Preview: Nokdu runs after a female assassin who almost killed his father and brother at their home in the island they used to live. He arrives in Hanyang and bumps into Dong Joo who is dressed up as a man and tries to assassinate the king. Nokdu, to pursue the assassin who tried to kill his family, dresses up as a woman and enters a Gisaeng house where he has to share room with one of the trainee Gisaengs, Dong Joo. “Jang Dong Yoon is unbelievably pretty, even prettier than Kim So Hyun!”
Preview: The Flower Crew, a matchmaking agency during the Joseon era has a task to marry an ordinary girl Gae Dong to a blacksmith named Lee Soo but the latter becomes king overnight and left his bride unknowing where he is and what he is up to. King Lee Soo asks help again from the Flower Crew to make Gae Dong a noble woman so it would be possible for him to marry her. “Boys over flower in Joseon! So many eye candies, I’m having a hard to time to choose!”
Summary: Our girl Hae Ryung tries to become a historian avoiding her fate to get married to a noble man. She comes across Prince Lee Rim who is writing romantic novels anonymously. After she passed the exam as a historian, she starts as an apprentice in the palace. She finds out that the romantic novel author is actually a prince.
Genre: Period, Romance
Stars: Shin Se Kyung as Goo Hae Ryung
Cha Eun Woo as Lee Rim
Likes: Well, for once, very educational. Historians were not really given emphasis in other historical kdramas I watched in the past. I didn’t have any idea that they were that important. Moreover, the confidentiality of the records was a big deal. No one even the King could read what had been written. These records could even ruin any King’s reputation for future generations hence historians were fairly feared.
Another learning point for me was the smallpox prevention by vaccinating cow pus on a healthy person. Well, I thought they made that one up but no, it was really done before. Interesting!
Love the emphasis on reading and medical advancements on that era. Impressive!
I would also say that picking a historian, much more a female one, was an ambitious choice of kdrama character. I have to give credit to Shin Se Kyung for doing an awesome job portraying a newb historian who was very curious, smart, fearless and independent. Goo Hae Ryung was a very likeable character, she was fun to watch! And of all Shin Se Kyung’s kdramas I watched before, this was the first one she had a remarkable chemistry with her male lead. So to sum it up, Historians might come as a boring subject but with the right recipe like a strong main character, a good and not too serious historical storyline, top chemistry, colourful costumes… we’ve got a kdrama success there!
Our perfectly handsome male lead was no doubt an eye candy. Cha Eun Woo was just sooo gorgeous! Perfect face, tall, flawless skin, he was so pretty, even prettier than the female lead! He also looked great in all his prince wardrobes. Such a dashing prince, he was! However, he wasn’t all the looks. This pretty face can cry. So impressed on his crying scene, he really let it all out.
Supporting actors were all great! Special mentions goes to the crown prince, Min Gyu – one of the senior historians, the King, the Queen Dowager and the funny eunuch Heo Sam Bo!
All episodes had awesome cliffhangers. So hard to control myself watching the next one. This always come inconvenient when the time on the clock shows midnight already. Good thing, I could always look forward to the next one.
The first kiss! Ahhh, soo goood! Specially with the line, “I hope you live for a long time and be the owner of my heart.” Omo, omo, omo!
I even love the heartbreaking breakup! Cha Eun Woo, although young and new in kdrama, proved himself capable of being the top lead. He did so well on the breakup scene. Of course, Shin Se Kyung too, but she’s veteran you know.
The ending. Oh, I love how they all maintained and pursued what they wanted to do.
Dislikes: Some lovey dovey scenes in the palace ground seemed impossible without those watchful eyes especially during those times. Maybe too much sometimes.
Summary: Eun Sum and Tanya grow up in Wahan tribe which is conquered by the Daekan troops led by Tagon, Arthdal’s war hero. The Wahan people are brought to the city of Arthdal where they have to suffer and struggle until Tanya gets hold of power as the highest priestess of the land and that is by the help of Eun Sum’s long lost twin, Saya, who is the adopted son of Tagon. Eun Sum who is on the run is slowly getting a large follower of his own and is ready to go back to Arhdal to save the Wahan people and see Tanya again.
Trailer: Arthdal Chronicles
The Storyline. It’s definitely not your everyday kdrama. The storyline is super intricate, you’ve got to pay attention to every details. At the start, it was quite chaotic for me. Some stories started at the same time without the clear connections. You’ve got to wait for more episodes to get a better overview. But once you’ve got them all together, what a solid story you’d get. I like it that they divided it into 3 parts which helped a lot to better understand the complexity of the story.
The Worlds. There were a lot of worlds and all the main worlds were nicely presented in details. I got so immersed into the once peaceful and beautiful world of the Iark region with the tribes all living in harmony. Couldn’t help fantasizing on those vast, lush and green lands. Do they still even exist in our world? Well, probably not. The bustling, congested but advanced world of Arthdal is like our big cities, right? Crammed up but people would still want to live and be part of it. The worlds in this drama may look different but actually very similar to our own. We all could relate.
The People. Same with worlds, the people reflect our own different nationalities, races, religion, beliefs and skills. We’ve got the Arthdal people which were the most advance in politics, economics, metal works, construction and even medicine. They iradicated the Neanthal people, who were very strong but lacking the ambition. They controlled a lot of remote tribes and conquered some of them bringing those people back to Arthdal to be slaves. Does it sound so familiar to you? Within the world and the people of Arthdal, everyone seemed to struggle to be the most powerful because only then you’d get things done.
The Languages. Although most spoke Korean, there were other languages spoken in this drama. I don’t know if they were Korean dialects or just made-up ones but they all sounded wonderful! I love the Neanthal language, it was so exotic! The Momo tribe spoke an own language as well that made Xabara (their leader) looked even cuter :-).
Titles and Gestures. I minded this a lot. I love the way the Arthdal people greeted their leaders and would mention the Niruha title after the names like Sanung Niruha, Tagon Niruha, Tanya Niruha. I don’t know what it exactly means but it for sure commanded highest hierarchy.
Cultures, Traditions and Beliefs. So beautiful to see the unique cultures and traditions of each tribe but then somehow they were all bounded by a similar belief.
The Brilliant Cast…
Song Joong Ki as Eun Sum / Saya – He’s undeniably a great actor. I love his portrayal of Eun Sum, an honest, simple-minded being who has a big heart to always help others. He looked really good buffed but still with a pretty face. Eun Sum’s chemistry with Tanya was pretty top. Now, as Saya, damn, he was just so sexy! His beautiful face, although I would say, even prettier than the female lead, still commands masculinity. Loved Saya’s devious personality, it made him stood out.
Jang Dong Gun as Ta Gon – I thought this was JDG’s best role yet. It suited him so well… the looks, the personality, his war hero character, his Igutu blood weakness, everything really, even the costume! Undoubtedly, he was the star of the show, well, at least in this season (if there’s gonna be another one).
Kim Ji Won as Tan Ya – She did well as Tan Ya. I love her compassionate character and her rising into a powerful figure was something I enjoyed to watch.
Kim Ok Bin as Tae Ha – Now this lady was just so impressive. First time to see her in a drama and I was just impressed by her superb acting. Tae Ha was an intelligent and powerful lady which made her the perfect match for Tagon and I think Kim Ok Bin delivered that role very well.
Dislikes: Two things only and that made this drama dropped 2 levels from being a perfect 10. First, I dislike the time gap when they were showing the third part. I was so immersed when I was watching the first 2, then I had to wait for a month. I didn’t have that same interest and excitement when I was continuing. Now for the second reason. There was basically no ending since it was originally made with more season in thought. What a disappointment! I don’t think I would ever see a proper ending to this knowing the drama didn’t do well in the ratings.
Summary: Set during the Joseon era, Prince Lee Geum wants to gain power by claiming the throne in order to reform the Saheonbu, which is the office responsible for monitoring government administration and officials. Together with a few who have a high sense for justice, he uncovers crimes and corruption by royals and high officials and makes history to be the first king close to the people.
Genre: Period, Action
Episodes: 48 (35 minutes/episode)
Stars: Jung Il Woo as Lee Geum
Kwon Yul as Park Moon Soo
Go Ah Ra as Yeo Ji
Park Hoon as Dal Moon
Likes: This drama was definitely made to make Jung Il Woo looked good all the time! It’s not that I don’t like it, in the opposite, I immensely enjoyed how he looked majestic all the time. All those dazzling costumes fitting for a crown prince and later, the king; were mesmerizing! Paired with Jung Il Woo’s flawless face and conceited smirk, there was no way I would miss this drama every week :-).
Jung Il Woo as Lee Geum – although I would say, his perfect face wasn’t so perfect for the role, he did try his best to be that great king. Most of his scenes were dramatic, always trying to squeeze a tear or two but in the end it was always mansae for him. In everything he did, he was perfect… perfect poise, smile, side view, back view, sitting, standing, walking, riding a horse, shooting bows… it was soo Jung Il Woo and I love him for that!
Kwon Yul as Park Moon Soo – as the above’s opposite, Kwon Yul delivers Park Moon Soo’s character very well. I wasn’t surprised at all as I’ve watched Whisper and he was brilliant there. As Park Moon Soo, he was completely a different person. Always perfect for any role, this guy.
Park Hoon as Dal Moon – oh my, when I saw him I thought he really looked familiar then I realized he was the ghost ex-friend of Hyun Bin in Memories of the Alhambra! Good to see him well and alive in this drama :-). He has a handsome face and his role here suits him very well.
Lee Kyung Young as Min Jin Hun – I think my favourite character in this drama. He was the leader of the political party Noron who was at first against Prince Lee Geum’s enthronement. Highly intelligent and respected and followed by his subordinates and expected to be the force behind the new king’s downfall. Then the character twist I wasn’t expecting at all, he supported the King’s decision without abandoning his principles.
The Bromance. The strongest bond was between the king and Park Moon Soo but the bond between the king and Dal Moon wasn’t also falling behind. Bromance was everywhere in the Saheonbu, it was fun to watch! Even the bond between the two leaders of Noron and Soron political parties was so admirable.
The Costumes. I’m pretty sure these took a big share of the budget. Very impressive and detailed! The King alone, how many costumes did he had to show off?! Starting when he was installed as the crown prince, wow so much details on the outfit! Then he had his hunting costume, his war costume, archery, nobleman and not to mention the red king costume!
The Villains. We’ve got Wi Byung Joo (former Saheonbu’s top officer), Yi In-jwa (leader of the rebellion) and Lee Tan (aka Mil Poong Gun). These are the three worth mentioning. I love the justifications how they’ve become greedy for power and ultimately become the threats for the throne.
The Love Triangle. It’s got to be the tragic end to the wanna-be royal pair Youn Young and Mil Poong Gun, while Dal Moon, no matter what Youn Young did, would love her till the end!
The Ending. I must admit it became cheesy but I think it suited Jung Il Woo pretty well :-).
Dislikes: I didn’t like how the character of Yeo Ji changed. From Saheonbu officer to what, a court lady?! She was awesome in that officer role. That made her the lady that his Majesty was attracted to. Changing from the fierce Saheonbu uniform to that plain court lady outfit, come on! Her character was so lost. I wanted to see the brave warrior Yeo Ji! And yeah, she wanted to be in the palace to protect him? What does she think of the king’s elite guards, useless? I’m utterly disappointed.
Summary: The throne has put some weight on the King of Joseon so he badly needs some rest and orders a clown, who just looks like him, to take over the throne. However, the clown turns out to be a better king! The king’s most trusted person turns away from him and chooses the clown to lead the nation. However, the secret didn’t come unnoticed. The powerful opposition wants the clown be removed from the throne.
Genre: Period, Romance
Stars: Yeo Jin Goo as Ha Sun / King Lee Hun
Lee Se Young as Queen Yoo So Woon
Kim Sang Kyung as Lee Gyoo
Likes: The Story. How likely that this would happen? And no one barely noticed? Just in a kdrama perhaps. But who doesn’t love the idea of a clown, who is a king look-a-like takes the throne until he was done with it! Pretty neat, right? Holes and logic aside, I love the fact that a mere clown successfully ruled as King, turned those people loyal to the real King to be even more loyal to him, made the queen fall in love with him, outwitted opposition’s brilliant moves to remove him from the throne (of course by the help of a few who believed in him), approved laws which benefited the common people and so on and so forth. It went smoothly like that in the first 15 episodes. I love it when the hero is winning all the time no matter what cunning plans to destroy him. I love that Ha Sun, our clown-turned-King always got away with everything. He and Haksan, the Chief Royal Secretary always had a solution to any trouble. They were always a step ahead of their opponents. I couldn’t help but always cheer whenever they were winning! But I knew payback time would come and it damn came I liked it or not. Still a really good story!
Cinematography was awesome! Like most period kdramas I watched, there’s a big emphasis on cinematography. Although it wasn’t as good Mr Sunshine’s, they still did a pretty good job. A lot of remarkable scenes but since I’m always drawn to romance, my top favourite was when the King professed his feeling to the Queen on that cold night and it snowed and yes, I’ve got my first kiss! If I have to go for a sadder one, how about that scene with the real King on the beach with Haksan who was pouring him with poisoned drink. Oh the scenery was perfect but that brought so much sadness :-(. I just loved picture-perfect scenes and this drama was very rich of them.
The Cast. Oh everyone’s brilliant but I’ve got to mention the top ones…
Yeo Jin Goo as Ha Sun and King Lee Hun – his most brilliant performance to date! Yeo Jin Goo has been always brilliant even when he was still a child actor (seen him first in The Moon that Embraces the Sun as the young king) but his double performance here was the best so far! I love him as Ha Sun, the clown and later the remarkable king but I love him more as the crazy King Lee Hun. The latter was I think the more challenging role. Crazy, full of pain, lost, powerful, a very sad character and my dear Yeo Jin Goo portrayed that so well.
Lee Se Young as Queen Yoo So Woon – one of the most beautiful queens in a period drama. The character exuded calmness, uprightness and nobility and Lee See Young did so well here. At least now, I can stop thinking of her as the decaying zombie (A Korean Odyssey).
Kim Sang Kyung as Lee Gyoo – the Chief Royal secretary was so admirable that I just fell in love! I love the character but got to love the actor for a brilliant performance! This guy doesn’t need to try hard to act, he’s a natural. He can let his tears roll down his cheeks without overworking his face. What a talent really!
Other Remarkable Characters. Aside from the top ones I mentioned above, how can I forget the caring and loyal Eunuch Jo, the greedy Shin Chi Soo, the avenging Queen Dowager, the ambitious Prince Jin Pyung Gun, the beautiful Woon Shim, the brave and loyal bodyguard Jang Moo Young and the smart Joo Ho Kul.
The Ending. How would I describe it? It was painful, sad, hopeful and happy. I think I pretty much said it all.
Dislikes: Hm, the justification why it took Ha Sun a long time to come back wasn’t satisfying.
Summary: Choi Yoo Jin was born in Korea to a slave parents. When his parents got killed from trying to escape from their master, he was lucky to make it far away and alive. He made it to the US and became an American soldier. He was then later assigned to Joseon for a mission then met the love of his life, ironically, a noble woman, Lady Go Ae Shin.
Genre: Period, Romance
Stars: Lee Byung Hun as Choi Yoo Jin / Eugene Choi
Kim Tae Ri as Go Ae Shin
Yoo Yun Suk as Goo Dong Mae
Kim Min Jung as Hee Na
Byun Yo Han as Kim Hee Sung
Likes: Beautiful story, top-notch cinematography and a brilliant cast! These are my main points to like this drama.
Tragically beautiful story – it has a Shakespeare feel to it, definitely. If you can’t stand Shakespeare, don’t watch this. I just love how this guy fled his own country in past for being unwanted and went back getting attracted to a person whose like, he who despised most. Sounds like Romeo and Juliet, eh? Nevertheless went to such length of sacrificing everything he had to help her and her cause. His story together with others were beautifully told in this drama so yes, a must watch.
Impressive cinematography – a great scriptwriter paired with an equally great director, the outcome is a masterpiece! Every episode was a masterpiece especially when it comes to cinematography. Everything was picture-perfect! Lovely sceneries integrated beautifully in the story. A feast for the eyes!
Brilliant cast – yes, everyone was awesome! Let me begin with…
Lee Byung Hun as Eugene Choi – far from his usual sexy aura, LBH displayed calmness (but still) with a handsome face. He was a total good boy. He was the perfect guy for the lady if not because of his background. He looked great in uniform and a plus when he was riding a horse. I love his quiet personality and his eloquence when getting challenge. His fighting meter is high as he was good with guns!
Kim Tae Ri as Go Ae Shin – very young-looking for her role but I really love her voice. She had the command when she spoke which was perfect for her noble lady role. She always looked so pro when she held guns. Always looking beautiful and untouchable as a lady in Hanbok and mysterious in a black coat and hat.
Yoo Yun Suk as Goo Dong Mae – he was basically fearless, looked sexy in yukata and double samurai swords, the long hair rocked too. Of all the men having eyes on Lady Ae Sin, he had the most chemistry with her. Look at this guy who would kill just like that (blood splashing everywhere) then would look at a girl with an impossible longing that even just watching her from afar or touching her dress would be enough.
Kim Min Jung as Hee Na – the tigress hotel lady who had powerful connections that even the emperor was just a phone call away. Kind and generous to others in need but was not lucky with parents and lovelife. I love her strong personality, her fights, her honesty and loyalty. Kim Min Jung is a good actress but of all her roles that I’ve watch, this one is my favourite.
Byun Yo Han as Kim Hee Sung – he had this positive disposition in life despite the hopelessness of the situation. He too was fighting but using the means that he was good at, writing. I love Byun Yo Han’s handsome face and his smile. He always gave a brighter mood whenever the situation became gloomy.
More bits and reasons to love the drama:
- the awesome bromance between the three men: Eugene Choi, Goo Dong Mae and Kim Hee Sung
- the impressive costumes
- the set (with the tram and everything else)
- the sceneries (the frozen river, the woods, the sea…)
- the languages spoken in this drama (Joseon, Japanese, English, even French)
- very good integration of sponsor (Paris Baguette)
- how the title Mr Sunshine was explained
- the cute misunderstanding of what LOVE is 🙂
- how true it was to the conservativeness of those time
- love the effects especially the explosion of the Glory Hotel – it was a Bang!
- the Mr. Sunshine OST
Dislikes: I had too kdrama hopes with the ending and I was disappointed.
Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri are both brilliant actors but the chemistry between them two was just poor. As I mentioned above, she had a better chemistry with Yoo Yun Suk.
Summary: The crown prince of Goryeo falls in love with Eun San even before he realized she’s the daughter of the richest man of Goryeo. With all the power he has, would he go to great lengths to have her eventhough he knows she has fallen for Wang Rin, his bestfriend.
Trailer: The King Loves
Genre: Period, Romance, Melodrama
Episodes: 32 (35 minute per episode)
Stars: Im Shi Wan as Wang Won
Im Yoon Ah as Eun San
Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Rin
Oh Min Suk as Song In
Likes: I like this drama since start to finish although my heart was slowly breaking towards the end! So many reasons to love the show and I will try to enumerate the really relevant ones…
- Goryeo Era – I only saw a few drama based on this period but the world is as beautiful as the Joseon era. The royal clothing and accessories were more intricate and generous on gold, definitely an attention getter. I’m pretty sure, the costume designers overdid it a bit but all the wardrobes in this drama were so perfect to look at. The royals looked every inch like royalties, the nobles were full of nobility, the ladies were so graceful and the men were irrisistibly so handsome!
- Cast – This is one of the obvious reasons why praise this drama. It’s loaded with oh-so-brilliant actors!!! Let me begin with the top leads…
Im Shi Wan – omo, he’s not just super cute, he can actually act! I love his charisma in this drama. I was for Crown Prince from the beginning till the end that’s why my heart is still totally broken as of this writing :(. Im Shi Wan (mark my word), will be one of the most bankable leading men in kdrama.
Hong Jong Hyun – his character here as Wang Rin; a quiet, loyal and bestfriend to the crown prince suits him better than his villainous character in Moon Lover. He was tall, handsome and dashing even beating our crown prince a few notches when it comes to the looks department.
Im Yoon Ah – ah she’s cute. I can’t resist watching a drama where she’s in. She gave justice to a character who was the subject of affection of both our top gorgeous leading men.
Oh Min Suk as Song In – Awesome villain! He was sooo annoyingly gooood!
Jang Young Nam as Queen Jangmok – I love the queen how she was trying to do her best to protect her son. Her last moment was unbearably dramatic and heartbreaking. She did a great job!
Honorable mentions are the King, Queen Mu and Crown Princess. Everyone did a great job even those who had the-not-so important roles.
- The Story – I’ve read that it’s based from a novel so a lots of people predicted who the girl would end with but I think the most important is how well the story was adapted into a drama. I love the story. It was well-told, bitter-sweet story of true love, loyalty and friendship.
- The King Loves OST – I recommend listening to the songs from this drama. They are so beautiful!
- Beautiful Scenes – Throughout the entire drama, I’ve seen so beautiful moments, some connotes love, friendships, happiness but a few of sadness – sad but still beautiful. I love that pretty scene of the 3 of them together in the mountain full of pink flowers and I love the farewell scene when crown prince was standing next to that famous giant tree, looking at San who was with Rin from the far saying his final goodbye. Wahhh! Tear-jerking!
- The Ending – Although it didn’t go how I wanted it, after I’ve calmed down from being brokenhearted, I did some thinking and I realized it was better that it ended that way. Wahhh (again)! I love the narration at the end, like a great story told and I love how the Love of the Crown Prince (later King) was highlighted. It gives an answer as to why the title is “The King Loves”!
Dislikes: Faux spring flowers were just everywhere. They quite overdid this part. Sometimes, everything looked so fake.
Summary: Gyun Woo, after coming back from Qing as a scholar lands on a job as the crown prince’s teacher. He meets a not-so-sassy, drunk but pretty lady in the streets of the capital only to find out later that she’s the princess Hye Myung. The princess has been trying to find out if her mother, the ousted queen is still alive. Gyun Woo tries to help her but finds out later he did a great mistake in the past that will cause their relationship to crumble.
Genre: Period, Romantic Comedy
Episodes: 32 (30-min episodes)
Stars: Joo Won as Gyun Woo
Oh Yeon Seo as Princess Hye Myung
Lee Jung Shin as Kang Joon Young
Kim Yoon Hye as Jung Da Yun
Likes: It’s period drama but not the serious ones. I love how they made it look like the modern times for instance…
- Gyun Woo pictured in the beginning as the fashionista from Joseon and popular scholar in Qing.
- Classy cafes and restaurants in the capital where the nobles and their wives and kids hang out. The nobles’ wives talk about the latest bag fashion and the daughters talk about the eligible bachelors in the town.
- The bookstore! I love the bookstore with famous novels like Boys Over Flowers, My Lover from the Stars, Secret Garden and some more titles from popular kdramas.
- The rich girls’ nail makeover hangout.
- Those annoying pretty boys law enforcers who keep bugging Lady Da Yun.
- The shoes! Pretty shoes in the streets of Joseon and the rich ladies have a collection of them.
- The prince of Qing! He was far from looking like someone from Qing but who cares, he looked so good and looked like from a foreign land!
- Even gangsters are well-organized like the present-time Korean mafia.
- Use of rings to propose!
Some funny and cute moments but my favourite was when the princess was caught by Gyun Woo’s parents and sister slept over at Gyun’s Woo’s room. She wasn’t so sassy afterall!
We have great-looking leads! I love both of them. Joo Won, his looks and height complements the super beautiful Oh Yeon Soo!
Lee Jung Shin, it’s good to see him trying another drama genre. Although more workshop and practice for his acting skills, he has a great 2nd lead potential.
Great actress award goes to Yoon Se Ah, the annoying queen in this drama. Her facial expressions, dialogues and body languages show how professional she is.
From all period dramas I’d watched so far, this one has the sweetest Queen mum (the queen dowager, mum of the king).
Towards the end, we had 2 great story twists. One is the sad fate of Joo Myung and the Queen. The other one is Gyun Woo’s lost memory coming back and shedding light to the events of the past.
Great, flashy costumes!
Beautiful bridge scene and proposal as ending!
Dislikes: Some of the sets looked so made up like the garden of the princess. It looks like they decorated it with fake flowers.
Yes we have 2 gorgeous-looking leads but the chemistry, hm… not so blown-away.
The ending. Yes, very pretty bridge scene but no proper epilogue just lots of flashbacks. Quite poor.
Summary: Queen Ji So of Silla Kingdom founds Hwarang in order to protect her son, the young King Jin Heung. Hwarang is a group of beautiful, young men train to be warriors. But the king joins the group incognito and meets Sun Woo, a strong and determined warrior and leader who jumped from his peasant to a half-breed status. Both fall in love with Ah Ro, a storyteller and a doctor.
Genre: Period, Romance
Stars: Park Seo Joon as Moo Myung / Sun Woo
Go Ah Ra as Ah Ro
Park Hyung Shik as Sam Maek Jong (later King Jinheung of Silla)
Choi Min Ho as Su Ho
Do Ji Han as Ban Ryu
Jo Yoon Woo as Yeo Wool
Kim Tae Hyung (V) as Han Sung
Kim Hyun Joon as Dan Se
Likes: Lots and lots of pretty boys in one drama, omo omo! Why do I love Hwarang, I dare enumerate…
- pretty, flawless faces!
- their gorgeous, well-groomed long hairs and eyebrows!
- beautiful bodies!
- fantastic outfits!
- oozing with nobility!
- swordsmanship and horsemanship!
- and last but not the least… loyalty and bromance!
My favorite Hwarangs…
Sun Woo – the leader! this guy is tough and strong, pretty determined to learn and blend despite adversity, naturally a great leader, honest and faithful to his love and his calling.
Sam Maek Jong – the king incognito! he appeared mysteriously confident in the beginning, has a very pretty face, educated, great with sword and archery but kind of lost to shine when he kept on to conceal his identity.
Su Ho – the playboy! His face speaks the desire to please women :). He even tried his charm on the Queen. He talks a lot, he confronts a lot but actually very friendly.
Ban Ryu – the snob! Very particular with his status and ambition but lost his desire to be evil when he chose to be with his lady love.
Yeo Wool & Han Sung – the cutest and the prettiest (hands down)!
My favorite side characters…
Master Ui Hwa – chief of Hwarang for his lecture full of ancient wisdom, for his humour and for his rice cakes (makes me want to try them too)!
Prince of Baekje – for his arrogance and his sexy accent :)!
Pa Oh – for his unconditional loyalty to the king!
The Silla World is pretty cool as what was portrayed in this drama. Though in the later episodes, the drama was set mainly inside the Hwarang’s house, the introduction didn’t fail to show the bars, the restaurants, the busy alleys, the soccer stadium, the shops – just like in the modern world. Very vibrant!
Ah Ro vs Princess Sook Myung – I like Ah Ro, she was a good storyteller but her beauty was just off. I’m not saying she isn’t pretty but her beauty just didn’t suit Silla time well. Princess Mook Myung on the other hand was every inch like a princess, the way she presented herself and the way she spoke.
Ah Ro – Sun Woo & Ban Ryu – Soo Yun’s KISS – Poor Ah Ro and Sun Woo, very little chemistry. Them being fake siblings didn’t help either. Ban Ryu and Soo Yun’s kiss is the winner! These 2 should have a spin-off!
The ending had some epic scenes…
- I love Sun Woo’s confrontation with Jin Heung in front of the throne.
- Hwarang declaring their loyalty to King Jin Heung. Mansae, mansae man mansae!
- King Jin Heung’s coronation. (Look at the ravishing king with those golden crown and accesories!!!)
- Queen Ji So’s last moment. (With the love of her life!)
- The never-ending display of bromance sealed with a final horseride! Just beautiful!
Dislikes: I have to mourn Han Sung’s death :(. I just have to think, he probably went for a concert tour :).
Summary: Hong Ra On, the daughter of Hong Gyong Nae, the leader of a famous uprising during the Joseon era had to live a life as a man in order to hide her true identity. She didn’t have any idea though until she got reunited with her mother. Meanwhile, she passed the screening for eunuchs out of sheer lack and became the favorite servant of the crown prince who consequently fell in love with her.
Genre: Period, Romance, Comedy
Stars: Park Bo Gum as Lee Yeong (later Crown Prince Hyomyeong)
Kim Yoo Jung as Hong Ra On
Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung
Chae Soo Bin as Jo Ha Yeon (later Crown Princess Jo)
Kwak Dong Yun as Kim Byung Yun
Likes: It’s refreshing to see young and pretty faces in a period drama. Kim Yoo Jung is kind of a veteran for me as she was in the famous The Moon that Embraces the Sun which I particularly love. She has grown into a really beautiful lady befitting a crown prince’s love. Her pretty face and smile doesn’t get unnoticed that it becomes hard to believe how he could actually pass as a man in this drama. But of course, not to be taken seriously as it is not a serious period drama afterall. Park Bo Gum, on the other hand is a fresh face for me but lo and behold what a handsome fresh face you’ve got there your Majesty! Definitely, one of the most handsome crown princes in a period drama. I guess now, everyone wants a piece of our BoGummy, hello girls?
Two more handsome guys in this drama who deserves special mentions and that’s Jin Young and Kwak Dong Yun! Jin Young as Kim Yoon Sung is from the powerful Kim clan who loves painting and became an official in the palace. He took noticed of our pretty Ra On even though dressed-up as a noble man and started liking her and to the very end offering his life to protect hers (so tragic huh). And as expected died handsomely and heroically! Yoon Sung also holds the award for best dressed in this drama. His Hanboks are just too beautiful! Kwak Dong Yun as Kim Byung Yun was the special guard of the crown prince. Always dressed in black, excellent in fighting and disappearing in the dark, his bromance with the prince wouldn’t easily die thus he escaped death himself!
I always love that scene when the guy would about to confess his true feelings (woman or not) then finds out he actually doesn’t have to worry. Crown prince’s facial expression seeing Ra On wearing a dress was a thumbs up as if his heart skipped beating for a moment. Moments like this is the most awaited part when it comes to dramas with a cross-dressing heroine!
First kiss in the garden was awesome! With all that waist-grabbing and eunuch hat falling down.
I could melt at the prince’s stare. Library scenes are my favorites. These 2 lovebirds gets really close but they just actually stare and tease each other and yet that send us some giggles, right?
There were a lot of cheesy scenes that I thought don’t even belong to a period drama but surprisingly I like the one with the bracelets. When the crown prince bought two bracelets, one he would later wear and the other one give to his lady love, Ra On. It’s just cute!
Impressive chubby face makeup of the princess Myung Eun. She was very entertaining as well.
The ending was definitely happy.
Dislikes: Ending happy but too hard to believe it would happen in that era and that our main leads would really end up with each other given their different statuses. This drama comes as very confusing because it looks like in the olden days but behaves otherwise. The script was definitely written to cater to young audiences who don’t have much exposure to period drama. It’s good introduction though. But for people who fell in love with the real deal, we’re just missing the tragic and dark parts, the excellent politicking, the heartbreaks, the cruel reality of that time. This was too colourful, too playful and most times too cheesy.
Summary: A girl in the present time gets transported to the Goryeo era after drowning in the river. She wakes up in the past as Lady Hae Soo, who’s related to the wife of the 8th Prince. Because of her status, she easily gets befriended with all the princes including the mysterious, scarfaced 4th prince who later claims the throne and becomes the 4th king of Goryeo, King Gwangjong.
Genre: Period, Romance, Fantasy
Stars: Lee Joon Ki as Wang So (4th Prince)
IU as Hae Soo
Kang Ha Neul as Wang Wook (8th Prince)
Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Yo (3rd Prince)
Kim San Ho as Wang Mu (Crown Prince)
Yoon Sun Woo as Wang Won (9th Prince)
Byun Baek Hyun as Wang Hyun (10th Prince)
Nam Joo Hyuk as Wang Yoo (13th Prince)
Ji Soo as Wang Jung (14th Prince)
Likes: There so much to like about this drama but the main thing I think is the perfect balance between richness in characters (everyone is interesting), stories (everyone has each own story), picturesque setting, the heavier focus on the main couple and the bittersweet ending (it’s afterall the Goryeo era).
Now for the characters, I will focus on the princes (of course) and their relationship with our main lady Hae Soo…
Wang So (4th Prince) – though the first episodes were not much about him and Hae Soo but there were promising scenes already that he would be Hae Soo’s destiny. Take for example when he rescued her from falling off the bridge. Wang So wearing his famous mask, wearing black outfits all the time, riding his horse and known for his wolf stories exudes mystery and darkness. To top that all, he has his famous facial scar that no one would dare to look at and touch… except Hae Soo. That defines their connection and the chemistry between the two was undeniably great! He first fall for her, there was resistance from her as she was into someone else but isn’t this the best part! Their love was definitely difficult. In order to keep the love, they would have to be separated. It’s tragic but it’s Goryeo era, it was kind of expected.
Wang Wook (8th prince) – if I were Hae Soo, in those circumstances, I would also fall in love with this prince. Wang Wook though married to Hae Soo’s cousin, had the looks, the intelligence, the calmness and the love he didn’t hesitate to offer. Aside from that, he was backed up by a very powerful family that could easily make him the successor of the throne. Hae Soo and Wang Wook had some beautiful scenes when they were falling in love like the walk on the snow, the meeting at the cave, the writing tutorial and more. But Wang Wook wasn’t the luckiest, he lost the throne and the woman he deeply desired.
Wang Mu (crown prince) – the crown prince entrusted Hae Soo with his important secret, his skin illness. Because Hae Soo came from the present, she had an idea about the illness and how to manage it. So when Wang Mu became king, Hae Soo became the Damiwon lady who was responsible for everything like tea and bath for the king
Wang Yo (3rd prince) – he rose to the throne by plotting an uprising and kicking Wang Mu out (by of course killing him). Wang Yo became insecure of who his real supporters were. He never liked Hae Soo but kept her as a bait for Wang So’s loyalty. He was the queen’s favorite son and him as the king was like a trophy for her. Good-looking (Big Bang TOP’s deadringer) but too greedy and lacking support, he failed to keep his position.
Wang Hyun (10th prince) – his playful attitude drew Hae Soo’s attention though their first meeting wasn’t really that pleasant. He was a boy at heart who loved toys, plays, games but started having a crush on Hae Soo. His dream of marrying Hae Soo didn’t realize when his father King Taejo married him off to the general’s daughter. He was of course sad but ended up in love with his wife till the end.
Wang Yoo (13th prince) – he was the only one who was into music and drawing, the artist. A good friend and confidante of Hae Soo. They were very close that even Wang So thought Hae Soo liked him. Wang Yoo became Wang So’s loyal people when the latter became king and Wang Yoo’s closeness to Hae Soo became deeper when she became friends with Woo Hee (Wang Yoo’s love interest).
Wang Jung (14th prince) – he was the most gentleman of them all. Having an unrequited love for Hae Soo, he waited until Hae Soo wanted to get out of the palace and took his chance to have her with him. He was the last man Hae Soo was with and the man Hae Soo entrusted his daughter to. A former general, tough and good in fighting, full blooded-brother of Wang So – the king, he chose in the end to live his life loving the lady he love most.
Wang Won (9th prince) – the sneakiest prince. He supported whoever was in power. He took for granted the love of a servant, Chae Ryung whom he manipulated to help him poison the bath of Wang Mu, the former King. Chae Ryung was like a sister to Hae Soo. Hae Soo was so devastated about her death punishment that she despised Wang Won so much that after her own death she left a will punishing Wang Won to his death.
The kisses! Who would forget Wang So’s forced kiss on Hae Soo and Hae Soo’s first-move kiss on Wang So? These 2 made me crazy!
Beautiful dating places of Wang So and Hae Soo. My favorites, the boat ride on that picturesque lake and the 2’s walking place which was adorned with giant trees. Just beautiful scenes!
Don’t forget the awesome OST! I love listening too all of the songs… check out Moon Lovers OST.
The costumes were daebak! They all looked good, the princes specially. Hae Soo’s lady outfits were really beautiful.
The ending! It’s bittersweet but I like it like that. There was a closure to every important story. As I see King Gwangjeong at the end acknowledging that the life of a king is afterall fleeting and vain, seriously I have to hold back my tears! It’s sad but I accepted it as a beautiful sageuk ending. But come on, the ending screams part 2! Give it to the fans please! I’m one of those who wants to see both of them in the future.
Dislikes: Some scenes were too touchy to pass and some punishments were to weak for the Goryeo era.
Summary: 2 princes of Joseon separated from birth but later reunited through their love for gambling. Baek Dae Gil and prince Yeoning also later joined hands to catch the untouchable Yi In Jwa. Both son of the fierce King Sukjong, Baek Dae Gil became the people’s man and prince Yeoning after some power struggles later became King Yeongju.
Stars: Jang Geun Suk as Baek Dae Gil
Yeo Jin Goo as Prince Yeoning later King Yoengjo
Jun Kwang Ryul as Lee In Jwa
Choi Min Soo as King Sookjong
Im Ji Yun as Dam Seo
Likes: Another beautiful period drama with great cast, lovely costumes, intricate story of brotherly love, struggle for power, greed, revenge, politics and impressive swordmanship.
From its well-chosen cast, I would pick 4 favorites and they are…
Jang Geun Suk as Baek Dae Gil – JGS prepared a lot for this role. Though his face is not too Joseon, but he definitely had some Joseon accent going on. The first episodes, he went through some tough scenes like being covered even buried in mud. His training scenes with the master was great. He looked like he could really cut a falling petal blind-folded or shoot an arrow through a hole of a penny. Those scenes were so daebak!
Yeo Jin Goo as Prince Yeoning and later King Yeongju – if I wanna imagine how a really good-looking Joseon royal would look like then it’s the face of Yeo Jin Goo. He always looks good, acts great and speaks really well in period drama.
Choi Min Soo as King Sukjong – if I had to have a crush from this drama then it’s this guy. Wow, the real King Sukjong must have been so intimidatingly handsome, fierce like a tiger and wise like several kings put together. Choi Min Soo definitely did a astounding job!
Jun Kwang Ryul as Yi In Jwa – I have to give the best actor award to this guy. He was just amazingly good in acting. He could portray hatred in calmness, greed in leadership and great wisdom in politics. He was the last powerful villain standing and had to meet his most painful end.
Impressive and beautiful training scenes of Baek Dae Gil by the master Kim Chae Gun. Cutting of falling petals, perfectly shooting and fending arrows and flawless swordmanship. They remind me of old Jackie Chan movies.
Lots of impressive sword fights throughout the drama but my favorite is Kim Chae Gun vs Hwan Jin Ki.
I have to mention the costumes. They looked wonderful and realistic. Beautiful and colorful palace outfits, from the royals down to the guards and servants. The common people, slaves and rebels were dressed realistically.
The props and extras on the set were generously provided that make for example a coronation of a king looked so real. The atmosphere, the colors and the people around make the whole scene beautiful to watch.
Baek Dae Gil’s awesome first meeting… with the brother prince Yeoning, with the father King Sukjong (Sukjong looking at him scrutinizing his looks) and with the mother Suk Bin Choe.
Yi In Jwa and King Sukjong outwitting each other’s plans. These 2 characters are the great minds of this drama.
The gambler villains that Baek Dae Gil had to fight and defeat were great addition to the characters.
Tragic endings, lots of them. It’s the beauty of a period drama.
The bromance between the 2 princes was immortalize in the last scene. Such a beautiful closure to a seemingly tragic last episode.
Dislikes: Jang Geun Suk, a good actor but his face is really not for period drama.
The acting in the last 2 episodes became slow and awkward. As if they change the director. It also became cheesy. Hm, who’s fault was that.
Not much romance going on in this drama. (where are the females?!)
Summary: Cheon Bong Sam, a son of a former merchant started from scratch after his father died. He honed his business skills when he started to work at a stable. From there with personal and business trials that never left his side, he worked his way to the top as one of the most influential businessmen during his time.
Genre: Romance, Period
Stars: Jang Hyuk as Cheon Bong Sam
Yoo Oh Sung as Gil So Gae
Kim Min Jung as Mae Wol
Han Chae Ah as Jo So Sa
Likes: World of merchants Joseon style! That for sure was a new sub genre for me. It’s interesting to see how they do business and trade during that time. Tough world to survive but already there was ambition, passion, determination, ethics even tradition from these hard-working pioneers.
I love the costumes and the realistic setting. From the hats, sandals, clothing of the peddlers to the traditional hanboks of the wealthier merchants. The markets looked convincingly real and the stable looked appropriately right with the tough guys living at the place.
Though it’s heavily focused on business, it’s got its fair share of love and tragedy. The love of our merchant for the most beautiful woman in their world and how that happiness was taken from him. This side story was essential in keeping the interest in the whole business thing :).
Formidable characters and the actors who took the roles. Definitely an impressive performance by everyone. Let’s start with…
Jang Hyuk as Cheon Bong Sam– if the great merchant was really handsome then JH was a great choice. A wise character with an excellent business skills. Tough stable guy but became softhearted for the lady he loved. A great leader like his father who always protected his flock. It sounds too good to be true, right? Let’s just say he didn’t get or acquired everything but he always ended up victorious.
Lee Duk Hwa as Shin Suk Joo – LDH is a great actor and portraying the smart and powerful Shin Suk Joo is an addition to his very attractive resume. I love how his character who started at the top dropped vertically after he met his lady love curse.
Yoo Oh Sung as Gil So Gae – he was annoying from the very beginning and he stayed like that until his very end.
Kim Min Jung as Mae Wol – her love for Cheon Bong Sam was deadly. She’s gonna be remembered as the ex-peddler, ex-pristess who almost got what she wanted but didn’t.
Lee Dal Hyung as Choi Dol – I’m giving him the best actor award for his topnotch performance as Bong Sam’s close friend who was quite slow for his age but the most loyal and was willing to sacrifice himself for his friend. It was heartbreaking to let him go.
I love all the dramatic character-ending in this drama. The ending of Shin Suk Joo with the setting sun. The terrifying death of Jo So, Bong sam’s wife. The sad but heroic ending of Choi Dol. The fate of Gil So Gae which was like his father’s. All tragic but makes me remember them more!
All Bong Sam’s speeches in this drama were very touching. He could easily start a rebellion at that time through his powerful speeches but in the end, his being a great speaker was used to teach his young followers how to be a great merchant themselves.
Dislikes: Too long for this kind of theme.
Sometimes women were so perfectly made up, it doesn’t look like Joseon era.
Summary: Kim Sung Yeol together with his best friend, the crown prince Junghyun tried to get rid of Gwi, the vampire who was ruling the palace… but failed. He got bitten and turned into a vampire himself and went into hiding. After a century, he found the secret on how he could get rid of Gwi. With the help of the ruling royals and unfortunately with the woman he loves, he’ll take the battle that will end it all.
Genre: Period, Fantasy, Romance
Stars: Lee Joon Ki as Kim Sung Yeol
Lee Yoo Bi as Jo Yang Sun
Shim Chang Min as Crown Prince Lee Yun
Kim So Eun as Choi Hye Ryung / Lee Myung Hee
Lee Soo Hyuk as Vampire Gwi
Jang Hee Jin as Soo Hyang
Likes: Vampire Overall Looks: These drama has the prettiest vampires I’ve ever seen! Kim Sung Yeol and Gwi turned Joseon into a runway. Who’s the fairest of these two? I’m always a fan of LJK (Kim Sung Yeol). Omo, omo, those looks could melt a million chocolate ladies, lol! Those eyes and his perfectly crafted face topped with a superb talent in martial arts. He’s a winner! Gwi (Lee Soo hyuk) is not lagging behind. Oh those curly long locks, sophisticated nose and a tall lean figure. Gwi’s gracefulness and power could always win the ladies.
The Voice: It’s not that Kim Sung Yeol failed in this department. His voice was actually really sexy in this drama but I think Gwi won this part hands down. Gwi’s voice was absolutely shiver-worthy!
Best Dressed: I totally loved Kim Sung Yeol’s Hanboks especially the one with the flowers. Just sooo beautiful! But Gwi’s outfits were gorgeous as well. Long and flowing and dark! Suits his character very well.
The Characters: I just loved both! Kim Sung Yeol’s charm is his good-nature, his love, belief and loyalty. Gwi on the other hand is the power, strength and in the end his weakness.
The cast is well chosen. It’s good to see ChangMin here. Lee Yoo Bi though super cute didn’t really disappoint as the leading lady of LJK. Kim So Eun has improved a lot and Jang Hee Jin was just so pretty.
I love the OST. There’s a song that I particularly like and it was always played in the beginning when the leads were just falling in love. Then later on, played again shortly in the epilogue.
Vampire fights were awesome! Very well choreographed.
Kim Sung Yeol’s library was lovely! I could imagine the smell of all the books in there. It was very well thought. This is just one example of the production’s effort on details in this drama.
Though the chemistry between the leads wasn’t top, the first kiss was heart-stopping!
And that hair of Kim Sung Yeol’s bad vampire concience.
Dislikes: Argh that secret plan (recipe) wasn’t that clear! After a long time looking for it, they only got information on ingredients without the proper instruction. Hm, quite useless.
Crown Prince mum who was staying in the monastery was too made up haha! Sorry couldn’t help.
The ending wasn’t explained properly. I just don’t understand why Kim Sung Yeol disappeared after defeating Gwi? And they pulled a Faith-like ending without much sense! Hello the tree!
Summary: It’s a story of how Princess JungMyung, daughter of King Seonjo survived and lived through the reigns of 3 kings; King Gwanghae, King Injo and King Hyojong during her lifetime. With her powerful influence she managed to defeat strong political enemies like Lee Yi Chum, Kim Ja Jeom and Kang Joo Sun.
Genre: Period, Political, Romance
Stars: Cha Seung Won as Prince Gwanghae
Lee Yeon Hee as Princess Jungmyung
Kim Jae Won as King Injo
Seo Kang Joon as Hong Joo Won
Han Joo Wan as Kang In Woo
Jo Sung Ha as Kang Joo Sun
Jung Woong In as Lee Yi Chum
Jo Min Ki as Kim Ja Jeom
Likes: During the whole tenure of the drama, I’ve been going back and forth wikipedia and some other sites and blogs related to the historical background of the drama and I say they come very close to some historical facts and the existence of important characters throughout the drama.
Princess Jungmyung – though she really existed during the time, her fierce character as what was portrayed in the drama didn’t probably hold the truth. But as the ominous princess in the drama, she shone through an entire generation that spanned through reigns 3 kings. Her power and influence that shake the most powerful political enemies and even kings themselves put her in a position that no female royalty could probably attain during that era. Her love story with then husband Hong Joo Won is a lovely kdrama touch in this serious splendid political drama.
Gwanghae vs King Injo – I’m all for Gwanghae. Though not even given the King title but he was definitely more reasonable than his successor. He was always willing to sacrifice (specially his pride) all for the sake of his country and people’s safely. During his reign he achieved a lot and manage to avoid possible wars. King Injo on the other hand was portrayed in this drama as lacking, insecure and even cowardly.
Actors Cha Seung Won and Kim Jae Won are both superb choices for the roles.
Most powerful political enemies…
Kang Joo Sun – he’s got to be on top of this list for he was already active even Gwanghae’s time. Powerful and wealthy, former mayor and palace official, he controlled the businesses in Joseon. He had connections to Ming and later Qing. Owned several houses with private armies. This guy was definitely deadly!
Kim Ja Jeom – a master of manipulation. He made King Injo his puppet. Basically ruling the country during King Injo’s reign. He worked hand in hand with Jo Yeo Jung (Consort Jo) , definitely a deadly tandem!
Consort Jo – Joseon’s deadliest lady. Rumored to have poisoned crown prince Sohyeon, son of King Injo and the heir to the throne. A favorite of the King and Kim Ja Jeom behind her back, she could do whatever she wanted.
Lee Yi Chum – his greed for wealth and political power lead him to do the deadliest acts. He was behind the murder of crown prince Yeongchang.
Kim Kae Shi – her words are valued by Gwanghae. She does everything, poison here and there just to keep her precious Gwanghae on the throne. She was the ears and eyes of the palace. She just knew everything!
This drama has lots of heavy crying moments. Not that I like crying but they were so well-acted and convincing, you get to appreciate the whole sad scenario.
Dramatic exits, lots of them too but the most memorable was King Injo’s. I thought he already died (death bed scene already shown) but next scene he still managed to scold his officials and officially declare Hyojong the next King!
Favorite quote: “Once you sit here, you will also suffocate from its weight.” King Injo to his son King Hyojong.
Ending is a justification why King Hyojong had a hard time ruling. Always staying close to historical facts.
Dislikes: The last 2 episodes were weak. It lost its momentum though the ending was okay.
Dirturbing lighting. So disappointed with this. There were indoor scenes that appeared like a 50’s movie with too much lighting directly on the faces. Just poor.
They casted someone who looks like she had too much botox on the face. That doesn’t match Joseon era.
After 10 years…. then, after 8 years… the men just grew beared but didn’t get wrinkled. Our princess still looked the same 18 years later!
Summary: Prince Wang So known as the cursed prince was destined to be the successor to the 1st king’s throne but only if he would get married to a princess that would serve as his light and guide to be a true leader. Without knowing, he married a former princess who has that fate but right away separated from her without even seeing her face. After a few years, their paths had crossed again and began to fall in love.
Genre: Period, Romance
Stars: Jang Hyuk as Wang So
Oh Yeon Seo as Shin Yool
Lee Ha Nui as Hwang Bo Yeo Won
Im Ju Hwan as Wang Wook
Likes: I always love a historic setting and seeing Jang Hyuk in prince costumes makes me always swoon. SWOON! Love sageuk and love Jang Hyuk!
The story got me hooked from the very beginning. Characters were well introduced – who’s the good guy – what are his potentials, who are the baddies – what bad things are they capabale of doing… made me interested in each one of them right away. Well done!
Too many pretty faces in this drama. Not that I’m complaining, in fact, that made me always look forward to another episode.
As mentioned in my pre-review, the chemistry between Wang So and Shin Yool was overwhelming. 2 great looking leads who very well complemented each other.
That interesting showcase of powerplay seen in most sageuk drama is once again in this one and I just loved it! How can they all be beautifully sneaky?
Excellent sword-fighting scenes! But when it comes to fight, my favorite is the princes’ tournament. This is where the
ladies are hooked (right?).
The characters, let’s dissect the top ones…
Prince Wang So – very well portrayed by Jang Hyuk who I think lost weight to exactly look like a poor swordsman then later, an old king (barely recognized him but he was still sexy). I love how Wang So fell in love, changing from a very focused leader to a child-like personality and I love how he would stare at his lady love. To top it all, he was funny, strong and brave!
Shin Yool – I always wonder how this delicate and beautiful being survived in that era. Yes delicate, beautiful, smart and very wise. She was just too lovable. No wonder why princes and generals were smitten by this beauty.
Prince Wang Wook – Oh dear, though he was competing against Wang So, he was definitely a top contender. Towering, good-looking, can fight but seems gentle and every inch a prince, a proud prince [swoon]. I love the music that’s being played everytime Wang Wook is in the scene, it’s light with a tinge of sadness.
Princess Yeo Won – I like the lady. She wasn’t the typical evil other princess but a beautiful, politically motivated, smart and powerful person. She was definitely giving it a fight to be on top. No nonsense. Just no love life for her, it was the price she was willing to pay.
Everyone else did a great job. Special mention to Wang Sik Ryum (the evil uncle), the brother king, Seo Won (sad for his tragic ending though) and to my favorite, Shin Yool’s brother who was funny though always causing trouble.
Dislikes: I don’t really like the ending. No matter how I think of it, it was a sad one. Realistically, Wang Wook would choose to be king (like how it was shown) and sacrifice his love and ended up as an old king who always longed for his lady love (as shown how he kept those memorabilias in his secret room). But what I don’t like most is to confuse viewers with a “there might be a happy ending” scene. I just don’t understand the very last scene. Was that a “what if” or he really lived as a king and went to see her from time to time??? For me, it’s either a Titanic ending or not, nothing in between.
I was disappointed how that battle ended up. They were talking about an army so big but couldn’t show that much. As what Shrek says, “You and what army?” Sorry but I expected an epic battle scene.
They could have been more creative with the title. It just doesn’t sound sageuk.
Summary: Park Dal Hyang wished to be of serviced to the king so he worked hard to pass the exam in the capital. While in the capital, he met a group of noble-looking men who called themselves The Three Muskeeters. The leader of the group was actually the crown prince who Park Dal Hyang would later have a clash with but then after knowing the prince’s true intent, he would dedicate his service to him.
Genre: Period, Action, Romance, Political
Stars: Jung Yong Hwa as Park Dal Hyang
Lee Jin Wook as Crown Prince So Hyun
Yang Dong Geun as Heo Seung Po
Jung Hae In as Ahn Min Seo
Likes: The whole drama was short but good. Advantage of a short drama, it eliminates those unnecessary scenes that makes it draggy. Concise but to the point without eliminating the thrill.
Talking about thrills, the cliffhangers are really well done! Make you watch the next episode as soon as possible.
I was looking forward to another Jung Yong Hwa performance. He’s not yet that great but always working on it. Someone to watch out for. Still having a handsome face but in this drama my eyes were always glued on the prince lol!
The prince and the princess falling in love! I was so hooked on those episodes. I didn’t want them to end!
The fighting scenes are really good! Lots of Dal Hyang fighting moments but my favorites are Dal Hyang vs the Prince, Dal Hyang vs Yong Gol Dae
Season 1 ended so well and gave us a big cliffhanger. I can’t wait for season 2! I hope it’s as good or even better.
Dislikes: I was hoping it was truly the end of Mi Ryung but she seemed alive and kicking and ready for season 2.
Didn’t like Dal Hyang not finding a girl. I guess it was hard to top his first love but hoping he will have in season 2!
Summary: Secretly, the old king gathered some men to guard the land from ghosts or evil spirits. These men are called the Night Watchmen! When the King died, the job of the Night Watchmen also ended. Meanwhile, Prince Lee Rin, who can see ghosts and the original heir to the throne found a journal of a Night Watchman. While searching for answers he met Do Ha and Jo Sang Hun, a former Nightwatchman.
Genre: Period, Fantasy, Romance, Action
Stars: Jung Il Woo as Lee Rin
Go Sung Hee as Do Ha
Jung Yoon Ho as Moo Suk
Seo Ye Ji as Park Soo Ryun
Likes: I love the historic setting and the ghost theme of this drama. It was fun to watch something different for a while. The beginning was that big battle between the old King and the water Dragon which was about to attack a helpless lady Shaman. Pulling a Genghis Khan attack, the King shot the Dragon with an arrow putting the latter to sleep. Great scene, great start!
It’s good to watch Jung Il Woo again! That nose, that chin, that face!
An idol in the house in the person Jung Yoon Ho of TVXQ. Surprised by his acting, not bad.
Seo Ye Ji, a promising young actress. I’ll watch out for this lady.
Favorite comical reliefs: the friendly ghosts who were following prince Lee Rin and the Inn hostess who had a crush
on the blacksmith. They made the show not so dark and grimmy.
And not to forget Sadam. You’ll never forget his face after watching the whole drama. Great villain.
Dislikes: Go Sung Hee, sorry but she was just really bad in acting. I tried to ignore it in the beginning hoping she would get better in the later episodes but dang she was so consistent! Her poor acting didn’t help with improving the chemistry between her and Jung Il Woo making the ending so awkward. Supposed to be a special moment, a reunion of 2 important characters that just didn’t appeal at all to me.
Genre: Period, Melodrama, Action, Romance
Stars: Lee Joon Ki as Park Yoon Kang
Nam Sang Mi as Jung Soo In
Jun Hye Bin as Choi Hye Won
Han Joo Wan as Kim Ho Kyung
Yoo Oh Sung as Choi Won Shin
Likes: The fact that it’s sageuk and the fact that it has Lee Joon Ki in it!
An interesting sageuk plot. It’s interesting to see the transition of how Joseon fought war, from swords to guns. The idea of introducing it to a conservative society was indeed sparkling a huge debate but the hypocrisy of the conservatives, using gunmen to protect them from being up in power, just showed that the use of guns was unstoppable!
Let’s get back to my favorite Lee Joon Ki. Though I love seeing him in Hanbok (korean traditional costume), he just looks extra sexy and cool in suit especially in that era when everyone was wearing Hanbok. Pretty face as usual and he always doesn’t disappoint :). And a great plus, he can speak Japanese! That definitely adds to the sexiness and coolness points!
I love seeing Yoo Oh Sung again, the great villain in Faith (with Lee Min Ho)! Though his character here seems to be quiet, there’s no denial, he’s still a great actor. He had the looks of a determined hunter, the original gunman!
The gun exhibition! I know it was a bit overdone but isn’t it too cool to see Lee Joon Ki turns the gun around his finger before firing! Makes me always smile :).
Poor Ho Kyung! My Yoon Ji Hoo in this drama. He’s just too likeable.
The ending wasn’t that bad. It was obvious there was no way to beat the king but would have been sad to kill the lead. I was glad to see the leading character changed into a people’s hero and though I love the Hanbok and suit looks of Lee Joon Ki, it was interesting to see him long-haired and bearded in the end.
Dislikes: The leading lady is pretty but Lee Joon Ki is prettier. It’s always hard to find a pair for him.
So In’s character was too weak for Park Yoon Kang. I found Hye Won more suitable for him.
Drama-overkill sometimes. Too much crying and talking before shooting.
Genre: Period, Political, Melodrama, Romance
Stars: Ha Ji Won as Ki Seung Nyang / Empress Ki
Joo Jin Mo as Wang Yoo
Ji Chang Wook as Ta Hwan
Likes: It has a very well written script and packed with interesting characters, plus great cast and direction, beautiful costumes and accessories, great OST and set in a rich Yuan and Koryo era. It’s a huge production, yes! But all the above mentioned are making it another great drama in my list. I thought 50-episode drama is too long but with this much details in the story, it had to be that long. There was not even a single draggy moment, it was just well done!
Seung Nyang – I love Seung Nyang! Brave, strong, talented, a femme warrior, defender of the young royals. No wonder the princes fell for her even when she was still dressed as a man!
Lady Ki and Empress Ki – she was still fighting with sword every now and then, not to forget blinded Tanqishi in that very lady outfit but her strength was her influence! She just basically had everyone falling for her :). Let me count, hm the Emperor, the King of Koryo, even Tanqishi. She got a lot of people on her side which was obviously necessary to survive when you’re in a palace.
Emperor of Yuan – you’ve got to love him and hate him at the same time. He was so annoying when he’s this scared little puppy emperor but when he started to do something and act more emperorly, he was so adorable!
King of Koryo – what can I say, he’s the perfect husband! He’s so good-looking, intelligent, can do sword-fight and he would even do everything for the woman he loves!
First Regent – he’s the perfect villain. Relaxed, cunning, smart, brave, a hero for another ruler but just got drowned in power. Sad to see him go.
Tanashiri – daughter of the 1st Regent so yes you want her gone because she becomes really dangerous but it’s also sad to see her go.
Empress Dowager – oh this lady is first an ally then she becomes a deadly opponent. All for power!
Tal Tal – forget about the emperor and king of Koryo, I would go for him all the way! His face, his voice his hair, his brain! He’s perfect!
Favorite Scene: though it’s obvious Seung Nyang would end up with the emperor (afterall the drama is called Empress Ki), there’s a scene (and it became my favorite scene) where I thought the 2 are the best couple. When Seung Nyang was assigned to protect the emperor when he was exiled in Koryo, they went for a horse ride on the beach. They raced and before the young emperor could lose, he jumped on Seung Nyang’s horse, riding with her until they fell in to the water. The scene was just so beautiful. I fell in love with the 2 right away. That was a deciding moment who she would ride with until the end.
One more thing I like about this drama is that our Lady Ki had the 2 men ;). She loved them both and she had them both. No unrequited love here. It would have been such a waste otherwise :). So definitely not a Jun Pyo and Ji Hoo kind.
Dislikes: I said to myself, I have to prepare my heart for the ending but I was just really sad. To be Empress Ki, you have to have everyone (especially the bad) around you. But really no point if they’re all gone! But I think I was more sad that it had to end. Saying goodbye to all those wonderful characters and their (might be cruel) world.
Genre: Fantasy, Period, Melodrama, Romance
Lee Seung Ki as Choi Kang Chi
Bae Suzy as Dam Yeo Wool
Lee Sung Jae as Jo Gwan Woong
Jo Sung Ha as Dam Pyung Joon
Yoo Yun Suk as Park Tae Seo
Lee Yoo Bi as Park Chung Jo
Sung Joon as GonYi
Choi Jin Hyuk as Gu Wol Ryung
Yoon Se Ah as Ja Hong Myung
Lee Yeon Hee as Yoon Seo Hwa
Likes: Great story! Never one boring episode for me and I’m talking about all 24!
I always like period drama especially good ones and Gu Family Book belongs to that category. The story is rich!
Great cast! Plenty of really good actors here. I specially love the villain, Lee Sung Jae. I mean hands down, he was just great! Another one of my favorite is Choi Jin Hyuk aka Wol Ryung, father of KangChi. He was hot especially when he turned evil! Hm, I seem to like the bad ones :).
The dialogues were just sooo good especially between the Admiral and Lord Bi Jo! These 2 were always fun to watch.
I like the love story of Kang Chi and Yeo Wool but I think I was truly moved by the bittersweet love story of Kang Chi’s parents! Tragically good!
I’m happy to see Lee Seung Ki paired with someone younger. Finally!
Dislikes: Not sure of Bae Suzy. Somehow her acting wasn’t too period. Was it the accent?
The epilogue, hm. I like how it ended but somehow it was rushed. I was so spoiled with how they put details on the period scenes.
Summary: The story revolves around Lee Kang Too, a Korean during the Japanese regime in the 1930s who made it serving the imperial police. He ended up killing Bridal Mask, a mysterious freedom fighter who without his knowledge was actually his brother. With anguish and call for revenge he put on the mask.
Genre: Action, Period
Stars: Joo Won as Lee Kang To
Shin Hyun Joon as Lee Kang San
Jin Se Yun as Oh Mok Dan
Park Ki Woong as Kimura Shunji
Likes: Lots of good actors! You know it’s a good drama when familiar actors are packed up in one. But I have to specially mention Park Ki Woong for a job well done. He was definitely upstaging Joo Won! Sorry Joo Won’s fans but will make it up on my next stanza.
Joo Won is just gorgeous! He looks so tall all the time and gave justice to all the suits he wore and not to forget that hot Imperial police uniform!
I love the era! Of course minus the violence, injustice and suppression. People were very conscious about their looks, they dressed up really nicely.
The action scenes were always heart-pounding! I think they’re the best in this drama! They’re worth every slow motion! There was this one scene I ended up watching 4x because it was just really good!
And the music! Especially the one accompanying the action! It’s still playing in my head until now.
A few good twists in the story that keep me interested till the end!
This drama made me read history! I think that is good :).
Dislikes: The 2 main characters’ transition was too abrupt! I didn’t have time to digest it. Like it was hard for me to see Lee Kang To changed from that ruthless imperial police to suddenly someone who cares. Same with Shunji, from a very kind school teacher to the torturing and obsessive Superintindent! That made him soo creepy.
Somewhere in the middle, it got redundant. Lots of delaying but glad it recovered.
Ahm, and of course the ending! I knew there would be sacrifices but I didn’t expect much. It was too heavy for me. I’m actually not yet over it. I just wish the drama I’m currently watching will help me soon.
Summary: Crown prince Lee Hwon was set to marry someone who he really likes and approved by his father, the King. A few people around him though just didn’t agree to that and tried all their might to get rid of the young crown princess.
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Period
Stars: Kim Soo Hyun as Lee Hwon
Han Ga In as Wol and Heo Yeon Woo
Jung Il Woo as Prince Yang Myung
Kim Min Seo as Yoon Bo Kyung
Likes: I love the script – the story and how it was told! Lots of surprises and unexpected moments for me!
I love the director (whoever it is), for making every episode worth watching by capturing every momentum of the story! I bet the scriptwriter of this drama was contented to work with you :).
I love the cast! Oh where do I begin… Well first I thought it was just Jung Il Woo but yeah I forgot his pretty face a lot every time Kim Soo Hyun was there :). Han Ga In is simply a good actress and Kim Min Seo, after seeing her as gisaeng in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I was wishing I would see her more in the future. Not to forget the young actors, they were all great! I specially love the face of the young Yeon U, sooo pretty!
Great villains! Our main characters are nothing without them.
How other characters (aside from the main) developed and were never forgotten until the end. Everyone had their proper closure, happy or not.
Great chemistry between main leads. Even if they would just do wrist grabbing all the time, that would still make me giddy!
I’m happy for a long epilogue and an ending that brightens up my mood after the sad 2nd to the last episode.
Dislikes: A definite happy ending for our sun and moon but all the dying in the end was making me gloomy. My prince oh my prince, why did you sacrifice yourself! I would say Jung Il Woo stole the ending of the show!
Summary: A scholar in the Chosun era time-travelled to the present with the power of a talisman which was intended to save him everytime he was facing death. He met an actress in the present who was always willing to help him and her playful and happy personality captivated him.
Genre: Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Time-travel, Period
Stars: Ji Hyun Woo as Gim Boong Do
Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin
Kim Jin Woo as Han Dong Min
Ga Deuk Hi as Jo Soo Kyung
Park Young Rin as Yoon Na Jung
Likes: I love the story! I enjoyed every single episode of it! There was a good balance of comedy, romance and drama.
I love the title Queen In Hyun’s Man. It didn’t make much sense in the beginning but it definitely did in the end. Well done!
I love the characters and the actors who gave life to them. First I wasn’t so sure with a scholar and actress tandem but it was just well done that the chemistry between the 2 was undeniably strong since the beginning of the drama.
Lots of kissing scenes! That’s why I love Yoo In Na’s character, she would always find a way to kiss him :). So sweet!
The never ending interrogation by the actress’ assistant / manager about Gim Boong Do’s background. I just thought that was funny. They even did it again in the epilogue.
And I love the ending! Not because of the kissing scene 😉 but how they close the story without being dependent to that talisman (though it was really useful at the start). It was just fate! It was fate that she was asked to narrate that documentary that made her remember things about him and made her call him which connect her to him just before he was about to die and so on and so forth… And yeah I’ll just include the last kiss :).
Dislikes: I really like that Gisaeng who gave Gim Boong Do the talisman so I was so sad that she had to die like that. She was so heartbroken already not to have him. Aside from that, it’s hard to think of something I dislike.
Summary: A female plastic surgeon in the present was kidnapped by a Woodalchi general from the Goryeo era as per command by the King in order to save the wounded and dying Queen. The doctor was stuck in that world of conflict and politicking between the King and his enemies but found herself liking and falling in love with the General.
Genre: Romance, Time-travel, Period, Medical, Fantasy
Stars: Lee Min Ho as Choi Young
Kim Hee Sun as Yoo Eun Soo
Yoo Oh Sung as Ki Cheol, the freezing prince
Lee Philip as Jang Bin
Ryu Duk Hwan as King Gong Min
Park Se Young as Princess Nogook
Park Yoon Jae as Duk Heung, the poison prince
Likes: Lee Min Ho in period drama, I was really curious and excited!
I love how they introduced characters in the beginning using animation!
The time-travel mystery was solved properly. It made sense in the end!
Got to love the 2 villains: the Freezing and Poison Princes!
Commendable acting of the young prince!
The romance between the King and Queen. These 2 were just too cute!
OST is great! “Carry On” by Ali is my favorite!
I love the ending! Hands down! It compensates everything what it was lacking of.
Dislikes: Costumes, makeup and styling didn’t just fit the period drama. They all look so flawless! The warriors look always spotless and our doctor lady was always sporting a perfect hairstyle that all Gangnam ladies would be jealous of, lol!
The drama was too stretched that some parts became redundant towards the end. Could have ended at episode 20 or even 16.
Honestly, I didn’t feel any chemistry between the main actors. The lack of was saved by the King and Queen.
The Great Doctor’s character, that very frantic Eun Soo especially in the beginning, I didn’t like her at all.
And omo, not to forget when they killed the character of Dr Jang Bin played by Lee Philip, they didn’t even show a corpse or something. Frustrating! They could just have dressed someone else to look like him lying there dead. I knew they killed his character because of an accident but just a disappointment how they killed him. So he wasn’t important at all. Sad.
Summary: A girl made it to Sungkyunkwan, a strictly boy school during during the Joseon era, by the help of another freshman who didn’t know she’s a girl. She was lucky enough to be with good roommates but then falling in love with one was unvoidable.
Likes: I love the story! Similar to BOF, it’s just that the girl is part of the great F4!
So many pretty boys here, gosh!
Special mention to Song Joong Ki’s acting! He was just great!
I love the ending very much!
Dislikes: I like Park Min Young but I think she was too pretty for the role. Oh well, they’re all pretty!
The end of the drama reminds me of school graduation, so sad that it has to end.
Summary: A prince in the Joseon era was transported to the present time together with his entourage. By solving the mystery of the princess’ death, they’ll be able to go back to the past but falling in love with someone in the present makes it all hard.
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Fantasy, Time-travel, Period
Stars: Park Yoochun as Yong Tae Yong and prince Lee Gak
Han Ji Min as Park Ha
Jung Yoo Mi as Hong Se Na
Lee Tae Sung as Yong Tae Moo
Lee Min Ho as Song Man Bo
Jung Suk Won as Woo Yong Sul
Choi Woo Shik as Do Chi San
Likes: It was hilarious especially the 1st 2 episodes!
The beginning of Yoochun addiction! Superb acting by him!
Very good story with very good twists. Couldn’t guess at all how it would end!
Glad they could pull a good ending after all the drama!
Dislikes: Oh my, that evil sister was so annoying!
It was just soo sad towards the end. Though it was really good but can’t watch it again!
Likes: Both leads are pretty! Lee Joon Ki competes well with Shin Min Ah’s beauty!
Martial arts skill of LJK is impressive!
LJK in Magistrate outfit makes me swoon!
Beautiful scenes especially with the flowers!
Very good script!
Happy about the ending!
Dislikes: The thing about period drama is there’s less kissing scenes. Have to live with wrist-grabbing a lot.
Some irritating sidekicks.
Confused with rapping background music ???