jTBC Drama Sky Castle Episode 16 Breaks All Time Cable Ratings with 19.243%

Sorry I haven’t been covering jTBC Fri-Sat drama Sky Castle, it’s purely due to not watching (yet) though I’m fascinated by the meteoric ratings rise and viewer chatter about the drama developments. Having near high school age kids makes me unmotivated to watch a drama about rich parents wrangling over their kids academic achievements (too close to home) but the Korean viewers are mesmerized by this drama and last Saturday’s episode 16 hit 19.243% ratings, becoming the highest rated episode of drama on cable of all time taking over the crown from the final episode of Answer Me 1988. The top three spots were all final episodes of tvN dramas, with AM1988 followed by Goblin and then Mr. Sunshine, and now a jTBC drama has pushed past with four more episodes to widen the ratings gap and sit on the throne for who knows how long to come. Congrats to the parents and kids of Sky Castle for turning academic competition makjang into ratings gold.


jTBC Drama Sky Castle Episode 16 Breaks All Time Cable Ratings with 19.243% — 60 Comments

    • Hopefully. Mr. Sunshine was very boring drama that relied on Kim Eun Sook’s cliché plot and dialogue. Also, Memories of Alhambra should look at this drama with three times less budget but twice as higher viewership. Encounter was a even bigger flop.

      • Overseas shootings bring up the production cost in MOA (Spain) and Encounter (Cuba). Maybe MOA can be shot in some remote islands within Asia with cheaper costs to achieve similar mysterious atmosphere. For Encounter, a bedroom scene will increase the rating, no need to date in Cuba 🙂

      • candycane-yeah encounter was biggest flop drama, even budget was higher than dots. They just need to shoot balcony kiss scene and love scene in Korea don’t to shoot overseas in Cuba. Even ep.13 only get 7.9%. Big let down for shk and pbg after long hiatus.

      • oh well, this is the rating they deserve with an empty plot and the leads just walking, talking, holding hands and occ kissing. SO BORING!

  1. This drama deserves it. Good acting, the theme about education which touches the Korean society. Good drama don’t need sky high budget, they need good script.

    • Yes and the whole cast did well, you don’t need to rely on visual hallyu stars like SHK, PGB, HB, PSH…

      I hope Sky Castle wins big in this coming BaekSang Arts Awards in April/May.

  2. It goes to say that big names are just to create buzz but at the end of the day, the story is what really matters. And people these days want to watch something relatable and this is what has been offered by SKY Castle. I enjoy the drama and I disagree over the term “makjang” being associated to it. Congrats to the production team and stellar cast for the job well done and hopefully the drama will net more than 20% rating by the finale. Congrats again!

  3. I think it’s similar to those weekend family dramas that usually goes above 30% rating. First, it’sthe kind of drama with viewers of certain demographics that’s still hook on tv. Secondly, it sounds like that it’s a premise that most Koreans can relate.

    • In addition, Reply 1988 was another family drama. That is why it has the rating.

      This type of drama can be a hype domestically but in the perspective of the producers, it’s something with limited market as it’s a type of drama that can’t be sold anywhere else.

      • I think its marketable for the plot. But I’m not sure any of the actor have chance to hit hallyu. Like how PBG get recognizer from reply, They still need visual for that.

    • Its not only Koreans who can relate to the drama. Its a very relatable to all competitive societies especially in Asia. My friends from other parts of Asia can relate to them (the characters in Sky Castle). This drama is marketable even outside of Korea for sure. Asia is a big market for K-dramas.

      • Maybe you are right. I have yet to continue to watch the drama. I’ve only done 1 episode.

  4. I disagree that it is a limited market and can’t be sold anywhere else. It is prevalent in all Asian communities and even those who have migrated to Western countries. They bring their culture with them into the Western communities. The topic has been explored in Hollywood too – eg Dead Poets Society. But it’s not just the topic that has resulted in the stellar ratings. The acting has been superb. The characters (all of them) are well fleshed out and all ‘live’ for me. Every one of them, even the children. And that’s a rare thing. To bring it all together in one conglomerate whole rationally and realistically (yes it is satire/black comedy so you need to account for that) makes it a very satisfying watch. Plus it’s not exactly in a time slot that is top billing…it starts at 11pm Friday and Saturday night? It means the public is putting it down in their diaries and coming home to watch it or staying up to do so. Well deserving of its ratings.

    • @Pilgrim , you mentioned the same movie as me in a previous post ” Dead Poets society”. Wich was a little budget movie when it was released but with a good script and fantastic actors . Here we have a riveting sript but also fantastic actors and some hype Young actors should take classes from them ! I was with Sky Castle since the debut and until now i’m still hooked.Keep surprising us with good dramas JTBC and also congrats for the us remake of SWDBS.

  5. I don’t think the success is due to the family topic of education, although education is a great plot device and allows each young and old characters to be developed.

    For me, the addictiveness starts right from the first death, trying to figure out the mysterious Coach Kim, and finally, the second death turns this drama into a delightful Agatha Christie-like whodunit.

  6. Wow my wish came true! finally it surpass Reply88 rating. Congrats to the whole team.
    With half the budget of now airing Alhambra and Encounter and only 1/6 of Mr Sunshine, it can achieve such a high rating.
    Now send the whole team to Japan for a reward vacation, please. They deserve it!

  7. This drama is so addicting!!!
    Truly a drama about whi is the villain of all villains.
    The cast acts perfectly for their roles especially Coach Kim.
    I’m in awe and it still leaves me breathless even with already 16 episodes shown and four more to go.
    Truly deserving of the ratings.

  8. A true masterpiece of a drama! I disagree that the story is “makjang” because the obession with education in Korea is REAL. As an Asian parent I can fully relate to the things they do and how conficted they feel about “work/life” balance for their kids. You keep telling yourself that you are doing what’s best for your kids but in fact you are living vicariously through them. It’s all about making the family proud and not losing face in society. Sky Castle hits the nail on its head with an excellent cast and acting is top notch. I love seeing buzzy productions with popular actors and/or so called “top visuals” play second fiddle to a quality drama like Sky Castle. It has restored my faith in Korean dramas!

  9. Big budget drama doesn’t mean good quality drama. This day we just need good script, acting and direction. Big name actor and actress didn’t important at all.

  10. Mr Sunshine had its own story. It was a story about people who fought for their country. While this drama about the current society issue.

    Be a wise and smart viewer. Dont compare a ‘historical’ drama to a modern drama. Of course, historical drama needs more $$$$.

    My sunshine is a good drama. Sky castle is also a good drama. Compare this two is a no no.

    Encounter and alhambra might not get higher rating than SC but they sold in higher price outside korea.
    Why? Big names. So, big names are important… At least for sponsorship. Not to mention if other countries buy it based on those big names.

    Scarlet didnt do well in korea but did well outside korea and still brought $$$. Big names are indeed important.

    I dont have any particular fave kdrama nowadays… But it doesn’t make me see other drama worse than other. It’s preference.

  11. Story is King and that is all that matters. Congratulations to Sky Castle I will watch after all the positive happy reviews here. Thank you team. PS; I hope the scriptwriter is catapulted in to the big time now! They’ve earned it.

  12. Congrats to Sky Castle, I’m eager to watch it as soon as it shows up at a legal platform where I live.

    The only time I’ll feel good about a drama doing bad will be the time when there is a known/proven assault perpetrator in cast and crew. This way he/she will not be cast again and hopefully this will teach others that one does not get away with this kind of behaviour.

    Other than that I want every project to do well unrelated to my feelings about its cast/crew.

    Also it is never certain how a drama/film will do. Regardless of the star power and/or project quality. It is not possible to create algorithms for majority preference.

  13. Isnt PBG and SHK did a good job in encounter? Even with slow burn plot, they still reached 7-8% rating. They just proof us, this is the result for cast them even with weak writer. Just give them a good script and the rating will become a bomb. Dont forget it will airs in 100 countries, this is the power of hallyu actors. I watched sky castle and yeah its good, but Im not really into the story. Its a makjang drama (better version than TLE). But the story still good, hope I can watch it until the end.
    For me reply 1988 still the best drama ever

    • Can SHK handle a good script? Her acting has no range. She is very image conscious, which character in Sky Castle is she willing to accept? Just wondering… Her acting will look very dim among the veterans.

      • @candycane worlds within is very well written script and she really acted so good in that series with range and so in her movies my brilliant life a reason to live etc.. but since your not her fan you dont watch her stuff. So im just side eyeing your bias comment.
        Anyways im gonna binge watch sky castle this weekend and congrats to the whole team.

      • I have watched Worlds Within (she has good chemistry with HB coz they were a couple), but not her movies. One drama out of how many and you call her “having acting range”? LOL. OK, she has totally regressed after World Within then if this is what you want to hear. Fan like you is really forgiving, isn’t it? You can always side eye my comments. This is my opinion and unfortunately you cannot change it, don’t even try!

      • I watched encounter for Jang seung jo been stanning him since money flower and in all fairness with shk she’s good here her nuance acting and the way she deliver emotional scenes without words is really good @candycane.

        All i can say about sky castle its dae to the bak.

      • @noreen – I am not talking about nuance acting. Acting range means the ability to portray people in different circumstances. She always stays in her comfort zone and chooses similar roles. No one has told me which character she can fit into in Sky Castle. I assume this has confirmed my impression of her.

      • Lee so im’s character will fit her ( my personal opinion)
        Tbh her full house char and encounter is so different and thought she pulls them well. Comedy and heavy drama.

      • @noreen – agree, and I totally enjoy her in Full House. Just that after Worlds Within in 2008, she appears the same in the next 3 dramas with similar expressions. I wish she can take on new challenges in the future.

      • She did good in full house so maybe she can take jin jin hee or seo joon’s mother. But she’s pretty bland in encounter so I’m not sure. Why its matter btw? She’s not in that drama

    • I’m a super huge fan of Song Hye Kyo and love her so much but I can’t stand your opinion about her and Park Bo Gum. If it’s not for their popularity and visual I doubt the drama even reach that high. Even I can’t keep up with the drama and end up dropping Encounter because it just somehow doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I really wish Song Hye Kyo can pick up a more challenging script that is out of her comfort zone.

      Good luck to every productions and cast team.

      • I dont think Encounter is a good drama either. The writer is suck. There’s no big problem until ep 13 and I get tired already. But still the rating reached 7%, its ridicolous, people must be love SHK and PBG so much. And this is the power of the actor.
        I’m saying this because there’s many people in here who said that choosing hallyu actors is not important, no! SHK and PBG have show us how important a hallyu actor for the rating. (I’m not sure all of big actors can pull the rating btw, maybe its just work with this two, PBG and SHK)

  14. Firstly, super big congrats to the Sky Castle team for breaking the ratings record for cable TV. It’s so well-deserved!! Read that the cast is being rewarded for a vacation trip due to breakthrough ratings.

    Secondly, I disagree with the description above of “makjang” for this series. That would be for something like “The Last Empress”. Sky Castle is a family black satire, mystery and thriller all-in-one. I’m reminded somewhat of the movie “American Beauty” which was a satire of American family. Sky Castle is a satire of upper-class, image/ success-crazy Korean/ Asian family. And it’s done very, very well with a sharp script, witty dialogue, great acting and character development.

    It’s definitely become a “popular culture” in South Korea currently (similar to Goblin previously), and almost “zeitgeist” at this point in time.

    Lastly, the reason why it did not catch the attention of international audience is because most of them follow kdrama due to idols/ big names and hence missed out this gem. Just because it was not sold at a high price to other countries does not discount it’s success and amazing quality. Read any post on twitter (mostly int’l viewers) about Sky Castle and you can see how amazed and hooked people get when they first get into the series. I was immediately addicted from episode 1.

    Anyways, go and catch this series. You won’t regret it!

    • makjang is just korean words
      /version of satire.
      Makjang used to full of rich people with education obsession, just their protagonist usually the poor one, or the mary sue rich girl.
      Makjang is overexaggeration of a story that exist ans relatable in greater scale.
      Saying it’s makjang isn’t bad , that just put the theme and the viewer into perspective.

      International fans has been bashing makjang drama for decade and when good makjang drama happened, they were like “this isn’t makjang”

      The last empress is the classic makjang but SKY Castle is also lie in the makjang genre.

      • Thanks for the explanation. It’s an interesting perspective of Makjang and I guess you are right, it has been seen as “negative” most of the time. I think it’s not just int’l fans who use “makjang” as a negative term fro dramas, I believe koreans do the same?

        This discussion made me google it up, and it does look like there are slightly different understanding of the word :

        1. Makjang
        Over-the-top and overly-used plot points in a K-Drama, like “Surprise, you’re siblings!”, or a birth secret, cancer, car accident, evil stepmother, etc.
        Source: soompi.com

        2. Makjang
        overly melodramatic stories, heavily laden
        Source: thefangirlverdict.com

        3. makjang
        a sylistic, tonal, or narrative element in dramas that chooses to play up outrageous storylines to keep viewers hooked despite how ridiculous the stories become (adultery, revenge, rape, birth secrets [..]
        Source: dramabeans.com


        For me, perhaps Makjang can range from”soap opera” to “satire”. TLE is towards the soap opera Makjang, and very far from reality. Whereas Sky Castle is towards satire where it’s an exaggeration of a reality happening in the society.

        Good discussion. At the end of the day, Sky Castle has captured the heart and attention of viewers, and also given a thumbs up for quality. Well done!!

    Great and addicting story and even better acting by the whole cast.
    All portrayals are 3-dimensional and have their own imperfections.
    One moment I’m angry, one moment im laughing.
    The transition of the scenes are superb and the directing is phenomenal.
    This drama deserves all the fame and high ratings.

  16. It is a great drama. Korean seem to like what is excessif. The reaction of some character are pretty excessif but so funny (Professor Cha I’m watching you :p). They like family drama too. This one is better because it doesn’t have 20 filler episodes like the week-end dramas.

    Mr Sunshine was great too but in a very different way. The story was about a very sad area in the korean History. It was a tragic story but with very beautiful sceneries, characters, music.

      • Le dernier épisode où l’ont mis à la porte de sa propre maison était vraiment drôle et tellement mérité 😀

      • @sayaris, lors de cette scène ,si j’avais été sa femme je lui aurais dis où il pouvait se la mettre sa sacrée pyramide ! Pardonnez moi cette expression @sayaris ! C’est tellement agréable de lire pour une fois un commentaire en français.

  17. Sky Castle is so refreshing and their ending scene always makes me looking forward for the next episode
    Its so addicting but i don’t think i would rewatch it for multiple times after it final like the reply series

  18. It would be disservice to call this drama makjang. If anything, its synergy in impeccable directing and acting allowed so much to be communicated in silences and subtle body language. I never thought watching a calm discussion could portray such tense power play by just focusing on hand movements and seating postures. And no one could ever accuse this writer of lazy writing. Every character in this ensemble is so layered. Every action seem to always have purpose down the road, so far. I’m hopeful this momentum will roll till finale.

  19. I don’t think you know the meaning of makjang. Cos if you did, you wouldn’t be using that word to describe this series :/

    The writing, camera work, acting and OST is so on point in this series that I hope you get to watch it sooner than later.

  20. Song hye just meh actress, I don’t think she playing role like oh na-ra (sky castle), kim hye soo (signal), jang na-ra (last empress), lee bo young (mother). She always use pretty face in every drama that’s she can very successful in drama, but in movie you can’t use visual cause people look an acting skill not just visual pretty. Shk just getting old now and never improve and limited in acting. I can see she doesn’t care about acting skill as long she get many CF offer.

    • @valentinazara Really is that the reason why she won best new actress in korea film awards and a nomination in blue dragon and grandbell awards for her film hwang jini. And best actress award in women in film korea awards for her another movie a reason to live. Lol stop showing your ignorance here.

      • Haha the users here are all ignorant and like to insult popular actresses just for the sake of it. Because they have nowhere to express their bitterness at how these actresses’ status and popularity are untouchable in Korea. SHK remains a queen and her acting in Encounter is praised.

      • Hahaha. A queen with 7% ratings while Sky Castle has 19%. ??? untouchable popularity with 7% rating. LOL ?

      • @candycane You seem like an uneducated airhead from your comments here so I prefer if you don’t talk to me, as its kind of disgusting… Thanks.

      • @Angie – the originator of this thread is @valentinazara, not you. If I am disgusting, you are equally disgusting just like me. If I am an uneducated airhead, what are you then? Look into the mirror first before you talk to me again because I was not talking to you in the first place. I did not call out your name. You idiot not even realizing I was just laughing at the sideline. You don’t own this thread.

    • @candycane whats wrong with 7 % ratings in cable when you pass the 5 % rating its consider above average. Anyways in Sky castle we have 4 female leads and they are all amazing. I think its great that cable channels is winning against the big 3.

      • There is nothing wrong with 7% rating. I was just laughing at the so-called untouchable popularity having a rating of 12% less than Sky Castle. Some people are happy with a C+ while the average is a C. I will be sad at not getting an A if I am that untouchable popular ?

  21. Why let Kim hyena die ? Writer will make yeh Suh and yeh Suh mother nice I know it . And make hyena a very revengsive person . Most of the comments have song Hye kyo . I don’t watch encounter becoz the pairing is uncomfortable with me . I have seen dots , full house , autumn in my heart. All of it but not this drama encounter . Maybe next time she choose right actor for her . Anyway woo joo is very good looking and rating break record make me very happy . Love from India . Waiting for next episode killing me . Please come back fast .

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