“The King: Eternal Monarch” (더 킹：영원의 군주) tells the story of two parallel universes, one in which Korea is a constitutional monarchy and one which is similar to present-day Korea.
The 16-episode series has been building momentum and gaining buzz as a big comeback project for both writer Kim Eun-suk and post-military Lee Min-ho (who plays Emperor Lee Gon, fighting against evil and tries to close the door between the worlds). Here are 4 reasons why the show is refreshingly different from your typical K-drama romance:
1. Declare your feelings NOW (NOT 5 episodes later)
Many K-dramas have a standard male lead who is cold and aloof in the beginning. In fact, Lee Min-ho’s famous character Lee Tan from Kim Eun-suk’s 2013 drama “The Heirs” was initially cold to his love interest. Thankfully, no hidden feelings here! Lee Gon is sincere and openly smitten with Jeong Tae-eul from the get-go: “It’s not that I didn’t know how to go back, I just didn’t want to go.”
Hooray for not beating around the bush antics!
2. Female police detective kicking ass
Likewise, Kim Go-eun’s character Jeong Tae-eul deviates from the typical K-drama female lead who is cheerful and optimistic despite many hardships. Jeong Tae-eul grew up uninterested in princesses and dolls, having preferred watching police shows.
She’s also highly skilled in taekwondo and can hold her own in a fight. There’s certainly no damsel in distress with Jeong Tae-eul being a fierce detective: “Not everyone can be brave, so I decided to be brave.” She’s a real girl crush character.
3. Romance + fantasy + sci-fi
It’s not just a romantic comedy. While most popular K-dramas stay within that genre, “The King: Eternal Monarch” has a lot more to offer outside of romance and comedy. First and foremost, the aspect of two separate and real parallel worlds is unheard of in the K-drama sphere and offers an additional science fiction concept.
There’s also fantasy involved with the magical properties of the Manpasikjeok and time travel. When Lee Gon explains differences between the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of Corea, viewers can also learn more about Korean history. We have a bunch of murder mysteries too! It’s basically an epic fairytale K-drama.
4. Two sides to every character
Dual roles for everyone! Due to the existence of two parallel worlds where there is a different version of everyone in each world, the actors get two characters. Sure there have been plenty of dramas where one actor will play a dual role or even multiple roles, but it’s a first for everyone to have a dual role. The opportunity to portray drastically different characters flaunts each actor’s skills and range.
While we have yet to see everyone’s other version, Woo Do-hwan shines in the spotlight with his portrayal of stoic, steadfast Jo Yeong and playful, cute Jo Eun-seop. In both roles, his chemistry with Lee Min-ho stands out as the friendships bring much amusement to the audience.
There’s more adventure and romance up ahead for our duo, so don’t miss out because the story is just getting started!
“The King: Eternal Monarch” is available on Netflix with weekly episodes every Friday and Saturday at 10:30pm MYT.