by Kim Eun-hee
available in the US on Netflix
2019 – present
A nice distraction from a devastating real life plague is… A story about a much gorier and even more devastating FAST ZOMBIE plague with gorgeous sets and costumes, political drama, and a dreamy lead actor!
Set in a mythical, historical version of South Korea, Kingdom follows attempts to take the (alternate history) Joseon throne through political intrigue during a concurrent zombie plague crisis. While medical professionals are initially ignored (so relatable and familiar), and class concerns override action for the public’s well-being (same), all the key characters are soon navigating a dangerous political situation while struggling with a fast-spreading zombie plague that sounds too outrageous to be believed… which means people have to learn about it the hard way.
Fast spreading in this case means the infection spreads within minutes, resulting in fast zombies – the worst kind. Especially if you are trying to flee from large groups of them in a very elaborate period costume!
I enjoy the fast pace of the story, especially Season 2. I also appreciate the handsomeness of the put-upon crown prince character, played by model-turned-actor Ju Ji-Hoon. (There are some great photos of him in lovely clothes on the Internet… *sigh*)
My father got Netflix and asked what to watch, and was immediately addicted to this story, so I’ve been quite pleased with myself for recommending it.
Highlights: Hostile royal families, rivalries, murders, pretty gowns, hilarious hats (historically accurate), sharp swords, horses, spikes, blood, battles, bureaucrats, executions, self-absorbed rich people, GORGEOUS palaces (including the historic palaces that I had a chance to visit in Seoul!), sensible anti-zombie precautions, teamwork, bravery, good intentions, strategic planning, bad odds… It’s all so well done!
This series is highly recommended if you like fast zombies, political scheming, Korean historical buildings and costumes, and a fast narrative pace.