Ratings for Sky Castle soar in South Korea

South Korean television drama Sky Castle (left, showing actress Yoon Se-ah), which depicts the country's craze over education, is a hit with viewers. Miley Cyrus posted a series of photos (left and right) on Instagram showing her secret wedding to Li
South Korean television drama Sky Castle (above, showing actress Yoon Se-ah), which depicts the country’s craze over education, is a hit with viewers. PHOTO: YOUTUBE

SEOUL • The ratings for South Korean television drama Sky Castle are soaring as enthusiastic viewers gush over the show's depiction of the country's education craze as well as the larger-than-life housewives played by some of the country's top TV actresses.

According to Nielsen Korea, the JTBC series saw its ratings rise from just 1.7 per cent viewership for the pilot episode last month to 11.3 per cent last Saturday.

The ratings have risen consistently each week.

The black comedy was the most discussed drama of the week between Dec 10 and 16, knocking tvN's Encounter, which stars A-listers Song Hye-kyo and Park Bo-gum, off the top spot, according to data analyst Good Data.

The ranking means that the show was the most-talked-about topic in online communities including Twitter and blogs.

One Twitter user welcomed the show's refreshing storyline: "Sky Castle is such a great story. Too tired of Korean love drama, this drama could be opening up people's minds about obsession in education."

Some fans compared the show with American TV series Desperate Housewives (2004 to 2012).

"Sky Castle feels like Desperate Housewives meets K-drama," one tweet read.

The "Sky" of the title is used in South Korea to refer to the country's top three universities: Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University.

On the show, wealthy "tiger mums" and their husbands living in upscale apartments take centre stage.

The show's main character Han Seo-jin, played by Yum Jung-ah, will do anything to make sure her daughter Kang Ye-seo enters the College Of Medicine at Seoul National University, even if it means spending hundreds of millions of won to hire an elite university admissions coordinator.

Director Jo Hyun-tak did not shy away from showing the dark side of the country's obsession with education on the show.

During a press conference last month, he said viewers might experience different emotions as they see people pulling strings to send their children to the best universities.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

• Sky Castle is streaming on Viu.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2018, with the headline 'Ratings for Sky Castle soar in South Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe