And k-dramas have managed to do it again.
Just when you think you know everything about k-dramas, historical zombie drama Kingdom appears on Netflix and shows us what it’s made of.
It’s a six-episode series that focuses on an epidemic where the dead rise and crave flesh and blood. We know these creatures as zombies. If you’re not new to the zombie genre, you’ll know that Train To Busan was a smash hit as a zombie k-movie. So what happens when they get together and try to recreate that success? They create the masterpiece that is Kingdom.
What can you expect in Kingdom? I’ll give a breakdown of some of the events. This will include SPOILERS, so please continue reading at your own risk.
While strange rumors about their ill king grip a kingdom, the crown prince becomes their only hope against a mysterious plague overtaking the land. –Netflix
Here’s what you need to know about Kingdom:
The king falls gravely ill, dies, and is resurrected thanks to a physician. Here’s the problem. The King comes back as a flesh-eating zombie and the Queen and her father have hidden this truth from everyone. They need the king ‘alive’ enough until the Queen gives birth to a son and will become heir to the throne.
There is plenty of politicking to be had here. (Of course there is always a hidden agenda and play for power in historical k-dramas. I wouldn’t expect anything less.) The very young and pregnant Queen is conspiring with her father to take over the throne. They’re willing to do anything. In the very last episode, we discover that the queen isn’t even pregnant at all, but she has taken in a bunch of pregnant peasants. She needs a son. When the first peasant woman gives birth to a girl, both are murdered. Oh yes, the Queen is willing to do anything to get a son.
And what about her father, the State Counselor? And the resurrection plant? When Seo Bi finds where they are, there was a table and shackles nearby. Someone was experimenting. Just like the State Counselor did earlier with the men in the dungeon. He’s way more wicked than I imagined. I bet he was likely involved in the king’s critical illness. Everything has been too perfectly planned and executed to be mere coincidence.
The Crown Prince has down his own conspiring to take over the throne with the assistance of the scholars. The palace is full of corruption and he’s not having any parts of it. He manages to escape with his guard in search of the physician who treated his father. What he finds is the stuff straight out nightmares — blood and dozens of dead bodies. And cue the zombie nightmare that has infiltrated the Joseon time period.
Can he save his people and take down the evil-doers at the palace? Well, we won’t know that this season. Fingers crossed the baddies get what’s coming to them and the kingdom is ruled by a fair and just king who doesn’t starve his people.
There’s plenty of blood and gore. If you have a weak stomach, you might need to politely pass on this drama. Kingdom’s content is not for the faint hearted and I don’t recommend eating while watching this drama.
I love the Crown Prince and his motivation to do the right thing and put the people in the Joseon kingdom first. He surrenders his own food and protects his subjects when everyone is ready to abandon them. The Prince fights tirelessly and is a character I really admire. There is also Bae Doona here as Seo Bi, and my only knit pick is that I wish we had more from her. This is one talented actress and I need to see her shine in season 2. I’m hoping that her discovery of the resurrection plant and the temperature situation with the undead will give her a bit more to do than just picking medicinal herbs for the Prince.
So, guess what completely shocked me? The zombies only became animated at nighttime. This means there is plenty of daylight for survivors to figure out what to do next. The problem? At the very, very end of episode six, we learn that the zombies are alive in the daylight, too. It’s simply a matter of temperature. Who knew? That was one twist I didn’t expect.
Can someone please hurry along season 2? I’m on the edge of my seat. As we got deeper into the story and the zombie problem, I had the sneaking suspicion there was no way it could be wrapped up in six episodes. K-dramas rarely have second seasons and, even more so, they rarely end on cliffhangers. Nonetheless, Netflix has blessed us with a second season of this drama. It may be a long wait, drama fans.
I saw tentative dates of 2020. Omo. Can we hold out that long?
The acting, story, and cinematography was flawless. Even the music added to the eeriness. It’s hard to watch Kingdom late at night, but once you start watching, it’s even harder to stop.
If you haven’t already, add this drama to your watch list and check it out, stat. You won’t regret it.
Kingdom is available on Netflix.
However, I may do a recap of this series or do a podcast, but I’m not 100% sure, so please stay tuned for updates. I just wanted to do a rough overview of my initial thoughts after working. I may work on a ’10 Reasons’ post in the meantime, but we’ll see what happens first. Once Tiff watches this one, I’ll see if we decide on a podcast to talk about this drama or stick to a review. I will announce details soon.
What do you think, readers? Have you watched Kingdom? What did you think? Did you devour and binge-watch this k-drama on Netflix like I did? How did it do? Were you shocked by how well written the story was? Maybe it was too violent for your taste? Let me know your thoughts below.
And please don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on the latest here at It Started with a K-Drama.
P.S. If you’re a drama fan, feel free to check out reviews of dramas I’ve previously watched.