Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk

Shine or Go Crazy tells the story of Prince Wang So (Jang Hyuk) who is exiled from the palace as a child because of a prophecy saying he would bring destruction to the country.  He grows up in the mountains away from all of the palace politics and power struggles.  One day he meets Shin Yool (Oh Yeon Seo), an exiled princess of Balhae.  To help her out of a difficult situation, Wang So marries Shin Yool.  But the two go their separate ways, and it is several years later before they are reunited.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk  Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk

Basically, I love everything about Shine or Go Crazy!  I was quickly drawn in by our amazing couple Wang So and Shin Yool.  Jang Hyuk was absolutely hilarious.  He was so playful and fun, and his interactions with Shin Yool were priceless.

In order to run her business, Shin Yool has been pretending to be a man.  When she finally meets Wang So again, she recognizes him, but he believes she really is a guy.  Of course, this sets up a lot of humorous situations.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Oh Yeon Seo  Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Oh Yeon Seo

I really enjoyed Oh Yeon Seo as Shin Yool.  As she pretends to be a man, she is confident and fun.  When she transitions back into dressing and acting like a woman, she is elegant and beautiful.  She was such a great character.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk  Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo

I thought Wang So and Shin Yool also had amazing chemistry.  They had an epic, fated love that brought such touching moments as well as so much joy.  Every time Wang So calls Shin Yool by her guy name, “Gae Bong ahhh!”,  my heart would melt, and I would burst out laughing.  Jang Hyuk is priceless.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Honey Lee

Lee Ha Nui (also known as Honey Lee) was quite intense as Princess Hwang Bo Yeo Won.  She had a difficult life growing up in the palace, and all she knew was to take others out before they could take her out first.  Things grow more complicated when she is arranged to be married to Wang So.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Im Joo Hwan

The one person the Princess cared for was her brother Prince Wang Wook played by Im Joo Hwan.  He was a good man who constantly found himself caught between right and wrong.  How far would he go to help his sister in her sinister plans?  And as he falls for Shin Yool, his loyalties become conflicted.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Ryu Seung Soo

Ryu Seung Soo portrays King Jung Jong who is the eldest brother of Wang So.  He put forth a wonderful performance as a king who wants to do right by his people, but eventually descends into madness because of his treacherous family trying to steal his throne.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Lee Duk Hwa

Lee Duk Hwa is our villain Wang Shik Ryum.  He’s your classic bad guy whose only goal in life is power.  He spends the majority of his time scheming and plotting.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Ahn Kil Kang and Kim Young Sun

Kang Myung (Ahn Kil Kang) and Yeom Shil (Kim Young Sun) are the parent figures for Shin Yool.  They rescued her as a baby and have taken care of her ever since.  And I must say, another wonderful performance by Ahn Kil Kang.  I love this guy!

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Honey Lee  Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Im Joo Hwan

Shine or Go Crazy has romance, humor, action, and drama.  It’s one of the only sageuks I have watched where I was on the edge of my seat even during the political talks.  Princess Hwang Bo Yeo Won had some intense conversations with Prince Wang Wook as well as Wang So.  It takes a lot to keep me interested in those sort of conversations, but Shine or Go Crazy succeeded with flying colors.  So much tension!

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk


I thought the pacing was wonderful with never a dull moment for all 24 episodes.  But a lot of people were extremely disappointed with the ending of the drama.  I didn’t dislike the ending in and of itself, I disliked the execution of it.  It seemed that they needed more time to wrap things up.  Basically, what happens is that everything is moving along quite nicely, and then they try to cram in a lot of wrap up in the last 15 minutes.

After spending the entire drama trying to be together and an extremely romantic reunion between our couple, Shin Yool abruptly decides to leave on a journey by herself rather than go back to the palace to be with Wang So.  She has one conversation with Wang So where all she basically says is, “Oh yeah, by the way, I’m leaving.”  That’s it.

Again, the problem was execution.  I completely understand why a strong character like Shin Yool would not be happy living life as a concubine in the palace.  And there was no way Wang So could leave his position as the new king.

So I understood the reasoning for the ending, it just seemed rather abrupt because of the time constraint.  Our couple live the rest of their lives apart and only get to be reunited in the afterlife.  So yeah, not the greatest ending, but I actually found the final scene of their reunion very touching.

Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama - Jang Hyuk and Oh Yeon Seo

Overall, Shine or Crazy brought me joy from start to finish.  It is everything I love in a sageuk, and of course, you just can’t beat Jang Hyuk.  It was a fun and thrilling ride that I will always remember.  And I don’t regret one moment I spent watching this fabulous drama.

My Rating: 10/10

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19 responses to “Shine or Go Crazy Korean Drama Review”

  1. AidaZen Avatar

    Watching Shine or Go Crazy while on air was a magical experience for me! I always remember the sentimentality I had for a drama even if I don’t remember all the details and what not.

    I’m glad when big-time actors take up sageuks (like Jang Hyuk, Lee Joon Gi etc). Which means fans of the star will always want to give it a try, even though they prefer contemporary dramas.

    Loved the review :)!

    1. Kay Avatar

      I think magical is a perfect way to describe experiencing Shine or Go Crazy. This drama gave me so much excitement and joy. It’s a drama I will always have a strong attachment to. And Jang Hyuk was how I like him best. I think a lot of fans that were new to sageuks enjoyed this one, especially because of Jang Hyuk.

      Oh, I meant to tell you, I finally started Empress Ki! I started it last week, and I’m almost half through. And I love, love, love it! It’s everything I love in a sageuk, and it’s still going strong. I also developed a strong love for the Goryeo period a couple months ago (I didn’t realize when I was watching Shine or Go Crazy why I was particularly attracted to the style, now I know), so I’m drooling all over the gorgeous costumes and hairstyles. It’s just too much fun!

      1. AidaZen Avatar

        I envy anyone just starting Empress Ki. I wish I could revisit the first time I ever watched it. It’s one of my unforgettable sageuks! As for the period costumes, you know, I never really took note, but I do know that of course the Goryeo costumes will differ significantly from Joseon costumes. I’ll be more observant next time. I’ve re-watched Empress Ki the most times than any drama I’ve ever seen. It’s great that you’re enjoying it, because I’ve never seen another drama with such all round perfect combination of actors, costumes and storyline. It was the first time I ever watched Ha Ji Won and I’ve adored her ever since!

        1. Kay Avatar

          I like the Joseon costumes too, one of the pluses of sageuks in general. But I just fell in love with the Goryeo ones. I also find that I love the guys wearing the long straight hair. Joseon era is more likely to have it up (like Joo Jin Mo wears when he is back in Goryeo in Empress Ki). Ji Chang Wook wore his down before becoming Emperor, but then mostly wore it up.

          Shine or Go Crazy had Jang Hyuk and Im Joo Hwan wearing their hair down at the palace which I thought looked awesome. Some people really dislike the hair, but I find I love it. The guys and girls also wear a lot more jewelry, especially earrings. I also love the soldier uniforms that Yuan wore in Empress Ki. I’m typically not one to get excited over military costumes, but I loved those.

          I first saw Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden, but really took a liking to her in King 2 Hearts. She’s great in Empress Ki, and I think she has chemistry with both guys.

          I’m always envious when I hear of other people just starting a great drama too. That’s why I always really try to appreciate it when I find one I love, like Empress Ki. Because even if you always love it, there’s nothing quite like that first experience.

  2. meow194 Avatar

    I still believe SOGC is the Best Drama of 2015, I love everything of it, hope they wins the Awards this year end!!!! Always love Jang Hyuk, the ever best Actor I’ve ever met!!

    1. Kay Avatar

      I definitely think Shine or Go Crazy is one of the best dramas of 2015! I loved everything about it, and I too hope they win some awards. Jang Hyuk truly is one the best actors around. He brings such intensity, sincerity, and the best humor to everything he does. I can’t ever get enough of Jang Hyuk 🙂

  3. […] And the intensity of the palace politics truly surprised me.  It takes a lot to keep me interested in those sorts of things, but Shine or Go Crazy kept me glued to the screen during these conversations.  It was a fun and thrilling ride that I will always remember.  And who can forget those lovely words brought to life by Jang Hyuk when calling Shin Yool by her guy name, “Gae Bong ahhh!” My Rating: 9.5/10 (Shine or Go Crazy Review) […]

  4. […] am thrilled with the addition of Oh Yeon Seo.  I adored her in Shine or Go Crazy earlier this year, and I can easily see her in this type of role.  Also in the cast is Kim Su Ro […]

  5. […] be glad to see that this one gives us our first look at Rain (My Lovely Girl) and Oh Yeon Seo (Shine or Go Crazy)!   And it’s quite an entertaining look […]

  6. […] Overall, Shine or Crazy brought me joy from start to finish.  It is everything I love in a sageuk, and of course, you just can’t beat Jang Hyuk.  It was a fun and thrilling ride that I will always remember.  And I don’t regret one moment I spent watching this fabulous drama. (Shine or Go Crazy Review) […]

  7. Fred Avatar

    It was a good drama – up until the last few minutes. Not really bad. Just a bit lacking. I did not waste 24 hours of my life for that ending. LOL. I finished this in 3 weeks because I was so busy. So as I was approaching the ending, I felt that finally I was going to have some good closure. But then, oh well. HAHA.

    I could not fully appreciate the drama as I was only able to watch a maximum of 3 episodes per day; some days only 1. But I think it has the best storyline of all the sageuks I have watched. I initially decided that I’ll just give this and Moonlight Drawn By Clouds a tie in terms of ranking because they had different feels. I did not want to compare a cute drama and a serious one. But because of the ending I decided to keep MDBC as my favorite sageuk. Oh well. Not disappointed but not happy either. My emotion: blank. HAHA

    1. Kay Avatar

      Haha, yeah, those last few minutes. Shine or Go Crazy is kind of the definition of a drama failing at the last minute. I still think it was more because they tried to do this big wrap up in a short amount of time that made things feel very abrupt and out of place. I got what they were trying to do, but it was just executed terribly. But I adored the drama so much that even those last minutes couldn’t ruin it for me. And there’s always their afterlife reunion, lol 😉

      1. Fred Avatar

        That title is also a bit off. I thought it was a drama with the same feel as Fight For My Way – young people (modern era) looking for their place in the world. It does not prepare you for the drama you are about to watch. HAHA. I only watched it after reading your review.

        Anyways, do you have an updated “Top 30 List”? HAHAHA. I really have a hard time looking for a drama to fit my mood. It took me around a week deciding which drama to watch after eventually deciding on this.

        1. Kay Avatar

          Yeah, definitely don’t judge a drama by its title, lol. There’s some really weird ones and sometimes it seems like they have nothing to do with the drama, hehe.

          Top 30 huh? I just happen to have a list of every drama I’ve watched in order of favorites 😉 Since you already know my top 10, here are the next 20 on the list: Empress Ki, Fated to Love You, Modern Farmer, Me Too Flower, Ho Goo’s Love, City Hunter, Signal, Entertainer, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Goryeo, Ruler: Master of the Mask, Shine or Go Crazy, Love Rain, Gu Family Book, Healer, Two Weeks, Girl Who Sees Smells, Beautiful Gong Shim, She Was Pretty, Thank You, Iljimae.

          I know you’ve already seen quite a few of them, but maybe there’s a few on here you haven’t. I believe I have a review for all of them except two. For a more recent one that I loved that was a great rom-com thriller mix, Suspicious Partner was also excellent.

          And if you decide you’re looking for something more specific, just ask and I’ll try to help and narrow them down for you 🙂

          1. Fred Avatar

            The list is already good enough. Girl Who Sees Smells has already been in my To-Watch List for some time. There are also a few I haven’t heard of (which is a good thing). Now I am happier that I have more options. Thanks a lot. 🙂

            I only watched your 10s because I thought your Top 30 would all be 10s. So now I can be at peace watching your 9s.

            Anyways, 1 more month before While You Were Sleeping ends. I probably won’t anymore wait for your review since I won’t be able to contain my excitement by then. LOL

          2. Kay Avatar

            Great, I was hoping there would be a few you hadn’t seen 🙂 And yes, if I give a drama a 9, I absolutely loved it. In all honestly, I could give them 10s. They’re usually just missing that gut feeling to get it a 10, but are otherwise completely wonderful. But I do have several that I originally gave a 9 and then upon re-watching it upped the score to a 10. But I have plenty of love for my 9s 🙂

            I am impatiently waiting for While You Were Sleeping too! I plan on following my usual schedule and will start it one week before it ends. So just under four weeks until then! So far, I’ve been hearing really good things about it. Hopefully, we both get a fantastic drama out of that one 🙂

  8. judy p morendo Avatar
    judy p morendo

    I watched shine or go crazy 3x .Love it so much but didn’t like the ending either,so I created my own.yeo won carefully prepared 2 cups of tea, one contains poison intended for shin yool and the other does not for herself ,she invited shin for an afternoon tea.somehow the cups got switched and yeo won ended up being poisoned and dropped so and shin yool ended up being together on earth pruducing 5 good looking children and on to afterlife .Now I am happy.😊

    1. Kay Avatar

      I loved Shine or Go Crazy too 🙂 The ending was definitely the one bad part. I gotta say, I think I like your ending! Sometimes we just have to be creative and make things work ourselves 😅

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