Here to offer copious amounts of male angst and conspiracies, a theme very popular this spring, is 'Golden Cross'. Written by Yoo Hyeon-mi, who has also done 'Bridal Mask' and directed by Hong Seok-goo, 'Golden Cross' goes for an intense and packed plot, not shying away from going very dark and being raw when it needs to. Making it a definite worthy addition to this spring theme, it could end up a great melodrama.
The first thing about this series that really stands out is how relentless it is with its villains. While many shows go for overly dramatic and often cartoonish antagonists, when it comes to conspiracies and powerful figures, less is more sometimes. The bad guys here are not raging caricatures, they are cold and monstrous. They look so far removed from normal decent human beings that their own wickedness does not even register as something outside of normal conduct. This means that their actions and the cruelty with which they manipulate situations and people are presented in a very direct manner. This makes things all the more bloodcurdling.
The drama follows this mentality in its presentation too. Fast-paced and merciless, the plot handles some very dark topics, ranging from the entertainment world to politics to personal relationships. The characters, even the good ones, are very flawed and all have their demons and share of the responsibility for the things that take place. This is great, because grey characters are much more interesting to explore than stock "good guys" and "Bad Guys".
And this is an element that really adds to the credibility of the drama. Its refusal to glorify its characters. While the male lead is important and is the center of things, he has not so far been the object of fanservice. This is not a show created to praise its male lead. He makes his mistakes, needs other characters to help him and he matters for the right reasons, as the hero of his story. This is only amplified by the fact that all the other main characters move the plot just as much, at this point even more than him, the female lead included. This is a great balance, because it puts the story first, as a work of fiction should.
The series does have its minor issues at the moment. The music is a hit and miss, the economic terms and financial games played are quite fast-paced and can be a bit confusing for those not familiar with the business and banking world and even some other plot points need further explanation. It is not without its minor holes, but its good characterization and handling of the important parts make those dismissible at this point. Its melodrama is heavy and constant, which might tire some people out, but it does not drag out for the sake of it and this means it adds to the emotions, if viewers have been drawn into the plot and characters already.
KBS received some complaints about the murder scene and topic of celebrity sponsors, and given the channel has shown some very bad behavior and disappointing performance with its dramas in the past few months, there is always the possibility they will cower in the face of criticism and meddle with the series and what it is trying to do and say. This is a sad reality of this industry and many a drama are tainted when those who greenlight them cannot follow through in their conviction.
'Golden Cross' is well on its way to becoming a great Korean drama, balancing well between quality and the good side of the melodramatic element. Exciting and emotionally gripping, it is an incredibly rewarding experience so far. Hopefully, the channel can see that even its efforts to make its series more crowd-pleasing only alienate the few invested viewers, while mostly failing to bring in new ones. If the series is allowed and manages to keep its current work up, it can become one for the best lists.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Note : due to licensing, videos may not be available in your country
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing drama episode reviews, daily opinion pieces, and weekly drama news roundups. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Golden Cross""
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