Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
I’m a real sucker for time travel. From Back To The Future and The Time Machine to Dark and The King: Eternal Monarch, there’s a whole slew of shows and movies that have tackled this idea. When done right, this genre can serve up twists like no other and stand the test of time (no pun intended). Unfortunately when things go wrong, they really do destroy any credibility a plot builds and falls into forgettable obscurity. Sadly, Alice falls in the latter category.
Like an insect caught in a spider web, Alice does its best to break free from the mess it places itself in. Unfortunately the more it struggles the worse things get. That, unfortunately, is the fate of SBS’ disappointing sci-fi thriller Alice.
On paper, this Korean drama has some pretty good ideas. A secret organization known as Alice stand watch over time itself, acting as the gateway to stop time from being rewritten. This order is unfortunately undermined and tipped in favour of rogue time travelers, who are in search of a book imaginatively titled the “Book Of Prophecy.” When Alice fail to find the final pages, what follows is the beginning of a world-ending prophecy coming to fruition.
Alice operative Tae-Yi is pregnant and decides to raise her child Jin-Gyeon back in 1992 after leaving her partner Min-Hyuk to head back to Alice empty-handed. Unfortunately Tae-Yi (going under the new guise of Sun-Young) meets an untimely demise on the night of the red moon. Shot through the stomach, young Jin-Gyeom is forced to watch his mother die before his eyes.
Driven by a desire for justice, Jin-Gyeom grows up to become a pretty proficient police detective. Unfortunately he also suffers from a condition preventing him from feeling empathy. When Alice show up in the present – along with Tae-Yi too – the pair set out to uncover what’s going on. Tae-Yi doesn’t recognize him and also doesn’t seem to have aged either.
This basic story soon gets lost down the rabbit hole, bringing in parallel worlds, a bizarre mother/son romance angle and even a rogue killer jumping through time. It’s all pretty complicated, exciting stuff and unfortunately the writing buckles under the weight of expectation.
The romance, for example, spends a good 3 or 4 episodes explaining how it’s not an incestuous relationship…before abandoning that to sidestep around the truth. That’s before mentioning the numerous plot holes, inconsistencies and directly contradicting twist that tangle this drama into a confusing mess.
Don’t get me wrong though, in the moment these are excellent and there’s definitely some really surprising and shocking twists along the way. Unfortunately the finale is the biggest culprit here, completely undermining any struggle our characters have gone on through the 15 episodes prior.
It’s a shame because Alice definitely had some potential early on and a few excellent episodes along the way. Such is the way with a lot of these sci-fi dramas, the beginning is usually the strongest before petering out into mediocrity.
While the soundtrack is quite good and the acting certainly ticks all the right boxes, the writing and plotting fall by the wayside. Given the 16 hour+ run-time, Alice is not a show to remember and sadly squanders the precious time it plays with.
Verdict - 4/10