If there’s one thing Korean dramas do incredibly well – it’s tell a competent and driven story. Following in the footsteps of both Inside No. 9 and Black Mirror, Korea’s latest sci-fi anthology SF8 is a worthy contender in the field. MBC’s series takes clear inspiration from both of those aforementioned titles but blends them in with an authentic Korean tone to make for a wholly unique experience.
There’s 7 well-written and thought provoking tales to choose from and these smartly branch out across a range of different genres. One episode for example explores the possibility of AI companions. The tone is slightly comedic but there’s a larger message about self-driving cars at work here. Elsewhere, Prayer (my personal favourite) looks at the bleak idea of hierarchical robot nurses.
SF8 does an excellent job keeping things thematically relevant while allowing each of these stories to stand on their own. Predominantly though the series remains grounded in the idea of technology which gives this a feel much closer to Black Mirror. Much like Charlie Brooker’s anthology, there’s a lot of thought provoking questions raised and at times, this does act as a cautionary tale too.
There’s some pretty ambiguous endings on offer here and a lot of symbolism and imagery that keeps this one tonally consistent. A lot of this visual fidelity is partly thanks to changing Directors across episodes. With a different filmmaker lending their eye to this anthology, each short-film feels very fresh and unique.
Much like other anthologies of its kind, there are some episodes that don’t quite hit the mark and others still that stand out as the best of the bunch. Personally, The Prayer and Joan’s Galaxy are two of my favourites but the beauty of a series like this stems from the range of influences available. There will almost certainly be a different favourite for each viewer making this a solid watch.
Korea has had a good string of sci-fi series in the past and SF8 proudly joins the ranks as one of the better ones. While it’s unlikely to hit the prolific heights of something like The King: Eternal Monarch or My Love from the Star, there’s a moody, atmospheric anthology here well worth checking out.