SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD) - 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 percent viewership for the pilot episode in November, to 11.3 percent last Saturday (Dec 22). 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, tweeting: "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 to 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 trying all methods and pulling every string in order to send their children to the best universities.
Sky Castle is streaming on Viu.