Without doubt, Sageuk is one genre some people like and indeed we see some classics that are thoroughly entertaining. Some include My Sassy Girl, Sungkyungkwan Scholar, Hwarang and Mr Queen among others. Here are some of the newer batch for your choices.
Poong, The Joseon Pyschiatrist
It should be a full on drama but somehow it has its own comedic moments that make you smile throughout the series. After all this is a series head line by Kim Min-jae who lead a very funny series of Dali and the Cocky Prince (another must-watch, by the way) and the stories indeed has been shaped to allow funny moments.
The story is about Yoo Se-Poong who is an extremely talented physician for the Royal Family who got involved with conspiracy in the palace that resulted in what construed as malpractice, left him traumatic and have to leave the palace. He travelled with his butler, Man Bok who in his life in the Capital was a powerful thug, feared by many because of his martial art skill and strength. He came across a village called Gyesu and its medical practice and decided to settle down and help the practice, He then came across Lady Eun-Woo (Kim Hyang-Gi) who is a talented investigator and keen to learn medicine. They both help each other and in the process fell in love. Story become richer with different case for every episode, the palace conspiracy back story and two (not one !) triangle love stories. There are two seasons and the second season now already in the middle stage so you can binge.
Its decent rating at 5% indicates that it is indeed a good choice to indulge for those who love saeguk story.
Alchemy of Soul
Wildly popular sageuk fantasy series, many of whom gone crazily obsessed. This series is a landmark series for Lee Jae-wook, he successfully transformed himself from bad boy slacker turn master, to become what essentially superman of sageuk type, a powerful badass. However Lee Jae Wook not the only one who got made in this series, Hwang Min-Hyun and Go Yoon Jung also raise their profile as well. As a trend nowadays, it is structured into two seasons, which both have completed and you can binge joyfully.
First season undertone for nearly like the Heir on or Boys over Flower in its fantasy version with 3 boys, one slacker named Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook), one studious named Seo Yul (Ming Hyun) and the last boy ultimate playboy named Park Dang Gu (Yoo In So). But these boys involved in intrigue in which one is smack in the middle of everything then turn from easy going slacker to be mastering the ultimate skill as a result of serendipity to meet Mu-Deok (played by Jung So-Min) who has the soul of Naksu who is a master assassin who then be forced to teach Jang Uk, and in the process fell in love with each other. All the while, Naksu was Seo Yul’s first love that Seo Yul cannot move on. To make the story even more convoluted, on top of the intrigue between powerful 4 families, there is a palace story in which the Prince also fell for Mu-deok.
Then went on to second season transforming further to be the ultimate badass and superman ala sageuk. In which Jang-Uk adopted darker mood, but now with Cho Yeong/Bu Yeon whose soul is also Naksu, have different kind of relationship. But darker mood, a more noir approach, is adopted also by the rest of the boys, Seo Yul and Park Dang Gu.
There are interesting backstory including minor love story such as Park Jin and Kim Do Ju/Ho-Gyeong which is a more mature love story but still make the story lighter in some ways.
The costume including hair is a bit unusual but somehow wonderfully fit the characters nicely. Some of the setting can be difficult to enjoy as it does seem ‘staged’ but some are absolutely great. For sure the scripts are decently written by the famous Hong Sisters, with wonderful fight and as well kiss choreograph. The kissing scene without doubts become one of those that get replayed by many of the viewers for months to come.
All this excellence is well rewarded with nearly reached 10% at its finale, enough said.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella
It goes without saying, that is is truly an inspiring stories that I review separately here. It is one of those superb series that you can rewatch and get positive feeling out of it. Kim Hye Soo kick ass acting even better than Hyena. Its rating at finale is nearly 17% at finale as reward of a superb production.
The Red Sleeve
The story center around a court lady, Sung Deok-im (Lee Se-Young) who gets involved with Crown Prince Yi San (Lee Joon-Ho) and Crown Prince proceed to fall in love with her. Crown Prince eventually ascended to the throne to become the King and now desire Sung Deok-im to be his concubine. Sung Deok-im meanwhile desires a free life and keen to avoid royal concubine as it is full of unhappiness. There are a lot of conspiracy going on in this series your head spinning and while action may not be as much as say Alchemy of Soul, the suspense from episode to another nearly kills me, thank God this is not one of those two seasons series.
While it gets a >17% rating which is very high, it somehow did not create hype in Indonesia. Successful Sageuk story in Indonesia a bit unpredictable but mostly ones with a lot of comedy story. This one is nearly fully drama, despite it is a solid one. Lee Joon-Ho is a solid actor (I like him in Wok of Love and Confession) and Lee Se-Young equally a strong young actress (I like her in Memorist and Doctor John), they both carry this sageuk drama very strongly as young actors. I can only see bright future for both of them in many more series and movies to come as they refine their acting craft further (hopefully).
The Forbidden Marriage
Funny, crazily funny series. This is one series that in some very touching and on the other wildly funny. A definitely must watch.
The story is about Lee Heon the king of Joseon (Kim Young-dae) who has caused a marriage ban that lasted 7 years due to death by his beloved wife. As people of Joseon getting madder by the day by the length of geumheonryung (women has to stay single as long as the King is single), one (con) woman named Ya So-Rang (Park Ju-Hyun) in her need to get out of jail, had to act her greatest con by claiming that the spirit of King’s late wife resided in her. This led to the King’s decree to place So-Rang close to him and guarded by Officer Lee Shin-Won (Kim Woo-Seok), who also in his previous life before the Palace was supposed to marry her. There are also interesting complementary love stories to enrich the series and lighten the mood of what supposed to be fairly heavy sageuk drama.
Kim Young-dae is a rising star with fabulous sense of comic, excellence in comedic timing and great expression. I loved him in Shooting Star, a series about an Idol that supposed to be cliche – and yet it is not. To match, it also has funny female lead to match male lead fabulously. Park Ju-hyun may not have princess gravitas but beautiful in a strong way, similar with Ha Ji Won. Supporting cast also played well especially Lee Hyun Geouk as Eunuch Se Jang and Hwang Jung-Min as Court Lady Won-Nyeo, unlike many supporting casts that tends to add incremental nuance to the story, they both shape the story at every mood it wants to create, some awkwardly but many are dramatically. It really is very interesting series to watch and be entertained.
It is decently accepted with nearly 5% rating.
One thought on “5 New Great Sageuk (Traditional K-Drama) 2022 – 2023 To Date To Watch”