The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] 'Goodbye Earth' fails to keep viewers engaged

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : May 3, 2024 - 16:19

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A scene from A scene from "Goodbye Earth," starring Ahn Eun-jin (Netflix)

Netflix's original series "Goodbye Earth," despite what was promised by star director Kim Jin-min who previously helmed hit Netflix series "My Name" (2021) and "Extracurricular" (2020), fails to keep the audience engaged throughout its 12-hour streaming time due to its chaotic, hard-to-follow sequencing.

Based on the Japanese fantasy novel "Shumatsu no Furu" by Kotaro Isaka, the 12-part science fiction series tells the story of people living in Korea who are told that an asteroid is slated to strike the country in 200 days.

The drama series features four actors as the main characters -- Ahn Eun-jin as middle school teacher Jin Se-kyung who tries to save her students; Yoo Ah-in as Ha Yun-sang, her lover; Jeon Sung-woo as Woo Sung-jae, priest of a local cathedral; and Kim Yoon-hye as Kang In-a, a soldier who struggles to protect the civilians.

According to director Kim, numerous scenes involving Yoo, who had completed shooting in 2022, were removed from the series following the actor's indictment on drug charges last October.

However, with or without Yoo, the series is 12 long hours of chaos.

One of the biggest problems with the series is the confusing sequence of events.

The series follows stories of too many characters including the main protagonist Jin Se-kyung's quest to rescue her students, the struggles of the citizens of Woongcheon-si, the narrative surrounding Kang In-ah and her soldiers, as well as the story of rich Koreans who are attempting to leave the country.

The plots are disconnected and overwhelming in number, making it challenging for the audience to follow the story and stay engaged.

Adding to the confusion is the series' disorderly timeline.

Instead of following a linear timeline, building on the tension and heading for the climax by narrating the story from D-200 to the day of the meteor impact, "Goodbye Earth" switches between timelines multiple times, such as jumping from D-100 to D-180.

Additionally, viewers who were anticipating a fast-paced action-packed thriller typically expected of apocalyptic narratives may be further disappointed: In "Goodbye Earth," the focus is more on taking a sentimental approach towards apocalypse, reflecting on themes of humanism.

However, the outstanding performances by the actors may yet draw in the viewers.

Ahn Eun-jin, who won critical acclaim for her performance in MBC's hit romance series "My Dearest," offers another compelling performance. Ahn successfully convinces the audience with her sincere portrayal of a character who could have easily been unrealistic due to her unwavering, composed dedication to rescuing children, despite imminent disaster.

All 12 episodes of "Goodbye Earth" are available for streaming on Netflix.

A scene from A scene from "Goodbye Earth," starring Ahn Eun-jin (Netflix)