In all it's a pre-produced glory, one has to ask - is Scarlet Heart Ryeo living up to the hype?
14 Sep 2016 - 12:18 PM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2016 - 12:18 PM

2016 has to be THE year of K-Dramas. We have had a successful string of dramas like the Pan-Asia hit Descendants of the Sun (DoTS) to the critically acclaimed Signal and lucky for us there’s more. 

Like the dramas mentioned above, Scarlet Heart Ryeo is one of the most anticipated K-dramas of this year. A remake of the Chinese hit drama, Scarlet Heart Ryeo follows the journey of our present-day heroine Hae-Soo who travels back to the historical Goryeo period. Did I mention she makes her grand entrance in the middle of a bath house surrounded by Princes with chocolate abs? Yes friends, our girl Hae-soo is living the dream.

There was no escaping the grasp of Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Leading up to it’s release, we were given a cosmo-mag fashion spread featuring the ridiculously good-looking cast. We were spoiled with an endless amount of photo and video teasers, some even lasting 7 minutes. Scarlet Heart Ryeo had a solid fan-base well before it even aired, myself included.

We are now into the first set of episodes of Scarlet Heart Ryeo and I have to ask, has it been worth the wait so far? It pains me to say it, but I feel like I got gypped. Of course it’s too early to tell (episode 5 out 21) but considering I broke my drama cardinal rule (where I wait until six episodes are out) I can’t seem to get over feeling absolutely unsatisfied.

Like that quote that’s circling Pinterest says, you don’t get a second chance at first impressions. The first establishing episodes of a drama can be so critical in keeping your audience (says the girl who’s never written/acted nor filmed a drama). Perhaps I expected a little too much or maybe I’ve just become a jaded K-Drama fan

So what are my first impressions so far?


Believe it or not, some actors would have to film two days before airing or even the day-of. More and more television networks are opting to pre-produce their dramas, a move which I am completely thankful for. We’ve seen too many promising K-Dramas fall victim to the usual live-shot system. Scarlet Heart Ryeo finished filming months before it even aired which means the production team had plenty of time to focus on major details like the script, editing, costumes and location shots.

While the cast is perfect, the production value so far has been nothing out the ordinary. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a rough cut of a scene that still needs a little love from a film editor. I could do with a little less of the constant camera close-up which is both a blessing and curse. I love seeing Lee Junki’s face take over my computer screen, but what about the rest of his body? Anyway…


One thing I love about this drama is we have a variety of characters. The downfall is sometimes multi-casts can be confusing, and in this case distracting because everyone is either too beautiful or too handsome. There’s only so many handsome faces I can handle, said no girl ever. 

I literally had to go searching for a character chart (credit and a big thanks to CrystalJo). More characters will be introduced over the next few weeks and I can’t help but wonder if the remaining 16 episodes will be enough for some much-needed in-depth character development. 


When something major happens - like an OTP kiss - it’s always accompanied by a song. When it’s done right, dramas and OSTs become the perfect marriage. Almost every week we’re treated to a new OST from Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and some of these songs are begging for a replay. I love the songs on their own but they can sometimes feel a little out of place whenever they appear in a scene.

I’m still waiting for that significant song like Heir’sLove is the Moment’ or Yoon Mi Rae’s ‘Always’ in DoTS but of course, there's still a few more OSTs to be released. Soon enough that one song will hit me right in the feels.   

A good sign is that when an episode ends I'm wanting more. I am hopeful that Scarlet Heart Ryeo will eventually be worth the wait and all the crazy hype. When Scarlet Heart Ryeo comes to an end and I have to write a final review, I hope I end up eating every word I’ve just written. Like that other quote on Pinterest says, never trust first impressions.

What are your thoughts on Scarlet Heart Ryeo so far? Let us know below.

Sincerely your DQ,

Shay Shay xx

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