Cast: Kim Sae-ron, Nam Da-reum
Language: Korean with various subtitles
Streaming on iQiyi from 30 July
3.5 out of 5 stars
This review covers the first two episodes of The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim.
The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim is a Korean romance fantasy drama that stars Kim Sae-ron as a high school student Ga Doo-shim, who is destined to be a shaman, despite her reluctance. After transferring to a new high school, she meets Na Woo-soo (Nam Da-reum), who not only comes from a wealthy family, but also has good looks and outstanding grades.
His life takes a completely different course after a spiritual encounter, which leads him to see ghosts that he did not believe existed previously. As they get entangled in a slew of mysterious ghost-busting cases together, the duo begin to develop a relationship.
Unlike the usual dramas, each episode of The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim is only about 20 minutes long. While that makes it easy to binge-watch, there is only so much (or so little) you can cover within that relatively short time frame. Essentially, the first two episodes merely set up the premise of the whole story.
With a total of just 12 episodes, I'm sceptical as to how far the story can develop. For a better perspective, based on the usual 45 to 60-minute-long episode, this series' total runtime would translate into about four to six episodes in a regular drama. Even Japanese dramas, which tend to have relatively few episodes, typically have at least eight episodes.
During an online press conference held in Seoul on 29 July, director Park Ho-jin hinted at the possibility of a second season. Park said, “I think there is a need for the second season. The leading characters are students now, but they will encounter more issues and develop more stories in the future. If viewers love the first season, I will definitely agree to a second season.”
As far as the first two episodes go, The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim packs a thrilling and enticing story that makes its viewers beg for more. New episodes will be released every Friday at 7pm (SGT) on the iQiyi International app and iQ.com. It may be an excruciating wait, but it may be worth it, depending on how the events unfold.
In addition, the drama features two next-generation actors, who have been acting since their adolescent years. The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim marks Nam Da-reum’s first leading role after reaching adulthood, and the first series in two years in a leading role for Kim Sae-ron. Some of you may even find Nam Da-reum familiar, as he was the young Han Ji-pyeong in Korean drama Start-Up that stars Bae Suzy.
Although it is difficult to tell how The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim will fare in its subsequent episodes, given the relatively short runtime and few episodes in total, it is definitely off to a good start and has great potential for an entertaining and exciting experience.
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