A king that doesn’t die. A prince that wants to live. And the people behind the throne who want to keep the power they hold to themselves. “Kingdom” is a gripping tale of a dying nation and how it will act in the face of utter extinction.
Below, we’ve compiled reasons why we think “Kingdom” ups the ante for quality Korean productions that can be found on Netflix. Spoilers ahoy if you have yet to watch the series.
It lets the world know that people can expect more variety from Korean productions
Aside from the occasional martial arts movie or thriller show, most of the Korean shows on Netflix are romance dramas that have been the face of Korean programming for almost a decade. “Kingdom’s” fresh storytelling is a welcome addition to the library of shows that Netflix currently features.
“Kingdom” is a political thriller as much as it’s a zombie flick. The period setting also explores the courtroom duels just as much as the fight to survive against the zombie horde.
Not everyone has purely altruistic intentions on the show as even the Crown Prince Yi Chang was led down the path of investigation by his own selfish desire to survive courtroom politics. The high-quality production and slowly unraveling political mystery makes it no wonder that the show is currently being compared to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The show sets the bar for costume design in Korean productions
“Kingdom’s” comparison to the conspiratorial nature of the story to “Game of Thrones” is fair, but there is one area where the Korean production beats the George R.R. Martin adaptation: the costumes.
While accuracy of costume design may be something best left to a more in-depth analysis, how “Kingdom” utilizes costumes is one of the best parts of the show – possibly an influence of the Korean fashion industry itself. It’s easy to tell whether a character is a noble, a peasant, or important to the plot just by their wardrobe.
“Kingdom” is also about hats — awesome hats both small and tall, fancy and plain. The period drama’s attention to costume detail speaks volumes about each character depending on the clothes that they wear, but the hats definitely take the top spot as the articles of clothing with the most personality.
It’s created its own niche in zombie films
A monster’s weakness is part of the thrill in monster stories and the discovery and eventual exploitation of the weakness is a quest in itself for protagonists. The fact that the monster’s weakness defines so much about the story makes it an important factor of the monster’s identity.
As much as the show features gruesome zombie attacks, heart-wrenching moments of family-eating-family, and the prevalence of cannibalism, nothing is scarier than seeing the zombie horde scramble back into the shadows in fear of the sun. “Train to Busan” may have been the first high-profile zombie feature from the Korean peninsula that hit international waters, but “Kingdom” is the first to introduce its own take on the popular monster that can definitely be pointed out as a uniquely Korean zombie in comparison to Western portrayals.
“Kingdom’s” game changer for any zombie show buff is the fact that even by the end of the first season, the zombies’ weakness may be gravely misunderstood. A thrilling prospect since “Kingdom” just can’t return with season 2 any sooner.