I like what I’ve watched so far, and Fantastic is as fantastic as it can be. The story is nothing new – a cancer-striken female lead (Scent of a Woman much?) and a Hallyu star (male counterpart of Cheon Song-yi in You Who Came From the Stars), but the style the story unfolds is more relatable and the meta. The meta provided much of the laughs, thanks to Joo Sang-wook. His character Ryu Hae-sung is a major Hallyu star who’s probably way more popular overseas (China) than at home (but still a star nonetheless), but he’s also an actor with terrible acting skills yet refuses to acknowledge it openly.
Pairing up with him is the ever fantastic Kim Hyun Joo, her character here a totally different one from her previous drama. She plays Lee So-hye, a well-received scriptwriter told to have breast cancer with metastasis to the lungs. The first two episodes didn’t dwell too much on her illness, as So-hye goes on with her life as usual, as well as re-connecting with her old friends. She also has a history with Hae-sung, and it seems that he’s more hung up about her than she is about him, because of some misunderstanding while they were dating.
There is another cancer survivor here in Show, So-hye’s friend Dr Hong Joon-ki (Kim Tae-hoon). He’s optimistic and there’s mutual liking between him and So-hye. Too bad he’s not part of the OTP (or is he?) because so far it seems he’ll do more good to So-hye and her coping with cancer. It does appear that the cancer troupe is a little out of place in the drama overall, but I think Show is more about living life to its fullest, so I’m interested to see how the seemingly depressing subject will be dealt with in a romcom.
The highlight for me in the first two episodes is the friendship of So-hye and her high school friends, Baek Seol (Park Shi Yeon) and Jo Mi-sun (Kim Jae-hwa). Seol is married into a traditional political family, where her in-laws treat her like a maid, and from the flashbacks Seol was a lively and bold girl, a stark contrast to her current meek and obedient daughter-in-law who has be in a hanbok for as long as she is at home. Mi-sun is luckier, happily married to a fellow schoolmate and running a vegetation farm together. I hope to see more of the friendship of the three women, and that they’ll help each other overcome the difficulties each face in life.