“Kingdom”, a South Korean political period horror and thriller television series, also Netflix’s first original Korean series was in my watch list for long time, recently I got the courage to binge watch both seasons of “Kingdom”.
Set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Imjin War, the first season of Kingdom follows the story of Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) and his subordinates, who stumble across an unnatural plague that resurrects the dead amidst his investigation of a brewing political conspiracy and rumors of the King of Joseon’s death.
Though inside palace, Chief State Councilor Lord Cho Hak-ju decides to hide the King’s death until his daughter, Queen Consort Cho (Kim Hye-jun), produces a son, true legitimate heir.
As the story progresses, it shows real life struggle and ill fate of common people as well as crown prince. Not getting permission to visit his sick father, crown prince leaves palace in disguise to search for Lee Seung-hui (Kwon Bum-taek), the doctor who last treated the King. Shocked by what he finds in the process of investigating the King’s illness with the help of physician’s assistant Seo-bi (Bae Doona), is the start of his real problem.
Hunger for the human flesh and the contagious Zombie disease spread is intense to watch. Crown prince’s journey perfectly shows how to fight with the walking dead and rescue common people. The storyline is wonderfully executed.
The season 2 is the continuation of the same story and it shows perfectly crown prince’s power struggle over the zombie’s rise and political conspiracy within the palace. It’s beautiful to watch how each struggle makes him more powerful, wise and determined leader.
Story and screenplay
Though trailer shows some similarities with “The Game Of Thrones”, this period horror series is a realistic yet power pact show to watch which shows Crown Prince’s journey to become strong leader. It shows class discrimination properly; where society’s top clans are treated with royalty and common people are deprived to get basic amenities of life.
Kingdom shows the entire process of how Zombie evolves and spread across the country and threatens human existence. Screenplay is tight and each part is convincing. Joseon era’s beautiful cinematography adds its charm.
Performance & Direction
Directed by Kim Seong-hun and Park In-je, “Kingdom” is a perfect thriller series. Every character plays important role to carry on the entire show and it surely reaches high to another level.
Ju Ji Hoon as Crown prince is totally convincing. His intense yet calm composure perfectly describes crown prince’s character. Born as an illegitimate child and only true claimer of thrones, his life is full of thorns, yet his honest and wise decision will impress you, trust me.
Bae Doona as Seo-bi is shockingly impressive. She beautifully executes the de-glam physician’s assistant’s character. She is among the first to discover the outbreak of the mysterious plague. She desperately seeks to find a cure and comes to possess a journal containing crucial information about the disease.
Kim Sung-Kyu as Yeong-Shin is surely a treat to watch. He is a mysterious tiger hunter from the South who is also among the first to discover the outbreak of this disease. A skilled fighter who carries early European muskets, he allies himself with crown price and helps to lead the fight against the undead.
I like Kim Sang-ho as Mu-Yeong, crown prince Chang’s loyal personal bodyguard who accompanies him to the southern provinces to investigate the disease, leaving his pregnant wife in the capital.
All the characters are outstanding to showcase this flawless story with proper visual effects and makeup, costume design and sound effects, kudos to the direction, it becomes one of the biggest creative shows in KDRAMA world.
It’s definitely a binge watch from my end. Kingdom is more than a Zombie show which tells many angles of human-life’s struggle for existence. Both seasons are truly seamless and realistic.
It’s available in Netflix.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.