How "Kingdom" Brought Back My Love for Zombie Stories
Karen Jane Ng
Maybe you haven't seen me watching zombie-oriented shows lately or ever. But trust me, I was a big fan. It just so happened that a few years ago I stopped doing so, finding it difficult to keep tabs on one of my favorite zombie apocalypse series because of its already dragging storyline - that after getting too attached to it and its cast for almost a decade. An unfortunate reality, yes.
But 2019 was an exceptionally perfect time to go back to my roots. It's when Korean Netflix originals Kingdom arrived. Starring one of the first K-drama oppas I liked, Ju Ji Hoon, the series revolves around the fight of a crown prince against a power-hungry living and plague-caused dead. With the right amount of thrilling and bloody plot, the hype it was given was no surprise. I must say it's the best zombie show so far. Let me break down to you what I love about Kingdom:
1. It has originality. Not only did the zombie theme caught my attention but so as its unique historical setting, the Joseon era to be exact. It's interesting to watch how the early inhabitants of Korea will fight off the zombie apocalypse given the considerably limited resources back in the days and impressive medicinal expertise.
2. It's consistent. Kingdom has other stories to tell besides the plague. There is the political turmoil between Crown Prince Lee Chang and Queen Consort Cho who's doing every possible thing to claim the throne. Despite that, the series isn't losing its main zombie subject, finding balance between the living and the dead.
3. It gives me something to think about. Going back to its distinct factor, Kingdom breaks away from the traditional horde of slow, brain-eating zombies and instead features a different sort of creature. It's human-threatening, but its cause is mysteriously not just a simple virus nor a bite. Every episode's cliffhanger is unpredicatable. It's got no loopholes, something I admire most about Korean dramas.
4. The mixed of characters is compelling. With the main squad, we've got the Crown Prince, nurse Seo Bi, and a loyal ally Yeong Shin. Just the three of them alone, TBH, already makes the show much to look forward to. The combination surprisingly plays a good team, with a few great additions and solid casting. Kingdom is also not afraid to kill off whichever character and that makes it more gripping.
5. The effects are promising. It's not a surprise though, knowing how well Korean creators can pull off fictions and fantasies. In the case of Kingdom, the visual effects are very imaginative, realistic, and doesn't look too trying-hard. Plus, we must talk about how exceptional their prosthetics and production designs are. The series also doesn't shy away from gore scenes and that, for me, is a worthy bonus point.
If you haven't seen Kingdom, you better drop everything now and start. It will only take six episodes to get you hooked, and, luckily, Season 2 is already out on Netflix, which is great news because we're sure that you won't be able to get enough. With just two seasons, it's already top tier, so we see no reason why it shouldn't keep running until its tenth season or so.