|Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4.3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4.3/5
|Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4.3/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4.8/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 17 – | Review Score – 4.6/5
Episode 18 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 19 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
Episode 20 – | Review Score – 4.7/5
So. Much. Fun. – Taiwanese Lost Romance will suck you into the spine of its storybook world from the off. Playfully compelling, an editor falls into a novel and must wield her knowledge of romance scenarios to thwart the competition and win the guy.
It’s a bit of a bother when she discovers that rather than the antagonist, she’s only a side character. But that won’t stop our heroine. Crash Landing on You-comedic timing plus Mr Queen-level feels, presents a gratifying modern fantasy romance.
Snappy, clever and romantic – everything you crave from the genre – it delivers enough tension and misdirection to keep you glued to your screen. Additionally released over streaming site Viki after originally airing on Taiwan’s SET TV in 2020, it runs for 20 binge-worthy episodes with no slowing down.
Notably, there’s a clear affection for its category – gently tickling at perpetually over-done tropes and turning them into something a little different or unexpected. Indeed, beyond simply telling the tale, it makes the most of its premise, amiably poking fun at itself, both pushing boundaries and landing satisfyingly.
Sparklingly led by Taiwanese actors Vivian Sung as Zheng Xiao’En and Marcus Chang as He Tianxing/ Situ Aoran they do not disappoint, bringing energy and charisma to each scene. A great supporting cast, many playing double roles, rounds out the twinned planets of Lost Romance.
Clearly chemistry is key and they’ve got bags of it across the relationships. For many of the characters, there’s some nice progression where they evolve directly from the action, making it feel like a continuous slide. As a result, each one and-a-bit hour chapter ends too soon and typically leaves you on a cliffhanger. If continuously rolling with the episodes is your jam, there’s no turning back.
Director Eri Hao is known for helming a number of lively dramas including the zingy Aaron Yan-led Refresh Man (Netflix, Viki) and the 2021 Magic Moment as well as another Marcus Chang starrer Between (Viki).
In addition to dramas such as Proud of Love, Vivian Sung is known for movies Our Times, the edgy Taipei Suicide Story and Café. Waiting. Love. where she previously collaborated with Marcus Chang. Actor/Singer Chang also stars in dramas Back to 1989 (Netflix) and Behind Your Smile (Amazon).
Delightfully, there are quite a few ear-candy treats on the official soundtrack including ‘Lose to You’, a beguiling tune and opportunity for Chang to further shine. Additionally, he charms with ‘Talk to Me’ and ‘Tonight I’m Here’, which you’ll get tastes of throughout the series. In interviews, he talks of music as his first love and it’s pleasing to see him set the tone and marry the two talents to gleaming effect.
Throughout, sets and lighting are modern and realistic except for one item noted a few episodes back. More amusing than relevant, CEO He Tianxing’s apartment has a weirdly old-lady-like vibe in contrast to his position and personality. Funnily, he’s meant to be the staid, proper one, compared to novel-bound alter ego Situ Aoran who’s a little flashier. Admittedly, we’re potentially underestimating Taiwanese design trends here but incongruously it stuck out as a little random.
And to be fair, a little more dive into best friend Qingfeng’s piece could have been suitably rewarding, as we seem to lose sight of him in the last few instalments. Played by former SpeXial boyband member Simon Lian, he’s also known for drama Angel ‘N’ Devil (Netflix).
As the third point in the triangle, Lian is completely natural, even when on fire with intensity. His signature flame-infused appearance is a fascinating device and although not fully explained, it made for an impressive visual. Consequently, it pushes at the idea of ‘characters’ living on through narrative – another theme explored.
Overall Lost Romance is an enchanting love story with spectacle in all the right places. As a Fantasy Island-style opportunity to get to know a crush up-close, it impishly teases its own genre while fully embracing it at the same time. Just like your (sometimes-but-not-always hilarious) significant other. The Review Geek recommendation: Put a ring on it.
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Verdict - 9/10