SKY Castle Korean Drama Review

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah, Yoon Se Ah, Oh Na Ra, Jung Joon Ho, Kim Byung Chul, Jo Jae Yun, Choi Won Young, Lee Tae Ran, Kim Seo Hyung

SKY Castle is a satirical black comedy about the lives of four wealthy women and their families and the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to make sure their children get into good universities and are successful in life.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah SKY Castle Korean Drama - Jung Joon Ho
SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yoon Se Ah SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Byung Chul

We’ve got a lot of people to meet, so let’s jump right into the introductions of all of our wealthy families who live at SKY Castle.Β  There’s the cunning and unwavering Seo Jin (Yum Jung Ah) and her doctor husband Joon Sang (Jung Joon Ho). Then we have the bright and elegant Sung Hye (Yoon Se Ah) and her professor husband Min Hyuk (Kim Byung Chul).

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Oh Na Ra SKY Castle Korean Drama - Jo Jae Yun
SKY Castle Korean Drama - Lee Tae Ran SKY Castle Korean Drama - Choi Won Young

Next is the feisty Jin Hee (Oh Na Ra) and her doctor husband Yang Woo (Jo Jae Yun). Then there’s the kindhearted new neighbor Soo Im (Lee Tae Ran) and her doctor husband Chi Yeong (Choi Won Young).

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Seo Hyung

Finally, we have our mysterious professional tutor Kim Joo Young (Kim Seo Hyung) who will do whatever it takes to make sure her clients get into a top school. This is an interesting character that will keep you guessing as to what her motives really are. Whew, that was a lot of people!

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah, Yoon Se Ah, Oh Na Ra, Jung Joon Ho, Kim Byung Chul, Jo Jae Yun

SKY Castle is a drama that I only checked out because it was a ratings monster that went on to become the highest rated cable drama ever. People raved about it week after week, so I couldn’t help but be curious to see what all the commotion was about. Especially since on paper, this drama sounded completely boring to me. I really had no desire to watch this one on my own, so it was just pure curiosity that led me to it.

And well, my experience wasn’t exactly like I had hoped it would be. I told myself going in that I would give it four episodes to win me over since it sounded like the kind of drama that would take some time to set it up. Of course, I was hoping it would win me over sooner than that though.

But sadly, that was not the case. I really was not feeling the first four episodes. I thought they were mostly slow with an engaging scene sprinkled in here and there. I just wasn’t interested in the story.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Seo Hyung

Also, most of the characters were pretty unlikable. Even the “good” characters were just okay for me. I definitely prefer to like the characters in my dramas. There are exceptions where I don’t mind if I don’t like them though. The key is that the story has to be really gripping to make up for it. Say something like Return where there was an intense murder mystery and some very over the top villains. But the people in SKY Castle were unlikable, and the story wasn’t that engaging in the beginning.

I really wanted to drop it at this point, butΒ I was on a roll and went on to episode five. Things got somewhat better at this point. Still not really engaged, but it was doable. After reading lots of opinions on the drama, I really wanted to hang in there since everyone was saying how dramatic and intense it becomes. So I pushed on.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah and Kim Bo Ra

I eventually came to the conclusion that SKY Castle was the slowest burning drama ever for me. Every episode got marginally better than the previous. The first third was fairly dull, the middle was decent, and the last third was crazy good. It ever so slowly built upon each episode to ramp up the intensity.

And then that last third things just gets all kinds of wild! Everything hits the fan as all of that build up culminates in multiple story lines coming to a head. Lots of drama and fireworks ensue. Now this was my kind of show! The emotions were running high for everyone, and the tension was just through the roof. This drama turned out to be a whole lot more than just kids getting into good schools.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Jung Joon Ho and Yum Jung Ah

SKY Castle is a darker themed drama with a very heavy feel. It focuses on all sorts of issues like the pressure kids face to get into good schools, the lengths parents will go to get them there, suicide, murder, and so much more. These are difficult subjects for sure.

I do think that overall SKY Castle had a very good script and presented its story in a unique way. I just haven’t come across many dramas like it. It knew where it was going from the start and put a lot of thought in the details. The basic story of getting kids into good schools explodes into major family issues, criminal activity, and life and death stakes. The overall production was also wonderful.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah and Lee Tae Ran

Then the mostly veteran cast were all excellent and delivered impeccable performances. If you like good acting, this is a drama to see. Even the teens were pretty good. You’ll see plenty of dramatic reactions, intense encounters, and lots of plotting. The cast really brought this show to life.

There were a whole lot of main characters in this show though! There are nine main adult characters as well as their children. That’s a lot of people to get to know and to figure out. I tend to prefer getting to know a large cast little by little over time, but this one mostly throws you right in the middle of all of them. But on the plus side, that enables there to be lots going on all of the time. There was always plenty of new things to discover.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Dong Hee, Jo Byung Kyoo, Kim Hye Yoon, Lee Yoo Jin, Lee Ji Won, Cha Ni, Kim Bo Ra

Each family has its own dynamic and quirks. It’s interesting to see how they all function as a unit and then how that influences their actions with other members of SKY Castle and the outside world.

And luckily, many of those unlikable characters sort of grew on me. Now I didn’t really come around to full on liking them, but I found several of them to be entertaining in their own ways. My favorites ended up being Sung Hye and Jin Hee. These two ladies certainly made me laugh. And most of the kids were pretty decent.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah

The main character, Seo Jin, was someone that I never came around to. Now on one hand, she is such a fascinating character. She is completely unwavering in her mission to get her child into a top school. Not only does she bring in a questionable tutor to help her, but as their lives begin to spiral out of control, she doubles down and won’t budge.

Some of the things she did were truly terrible. She does love her family, but what she does to achieve her goals made her very difficult to connect with. She was a truly interesting woman though, and it was neat to see a lead character like this.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Byung Chul and Kim Dong Hee

The parents all have to go on their own intense journeys. All of them want their kids to get into good schools and go to great lengths to ensure that happens. Some are misguided and just put too much pressure on their kids while others are completely obsessive and ruthless to make sure they succeed.

And these kids go through some serious stuff. I really felt bad for how much pressure they were put under. Sometimes their parents were just downright cruel to them with the tactics they would use to get the kids to study and get good grades. They were put under immense pressure, and they couldn’t always handle it. It was sad.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yoon Se Ah SKY Castle Korean Drama - Kim Byung Chul

The adults all have to eventually face what they are doing to their kids and ultimately decide if what they are doing is really best for them. It’s a process for all of them with some seeing that school isn’t worth everything if their kids end up miserable and others just not being able to break free from the belief that their kids must succeed in the way they deem best. It’s a heartbreaking process to watch as some see their lives falling apart and decide to change while others bear down and lose everything because they can’t change.

Although the drama is mostly quite serious, there are moments of levity throughout. Most is through some of the individual family dynamics and a bit of job fun at the hospital where several of the men worked. It breaks things up a bit.

SKY Castle Korean Drama - Yum Jung Ah

In the end, I found myself feeling quite conflicted about SKY Castle. While I greatly appreciated the groundwork that was laid early on that culminated in some big payoffs towards the end, the slowness for such a large part of the drama really got to me.

The fact that it took over half of the drama for me to really warm up to it definitely affected my overall enjoyment. But thankfully, it got better as it went, and a good chunk of the last part of the drama was excellent and filled with tension. That left things on a good note.

The people who loved this drama all the way through seemed to far outweigh those who didn’t, so if the idea of a darker satirical comedy intrigues you, you should definitely give it a look. Its script, production, and talented actors work together for a very unique experience that pulls you into the twisted world that is SKY Castle.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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36 Responses to SKY Castle Korean Drama Review

  1. BiblioNyan says:

    I tend to love darker shows, so this one has me intrigued. I am surprised by the large number of main characters though! That’s kind of intimidating to a newb, lol. Is this available for online streaming?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You should give it a look. It definitely has a dark overall tone (though it is a black comedy, so it has some humor) and it’s very unique. Yes, so many main characters! I’ve been watching for years, and I still find it intimidating, lol. It takes a few eps, but you do get to know everybody. It’s available to stream on Viki in the US. Not sure about availability in other countries though. Even Viki gets confusing with its Standard and Plus packages and who gets what dramas πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

      • BiblioNyan says:

        It does get confusing. I just have the standard I think. I don’t need anything too complicated lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Yep, it just gets more confusing by the day. It was so much easier when I first started watching kdramas. Hulu had a huge selection at the time and Netflix had an okay amount. Then came DramaFever (RIP) and then Viki. Not diluting the pool even more are Kocowa and OnDemandKorea. And they have different packages. Too complicated, lol

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate says:

    Thanks so much for plowing through this and giving such a well balanced review! It’s definitely been added to my list now (wasn’t before based on the premise) but will have to be one I watch when I’m in the mood for it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You’re very welcome πŸ™‚ Despite finding the first half slow, the drama definitely has a whole lot to offer in terms of a well crafted story, production, excellent actors, and a very unique overall feel. You should definitely give it a try when you’re in the mood. Hopefully, you’ll like it much quicker than I did though, hehe


  3. MyKDramaticLife says:

    Your score is so slow. 😦 I have read your review about it, and mostly we had the same feeling about the SKY Castle. In the first and second third of the day, it was just an okay (and a bit boring,.and I was ready to give it a 7.5 rating), but it hit and got very great in its last third, like a cried a river for its intense heartfelt moments. So it raised immediately from 7.5 to 8.5/10. πŸ™‚ And we also have the same favorite characters in the drama: Sung Hye and Jin Jin. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Haha, it may seem low, but a 6.5 means I still liked it, it just had some big flaws for me. It’s neat that we had similar feelings about it though. Yeah, that first half or so was just so slow. I would have probable given it a 5. But then the last part was sooooo good that I would give that an 8.5 or so. So I sort of averaged it and landed with the 6.5. Which did kind of feel weird coming off of it being so good. But then I remembered the struggle to get to the good, lol. But yeah, it sounds like our experience was quite similar. Oh how great that we have the same favorite characters. Sung Hye and Jin Jin really grew on me and made me laugh πŸ™‚


    • DH says:

      I thought this drama was phenomenal! I love stories with multiple main characters. Like you, I do prefer to like the characters but I made an exception with this one because the storyline was so good. I’m surprised to hear you thought it was slow, my daughter and I were in the edge of our seats for many episodes. Anyway thank you for your reviews. I like to hear other perspectives since none of my friends watch asian dramas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kay says:

        So glad to hear that you loved it πŸ™‚ Yeah, I think it really just comes down to a taste thing in that I found the way it told its story slow. But most people found it intense from the get got like you did. Thankfully, it got better for me as it went so that last third was definitely an edge of your seat experience. Aww, and thank you for enjoying the reviews! It is nice to connect with other drama fans since we don’t come across them often in real life πŸ™‚


  4. Ann says:

    Im so happy to see your review! Glad Im not the only one who felt meh about the show. With so much hype around it, I was most definitely looking forward to seeing this for myself. I found the first two episodes quite riveting and really piqued my curiosity. However it was quite the slow burn after that, or at least went the direction I didn’t like. Im fine with slow burn dramas (what with My Ahjussi being my top drama) so I was really excited because I thought, finally, another great drama to love after My Mister.

    But ofcourse it didn’t go that way. I managed to sit through 11 episodes until I finally said no more. I wanted to carry on because a lot of people said it got more exciting later on but I physically couldn’t sit through another one. It just wasn’t for me and I was trying so hard to force it. Im so disappointed because I really wanted to like it but I realised Id rather spend my time on something I will really enjoy watching. It wouldve been 18 or 20? Hours spent on something I didn’t really enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I definitely understand your frustration! This drama was seriously such a slow burn, and I was really feeling meh about it for quite a while too. I would have dropped it if I hadn’t of decided to keep hanging on for all the drama everyone kept talking about. And I almost did after 4 eps.

      I had the same feeling as you in that I didn’t want to waste my time waiting for it to get good. I think the main reason I made it though was because each episode did get just a bit better. So it did seem to be building up in the right direction. It’s one of those dramas that thankfully turned out really good in the end so I don’t regret watching it, but honestly, I wouldn’t do it again if I knew what I was getting myself into, lol


  5. I was really curious about this one too because of the ratings, but just like you, when I read the plot, it kinda sounds boring~ and if it didn’t hook you for four episodes… I think i won’t be too… but maybe someday I’ll give it a try~

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      Yeah, this drama sounds incredibly boring on paper. And the first third or so pretty much was that way for me. It took way longer than I wanted, but luckily it did improve a lot. Most people who really liked it seemed to get hooked in episode two, so maybe just give a couple eps a try sometime, and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect πŸ™‚


      • Ok, Kay! πŸ˜‰ I’ll add that to my watch list… but I think I’ll start Eulachacha Waikiki S2 first, I need some comedy after watching He’s Psychometric and Kill It. πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Sounds like a good idea! I’m watching He is Psychometric right now and enjoying it. I think Eulachacha Waikiki 2 will also most likely be the follow up for me in a few weeks. Been waiting for that one for a while πŸ™‚


          • Yeah~ Oh cool! He’s Psychometric is good too! I’m currently on ep 5 of Eulachacha Waikiki 2, and so far so good πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚ Can’t wait for you to watch it. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              Oh that’s so good to hear! The first season was by far one of the funniest dramas I have ever watched (along with this writer’s other drama Modern Farmer). So I’m definitely ready for more of that!


  6. D says:

    Thanks Kay. After reading this review I decided I will not continue watching this. There are so many dramas to watch. I don’t have time for slow dramas like these. No wonder I have not gone back to it after I watched 3 episodes. Thanks. I’m currently watching Psychometric Guy and that one is very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I know the feeling. I went back and forth so many times about whether or not to drop it because I feel the same way. I would have dropped almost any other drama that had been this slow in the beginning, but only held on because of the unique circumstances surrounding this particular drama. It takes so long to get going though that I don’t blame you for moving on to more interesting things.

      Ah, I’m watching He is Psychometric right now too! That one hooked me from the first episode (finally!), and I’m also really enjoying it so far πŸ™‚


  7. ImGian9 says:

    I think this one of my favourite Kdrama of this year, for example the different atmospheres that each scenes had been portrayed are really enjoyable, I really enjoy that the Kids were more mature than the parents and everyone had problems.
    One of the reasons that this Drama had such a terrific ratings was that it portrayed some aspect of South Korean Society where a lot of people and companies are likely interested in numbers and grades and social status than the real person.
    Some parts of this drama were really slow other were really funny and unexpectable, that were my feelings watching this drama when it was aired during December and January.
    I waited to read this review and I have to admit, I really thought that you would give less than 7 score to this drama, but if I rewatched this again I would give the same score as you did, because I would rewatched as other old Kdrama I watched, all in a row that because I think this is one of those Drama that you have to watch as it has been aired as a current drama, you have to watc every week two episodes because if not, you could lose some suspance, feelings and emotions that I had watching and following this Drama every week.
    This is my first time that I comment to one of your post, this is because in some reviews I share the same opinions and critics I had, in other when I wanted to watch some old Kdrama that I haven’t watched I came here to see if there are suggestions, which there are, THANK YOU FOR YOUR REVIEW OF SIGNAL, EMPRESS KI, King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu, those are some of my favourite kdrama of all time, especially the first one, so I don’t have to write something that have been just write, on the other hand when you reviewed some drama that you found enjoyable, like Liar and His lover or Greasy Mellow, that I found really irritating, bad and frustrating following I didn’t want to write something because it was your personal opinion, but this time I had to write something because this Drama I really loved it and enjoyed watching it.
    At the end of the day I am really glad that you shared your opinion about this drama, I’m bit sad that you found this a little bit overrated but it’s your personal opinion so I had to respected, so keep it up and I will wait for another Review ( maybe HAECHI ?) and I’M REALLY SORRY IF THIS IS A LONG COMMENT ^_^’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Hi! I’m glad you decided to leave a comment πŸ™‚ And no worries, long comments are good so that you can really share how you feel. I don’t mind hearing other opinions on dramas at all. We all have different opinions and even when most of the time some people agree, there will always be dramas we feel differently about.

      How great that SKY Castle is one of your best dramas this year πŸ™‚ I actually didn’t find it overrated at all as I can see why its themes were so relevant, particularly in South Korea. And it did have a whole lot of going for it. Honestly, the slowness and unlikable characters were really my only negatives. Everything else was very well done, and the story got so good as it went on. Slowness is just about the worst thing a drama can do for me, so that’s the main reason for the lower rating. It’s one I would recommend people at least check out the first couple eps to see if it fits their tastes because it does turn out quite good.

      Yay! I’m happy you found some amazing dramas through some of my reviews πŸ™‚ I adore Signal, Empress Ki, and King of Baking. Some of my all time favorite dramas for sure. And I do have Haechi on my watch list, so I will definitely do a review when I get to it. It was good to hear some of your thoughts and I hope you comment again in the future πŸ™‚


  8. This is a very nice review and I can’t keep myself from gushing and saying “yeah, this is SO TRUE!!!” while reading it and we have the same favorite character Sung Hye! πŸ™‚ but I also like Soo-Im instead of Jinjin! your review just sums up all the feels I have experienced watching this drama. I am so happy i came across your page and found the right words to describe the entire show. Just finished watching it last night and I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t craving for more, I spend the day going over my feelings. Can’t still get over it! LOL. And again, I really enjoyed reading this! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Aww, thank you, and I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it πŸ™‚ Oh yes, Sung Hye turned out to be such a great character! I know the feeling when a drama really stays with you so you just want to keep reliving it. It sounds like you really had that experience with SKY Castle which is wonderful πŸ™‚ Hopefully, you find something just as good really soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Eva says:

    Finally great seeing your review for sky castle. I have to agree with you. I just realised that the genre satire isn’t really my cup of tea. Props to you for finishing it. I myself lasted only up to episode 8. I dunno if I can get myself to continue watching it again since there are so many good dramas out there to watch. But that’s just my personal opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Glad you enjoyed the read πŸ™‚ Satire is a hit or miss genre for me. Just depends on the execution. And I did think for the most part SKY Castle executed it well, I mostly just wish it could have been paced better.

      I can understand calling it quits though. I thought about it multiple times. It was getting a bit better each episode, but mostly it was having the knowledge ahead of time that things really get juicy later in the drama that gave me the push to hang on. It’s never fun just waiting for a drama to get good though. I’m glad I held out, but it didn’t make for an ideal experience πŸ˜›


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  11. I watched this drama and it left me hooked until the end…I really enjoyed watching this drama!

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Jaya says:

    Wow! This perspective is totally different from what I read so far for this drama. I was just looking for the review of Remember because I was planning to watch it but kind of hesitating because I don’t really like sad endings and then I stumbled upon this.
    I kind of agree with some of your points. It’s slower in first 3 to 4 episodes and gradually becomes better. At least this is what I noticed when I think about this deeply. Also, just like you, I gave this drama a chance because of all the praises I heard about it but I was honestly not that very interested in the world of rich families. Most of the school dramas I saw involves those rich families who never pays attention to their kids and their kids ends up being spoilt brats who also somehow tends to disturb other students to get highest grades. I was thinking it is similar to this and I was tired of watching same plot device which always gets on my nerves. However I was wrong. I was indeed a bit bored and confused in first 2 episodes but then I was soon drawn into it. It is one of my favorite dramas up there despite the fact that I like dramas with a strong, thrilling storyline, specially if involves time travel/fantasy/sci-fi elements, I am more than happy.

    I understand your perception too because now when I think about this drama, it didn’t have much story going on. The whole drama was on the shoulders of actors and how they encounter and accept the hurdles and evolve. But I firmly believe what made it interesting was the basic groundwork. It showed the actual reality of students suffering because of high expections on top of other life problems. Being an asian myself, though I never faced such situations, I understand it completely and sympathise with kids coz I saw many students in my country going through the same. Also, this twisted mentality and blindly belief of getting your kids into best schools and colleges is what I despise the most. Of course, this tutor was one of the twisted personality and it did add spices later in the drama which I enjoy a lot but maybe I was invested too much into the characters and found it relating to personal level, I was not bored for even a second.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I’m glad you were able to appreciate my perspective on the drama πŸ™‚ I did end up having a bit of a different experience than most, but thankfully, it all worked out in the end. This one definitely didn’t sound that appealing on paper, and I was concerned after watching the first few eps since it didn’t seem to be living up to the hype. But I’m glad I stuck with it since it is one of those dramas that just continues to pick up steam as it goes and finally explodes into all kinds of goodness!

      All of the cast was so fantastic, and I was in awe of how much emotion they brought out. And the story really did highlight so many issues and made them very compelling to watch. I’m really happy I decided to hang in there because the pay off was quite good with this one. That last third was completely gripping and made it worth it πŸ™‚


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