Netflix's 'Kingdom': Upcoming South Korean period-drama sees the dead rise against the living
'Kingdom' has gritty politics, thrilling plot twists, and of course the undead rising against the living, making it the perfect compact drama to look out for in January
The trailer for Netflix's upcoming Korean drama 'Kingdom' dropped about a day ago and it is every bit as riveting as one would expect a historical action horror to be. There is gritty politics, thrilling plot twists, and of course — contributing to the main element of horror — the undead rising against the living. This is the perfect compact drama to look out for around the end of January 2019.
The story is set in South Korea's medieval epoch, which is also known as the Joseon period, and comes from writer Kim Eun-hee, on whose webcomic 'Land of the Gods' the story is also loosely based. Eun-hee also holds credits for writing some of the finest Korean dramas, especially the critically acclaimed show 'Signal'. In charge of directorial duties for the first season specifically is Kim Seong-hun who was also the writer and director of 'The Tunnel' — another adrenaline-charged Korean drama inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders.
The trailer starts off on a dark note, with dead bodies getting dumped in a river and the reigning authority announcing that his power is reaching a point where no one can question his actions or instincts of keeping the dead alive. It is very reminiscent of the White Walkers concept from HBO's 'Game of Thrones,' where dead people are infested with supernatural powers and then employed as an army of the dead, marching against the coveted iron throne. In 'Kingdom' too there's an eerie feeling that the dead being incubated within the deep realms of the river bed are to serve the purposes of marching as an army if the future demands.
It's also very reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, where, in the seventh installment, we are introduced to the 'Infuri,' who are also ghoul-like army of the dead. Adding to the mix of this supernatural horror are the deep-rooted political conspiracies which show the country's prince questioning his father's motives right after the latter passes away. Conflict, confusion, and mayhem are the result of the local people finally figuring out what these strange bodies emerging from the river are actually capable of and, in its own creepy, mortifying manner, the portrayal of the bodies coming alive is exceptionally gory too.
A total treat for horror drama fans, 'Kingdom' definitely brings together the ideas of Akira Kurosaw's 'Seven Samurai', Brad Pitt's 'World War Z', and HBO's 'Westworld'. But as SyFy notes, "both Seven Samurai and Westworld deal with feudal Japan, but Korea did have its own brand of deadly, sword-wielding warriors known as the Hwarang."
However, that's no reason to feel dishearted because, in its genre-building, 'Kingdom' has done an exceptional job of keeping viewers hooked right from the very first teaser trailer that dropped a month ago.
The show's cast comprises Korean A-listers like Ju Ji-hoon ('Dark Figure of Crime'), Bae Doona ('Cloud Atlas'), Ryu Seung-ryong ('Miracle in Cell No. 7'), Kim Sang-ho ('The Witness'), Heo Joon-ho ('Sovereign Default'), and Jeon Seok-ho ('Miss Baek'). Season 1 of 'Kingdom' premieres on Netflix this oming January 25, 2019.