The Lonely Shining Goblin continues to prove Km Eun Suk as a hit screenwriter - who is worthy of the praise as she weaves a mythical world that still manages to stay rooted in reality.
The strength in the show comes down to the relationships, particularly between Kim Sin and Grim Reaper, who manage to play both old souls and immature children with ease, forming an unlikely friendship that becomes the highlight of the show. Eun Tak and Sunny also had a great friendship, filled with advice and silliness that helped flesh them out. Deok Hwa was silly but well-meaning, managing to walk a fine line that never put him into the annoying territory.
The mythology of the world was well-written, incorporating ghosts, goblins and grim reapers seamlessly into the world we're familiar with. The flashbacks added a gravitas that helped ground the story when it got too heavy.
The weakest aspect of the show was the running time; the writing did slow down in an attempt to draw the plot out over such a long run time, and the directing played on moments for beats that often ran too long. This is not a fast moving show by any means, and definitely felt like it could have benefited from having a normal Korean drama show length.
A recommend for any fan of fantasy, just make sure you dedicate a decent chunk of time to watch each episode.
Lot of hype around this one, but it was deserving. Writer Kim Eun Suk carried over her amazing story forming skills from her earlier in the year hit "Descendants of the Sun". Wonderfully orchestrated the mystery of this drama piece had my mind on high alert trying to pick up every little tiny detail so I could try to figure out who was who and how they all connected. The bromance was also amazingly written and Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook carried it off the script to fly into the hearts of the audience. From the moment of the opening credits my heart was hooked. The OST was flippin' incredible! It really helped carry the emotion of each scene very well. A special touch to dramas that can make or break a drama for me. I really felt this drama was more about how to live and die well more than anything. Each little story of the dead visiting the Grim Reaper's tea house was touching and thought provoking. If this drama was a beautifully decorated cake, those stories were the lit candles atop it. There was romance but it wasn't that high. Sunny (Yoo In Na) and the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook) couldn't have a high romantic chemistry because of the state of his character. If those obstacles weren't there I think it would have been off the charts. With our leads Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) and Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), the romance just never quite got there for me. I saw them more as really good friends rather than lovers as the dialogue kept trying to make them out to be. I don't know if it was their character age difference or their actual age difference, the romantic chemistry just never quite reached the level I thought should have been brought to the table in their story. Plenty of laughs, plenty of tears, plenty of gasps, and plenty of oohs this drama sent you on an emotional journey to leave you at the destination satisfied yet wanting more.