Could 'Arthdal Chronicles' on Netflix, like 'The Rise of Phoenixes', be the next big hit among international audiences?
'The Rise of Phoenixes' and 'Arthdal Chronicles' are both period dramas. The former is a political drama about a prince who tries to gain influence and rule the kingdom. 'Arthdal Chronicles', on the other hand, has elements of fantasy and is set at a time when politics is just being birthed.
The Chinese show 'The Rise of Phoenixes' became a big hit among international audiences after the show was added to the Netflix library. It originally aired on Hunan TV and the series was edited based on the ratings of episodes when it originally aired, cutting the show short at close to 50 episodes. Netflix chose to add the original version which consisted of 70 episodes and the show became a hit.
In China itself, the show received abysmal reviews. Now, the streaming giant has added an all-new show 'Arthdal Chronicles', which is Korean and in a way is reminiscent of 'The Rise of Phoenixes'. The episodes of the period drama are being aired and added to the streaming service. The similarities between the plotlines end there. It is the reception of the first two episodes of the show that reminds us of the Chinese drama more than anything.
The audience is split over the quality of the show and the plotline, but to be fair, only two episodes have aired so far. However, the repercussions of the criticism received so far have hit Studio Dragon hard. The ever-fluctuating stock prices of the South Korean drama production company hit an all-time low June 3 after the first two episodes were aired.
It was at a 52-week lowest at 65,800 won ($55.71). This is somewhat similar to the harsh criticism Hunan TV received after 'The Rise of Phoenixes' began airing. The makers, in an attempt to get done with the series quicker, edited out major portions of the series to increase the pace of the show, which only backfired.
Speaking of the plotline, 'The Rise of Phoenixes' and 'Arthdal Chronicles' are both period dramas. The former is a political drama about a prince who tries to gain influence enough to learn the truth about the death of his brother, mother and also to rule the kingdom. 'Arthdal Chronicles', on the other hand, has elements of fantasy and is set at a time when politics is just being birthed. The people live in tribes and there is no country, no king; unless one man understands the potential of becoming king and follows his ambitions.
With just two episodes having been aired so far, the set up is interesting and the production value of the series is quite good. The element of intrigue that was present in 'The Rise of Phoenixes' is also present in 'Arthdal Chronicles' in the form of how the tribal lives are mapped by a God, who appears in the form of a child in Arth. Whether the show takes off like 'The Rise of Phoenixes' did or whether it turns out to be a dud is something we should judge after a few more episodes.
It has also been marketed as a multi-series, so the chances of the show being picked for follow up seasons solely depends on the reception of the current one. Some had, of course, wondered if 'Arthdal Chronicles' could be the next 'Game of Thrones' and the South Korean media had also broached this question at the show's press conference, but 'Arthdal Chronicles' is not about politics. It develops in a different direction altogether.
The third and fourth episode of 'Arthdal Chronicles' will air on June 8 and 9. The show stars Jang Dong-gun, Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won and Kim Ok-vin.