2024 has been really eventful for me in terms of K-Drama series. I’ve just finished my 117th series, Castaway Diva. It stars Park Eun-bin, one of the best actresses I’ve ever encountered. Her stellar performance in Extraordinary Attorney Woo was nothing short of awesome and award-winning. This time, Park Eun-bin plays a girl named Seo Mok-ha. Mok-ha dreams of becoming a singer just like her idol Yoon Ran-joo.
Mok-ha is a vivacious high schooler who loves singing and playing her guitar. The famous diva Yoo Ran-joo is her idol and she wants nothing more than to meet her and perhaps sing with her. She jumps at the chance when Ran-joo holds a video contest in search of the best singer who can be her mentee. Mok-ha enlists the help of her classmate Ki-ho to help her shoot and edit the video. The two become very good friends and soon discover that they have much more in common than they thought. Mok-ha and Ki-ho are both abused kids, always getting beaten up by their violent fathers.
Mok-ha wins the contest. Ki-ho and Mok-ha decide to run away and go to Seoul together, far away from their abusive fathers. The problem is, Mok-ha’s father gets wind of their plans and tries to stop them. Despite Ki-ho’s best efforts, Mok-ha’s father catches up to her on the ferry. Mok-ha decides to jump overboard, believing in her heart that if she goes home with her father, she will get killed. Her father jumps into the ocean to follow her.
Mok-ha wakes up on the shore of a deserted island. Shortly afterwards, her father washes up nearby. He is dead from drowning. Mok-ha is forced to survive on the island where she is stuck for 15 years. Eventually, a group of volunteers find her and she is taken to Seoul.
In Seoul, the Kang family takes Mok-ha in. Mok-ha wastes no time in trying to find Ki-ho and exerting all efforts to meet her idol Ran-joo. But Ran-joo is no longer the top diva she once was. Years of smoking and drinking had ruined her voice and she only performs in low-key obscure events these days. Mok-ha ends up becoming Ran-joo’s ghost singer and Ran-joo’s career is miraculously revived. Ran-joo eventually becomes Mok-ha’s mentor, as it was meant to be 15 years ago.
Though the plot gets quite predictable, it’s an enjoyable series all the same. Park Eun-bin is a shockingly good singer as she uses her own vocals all throughout. It’s presented much like a modern day fairy tale and I like how Mok-ha got her happy ending. Though I can still see some traces of Attorney Woo in Seo Mok-ha, it somehow fits the character… having been isolated for over a decade.
Castaway Diva will have you rooting for Mok-ha and Ki-ho from the get go. I promise you can readily tell who Ki-ho is in the present day, though everyone had to change their identities to keep Ki-ho’s obssessive and violent father from tracking them down. I don’t mind. The story is told really well, paced nicely, and all the actors fit their parts perfectly. It was a real treat hearing Park Eun-bin sing, she has a really great voice, even better than some of the K-pop singers around.
If you just want something light, warm, and fuzzy, Castaway Diva is a good series to pick up. It’s available exclusively on Netflix.
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