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First Impressions: Lovers of the Red Sky

Lovers of the Red Sky has been killing it in the ratings game with this week’s episode recording at 10.2%, ranking first on the Monday – Tuesday timeslot, an leading ahead of its competitors. With the combination of breathtaking cinematography, in-depth world-building, and chemistry between our main actors – it’s not a surprise that this show is a hit! 


In this show, the world is a character of its own.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a sageuk fantasy, specifically delving into Korean folklore. We have seen sageuk fusion fantasies like Mr. Queen or Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo, where we take modern elements of fantasy and bring them to the historical genre. On the other hand, we’ve also seen Korean folklore, now very well integrated into modern fantasy dramas like last year’s Tale of the Nine Tailed or even the classic Korean Odyssey (Hwayugi). But it has been a while since we’ve seen this particular combination of sageuk and Korean folklore – not in the last ten years at least. 

So when we did see that opening sequence, with the Samshin Grandma and the Ma Wang, we cracked our knuckles and got ready for the ride. The first few episodes dealt with the setup of the world and the stakes very well. We have the three gods – Samshin Grandma, the protector of life; Ma Wang, the enabler of death; and the last god that was supposed to set the balance. With Ma Wang on the loose, our heroes now are fated to take part in a divine plan. Ha Ram as the vessel that would temporarily trap Ma Wang, and Cheon Gi as the one who would paint the portrait that would permanently hold him. 

Through amazing CGI and writing, the show was able to tell this rich complex story without losing the audience. The cinematography is also top-notch, making even the normal scenes look magical. 

Hong Cheon Gi

How can we talk about Hong Cheon Gi without singing praises of the Sageuk Fairy herself, Kim Yoo Jung? Though the role is quite reminiscent of her character Hong Ra On in Love in the Moonlight, she also brings a certain spunk and cheekiness in the role that we haven’t seen before. At the same time, she also delivers on the drama very well. We love her scenes with her dad. Though she’s pretending that everything is alright, you can see right in her eyes that it isn’t. 

What we love about Cheon Gi is the balancing act of naivete and strength. She’s young but she had to grow up early taking care of her sick father. Though she gets scammed, she’s hardworking and not afraid to return the favor. Love it when she’s cheeky too! That butterfly signature she always has on her paintings made us laugh out loud when she revealed it. 

Ha Ram

Of course, we also have sageuk newcomer Ahn Hyo Seop who’s definitely holding his own! They say the eyes are the gateway to the person’s emotions. Ahn Hyo Seop had a challenge of his eyes being bright red and the fact that Ha Ram is blind. But it doesn’t mean that his eyes aren’t filled with emotion. In fact, these helped highlight Ahn Hyo Seop’s micro-expressions. Uri Paul definitely put his A-game into the show!

Ha Ram is generally on the more serious, brooding side. But we love the hints of playfulness that he has when he’s with Cheon Gi as well like she brings it out of him. In a sense, he’s haunted by his want for revenge and this mystical condition that he doesn’t understand. And though we may not agree with his choices in pushing Cheon Gi away, we totally get why he wants her out of his problems. We’re excited for him to realize that fate sometimes doesn’t work in our favor, and whatever it may be, it’s always best to face destiny together than alone.

Fated Love

For the past few episodes, we haven’t seen much of Ha Ram and Cheon Gi together, but after Episode 6 the stakes for their relationship just became higher. We’re so excited for the angst that would ensue. But if even fate is pushing them to fall in love, it won’t be long before they both fall into each other’s arms once again.

We’re loving the show so far! Let us know your thoughts on Lovers of the Red Sky in the comments below!