tvN’s promising new K-Drama, “Goblin” (도깨비) aka “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” finally aired over the weekend to much fanfare. Prior to its premiere, the highly anticipated show was poised to be the perfect K-Drama to wrap up 2016.
So far, it hasn’t disappointed 😉
The storyline follows the Goblin (played by Gong Yoo), a handsome centenarian who is tired of his immortality. The only way to end his life is to find a “goblin bride”, thus bringing his search to Euntak (played by Kim Go Eun) whom he falls passionately in love with. Their love story, like any great one, is woeful when it is revealed that Euntak is actually on the run from the Angel of Death, the Reaper (played by Lee Dong Wook). The latter, tasked with killing Euntak, later meets Sunny (played by Yoo In Na) a beautiful woman and develops feelings for her.
The plot thickens when viewers find that Goblin and Reaper are actually roommates, plunging them into a complicated pit as they wrestle with their emotions and duties.
Having seen the first 2 episodes, here are some reasons why you need to watch “Goblin”:
1. The concept will keep you glued to your seats
There’s a reason why the concept will draw you in from the very first episode – the K-Drama is written by writer Kim Eun Sook, who also wrote the hugely successful series “Secret Garden” (2010), “The Heirs” (2013), and “Descendants of the Sun” (2016). For those of you who are not in the know, Kim’s trademark is slick and glossy romantic comedies with fast-flying banter. Most of her dramas appeal to a wide age range of viewers and receive high ratings because that extra element (read: X factor) that make them pop culture buzz projects. In 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SBS Drama Awards. “Goblin”, a thrilling unorthodox romantic drama that is set in a fantasy world of today’s time, is Kim’s second collaboration with mastermind director Lee Eung Bok, whom she worked with previously for “Descendants of the Sun”.
2. Let’s talk about the K-Drama’s star-studded cast
Of course, we can’t go without talking about the actors/actresses. The show boasts a star-studded cast including Gong Yoo (of “Train To Busan” fame), Lee Dong Wook (of “Hotel King” fame), Yoo In Na, and Kim Go Eun (of “Cheese in the Trap” fame), who recently won “Best New TV Actress” at the Paeksang Arts Awards. From what we’ve gathered while watching the first 2 episodes, Gong Yoo and Dong Wook’s #bromance game is pretty strong despite being entangled in a love-hate relationship (Gong Yoo is a protector of souls while Dong Wook “collects” deceased souls. Meanwhile, Kim Go Eun has got her school girl naivety so spot on that you’d often forget that she’s actually 25 years old (in real life). Yoo In Na, on the other hand, only comes in during the 2nd episode as Sunny, the bright and beautiful (hence the name) chicken restaurant owner. Like everyone else who have been following “Goblin”, we can’t wait to see how Sunny’s unlikely romance with Dong Wook’s character unfolds!
3. The first 2 episodes are 90 minutes long each
Unlike most K-Dramas, “Goblin” really took its time introducing the characters and their respective back stories. So much so that the first 2 episodes are 90 minutes long – each. K-Drama fans would definitely appreciate the longer run time for these episodes since most shows are crash courses in character introduction in the beginning. We totally understand the need to rush through everything for most modern K-Dramas out there as their format allows them to run for only 1 season, with 12 to 24 episodes, and 60 minutes per episode. But it’s nice to know that the brains behind “Goblin” put a lot of thought in developing the K-Drama and its characters this time around. For that, we give major brownie points 🙂
4. Has all the makings to dethrone “Reply 1998”
It goes without saying that tvN has certainly done well this year with their quality releases. 2016 kicked off with the highly rated “Reply 1998”, followed by “Another Oh Hae Young” and “The K2“. “Reply 1998”, the predecessor to 2 other K-Dramas with the same theme (“Reply 1997” and “Reply 1994”) was one of their most prominent releases, what with it recording an average of 6.25% in its first episode. The ratings increased over the course of 20 episodes before ending with an average of 18.6%, making it the highest rated drama in Korean cable television history. But, it could very well be dethroned by “Goblin” soon! The first episode of “Goblin” earned a viewership percentage (6.3%) that was higher than the first episode of “Reply 1988”. The second episode of “Goblin”, 7.9%. Fierce! If that’s not impressive, we don’t know what is.
5. “Stay With Me” ft. Punch (펀치) and Chanyeol (박찬열) is amazing!
Written and composed by Rocoberry and Lee Seung Joo, who wrote songs for “Descendants of the Sun” and “Who Are You” respectively, the first track for the “Goblin” OST will captivate you more than you’d like. Firstly, because it’s a dreamy number with an electric guitar and piano accompaniment. Secondly, and more importantly, because it features the lovely vocals of female vocalist/rapper Punch (펀치) and EXO’s Chanyeol (박찬열). Oh man, if this is indication of what’s to come, then we can’t wait for the rest of the OST to be released! For now, we’ve got “Stay With Me” on repeat 😉
6. The cast and crew held a ritual for good luck
A couple of weeks ago, the cast and crew gathered on the set of “Goblin” to hold a ritual for good luck. In attendance were the leads actors – Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook, Kim Go Eun, Yoo In Na, Sungjae – as well as the supporting cast. Other crew members including the writer and director were also there, bringing a total number of 200 people who were present. Together, they wished for the drama’s success, amazing viewer ratings, and safe filming with no accidents. During the ritual, Kim Go Eun and Yoo In Na showed off their “aegyo” (as seeing in the photo set above) while Sungjae promised to listen to the director well. Aww 🙂 Go on, show them your support.
7. BTOB’s Sungjae had help from the cast in preparing for his role
K-Pop idol boy group BTOB‘s vocalist Yook Sungjae (육성재) plays the role of Yoo Deok Hwa, the Goblin’s bratty nephew. Although it’s not his first K-Drama and his “Goblin” character is a fun one to play, Sungjae revealed that the pressure was intense. Luckily, his co-stars helped him prepare for the K-Drama. “I feel a lot of pressure. I felt burdened because a lot more people cheered me on and watched over me more than I thought they would. I think I’ve naturally melded in as my four co-stars are so comfortable with me on the film set. I feel more comfortable just seeing the eyes of my hyungs and noonas, so I think I’ll grow little by little,” Sungjae said at the press conference.
8. Kim So Hyun made a special appearance
It wasn’t until September that “Moon Embracing the Sun” star Kim So Hyun was confirmed to be making a special appearance in “Goblin”. The multiple award-winning actress played the role of a queen in the first episode of “Goblin”, alongside her king, played by Kim Min Jae (김소현). She appeared in the sageuk-style scenes which were filmed on location in Gimje, South Korea. We will not offer any spoilers, you’ll just have to watch it for yourself 😉 Other than “Moon Embracing the Sun”, Kim So Hyun is also known for her roles in “Rooftop Prince” (2012), “Missing You” (2012), and “The Girl Who Sees Smells” (2015). She will be seen next in the upcoming historical drama, “Ruler: Master of the Mask”, which will premiere in 2017.
Still not convinced? Check out the trailer for “Goblin” below:
Catch the premiere of Goblin on Oh!K (Astro Channel 394), within 24 hours of Korea, on Saturday, 3rd December at 7pm. Brand new episodes will air every Saturday and Sunday.