie is a man. Both Steven Zhang and Liang Jie are exceptional here, but I confess I could not take my eyes off of Steven Zhang in any of the scenes he was in. His posture, mannerisms, speech, walk, expressions - everything was so detailed and perfect. Liang Jie was also great, but Steven Zhang shines throughout this drama and is easily the most versatile actor in his age range. I've loved him in everything he's been in so far, but this role really puts the spotlight on him, and he is phenomenal here.

The Chemistry - Oof! These two have such great chemistry when in their own bodies and even when they swap. They look lovely as a couple, so comfortable and so convincing that they love and care for each other. I found the chemistry between the two to be so natural, without pretenses, and extremely believable. To top it off, this drama has a number of passionate kissing scenes and confession scenes that are very well done.

The relationships - Our main leads have such an enviable relationship. Their relationship was such a breath of fresh air. It was the most transparent relationship I have ever seen in any drama so far—no misunderstandings, no doubts, no unnecessary jealousy, just open communication about anything and everything. Any potential issues are immediately resolved by the leads reflecting and resolving the issue by talking to each other almost immediately. I haven't seen such a healthy and mature relationship in a long time in dramaland.
Additionally, the side relationships and supporting cast were also so positive, and there was really no bad guy or villain in this, which is always nice. I also liked that they didn't force a relationship between the supporting leads in the end. It was more realistic this way.

OST and BGM - I really like the OST here; the opening sung by Liang Jie and especially Steven Zhang's ending OST are really nice and are used really well. In addition, this show amplifies the funniest moments with some of the best over-dramatic background sound effects I have seen in shows of this kind. Honestly, the funny background music elevated the comedic situations to a whole new level.

What I didn't like:

One gripe I have with this show would be the too many product placement ads in the show. They really overdid this aspect of the show.
Another gripe I have is with the pacing of the penultimate and final episode. Not sure what exactly it was, but the pacing felt somehow off in the last two episodes.
Also, as was expected with such a story, the later episodes have a more serious feel to them, and it is noticeably less funny than the first half, but that's only because the first half was extremely, extremely funny.
Also, I see people disappointed with the ending, but I believe they delivered the best ending they could, considering body-swapping supernatural stories would not have passed through China's censorship board as it was.

Overall, this is going to be my new go-to rom-com drama. Thoroughly entertaining and worth multiple rewatches! 9.5/10

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Completed
Love and Redemption
10 people found this review helpful
Jul 10, 2021
59 of 59 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 4.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

I suffered watching this show! Not sure why people like it so much.

I watched this drama as it had high ratings, but I liked it less and less as the episodes progressed. As a xianxia romance - it had all the xianxia elements needed for a compelling story. Still, the romance got tiring as the story progressed, misunderstandings kept piling up, and it had an underwhelming second half and ending.

Love and Redemption could have easily been an excellent romance if the lead characters were a little more balanced. The earlier episodes were the best as it was light. The imbalance in the relationship between Chu Xuanji and Yu Sifeng could be attributed to Xuanji’s lack of the five senses. I sympathized with both the leads, Sifeng, with his undying love and Xuanji not understanding it due to her loss of six senses. But as she starts recovering her senses, I found her character to be childish, easily manipulated, and frankly not reciprocating the affection Sifeng kept pouring onto her.

Coming to Yu Sifeng, while I appreciate an ML who is unwavering in his love for the FL, the repeated hurt and near-death situations the ML had to go through got a little ridiculous, and I stopped feeling hurt for him as the episodes went on. I liked Cheng Yi’s portrayal of Yu Sifeng, but it felt one-dimensional as the story progressed. Among the main cast, he and Liu Xue Yi, who plays Hao Chen did a good job.I have never been as frustrated watching a villain go about his villainous ways as when I see Hao Chen/King Bailing and have to give props to the actor for his portrayal here.

Christal Yuan’s character, however, was endearing at first, and she had undeniable chemistry with Cheng Yi, but as the plot progressed and the story wanted to show us a more mature Xuanji who recovered her senses and who is the God of War -- she was not convincing to me. She felt stubborn and arrogant and way too easily manipulated. The number of times the FL was manipulated and never once stopped to think was frustrating and honestly regressed her character. Add to that the way she kept fluctuating between misunderstanding him and wanting to kill him made me pull my hair out.

I also did not like the self-righteousness of all those sect leaders and was really hoping to see them die, but it seemed like they got off too easy and never had to pay for any of their

I liked the secondary characters a lot. My favorites were Teng She, Wu Zhi She, Purple fox, Ting Nu, and Liu Yi Huan. Honestly, I just kept watching the show because of their stories. The ending tied all the loose ends but still felt unsatisfactory to me. For all the pain I went through for 50 + episodes, it all seemed to come to a close without any real consequences to all involved, and I could not find an emotional high/satisfaction from the ending.

I liked the OST, especially the opening by Liu Yuning.

Overall, I will never recommend this to anyone and wish I could get my time back.

4/10

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Completed
You Are My Glory
4 people found this review helpful
Aug 24, 2021
32 of 32 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

Wonderful slow-burn romance! Sizzling chemistry from the most beautiful on-screen couple I've seen!

This show was such a pleasant surprise for me. Initially, I wasn’t planning on watching this as I am not a fan of either actor and thought their performances would be like what I am used to seeing in their other modern dramas. This show, however, proved me very wrong, and I have to say this is Dilraba and YangYang’s best performance to date for me.

The story was simple, the supporting characters warm, and the main leads charming.

Their relationship was the definition of relationship goals. Adding to Dilraba and Yangyang’s god-tier visuals, they were really impressive in their roles. Dilraba is such a natural at playing the smart, mischievous, bubbly superstar. I loved her Qiao JingJing. I felt that in the first few episodes, YangYang’s acting was a little stiff. Still, as the episodes progressed, he loosened up, and I could see the subtlety in his acting. Both of them did a great job in this, and their romance felt so natural and organic.

The characters also were so winsome and endearing. Qiao JingJing was such an interesting but flawed female lead. I loved her character - she knew her self-worth but was never even slightly prideful. She was also slightly vain and materialistic, liking clothes, shoes, and other material things. She also took both his rejections so well and did not hold anything over him later. I also liked how she tried so hard to be part of his world and supported his dreams.

Yu Tu also was such a likable character. I like that despite being very intelligent and having great prospects in school and university, he ends up kind of lost in his early 30’s - doing a job he loves but not financially well off. His high school rejection of JingJing was also understandable considering his age and experiences at that time.

Their romance is a slow burn, mature, and Dilraba and YangYang have sizzling chemistry together. The comedy is also tasteful, and I love their fun and witty banter throughout the show. It seems that JingJing brings out the best in Yu Tu, and I loved their cheeky, back and forth teasing throughout the show. Throughout the drama, there are multiple details - from longing glances to free touches that make it so believable that they are in a relationship.

I could go on and on, but ultimately this is a must-watch for lovers of modern romances. It is visually appealing, has the most gorgeous cast in YangYang and Dilraba, has great natural acting, very suitable OSTs, and a good build to the finale episodes.

I will definitely be rewatching this sometime soon. It’s easily going to be one of my comfort dramas.

9/10 - Highly highly recommended.


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Completed
New Generation: Happiness Method
4 people found this review helpful
Jul 10, 2021
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers

Short, Meaningful, and Moving Series!

I picked up this show as I saw Janice Wu and Leon Zhang were in it, and I was interested in seeing them in a drama. At eight episodes, this is a pretty short and easy watch. The story revolves around a mother-daughter pair where the daughter works in the city hospital as an ER doctor, and the mother, who is a village doctor, gets diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The story then goes on to show how this impacts the lives of the two and the people around them. I loved how the mother-daughter relationship was so pure and touching. The story was natural and heartfelt. And yes, while the mother had Alzheimer's and was getting worse, there were no over-the-top dramatic scenes or scenes just made with the intention to make the audience cry. The story's progression felt very natural. This is my first time seeing the actress Sa Ri Na who plays the mom here, but I really liked her acting. And as usual, Janice Wu and Leon Zhang were also very good.
I loved it for the emotional scenes between Janice Wu and Sa Ri Na. Some scenes really made me tear up. I also liked the positivity and light that Leon Zhang's character brought to the story. His relationship with the mother and daughter was also a delight to see. At the end of it, this was a touching show based on a true story, and I really enjoyed it.

8/10

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Completed
Lovely Us
2 people found this review helpful
Jul 10, 2021
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers

Short and Sweet Adolescent/Slice of Life Story

A short and sweet adolescent story that’s a really easy watch. If you’re like me and need a realistic slice of life drama, then you should watch this. It’s a good show to watch while taking a break from the fast-paced and intense dramas. It focuses on five childhood friends and their school lives, home lives, and their families. I like the friendships of these five, and their group is really endearing and will remind you of your childhood friends. The actors are no doubt young and inexperienced, but they do a good job and are endearing to watch. The couple that goes from friends to lovers is also sweet to watch and very natural. There’s nothing to dislike in this show except maybe the slight vague ending for one of the supposed couples, but that’s minor and doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the show.

Also, the OST is mellow and upbeat and really suits the tone of the show.

Overall this is a good show to pick up on rainy days when you need a break from the usual and just want a simple story. It’s realistic, funny in parts, fluffy, and refreshing. It also has a good re-watch value on days you need a light-hearted pick-me-up drama.

OST pushes it to 8/10

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Dropped 24/31
Love Scenery
7 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2021
24 of 31 episodes seen
Dropped 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 4.0

Watch if there’s nothing else and you want to see good looking young actors with decent chemistry.

I binge watched until the 24th episode which was all that had aired at the time of writing this review and realized there is nothing compelling me to wait for the rest of the show to air.
I went into this expecting nothing much and it pretty much went as expected.

Things I liked:
1) Good looking young actors and pretty good cinematography and visuals. I haven’t watched any of either Lin Yi or Lulu Xu’s
works before and they were a delight to watch on screen. They had pretty decent chemistry (though nothing close to
Sandra Ma and Bai Jingting’s chemistry in You are my Hero) and they were the only thing that kept me watching for 24
episodes even though nothing interesting was happening in the story.
2) The gaming elements they incorporated into the episodes were enjoyable to watch.
3) The bits when the FL was performing on stage were fun to watch and the OST is okay. It could’ve been a lot better
considering the show focuses on music but I enjoyed some of the tracks so I think it is a plus point.
4) The boldness of the ML in the initial episodes was refreshing to watch. Considering he is in university and the FL is supposed
to be a famous singer, I liked how he pursued her and the all around flirting going on in the initial episodes which was more
interesting than when the leads do get together.

Things I did not like:
1) Creeeeeeeepy SML. Not even getting into how he looks old enough to be the ML/FL’s dad or uncle; he was beyond creepy
and stalker-ish. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise every time he popped on screen. I really wonder why they went
out of their way to make him look even older than how the actor naturally looks. I’m guessing they wanted to showcase a
more mature guy as the “rival” but this just ended up looking creepy.
2) Uninteresting Secondary couples and secondary characters- Skipped the secondary couple’s storyline for the most part and
what little I did watch was worse than boring. Couldn’t care at all for them. The other secondary characters also did not add
anything to the story and I kept waiting for them to go away.
3) Romcom tropes like - forced conflicts like the study abroad plan etc

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Completed
Beyond Evil
2 people found this review helpful
May 24, 2021
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

Stellar acting from the leads, brilliantly told story, a thrill to watch!

There’s a lot to love about this show, although there are not many surprising twists towards the second half. I will try to keep this review spoiler free.

This show’s strength is not the actual underlying plot itself, which we’ve seen before, but the raw and interesting characters and the morally grey natures of almost everyone in Manyang town.

The first few episodes are a roller coaster where you can’t seem to trust anybody - even the two main leads as they all seem to be hiding something darker within themselves.

What makes this show stand out is our two main leads. Many shows have tried this dynamic of old veteran cop and new, young cop teaming up - not getting along at first and slowly partnering up to fight crime, but it just feels a lot different here.

The constant push-pull between the leads is what kept me glued to the screen until the last second. Their chemistry was excellent; the way Lee Dong Shik and Han Joo Won went from slightly trusting each other one minute to suspecting each other the next was exciting to watch. The way the story unravels around them and culminates into a beautiful partnership towards the end makes this show a must-watch.

Shin Ha Kyun is brilliant as Lee Dong Shik. I have never watched any of his works before, but I will definitely check out some of his other projects. Lee Dong Shik is one of the most exciting and interesting cop characters I have seen. Though he is shown to be a wild, fearless, almost insane guy on the outside, it’s clear to see he is rational and calm on the inside.

On the other hand, Yeo Jin Goo’s Han Joo Won is a younger, colder, thorny, and more reserved person. He is shown to be calm and has a strong sense of justice, but we see he is a lot more emotional and soft on the inside. These two characters are so contradictory to what’s on the inside instead of what they show the world that the dynamic between them works brilliantly.

I have been very impressed with Yeo Jin Goo’s recent works like Circle and The Crowned Clown. I don’t think there’s any other 23-year-old actor who has the same acting chops as him. Shin Ha Kyun's extraordinary performance may have devoured a lesser actor, but Yeo Jin Goo held his own in every scene. I wish he continues picking such scripts now as I believe he shines brightly in these kinds of darker shows and away from the mainstream rom-com type of shows.

Around the 10th episode or so, you kind of know where the mystery plot is heading, but that still didn’t deter the enjoyment factor for me. The show culminated in an emotional and more than satisfactory ending and was well worth the watch.

Also, as a bonus, the OST and background score is very well done. The music draws you in and works very well with the storytelling.

It’s a must-watch for fans of crime thrillers, highly recommended!

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Completed
Move to Heaven
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 5, 2021
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

A heartbreaking show about life, death, and everything in between!

Move to Heaven is a beautiful, well-written show about death, grief, and regrets that’s well worth the watch. I am a sucker for Slice of Life shows done right, and this one hit all the right spots for me.

Before I delve into all the positives, I must say that I did expect a bit more of an emotional impact after reading the synopsis. I thought the show would give us something truly heartbreaking and healing, which I did not get to the extent I was anticipating. I also wanted to see more of the uncle-nephew interaction. I wanted to see them meld and fit with each other like a family jigsaw, but somehow I was slightly let down with the dialogues, scenes, and interactions we got. Also, the side characters were pretty one-dimensional, like the neighbor girl and the fight ring boss lady. Maybe my expectations were sky-high after reading the positive reviews this drama was getting. My advice would be to go in expecting nothing, and you will be moved to tears by this drama.

Coming to the positives of the drama -

The various stories are the best part of this show. They are beautifully written, realistic and heartbreaking. Within the span of one episode, you get to experience how one of the clients lived their lives, what really mattered to them, empathize with them, and grieve for their death. The stories are real enough that you might easily know someone like that in your life, and it makes you reflect on how you have been living your life and who you might want your box to go to, and what might be in it.

The show also shows a lot of respect for death and life. The parts when they bow to the deceased before the start of their job and the care they show to the belongings that might not mean much to anyone else was respectful and nice to watch.

Move to Heaven also explores and handles several different controversial social and societal conditions ranging from domestic abuse, child abuse, mental health, overseas adoption, care for the elderly, working conditions of low-wage workers, same-sex relationships, etc., with realness and delicate sensibility.

Sang Gu - the uncle’s story was the most interesting to me. His history with child abuse, his relationship with his brother and the betrayal he felt, the backstory of his cage fighting days and his relationship with his young apprentice, and how he began healing piece by piece after living and working with Geu Roo at Move to Heaven. I also felt that throughout the show, Sang Gu was the only one who didn’t treat Geu Roo as a child and expressed himself without holding back anything he felt. Sang Gu got mad at him when he was pissed off and didn’t treat Geu Roo like he was breakable. I felt that some of the other characters, including the father, at times were coddling Geu Roo to some extent just because of his autism. In that sense, the Uncle-Nephew relationship was refreshing and wholesome to watch, and I only wish that there was a lot more of it.

Lee Je Hoon is, as usual, brilliant in his role as Cho Sang Gu and brings to life a complex character who’s been repeatedly hurt by life but is pure, simple, and golden at heart.
I recently finished watching Taxi Driver, and this man’s acting range is no joke.
I only have praise for him and Tang Jun Sang - who at only 17 did a commendable job. He has left an impression on me, and I will be looking forward to both of their future projects.

Overall this drama was very touching, comforting and though sad, also uplifting and inspiring. It makes you wonder about your own life, what might go into your box, and who you would want your box to be sent to.

9/10 Highly recommended

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Completed
Taxi Driver
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 4, 2021
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 6.5
This review may contain spoilers

Taxi Driver - A revenge drama that's bone-deep satisfying!

Taxi Driver, for me, has been one of the most enjoyable dramas this year.

The script is not perfect or excellent by any means. There are some plot holes, and the villains are pretty one-dimensional.
The taxi team isn't trying particularly hard to keep their secret taxi business private, and they weren't very smart or secretive with how they operated. There were also some illogical fight scenes where the ML takes on around 30 bad guys by himself continuously and still manages to beat them all. The narrative also slightly changed around the episodes when the writer was switched, leading the tone of the drama to become more serious as we moved to the finale. There were a few issues like these peppered throughout the drama.

But so what? I didn't start watching this drama for a perfect script with no plot holes. I watched this show to see bad guys get beat up and our vigilante taxi team get the justice they deserve. I wanted to see camaraderie and friendship, flawed heroes, vigilante justice, fight scenes, and thrilling car chases - and that is precisely what I got.

Taxi driver right from episode 1 tells us what kind of show it's going to be and stays consistent through the 16 episodes. It's not trying to be a smart or complex show, and that is its strength. It promised us revenge, vigilante justice, teamwork, and triumph of good over evil, and that's exactly what it delivers.

Here are some of the things I loved about the drama;

1) The perfect ending - This, folks, is how an ending should be done. No rush; they just spent the last 40 mins of the drama showing us the aftermath and how all our favorite characters' lives have gone on since the big finale.

2) Lee Je Hoon is brilliant. I love him more and more with each show I watch. I think he is one of the most versatile actors, and I loved him in this. There are parts where he disguises himself, and the different roles he plays are such a delight to watch.

3) The fight scenes are well done , even if a little unbelievable. I enjoyed watching Lee Je Hoon beat up almost everyone other than the taxi team. I also read that he filmed the action/driving scenes himself without a stunt double, which made me like him even more.

4) The cases that our Taxi Team deals with are truly heartbreaking. They showed some stories based on true cases in South Korea, which added a nice dash of reality to the show.

5) The camaraderie of the Taxi team is a joy to watch. Their backstories made me feel angry on their behalf. Their motivations for joining the Taxi team and dishing out their own brand of justice for victims similar to them were understandable and made me cheer for their lawless brand of justice throughout the show.

6) The OST deserves a special mention. I love the instrumental BGM themes and the music, especially the songs by YB and Cha Ji Yeon.

I would have given this a 7.5, which is still a good rating for me, but Lee Je Hoon, the OST, and the ending push it to 8.

8/10. Very Enjoyable.

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Completed
Kairos
1 people found this review helpful
Dec 29, 2020
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 7.5

Best Thriller of 2020 for me!

I really admire time-travel shows done right and Kairos is definitely one of those!

The plot is solid and refreshing even within the time-travel genre, and a brave attempt is made to explain the reason behind the time travel phenomenon and how and why it was the way it was. It's very tightly written and the pacing throughout the show is very well done and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the 16 episodes.

I like the direction and the frequent shift between past and future scenes were depicted clearly with warm and cool tones and I was never left questioning which time period I was watching. The added date to the bottom of the screen to show the actual timelines was an added bonus that helped determine the passage of time while watching the show.

The acting was on point with the four leads doing very well. I loved Shin Sung Rok and Le Se Young's acting in this and will be looking forward to their next roles.

The music is okay, nothing remarkable but it fits the theme and tone of the drama.

All in all a very satisfying watch and highly recommended, especially for thriller K-drama watchers.

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