Kingdom (South Korean TV series)

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Kingdom
Title screen for the Netflix series, Kingdom.png
Hangul킹덤
Genre
Based onThe Kingdom of the Gods
by Kim Eun-hee and Yang Kyung-il[1]
Written byKim Eun-hee
Directed byKim Seong-hun
Starring
Country of originSouth Korea
Original language(s)Korean
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes12[2] (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Lee Sang-baek
Producer(s)Lee Sung-joon
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time36–56 minutes
Production company(s)AStory[2]
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Kingdom (Korean킹덤; RRKingdeom) is a 2019 South Korean political period supernatural thriller web television series written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun.[3][4] It is Netflix's first original Korean series,[a] which premiered on January 25, 2019.[5][6][7][8] The series is adapted from the webcomic series The Kingdom of the Gods, which was authored by Kim Eun-hee and drawn by Yang Kyung-il.[1]

The series was positively reviewed, and renewed for a second season which was released on March 13, 2020.[9][10][11][12]

Synopsis[edit]

Set in Korea's Joseon period, a few years after the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598), the first season depicts the story of Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon), who becomes embroiled in a coup/political conspiracy and is forced to embark upon a mission to investigate the spread of a mysterious undead plague that has beset the current king and the country's southern provinces. The story starts with a notice on a billboard, claiming the king of Joseon is dead and the crown prince should be crowned immediately as the new king. However, inside the palace, the king is known to be severely sick and has been secretly treated for the past 10 days. No one was allowed to visit the king, not even the crown prince himself. Late at night, the crown prince sneaks out to visit his father, wanting to know the truth. But instead of his father, he encountered the silhouette of a beastly monster.[13] Accompanied by the physician Seo-Bi (Bae Doo-na), the enigmatic Yeong-Shin (Kim Sung-kyu), and his personal guard Moo-Young (Kim Sang-ho), Prince Lee-Chang must prevent the advance of the plague towards his home capital of Hanyang (present-day Seoul) while addressing the sinister coup masterminded by Minister Cho Hak-ju (Ryu Seung-ryong) and his family aimed towards his deposition from the throne.

The second season centers on the advancement of the plague across several provinces. In the lead-up to halting the outbreak, a devastating revelation ensues at Sangju. Upon the arrival of the winter season, the undead hordes now roam freely due to a change in ambient temperature. Fearing the ramifications of an imminent invasion, Prince Lee-Chang attempts to garner support from his allies to stop the undead and reclaim his right to the throne. Unbeknownst to the Prince, another conspiracy for political gain is brewing within the corrupt Haewon Cho Clan. As Queen Consort Cho (Kim Hye-jun) schemes to steal a male newborn to cement as heir to the royal throne, she further orchestrates a last ditch strategy to use the plague against the citizens of Hanyang, if her former plan fails to succeed. As calamity looms among the living, only one question remains. Can the Prince save his people in time and end the political turmoil at the capital or will the plague mark the end of the Joseon dynasty?

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Supporting[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
16January 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
26March 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Episode 1"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
Officials find notices in Hanyang alleging the king is dead. Crown Prince Lee Chang tries to check on his father, but the young queen stands in his way.
22"Episode 2"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
The Crown Prince and Mu-yeong arrive at Jiyulheon, where they make a horrific discovery. Seo-bi’s story of what she saw eerily resonates with the Crown Prince.
33"Episode 3"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
Night leads to chaos in Dongnae. Cho Hak-ju and the Queen oversee the king’s care. The Crown Prince reaches a disquieting conclusion and vows to fight back.
44"Episode 4"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
On his way to seek Lord Ahn Hyeon’s help, the Crown Prince encounters a group of stranded survivors and leads them to Jiyulheon, following Seo-bi’s advice.
55"Episode 5"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
The Crown Prince’s group comes across a village that oddly seems to be well-fed. While taking refuge at Lord Ahn Hyeon’s, Seo-bi notes something peculiar.
66"Episode 6"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeJanuary 25, 2019 (2019-01-25)
Cho Hak-ju has chilling words for the Queen, who’s hiding a sinister secret. The Crown Prince orders Sangju’s defenses, but Seo-bi senses something awry.

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
71"Episode 1"Kim Seong-hunKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
An unexpected setback in Sangju poses new problems for Prince Chang and the others. Seo-bi and Cho Beom-pal seek safety with Cho Hak-ju.
82"Episode 2"Park In-jeKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
After prince Chang breaks into Mungyeong Saejae, a nightmare unfolds. Officials search the queen's home, suspecting she is hiding something.
93"Episode 3"Park In-jeKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
When Cho Hak-ju is taken from his custody, Prince Chang goes after him. Seo-bi looks for a way to treat the disease. The queen awaits her prince.
104"Episode 4"Park In-jeKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
Seo-bi shares a critical discovery with Prince Chang, who has a favour to ask of her. Cho Hak-ju visits the queen and demands she tell him the truth.
115"Episode 5"Park In-jeKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
To save innocent lives, Prince Chang and his men take over Hanyang. The queen determines that if she can't have the throne, no one can.
126"Episode 6"Park In-jeKim Eun-heeMarch 13, 2020 (2020-03-13)
With the palace painted red with the blood of the infected, Prince Chang is forced to pursuit a risky strategy. Seo-bi takes the baby and hides.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On March 5, 2017, Netflix announced that it had given the production a series order for a first season.[19][20] Alongside the series announcement, it was confirmed that Kim Seong-hun would direct the series and that Kim Eun-hee would be credited as the writer.[19] Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of AStory.[19][2] Director Park In-je joined the production and directed the second episode and onward from season two.[21]

On January 16, 2018, a crew member of the art team died due to overwork.[22] On March 14, 2019, it was confirmed that in the midst of filming the second season, a staff member in the production team died after a car accident.[23] The series overspent the budget, with each episode costing more than $1.78 million.[11] Even before the release of the first season, Netflix announced that they will be making second season.[24][25][11] Filming for the second season started in February 2019,[26] with Director Park In-je joining the production to direct the second episode and onward from season two.[21]

Casting[edit]

Actor Song Joong-ki was courted for the lead role but declined.[27][28] In September 2017, it was reported that Ju Ji-hoon, Ryu Seung-ryong and Bae Doo-na were in talks to star in the series.[29] In November 2019, it was reported that Jun Ji-hyun will star in the second season.[30]

Reception[edit]

The first season received critical acclaim from critics and the audience. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 93% approval rating with an average rating of 8/10 based on 14 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "An enthralling blend of blood, terror, and political intrigue, Kingdom is a refreshing addition to the zombie landscape."[31]

Aloysius Low of CNET praised the cinematography of the first season, stating that "shots cleverly linger on certain scenes to draw out the impressive sets, while adeptly tracking the action during sword fights or zombie attacks."[32] Renaldo Matadeen from CBR mentioned in a positive review of the first season, that "Kingdom makes even bolder sociopolitical statements than The Walking Dead does. Sure, the AMC series waxes on about class and elitism, but Kingdom wades deep into governance and the divide between the rulers and the suffering populace."[33] Jonathan Christian from The Playlist complimented the series by adding that "this series is risky programming for people who appreciate the unusual, gory, but imaginative, things in life. Considering the over-saturated state of the market, it is refreshing to see Netflix taking chances."[34] Joel Keller from News AU recommended the first season in their review of the series by stating that "Kingdom dares to show that zombies aren't just a 20th and 21st-century phenomenon, and we applaud that kind of creative storytelling."[35]

While reviewing the first season, Kate Sanchez from But Why Tho? declared in a positive review that "Kingdom offers a period drama, a zombie show, and a tense atmosphere that will keep you watching until you're done with this season. In an over-saturated sub-genre, this show takes common horror tropes and rewrites zombie rules for Joseon Korea in a way that reinvigorates my love of the sub-genre."[36] Michael Pementel from Bloody Disgusting praised the series, stating that "Kingdom is by far one of the most compelling works to come out of the zombie genre" and further adding that "thanks to strong acting, gripping action and drama, gruesome visuals, and an overall powerful narrative, Kingdom is a must watch for horror fans."[37]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season reported a 100% rating with an average rating of 8.33/10, based on 5 reviews.[38]

Release[edit]

On December 17, 2018, the official trailer for the series was released.[39] On January 25, 2019, the first season of the series, consisting of six episodes, was released for streaming on Netflix.[40] The second season, also consisting of six episodes, was released on March 13, 2020.[41]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Love Alarm was the first Korean series confirmed for pick-up by Netflix, but Kingdom was streamed first on the service since Love Alarm was released later on August 22, 2019.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kim, Soo-jung (March 9, 2017). "김은희 작가 신작 '킹덤', 원작만화 '신의 나라'에도 관심". No Cut News (in Korean). Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Kim, Su-bin (October 20, 2017). "BAE Doo-na Confirmed for 6-episode Netflix Drama Series Kingdom". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Two of Korea's Top Storytellers Unite for Kingdom - A New Netflix Original Series". Netflix. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  4. ^ Kil, Sonia (March 5, 2016). "Netflix Hires 'Tunnel' Director for Korean Zombie Series 'Kingdom'". Variety. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "(LEAD) Netflix's first original Korean drama 'Kingdom' unveiled to media". Yonhap News Agency. January 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Netflix's new Korean original 'Kingdom' brings zombie to Joseon Dynasty". Kpop Herald. January 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "With Netflix, 'Kingdom' looks to be a global hit: Local creators hope the zombie thriller creates more opportunities". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "Netflix Unveils Korean Zombie Series". Chosun Ilbo. January 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "'Kingdom' returns for a second season in March 2020". Rappler. October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  10. ^ "Netflix Korean Zombie series 'Kingdom' grabs attention". The Korea Times. February 1, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Season 2 of Netflix's KINGDOM Begins Shooting in February". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Chin, Mallory (February 5, 2020). "Netflix Announces 'Kingdom' Season 2 Release Date". Hypebeast. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (June 3, 2017). "Netflix Sets Zombie Period Drama 'Kingdom' as Second South Korean Original". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  14. ^ Hong, Se-young (October 18, 2017). "주지훈, 김은희 신작 '킹덤' 출연확정…배두나와 호흡 [공식입장]". Sports Donga (in Korean). Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Kim, Mi-hwa (September 14, 2017). "류승룡, 넷플릭스 '킹덤' 출연할까.."제안받고 검토중"". Star News (in Korean). Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Han, Hyun-jung (October 12, 2017). "[단독] 김상호, 김은희 작가 '킹덤' 합류...주지훈 호위무사役". Star Today (in Korean). Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Kim, Yoon-ji (September 29, 2017). "[단독]허준호, 김은희 작가 '킹덤' 합류…긴장감 유발자". Edaily (in Korean). Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  18. ^ Hwang, So-young (September 26, 2017). "[단독] 전석호, '킹덤' 합류…주지훈X류승룡과 호흡". Ilgan Sports (in Korean). Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c "Two of Korea's Top Storytellers Unite for Kingdom - A New Netflix Original Series". Netflix Media Center. March 5, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  20. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (June 3, 2017). "Netflix Boards Korean Zombie Series 'Kingdom'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Kim, Mi-Hwa (February 13, 2019). "'킹덤2' 크랭크인, 김성훈 감독→박인제 감독 투입". Sportal Korea (in Korean). Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  22. ^ Lee, Ah-young (January 17, 2018). "영화노조 "'킹덤' 스태프 사망, 장시간 노동으로 인한 과로사" 성명 발표". Xsports News (in Korean). Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  23. ^ Samson, Carl (March 14, 2019). "Netflix's 'Kingdom' Production Cancelled for a Week After Second Staff Member Passes Away". Next Shark. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  24. ^ White, Peter (September 5, 2019). "Netflix Orders Slew Of Korean Originals Including Supernatural Action Drama 'The School Nurse Files' & 'Kingdom' S2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  25. ^ Kil, Sonia (July 16, 2018). "Netflix Extends Unreleased Korean Series 'Kingdom' for Second Season (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  26. ^ MacDonald, Joan (February 13, 2019). "Netflix Zombie Hit 'Kingdom' Begins Filming Second Season". Forbes. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  27. ^ Doo, Rummy (July 5, 2017). "Song Joong-ki considering role in Netflix's 'Kingdom'". The Korea Herald. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  28. ^ Han, Hyeon-jeong (September 13, 2017). "Song Joong-ki turns down "Kingdom", Joo Ji-hoon up for main role". Hancinema. Nate. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  29. ^ "Joo Ji-hoon, Ryu Seung-ryong, Bae Doo-na consider Netflix show Kingdom". Drama Beans. September 14, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  30. ^ Olarte, Steph Esguerra (November 28, 2019). "Jun Ji Hyun Will Be Making An Appearance In 'Kingdom' Season Two". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  31. ^ "Kingdom: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  32. ^ Low, Aloysius (January 24, 2019). "Netflix series Kingdom a must-see even if you're not into zombie shows". CNET. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  33. ^ Matadeen, Renaldo (February 3, 2019). "Kingdom Is a More Effective Zombie Drama Than The Walking Dead". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  34. ^ Christian, Jonathan (January 25, 2019). "'Kingdom': Netflix's South Korean Medieval Zombie Series Is Refreshing And Haunting [Review]". The Playlist. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  35. ^ Joel, Keller (January 25, 2019). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Kingdom' On Netflix, Where A Korean Kingdom Suffers From A Zombie Virus". news.com.au. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  36. ^ Sanchez, Kate (January 27, 2019). "REVIEW: 'Kingdom' is the Show the Zombie Genre Needed". But Why Tho?. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  37. ^ Pementel, Michael (February 12, 2019). "[Review] Netflix's "Kingdom" Makes for a Must-Watch Contribution to the Zombie Genre". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  38. ^ "Kingdom: Season 2 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  39. ^ Miller, Matt (December 18, 2019). "Netflix's Next Horror Series Brings a Stylish Zombie Plague to Korea's Joseon Dynasty". Esquire. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  40. ^ Goslin, Austen (January 9, 2019). "Kingdom, Netflix's show about a zombie apocalypse in medieval Korea, premieres Jan. 25". Polygon. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  41. ^ Lee, Jan (March 15, 2020). "Season two of period zombie series Kingdom about blood: Writer Kim Eun-hee". The Straits Times. Retrieved March 15, 2020.

External links[edit]



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