Final thoughts on Memories of the Alhambra

This was one of those dramas that had all the hype, good casting, interesting plot, and it was on Netflix! Join the Fangirls as we discuss our final thoughts on Memories of the Alhambra and whether or not it met our expectations.

How Did the Plot Hold Up?

Clkytta: It started off with a bright and shiny gaming based plot that I was so excited for. What we got was an action-packed gaming plot with some gratuitous romance tossed in. The main plot held up decently, but the romance side of the plot never got off the ground. This drama had more of a revenge feel to it than anything else.

MiataMama: The realistic-yet-magical AR gaming plot was definitely the center of this drama. It’s what grabbed me at the beginning, and ultimately kept me watching through to the end! There were also some mystery elements, as it took almost the entire series to find the creator of the game who had gone MIA. But sadly, the writer added in several ‘relationship’ side-plots that were never fully developed. By the end I was left wondering why certain characters were introduced in the first place?

Favorite Characters

Clkytta: Of course I enjoyed Hyun Bin’s character Jin Woo, but he wasn’t my favorite character. My favorite character through the whole show was Jin Woo’s secretary, Jung Hoon, played by Min Jin Woong. His character was the most real to me. He had the loyalty of more than just an employee, he cared about Jin Woo as a person. Through the whole drama, the only time I got even slightly emotional was when Jung Hoon died. I was devastated.

MiataMama: I was so, so, SO excited to see Hyun Bin back on the small screen again! His character was written with the most depth and I think he did a fantastic job with this role. AND, like Clkytta, I loved Jung Hoon. He was a faithful sidekick throughout and it gutted me when his character was killed off. (I was really holding out hope for a different ending where he was actually still alive, but alas, that was not meant to be.) However, I’m going to pick to the little sister, Jung Min Joo, played by Lee Re. I loved the sunshine and spunkiness her character brought to the drama. And the way she and Hyun Bin comfortably played off each other, like they were siblings, was really cute.

What We Liked

Clkytta: I liked the gaming aspect of it. The setting and cinematography were phenomenal. You really felt like you were in the game. The quests and the fight scenes were interesting. While I’m not a gamer, the gaming scenes were presented in such a way that even a non-gamer would be drawn in. I loved the beginning the most. When Jin Woo goes to the bathroom in that little cafe a million times trying to level up, I laughed so hard. There was a lot of intensity to the gaming part that I felt translated well to what actual gamers feel as they play.

MiataMama: I am not a gamer. So I was a little worried that I was going to be bored by that aspect of the drama. But I needn’t have worried! The way they brought the gaming element to life was FANTASTIC! And I was impressed that they included at bit of realism with the AR movement– highlighting the physical dangers and addiction pertaining to this type of game play. I also loved that so much of the drama revolved around Granada. Not that I don’t love seeing the familiar cityscape of Seoul in my K-dramas… but the setting in Spain was so rich and gorgeous and added to the magical element of the story.

What We Didn’t Like

Clkytta: Not enough Chanyeol, he was the game creator and a main character, but we saw very little of him in this drama. I also didn’t like that they cast Park Shin Hye and all they did was have her running and crying. She is a good actress and they wasted a lot of talent having her standing on the sidelines wringing her hands with tears running down her face. During the whole show I kept waiting for her character to stand out, but every time she was a tiny bit awesome and helpful, they shoved her back into a corner to cry. The romance also felt like an afterthought, I never could get invested in the relationship between the two main leads. I think that’s mainly because they did very little to develop Park Shin Hye’s character, she was literally the girl to come home to, that’s it.

MiataMama: Yep. I think everyone wanted to see more of Chaneyol! He did such an impressive job with the small amount of screen time he was given. It’s really too bad he didn’t have the opportunity to act in more scenes. And then there’s Park Shin Hye and her character, Jung Hee Joo. When I recently found out that the writer changed gears, and added in the romance between the two leads at the last minute, it all made sense why that aspect of the drama was so weak. Honestly, I was not watching this drama for an OTP, so I wasn’t all that bothered by her lack of presence in the story. But I did feel a little bad that such a big name actress had been relegated such a two-dimensional role. Imagine if Park Shin Hye had been able to focus on portraying just Emma?! I think the relationship and the dynamic between the leads would have been MUCH more interesting. And, we would have been able to have an ending with more resolution. I hate open endings more than anything and I was MOST disappointed with how things seemed to be wrapping up nicely and then– BAM! At the very last minute, we were left hanging. Writer-nim, 왜?!?!

Should You Watch?

Clkytta: If you go into this drama knowing that it is not a romance, it’s an action drama focused on gaming and winning the game, then I say watch it. If you are blinded by a pretty thumbnail of Hyun Bin and Park Shin Hye locked in an embrace and you think sparks will fly between them, well, move on to another drama. I’d say this one is for the diehard fans. It won’t go on my rewatch list, but I won’t put it on my worst dramas list either, it’s just kind of middle of the road. I don’t feel like I wasted my time, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending.

MiataMama: As a dedicated Hyun Bin fangirl, I was happy that the story showcased his acting talents well. And I appreciated that this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill storyline, with plenty of twists and cliff-hangers to keep me coming back each week. Even with the disappointing ending, I’m still glad I gave it a watch. However… if you’re looking for a good, mixed-reality type drama, I would hands-down recommend watching W: Two Worlds over Memories of Alhambra.

The Fangirls,

Clkytta and MiataMama

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5 thoughts on “Final thoughts on Memories of the Alhambra

  1. I really enjoyed this series, despite the open ending. I read an article that stated if a series on Netflix has an open ending, it’s because they want to do a sequel, I know most K-dramas don’t have a season 2, but I can’t help but wonder if Netflix wanted one, would they make it happen?!

  2. It was a drama with so much potential, the plot, the cast, visuals etc, it had the necessary to be awesome. But, I am not happy with the end and some other “questions” left unanswered. Only if they make a sequel I’ll understand that disappointing ending. About the romance it was exactly what it was, something added at the last minute. It shows and is a pity. They (the leads) made the best of it. I would recommend it if it were not for these details

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