Kingdom Season 1, Korean drama series (2019)

Zombies. I can hear fatique all around when people hear that word nowadays. The zombie genre is quite honestly dead. (Oh come on, I had to use that pun at least once right?) Seriously though, it’s hard to find something original in that genre these days. Pretty much everything has been done to it, that can be done to it, and it takes as much effort to bring this genre back to life as it does to bring back a corpse. Okay, okay I’ll stop with the puns, I didn’t know you would get mad, jeezzz. But then again, as with everything there are always exceptions. The Walking Dead for instance is having a very strong comeback this season, and it seems there is still a lot of life in it despite the departure of Andrew Lincoln. For those of you that have been keeping tabs on it, two weeks or so ago, there was a shocking episode that many have called the best episode since the show started. I don’t know about that, but I do know it was good. Especially with the shock factor.

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I have heard some men become obsessed with women, but this is taking it to a new level. 

Now, when you see the title of this post, I can already hear you wondering why on Earth am I talking about zombies when I am about to review a Korean drama? Because really there must be some kind of error. A mix up of sorts. Erm….no there isn’t. The Korean drama Kingdom is a historical piece set in Korea’s Joseon period. And it features….zombies. When it comes to original ideas, I have to say the setting alone is enough to convince you that this is really something that hasn’t been done before. It’s also one of the show’s greatest strengths. Beautiful cinematography, exquisite costumes, and incredible sets bring the historical setting to the small screen in a very big way. In fact it’s done so well, one would almost forget that this is a tv series and not some kind of big budget movie. This is all good and well, but looks alone are of course not enough to make something fun to watch. No, for that you also need a decent story and characters that one can identify with. So what does Kingdom do on that front?

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In medieval times this was how they held a marathon. 

In Kingdom the story focusses on Yi-Chang a man who is next in line for the throne. With strange notices cropping up all over the country claiming that the King is dead, and the crown prince should be crowned immediately as the new King, that moment might be coming sooner than Yi-Chang had expected. But is the King really dead? One night Yi-Chang decides to investigate, and enters the palace in search of his father. But instead of the King, he encounters a dark shadow behind a curtain that looks like a terrifying monster. Fleeing the palace and accompanied by his trusty personal guard Moo-Young he sets out on a journey to find out the truth about what’s going on. Sinister forces are at work though, and an evil mastermind is behind a conspiracy to overthrow the throne, and bring darkness to the country. A horrible plague is slowly taking hold of the populace, and as more and more people become infected Yi-Chang becomes ever more desperate to find a solution to all of it. However that is by no means an easy feat…..

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Medical care has come a long way since then….

Kingdom takes the zombie genre in a new and fresh direction. It’s a story that isn’t only about flesh eating monsters, but also has many other things going for it like conspiracies at the royal court and politics. While this last bit might sound boring, I can assure you it isn’t. Having no real knowledge of Korea’s ancient history it’s nice to see some of the customs that were involved back in those days. While of course this is a totally fictional account, the historical aspects of it all certainly look very convincing. What’s also nice is the fact that the zombies in this show aren’t acting in the way that those shambling corpses usually do. They have their own set of unique rules, and at times even seem to share traits with one of those other legendary monsters: the vampires. This of course being a zombie show there is some blood and gore in it, but it comes nowhere close to the level of for instance the Walking Dead.

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Green Arrow’s ancient precursor: The Blue Arrow

It’s on the character department that the show doesn’t shine so bright. Most of them are (so far at least) pretty bland. Actor Ju Ji-hoon brings to life the crown prince, and while he does a decent job of it, I would have liked it if his character just had a little bit more background. His guard played by Kim Sang-ho was honestly my favorite. He acts pretty much as the comedic relief in what otherwise would have been a pretty dark show. There are many others introduced as well, most notably the physician Seo-Bi and the show’s bad guy minister Cho Hak-ju but all of them just fail to leave a very lasting impression. This doesn’t mean that this ruins the show though. With this being the first season of the series that sadly only lasts six episodes, this pretty much feels like the characters have now been set up on the board and the real game is about to begin. Kingdom is a really interesting and fun series to watch, especially if you are a fan of for instance Train to Busan , still my favorite zombie movie to date. It’s a unique take on the genre, that many feel like it might be walking towards it’s own death. Okay, that was really the last one.

I give Kingdom a 8 out of 10 score.

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Kingdom Season 1, Korean drama series (2019)”

      1. Well….maybe you should just try one out. It can definitely sometimes help take your mind of things to just watch something. I know it definitely helps me😊

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  1. Thanks got you review. It’s so awesome to see you writing again 😁. I hard about Kingdom, but I never had any idea about what it was about. I’ll probably check it out some time in the future because I’ve been wanting something interesting to watch recently besides anime.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww, thanks so much Scott, that is very kind of you to say. I am having fun being back here again, that is for sure😊
      Kingdom certainly is very unique in it’s blend of genres, and that’s what made it such an interesting watch for me. And with this season only being 6 episodes long, you will get through it in no time. I hope you will enjoy it, and thanks as always for your comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I share your admiration for Train To Busan, definitely the best modern zombie thriller, along with 28 Days Later. I like the look of this Korean drama a lot, and now I have access to Netflix, I will be sure to investigate it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree Pete, 28 days later (and I have to admit it’s sequel as well) are definitely favorites of mine as well 😊
      This drama certainly took me by surprise, and I loved it’s blend of genres. Honestly can’t wait for season 2, but that will not be here yet for a while. Awesome by the way that you now have access to Netflix. One of the posts I have planned are for a few shorter reviews of a couple of Netflix orginal movies I have seen. Hopefully there are a few there that might be of interest to you 😊

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  3. I actually loved the minister, thought he was a brilliant villain. Particularly his corpses in the pond speech. I loved this series and had been waiting a while for it when it finally arrived. Good to see a review from you and it makes me happy not just that you are back, but you chose this series. Because Iloved it and wrote about it, https://itsmorethanjustgaming.com/2019/02/07/changing-an-established-idea-part-2-the-kingdom-example/
    I’ve put a link to this review at the end. Welcome back

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey John, I promise to check out that post tomorrow, as it’s certainly become a favorite of mine as well. Thanks so much for the link back, appreciate it.
      The minister certainly had a few interesting things going for him, and like I said I have the feeling that so far this season serves as a sort of set up for the next phase, where I am convinced we will be seeing more of the characters, and they will probably get some better background😊 (If you want to see the best villain ever in a Korean drama though, check out Lawless Lawyer…the villain there is just sooooo good😊). Lol…and agree, the corpes in the pond speech was brilliant. That cliffhanger though😮😮😮Can’t wait for season 2. Thanks for the kind words, it’s good to be back 😊😊

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  4. The premise for this sounds amazing! I’ll admit I don’t typically watch zombie media because they all tend to feel the same for me, but taking zombies and putting them into a historical era like this is all kinds of intriguing. Loved your review. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really was a fun series, and the unique setting and premise made it so much better indeed 😊Certainly one of the better dramas I have seen come out of Korea, and I loved the fresh take on this genre 😊
      Glad you loved the review, and thanks as always for commenting! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh…don’t get me started on GOT. I can’t wait to see it (and keeping my fingers crossed they don’t ruin it 😅).
      Cool that you are subscribing to Netflix! There’s some really cool stuff there, and I know you will have a blast watching it. This being a Netflix original series, it’s still on there, and having been released this year, it will probably be safe for a long time. Hope you will enjoy it! 😊

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  5. Another great review. I’ve been meaning to check this out. I love Train to Busan and Korean horror in general, so this one’s right up my alley. Six episodes sounds like a good length too. So many shows, so little time. 😂 Anyhow, it’s wonderful to see you posting again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much! 😊 It really is good to be back, well…at least in a somewhat limited capicity 😊
      This series really is good, and I honestly can’t wait for season 2 to arrive (which might be as early as next year….so a long wait 😅).
      Totally agree though: I have so much to watch (and read) that I honestly don’t know where to find the time for it all 😂😂😂 Thank you again! 😊

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  6. Interesting. I usually think of zombies as a now or near-future story, not set in the past. Vampires usually are the monsters of choice for historical supernatural tales, so nice that the creators mixed it up a bit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. yep, that definitely is one of the biggest selling points for this series. It’s a pretty original concept that I at least haven’t seen before. They did a fine job with this, that’s for sure. Hope you will enjoy it when you get a chance to check this one out 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m in a really heavy kdrama phase and I was wondering about this one! I didn’t know if it would be something I would like since I’ve mostly watched romances in the kdrama realm. I think this would be a nice one to try and get to.

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    1. Definitely a good one to check out: it’s only six episodes so that means you will be through it in no time. But it’s time well spent in my opinion. Netflix has certainly added a couple pretty decent K-dramas to their line up. Black for instance is another one that I highly recommend 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  8. So good to see a new review from you! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. It really is such a well done series. I think most fans of zombies/horror would enjoy it. It’s also a great introduction to Korean historicals and a bit of their politics while not being overwhelming.

    I too hope they flesh out the character more in the second season to evoke more emotions to got along with the zombie fun. There were so many amazing things about Train to Busan, but a big one was how much heart was mixed in with action and zombies. Would love to see more of that in Kingdom. Will be looking forward to season 2 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! 😊 It was fun writing a post again. I’m trying my best to at least bring something new each week. It’s been a bit of rough week healthwise, which is why I’m running a bit behind on answering comments, so my apologies for that.
      I have high hopes for season 2 of Kingdom. I have the feeling that they are definitely going to be spending more time fleshing out the characters , and as well as doing more world building. The only regret I have is that we will probably have to wait until next year for the next season 😔 Other than that though I loved this one so far.
      Have now started on Possessed on Netflix. Don’t know if you have seen it but apart from a few cringeworthy slapstick scenes, so far I’m pretty much enjoying it a lot. Going to start with episode 3 tonight 😊
      Thanks as always for the kind words, and the comment 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aww, I hate that you’re still feeling bad 😦 Really hoping you see some improvement and get some answers soon.

        I’m very interested to see where they go with season 2. This writer usually creates very well done and fleshed out characters in her dramas, so I too am hoping that some of that shows up in the next installment 🙂

        Oooh, Possessed does sound like something you would enjoy. I’m still pretty selective about my crime shows, so I haven’t added it to my list so far. Been following some updates on it though, and it looks pretty fun. Glad you’re enjoying it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks so much, I’m definitely hoping the same thing. Nearing 5 months now, so I’m definitely quite done with it 😔
        I’m thinking season 2 is going to be even better than the first season…unless I’m mistaking. Season 1 really feels like a set up for more interesting things to come 😀
        As for possessed….well..it’s a crime series…but then again it isn’t. It feels a bit like Black. It’s really heavy on the supernatural aspects of it. In fact it reminds me of an older Denzel Washington movie that I really enjoyed called Fallen. In fact the premise is quite like that film. Definitely recommend it 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t know this drama was running but thanks for bringing it to my notice as it goes down in my to-watch list! It’s to great and refreshing to see a post from you after quite some time and I hope you enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed reading it! I hope your health is in your favour as well!

    Also, don’t stop the puns I love reading those!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, this drama is fairly recent (in fact I watched it in january which is pretty much right after it was released 😊). It’s definitely one I recommend, as it’s a fairly unique one as far as I am concerned 😊
      I really did have fun writing it, and it’s so nice to hear that you enjoyed reading it so much: thank you 😊
      As for my health, well wish I could say it was in my favour, but no…alas it is not. This week certainly isn’t one of the good ones, but I’m trying to stay positive as much as I can 😊
      Lol…and I will try to keep the puns going. Thanks as always for a great comment😊

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      1. Ohh that explains why I haven’t seen this drama. I’m currently reading through 6 novels and haven’t caught up on dramas yet! Oh don’t worry everything will be fine! Make your mind positive and your body will be too!

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  10. Have you watched a Japanese movie titled One Cut of the Dead (Kamera wo Tomeru na)?. I laughed a lot watching it. It is a comedy but it got zombies in it. My second favourite of zombie movie after Train to Busan. 🙂

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    1. I can’t say that one rings a bell, but I’m definitely adding it to my to watch list. Always nice to get a cool recommendation, so thank you for that: and of course the comment! It’s always appreciated 😊

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    1. Thank you so much…I’m doing my best to hang in here as much as I can 😊
      It’s certainly one of the more original takes on the zombie genre, which is also one of the main reasons I enjoyed this one a lot 😊
      As for the Joker trailer: definitely! It really looks creepy as hell, and with Phoenix playing this part, we’ve certainly got a terrific actor who I think is going to bring to life one of the scariest Jokers we’ve had so far. Can’t wait to see it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh….3 seasons behind huh? 😮😮 Well…honestly Walking Dead is still my favorite all time tv show. The current season especially seems like a return to form, that’s for sure 😊
      As for Kingdom: definitely one I think you would like Kim. It’s setting alone is making this show very much worth the watch😊 Thanks as always for a great comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. good to see ur return. 🍃
    i had watched a couple of the furst episodes and found it pretty good.
    i had added it to my Dramas To Watch Later list.
    🌅

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  12. Wow, this looks and sounds amazing 🙂
    K-dramas set in the olden day are usually really interesting and with zombies added in, it sounds like one hell of a watch 😀
    Definitely going to have to check it out. Great post 😀

    Like

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