Sky Castle

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Castle in the Sky
Sky Castle.jpg
Promotional poster
HangulSKY 캐슬
Genre
Written by
  • Yoo Hyun-mi
Directed by
  • Jo Hyun-tak
Starring
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of episodes20 + special
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Kim Ji-yeon
  • Moon Bo-mi
  • Park Joon-seo
Producer(s)Joo Sang-kyoo
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60–80 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor iflix[2]
Release
Original networkJTBC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseNovember 23, 2018 (2018-11-23) –
February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
External links
Website

Sky Castle (KoreanSKY 캐슬; RRSKY Kaeseul; stylized as SKY Castle[a]) is a 2018-2019 South Korean television series starring Yum Jung-ah, Lee Tae-ran, Yoon Se-ah, Oh Na-ra and Kim Seo-hyung. It aired on JTBC's Fridays and Saturdays at 23:00 KST time slot from November 23, 2018 to February 1, 2019.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] It is about the college entrance examination, private education, and the medical field in South Korea.

Sky Castle is the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.[10]

Synopsis[edit]

A satirical drama that closely looks at the materialistic desires of the upper-class parents in Korea and how they ruthlessly secure the successes of their families at the cost of destroying others' lives. The drama revolves around the lives of housewives living in a luxurious residential area called SKY Castle in suburban Seoul, where wealthy doctors and professors live. The wives are determined to make their husbands more successful and to raise their children like princes and princesses and to be top students.[5] They want their children to go to top universities so they use every way possible to get that. They spend billions of won to hire coordinators for college entrance exams.[10]

Han Seo-Jin hires a co-ordinator Kim Joo-young to have her daughter Kang Ye-Seo, a model student admitted to Seoul University Medical School. Following the suicide of Lee Myung-Joo, mother of Young Jae (who was recently admitted to Seoul University), Hwang Chi Yeong's family moves into the SKY castle and his family often has clashes with the other members of the castle, due to their differences in opinions. Following a tragic incident in the castle, the fates of the families are tangled and new revelations dawn.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

An overzealous mother who wants nothing more than her daughter to get into Seoul National Medical University. She hides her past from everyone except her husband and in-laws, that she was a poor girl with an alcoholic father.
A new member of the neighborhood who disapproves of the other parents' methods for their kids, believing it is too harsh. The other moms begin to dislike her. She remembers Seo-jin's past, and her real name, as she knew her when they were younger.
A woman who befriends Sue-lim, and starts to look down on how the other moms treat everyone and their kids. She changes her ways and becomes protective of her sons from their harsh father's teaching methods.
A friend of Seo-jin who tries to get her child to do everything with Seo-jin's daughter so he can be successful. She bribes Seo-jin with gifts into trusting her with information.
Seo-jin hires her as her daughter's tutor. She hides a past and secret life that she tries to escape from.

Supporting[edit]

Kang family[edit]

Seo-jin's husband. Doctor of the Joo-nam University Hospital.
Seo-jin's elder daughter. Her dream is to enter Seoul National University's medical faculty.
  • Lee Ji-won as Kang Ye-bin[14]
Seo-jin's younger daughter. Cynical and often clashes with her sister.
Seo-jin's mother-in-law.

Hwang Family[edit]

Sue-lim's husband. Doctor of the Joo-nam University Hospital. Rival of Joon-sang.
Sue-lim's step son. He likes Hye-na, and is liked by Ye-seo.

Cha Family[edit]

Seung-hye's husband. A law school lecturer and former prosecutor.
Seung-hye's daughter.
Seung-hye's elder son. Classmate of Woo-joo.
Seung-hye's younger son. He likes to play tricks on Ye-seo.

Woo Family[edit]

Jin-hee's husband. An Orthopaedics surgeon.
  • Lee Yoo-jin as Woo Soo-han
Jin-hee's son. He is not interested in studying, but still try his best under huge academic pressure.

People around Joo-young[edit]

Secretary of Joo-young.
  • Jo Mi-nyeo as Kay/Katherine
Kim Joo-young's daughter.

Others[edit]

Sin-ah Secondary School student. She is treated as an enemy by Ye-seo. She tries to get under Ye-seo's skin, knowing Hwang Woo-joo likes her and not Ye-Seo. She and Woo-joo have mutual romantic relationship. [20]
  • Song Min-hyung as Choi In-ho
Medical superintendent of Joo-nam University Hospital.
  • Lee Yeon-soo as Kim Eun-hye[21]
Hye-na's mother.

Lee Myung-joo's family[edit]

Former resident of Sky Castle, committed suicide after her son runs away to his secret girlfriend.
Myung-joo's son.
  • Yu Seong-ju as Park Soo-chang
Myung-joo's husband and Young-jae's father.
  • Lee Joo-yeon as Lee Ga-eul[22]
Young-jae's girlfriend. She is 6 years older than him and hired as a housekeeper by Myung-joo, coming from a low-class family. Myung-joo disapproved of her status and her relationship with Young-jae.

Cameo[edit]

Production[edit]

Original soundtrack[edit]

Sky Castle
OST
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released2018
GenreSoundtrack
Language
LabelWarner Music Korea

Part 1[edit]

Released on November 23, 2018 (2018-11-23)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."Princess Maker" (프린세스메이커)MaRiN, KaiBae Hyeong-ho, MaRiNCheon Dan-bi3:31
2."Princess Maker" (Inst.) Bae Hyeong-ho, MaRiN 3:31
Total length:7:02

Part 2[edit]

Released on November 30, 2018 (2018-11-30)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."Time is Always On My Side" (시간은 언제나 나의 편)GamDongis, Seo Jae-haGamDongis, Seo Jae-haRomantic Punch3:30
2."Time is Always On My Side" (Inst.) GamDongis, Seo Jae-ha 3:30
Total length:7:00

Part 3[edit]

Released on December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."It Has To Be You" (너여야만 해)ABOUTABOUT, Pch 8umABOUT3:36
2."It Has To Be You" (Inst.) ABOUT, Pch 8um 3:36
Total length:7:12

Part 4[edit]

Released on December 12, 2018 (2018-12-12)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."We All Lie"Choi Jeong-inChoi Jeong-inHa Jin3:15
2."We All Lie" (Inst.) Choi Jeong-in 3:15
Total length:6:30

Part 5[edit]

Released on December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."Comma" (쉼표)GamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungGamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungWAX4:21
2."Comma" (Inst.) GamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sung 4:21
Total length:8:42

Part 6[edit]

Released on December 28, 2018 (2018-12-28)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."I Do"GamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungGamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sungMIII3:10
2."I Do" (Inst.) GamDongis, Seo Jae-ha, Kim Young-sung 3:10
Total length:6:20

Part 7[edit]

Released on December 28, 2018 (2018-12-28)
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."It's Good As Long As Only I Live" (나만 잘 살면 되지)Lee Seung-joon, Jo Won-ilLee Seung-joon, Jo Won-ilYook Joong-wan3:06
2."It's Good As Long As Only I Live" (Inst.) Lee Seung-joon, Jo Won-il 3:06
Total length:6:12
Disc 2:
No.TitleArtistLength
1."Agalmoery"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In4:32
2."Bolero"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In1:58
3."Butterfly"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In1:59
4."Endless Night"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In2:35
5."Kim Jo Young"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In4:27
6."Tell you the truth"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In4:43
7."The top of one's desire"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In4:28
8."What I Want"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In3:25
9."We all live (Orchestra ver.)"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In4:04
10."We all live (slow ver.)"Ha Jin2:12
11."Whisper of evil"Kim Tae Sung, Choi Jung In3:30

Reception[edit]

Sky Castle is currently the highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history.[10] It was an unexpected commercial hit, rising from 1% viewership ratings to double-digit viewership ratings percentage; as well as topping the Contents Power Index (CPI) rankings as well as the TV popularity ranking in Korea.[27][28][29] Besides its popularity in South Korea, the series also gained immense popularity in China.[30]

Critical reception[edit]

The drama series has drawn positive reviews as a dark comedy that casts light on some of the furtive and controversial aspects of Korean society. It has also stimulated explosive responses from viewers due to its relatable storyline over Korea's competitive education system.[31] Culture critic Jung Duk-hyun says the drama has received attention from viewers, because it successfully strikes an uneasy chord while heightening societies curiosities over the lengths to which rich elite families obsess over education. He also says "In terms of education, the drama satisfies people's desire to peek into what those closed rich family circles do for their children. But at the same time, viewers feel uneasiness when watching their stories. Those two conflicting emotions, 'wanting to know but feeling uncomfortable' makes for some interesting chemistry in the minds of drama fans and puts it on the must-see drama list." [32][33][34] The drama is also popular in China, where similar conditions and vexations overlap with those of Korea's education system.[30][35]

Controversies[edit]

The drama ignited a controversy for allegedly "inciting" the murder of psychiatrist Lim Se-won, as it aired a scene in which a patient chases after a doctor with a knife in his hand due to a grievance over his operation results.[36]

Following the broadcast of episode 14 on January 5, several Korean netizens on online communities came up with their own theories about what would happen in the next episode. One netizen's theory was supported by what appeared to be a photo of the drama's cue sheet, and another theory was formed based on the character description in a recruitment notice for a new role in the drama. When episode 15 aired on January 11, these theories proved to be true, making viewers question if the story was leaked.

On January 12, the producers explained that “the story was not leaked. Our viewers came up with many theories. They happened to be correct by chance, which must be why people think they are spoilers."[37]

On January 16, controversy rose again after a netizen uploaded photos of parts of the scripts for episode 17 and 18. The fact that the name "Cha Ki-joon" was left on the script drew much attention, and the photos began to spread on online communities.[38] After an investigation into the rumors, the producers confirmed that the scripts for episodes 17 and 18 (to be aired on January 18 and 19) had been leaked.[39]

The production team was accused of plagiarizing the song "We All Lie" from American musician Bea Miller's song "To the Grave" featuring Mike Stud. However, JTBC denied the accusations.[40]

Ratings[edit]

In this table, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.

Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
AGB Nielsen[41]
Nationwide Seoul
1 November 23, 2018 1.727% 2.9%
2 November 24, 2018 4.373% 4.584%
3 November 30, 2018 5.186% 6.035%
4 December 1, 2018 7.496% 8.144%
5 December 7, 2018 7.487% 8.623%
6 December 8, 2018 8.934% 9.754%
7 December 14, 2018 8.432% 9.667%
8 December 15, 2018 9.539% 10.471%
9 December 21, 2018 9.714% 10.522%
10 December 22, 2018 11.298% 13.312%
11 December 28, 2018 9.585% 10.296%
12 December 29, 2018 12.305% 13.646%
13 January 4, 2019 13.279% 14.389%
14 January 5, 2019 15.780% 17.254%
15 January 11, 2019 16.397% 18.443%
16 January 12, 2019 19.243% 21.010%
17 January 18, 2019 19.923% 21.927%
18 January 19, 2019 22.316% 24.501%
19 January 26, 2019 23.216% 24.622%
20 February 1, 2019 23.779% 24.357%
Average 12.500% 12.627%
Special February 2, 2019 7.319% 7.327%
  • This drama airs on a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS).
  • No episode aired on January 25 due to the broadcast of a match between South Korea and Qatar in the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

In popular culture[edit]

The word SKY is an acronym used to refer to the three most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University.[7][42] The term is widely used in South Korea, both in media broadcast and by the universities themselves.[43][44]

In South Korea, admission to one of the SKY universities is widely considered as determining one's career and social status.[45][42] Many of South Korea's most influential politicians, lawyers, physicians, engineers, journalists, professors, and policymakers (bureaucrats) have graduated from one of the SKY universities.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
55th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Drama Sky Castle Nominated [46]
Best Director Jo Hyun-tak Won
Best Actress Kim Seo-hyung Nominated
Yum Jung-ah Won
Best Supporting Actor Kim Byung-chul Won
Best Supporting Actress Yoon Se-ah Nominated
Best New Actress Kim Hye-yoon Won
Best Screenplay Yoo Hyun-mi Nominated
Technical Award (Filming) Oh Jae-ho Nominated
12th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Yum Jung-ah Nominated [47]
Best Drama Sky Castle Won
Best Screenplay Yoo Hyun-mi Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack "We All Lie" (Ha Jin) Won
Hot Star China Award Kim Seo-hyung Won
Popular Character Award (Female) Kim Bo-ra Won
11th Melon Music Awards Best OST "We All Lie" (Ha Jin) Nominated
21st Mnet Asian Music Awards Best OST "We All Lie" (Ha Jin) Nominated [48]
27th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards [ko] Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Kim Hye-yoon Won [49]
24th Asian Television Awards Best Drama Series Sky Castle Won [50]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Kim Seo-hyung Nominated [51]

International broadcast[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pronounced as sky, but written as SKY (the acronym)

References[edit]

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  4. ^ "염정아 JTBC 'SKY 캐슬' 주연…11월 방송". Yonhap News (in Korean). August 28, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Elite-focused Black Comedy "SKY Castle" Holds Script Reading". Hancinema. October 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "'SKY Castle' captures elite moms' education craze". The Korea Times. November 25, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Im Eun-byel (January 10, 2019). "'Sky Castle' discusses realities of parenthood behind education craze". The Korea Herald.
  8. ^ "Sky Castle' and the deep fissures in Korean society". The Korea Times. January 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "JTBC's hit drama benefits cast members". The Korea Times. January 28, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "'Sky Castle' hits record viewership". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 21, 2019.
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  51. ^ "Asian Television Awards Nomineess".
  52. ^ "PRIDE IS EVERYTHING AT SKY CASTLE". iflix blog. 2019-06-27. Retrieved 27 August 2019.

External links[edit]