I don’t think it’s cheating to use a Korean drama series for my horror-thon, seeing as an episode tends to run near-feature length (almost 70 minutes here), and Netflix is adding more and more kdramas since they started getting more popular (and all I can say is fuck yes). Watching via Netflix Party (now TeleParty), I let a kdrama-virgin friend pick from a pool of candidates and he went with Mystic Pop-up Bar, a Netflix Original.
Our story concerns Weol-ju (Hwang Jung-eum), a 500-year-old spirit who’s stuck on Earth trying to reconcile the grudges her pop-up bar’s patrons by entering their dreams. She manages the bar with the help of fellow spirit Gwi, (Choi Won-young), her long-suffering friend. Things get complicated when they meet young shop worker Kang-bae (Yook Sung-jae), who has the ability to make people reveal their thoughts if he touches them.
As first episodes go, it definitely lays out its slapstick, offbeat, quirky tone, and there are a variety of characters that run the gamut of ages and personalities, though I think I need more than this first episode to get properly attached to the characters. But I already love the set-up and how it might introduce a weekly formula (bar patrons are all different, thus all dreams/hopes/innermost thoughts are going to offer the same variety), and the characters are a freaking hoot (Weol-ju is far from your typical kdrama cutesy waif).
Not uncommon for a Netflix kdrama, this show only has 12 episodes (similar to My Holo Love’s 12 or Kingdom’s 8 per season), so the story is likely to move quickly. But I’m enjoying this spooky gang of weirdos. It’s fun, cute, a bit silly (the cartoon violence was unexpected) and has the potential to never get boring. I’m definitely going to finish up the series (and I’ll make sure my friend does, too).