Guardian: The Lonely and Great God: Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (aka The Lonely Shining Goblin)
July 9, 2023 5:50 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

In his quest for a bride to break his immortal curse, Dokkaebi, a 939-year-old guardian of souls, meets a grim reaper and a sprightly student with a tragic past.

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Cosmopolitan: An Honest Review Of 'Goblin' By A K-Drama Fan - In need of a Gong Yoo fix? This show is for you.

The Review Geek season review: "Despite a few pacing problems, Guardian: The Lonely & Great God is a fantastic Korean Drama and a must-watch for anyone looking to experience the best this medium has to offer."

Kdrama Kisses review: "Goblin is a fantasy romance about a modern day goblin (Gong Yoo) who seeks to end his cursed immortal life and needs a human bride (Kim Go Eun) to do so. His life then becomes intertwined with a grim reaper (Lee Dong Wook) who is unable to remember his past. But when the goblin finally finds his bride, he suddenly realizes he wants to live and be with her. Goblin is an epic tale with a story that spans centuries. It was quite an interesting ride filled with some amazing characters, talented actors, and a fresh and unique story woven beautifully throughout each episode."

The Silver Petticoat review

PinkVilla -- Goblin: The Lonely God review: Good actors, good storyline but a CRINGEY romance - The classic Gong Yoo and Go Eun starrer drama holds a special place in many KDrama fans’ hearts. But the very apparent age gap sometimes makes it unbearable.
posted by oh yeah! (6 comments total)
I finished watching this on Viki yesterday morning, still not entirely sure of my feelings on it. I'd heard this show mentioned so often as one of the greats, it's at the top of so many 'best Kdrama' lists, that I ended up feeling kind of underwhelmed by the ending.

I did love the whole Grim Reaper+Goblin dynamic, from 'Odd Couple' squabbling to absolute bromance, so it was worth a watch for that alone. And the Reaper/Sunny arc is satisfying. But I do wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I'd been a kdrama follower back in 2016 watching it live, or if I'd gone into it with lower/no expectations.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:14 AM on July 9, 2023

Nooooo, oh nooo not the Goblin! I cannot see a godamn maple leaf or hear the theme song start without immediately sniffling and choking up. I fucking loved this show so much - I watched a bit over one of my kids' shoulders, was intrigued and then a week later was just flat out devastated after binging it. It has bits that creak and bits that don't make sense when you stop to examine them, but the intense swooning charm of it, the relationships - it is just glorious.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:54 AM on July 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

The age-gap issue is the same complaint I have about nearly every vampire feature, too, especially the Twilight/Vampire Diaries era where these 150-year-old dudes are still slumming it at high schools. Creepy.

That said, this was so beautifully filmed, and I loved the Goblin/Reaper interactions, and the OST is fantastic. One of my top soundtracks to work to in the past few years.
posted by TwoStride at 5:53 PM on July 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

I didn't find the age gap particularly bothersome in Goblin. (Nowhere near as creepy as the professor/student potential pair-up in Reply 1997.) It helped that the Goblin character had a very childish streak in his squabbles with Reaper and Deok Hwa. And that though Kim Go Eun did play younger Ji Eun Tak with fairly childish-cutesy delivery, she had the melancholy of her sad backstory grounding it. And that their love story didn't begin as a grand passion/love at first sight, but grew to something grand.

I guess it's just that the ending left me a little unsatisfied, in that, though we get the happy reunions, what happens to Goblin after there are no more reincarnations to be had? Does he stay a lone lonely immortal forever after?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:13 PM on July 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

Ji Eun Tak with fairly childish-cutesy delivery,
One of my favorite scenes was when the Goblin takes Eun Tak to Montreal for the first time and she is so excited and he is so exhausted/bemused.
posted by TwoStride at 7:50 PM on July 10, 2023

For me, the filming, acting, music, locations, and mythology made it worth watching but I also had some issues with it.

The age gap seemed so unnecessary. Kim Go Eun was 25 at the time, so her character didn’t need to start as a high schooler.

But my main gripe is kind of age gap adjacent. Eun Tak asked for three modest wishes, and Goblin only granted two of them (free her from her cruel aunt & uncle and give her ~$5k to attend college). She also asked for a boyfriend, and the ideal boyfriend showed up in the form of Jung Hae-In – age appropriate and cute to boot. But Goblin was jealous and petty. Why not let the romance play out? In a matter of cinema minutes, she would have been bored with his baseball playing and he would have grown tired of hearing her talk about ghosts. By denying her that wish (actually, I think he weaseled out of it by claiming “he” was her boyfriend) the age gap felt even more problematic and controlling.

Having said all that, Gong Yoo was spectacularly handsome in this and I’m glad I watched the show. Also, the cathartic moments in the Tea House created a flood of tears for me during the pandemic, and I needed that.
posted by kbar1 at 10:43 PM on July 11, 2023 [2 favorites]

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