We sort of predicted it last week, saying MBC's new Historical Drama Ï£ºÎ™Ω (Jumong) would be the new Drama most likely to hit 20% ratings, an increasingly difficult task for TV Dramas nowadays, with Cable and other platforms (VOD, Satellite, DMB) stealing viewers from the Main 4 stations. But I bet few expected to see such a growth in just two weeks. Yes, Master Choi Wan-Gyu's latest work not only went past the 20%, but it's setting the Korean press on fire.
Fire fits pretty well with this show, which started with a huge bang two weeks ago: production values in line with the latest Chungmuro Historical Dramas, Art Direction of a level you rarely see, Dramas OR film -- but then again, anyone familiar with MBC's Art Direction team and their work shouldn't be surprised -- fantastic acting from veterans like Jeon Gwang-Ryeol, Oh Yeon-Soo (more radiant than ever. Does she EVER age?) and of course Hur Joon-Ho, oozing charisma like few actors could do. But the most important thing of course is the writing, which so far is in line with Choi's best work. This show reminds of the Historical Dramas MBC and KBS were making during the Golden Age, with a super-tight storyline grabbing you by the collar from Minute One and never letting go.
There have been a few controversial issues in terms of historical distortion, such as the show's apparent lack of historical research in a period when data is very rare anyway, or suspicious costumes (closer to later Dynasties, but incredibly pretty), but if you've seen Sageuk before, you know the armchair historians always come out to bitch after a few episodes. What counts is this show is on fire, and even the ratings are showing that: yesterday night's (Korean time) Episode, the 4th, hit an impressive 25.3%, beating Ïó∞Ïï†ÏãúÎåÄ (Alone in Love)'s last episode with 17.4% and the new KBS2 Drama ÎØ∏Ïä§ÌÑ∞ ÍµøÎ∞îÏù¥ (Mr. Goodbye) with 9.6%. We'll continue to follow Ï£ºÎ™Ω (Jumong) in the coming weeks, perhaps even with a few 'in between' Episode reviews if you want, because 50 Episodes is a long time, and this baby's too good to wait 7 months. Just hope, hell, pray this will make it to DVD. It makes ÎåÄÏû•Í∏à (Dae Jang Geum) look like a Kwak Jae-Yong film when it comes to intensity.
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