Mystic Pop-up bar

(From left) Manager Gwi, Wol-Ju and Sung Jae.

Cast and characters

  • Yook Sung-Jae – Han Kang-Bae
  • Hwang Jung-Eum – Wol-Ju
  • Choi Won-Young – Manager Gwi

The story

With just a touch, Kang-Bae has the unfortunate ability to make people share their deepest, darkest and saddest woes. It has complicated his life massively to say the least.

One day, he bumps into Wol-Ju who discovers his ability. She becomes super interested in him because his unique ability could help her fulfill a centuries-long goal of resolving the grudges of 100,000 souls.

Not exactly a people person, Wol-Ju finds it challenging to get people to pour out their woes to her. (She’s not exactly the touchy-feely type.) But Kang-Bae will allow her to speed up the process and get her job done fast. An especially valuable talent now that her deadline is fast approaching.

If she’s not able to meet her 100,000 goal in time, she will end up in (gasp) hell.

My thoughts

I was really bored during COVID-19 lockdowns and Mystic Pop-Up Bar felt light and funny enough so that I didn’t have to think about killer mutant viruses, so I decided to try it.

However, I was pretty sure that I would quit it in an episode or two out of boredom. When it first came out I was influenced by a review that said that the show didn’t offer anything exciting, so I assumed it was going to be a yawn fest.

I was pleasantly surprised! I loved Wol-Ju. I totally didn’t recognise Hwang Jung-Eum, who played her. I often found her acting a little too screechy for my liking, but she totally embodied Wol-Jul here. Her shrieky ways was perfect for hot-tempered bar madam Wol-Ju, and her comedic timing made it even better.

What I like about the show

Quirky fun, with an unexpected angsty plot that threads throughout the show. The show deceptively begins on a heavy, sad note – making you think that it’s a tragedy. Then it quickly becomes a fun, quirky show and for a while, we forget its tragic start. However, we will soon understand the haunting beginning of the show, and the tragic tale comes to a very satisfying conclusion at the end of the show.

What I didn’t like

That it’s so short! The drama is only 12 episodes long which was unusual for a Korean drama, which is usually about 16 episodes long.

I would have loved to see more of our trio, especially after all the secret histories were revealed in the last episode.


Very – the drama/grudge of the week episodes is all memorable and fun in their own way.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!


Battlestar Galactica and the dilemma of God

In a genre that largely treats God as dead, Battlestar Galactica stood out because God was actually a character in the series. It was never implicitly implied that the mysterious being pulling the strings of the hapless humans and Cylons was God per se; even the mysterious invisible beings that haunt Cavil and No.6 wouldn’t confirm it (or is reluctant to). His portrayal, of course, would get some Christians protesting, as he (or at least his representatives) seemed manipulative, vague, sometimes cruel to ensure the poor humans instruments do what he wants.

God also had an interesting way of choosing them – ie prophets. Instead of the boy scout Apollo or even the conflicted No.8, they picked No.6, who was literally responsible for the genocide of the human race, and Cavil, a selfish, amoral, self-absorbed bastard.
I think some viewers expressed frustration at the vagueness of these mysterious beings’ actions, but I thought it was perfect.

Ultimately, I think the BSG god represents mankind’s frustrations, fears, confusion and awe of God. Namely, why His actions are perplexing to most of us, our grief at why he allows evil things to happen, and our frustration that He refuses to explain his actions.

I couldn’t help but include a god-like character in the Distant Stars novels either. I think of this being as kinder version than the Machiavellian BSG one, though no less frustrating and exasperating. Thinking of this character as a literal representation of the Christian god would be a mistake though. This character, like BSG’s is a reflection of my emotions about God.

Can God exist in sci-fi? You bet.

Space Opera is back on TV!

When Stargate Universe bit the dust in 2011, I mourned. And I didn’t even like the show. But it was there – the last space opera on TV, and I need my fix.

Then followed years of no space opera on TV. There were sci-fi, mind you, but just no space adventures. Hollywood wasn’t game. Super high budgets, low ratings. Bad ROI. Even Syfy (once SciFi) was looking elsewhere. Wrestling. Mutant sharks. Anything but producing glorious space epics it was known for like Battlestar Galactica.

And then, this year, a renaissance! We have two space operas showing on TV. There will be a third at the end of the year.  Syfy, after years of ugh programming is finially back on the ball producing awesome science fiction again.


Premise: Bounty Hunters in space.

What I love: Cool heroine: Dutch, the ass-kicking ex-assassin. The two brothers are bland and predictable, sadly. Make one of them a face-sucking undercover alien, and maybe I’ll be 100% onboard.

What I don’t quite love: A been there, done that premise. Although watchable, Killjoys has not offered anything new or groundbreaking in the story department. Though Dutch’s dark history with the mysterious assassin order which trained her since kidhood promises some dramatic tension in the future.

Dark Matter

Premise: A couple of folks wake up from cryosleep and find themselves floating in space in a ship with a serious case of amnesia.

Usually the amnesia plot device makes me groan out loud, but this one promises revelations, surprises and twists. Well, in theory. So far the characters seem pretty … standard. Tough lady who leads the team, bland hero guy with a conscience, mysterious guy with ninja moves, jerk gun-happy grunt and even a spunky teen with ESP. Still, the mystery of who they really are (and who wiped their memory banks clean) is compelling. Here’s to hoping for more exciting developments.

The Expanse

Premise: Men have colonised the solar system. Humanity is under threat (when is it never in danger?), and somehow police detective Josephus Miller (Thomas Jane), ship’s officer Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and his crew play a key in humanity’s survival.

ETA: December 2015

Zero gravity sex. Sorry to be pervy, but that’s what first came up when I googled the show. So it promises to be gritty, dark, and maybe the Game of Thrones of Space Opera. (But pretty please without the mutilations, torture and non-stop deaths.) Best of all, it’s based on, awesomely, James SA Corey‘s magnum opus space opera series of the same name. I love the novels and you betcha I’ll be rooted in front of that TV, eyes wide open ready to devour it.