Kingdom was one of the first Korean shows that absolutely lit up Netflix. It was their first original Korean series and created by Kim Eun-hee, was ordered in 2017.
Written and created by Eun-hee, Kingdom is based on the webtoon series The Kingdom of the Gods she also wrote alongside artist Yang Kyung-il.
It's the show that started the wave of fandom for Korean shows, but what is Kingdom all about?
What Is Kingdom About?
If Crouching Tiger, Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead had a baby it would be Kingdom.
Billed as a South Korean horror series, this Netflix Original is more drama and intrigue than pure horror. And it is compulsive viewing.
Set in 15th Century Korea, the country is in free fall. Having survived two wars that decimated the country, it now faces a new challenge.
The King has been bed-ridden with illness for a month, and the only person allowed to see him is the Queen (Hye-jun Kim from Inspector Koo).
Heavily pregnant, she needs him to survive until she gives birth. That is to ensure her offspring can take the throne ahead of the current Crown Prince.
It's fairly obvious quickly on that something is very, very wrong in the palace. When a young boy accompanying the doctor who is treating the King gets mauled, he returns back to his town. The people are starving and no help is on the way.
Kingdom Official Trailer
A resident decides to take matters into his own hands and try to solve the hunger problem. As a result, he inadvertently starts a mysterious plague worse than anyone can imagine.
People drop like flies and are presumed dead until the sun sets. Once darkness creeps in the dead come back to life as zombies, mauling everyone in their path.
In the meantime, Crown Prince Lee Chang, realising that one way or another the Queen will have him killed, decides to ride out to find the doctor with his Royal guard in tow.
Discovering the corpses, they are then moved to the Magistrates courts where our heroine physician, Seo-Bi (Bae Doona, The Silent Sea) tries to alert the authorities.
Writing her off as a lunatic, the noblemen of the area are soon running for their lives. As is the Crown Prince Chang, played by Ju Ji-hoon, who has been caught up in the zombie apocalypse.
All the while the King is being ‘sustained' on a diet of locals to keep him alive, the Ministers are trying to take the throne, and the plague is spreading across the land.
Is Kingdom Worth Watching?
Kingdom is an epic period drama and one that will have you glued to the tv. It reportedly cost $1.78m per episode to make, and while that is excessive, the setting, costumes and cinematography are simply stunning.
Visually the whole show is breathtaking. And the subtitles mean that you have to stay engaged to follow the story.
You don't actually have to be a fan of zombies or the zombie genre to enjoy it. This is just one facet of a far more complex story about power and what people will do to get it and keep it.
It is about the haves and the have-nots and how in the face of true adversity some will step up and help their fellow man while others just save themselves.
Kingdom is the perfect show to binge. One of the unmissable shows on Netflix!
How Many Seasons Of Kingdom?
Currently, there are two seasons of Kingdom on Netflix. Each has six episodes with Kingdom season two picking up directly from where the first season ended.
The end of the second season takes our heroes seven years into the future where their journey leads them to the far northern provinces as they look for the origins of the mysterious plague overtaking the country.
There they come across a mysterious woman, and that takes you to a one-off special episode, Ashin of the North.
Ashin of the North then takes you back to where it all began, before the events of the first season, giving you context for how the whole story came about.
A third season is reportedly in the works, and you can read all about it here.
Kingdom Korean Series Cast
In keeping with the Korean tradition of using just one director for each show, the entire first season was directed by Kim Seong-hun.
That singular voice is probably why it is still one of the best Korean shows to watch, but you also have to have an incredible cast to bring the story to life…
Ju Ji-hoon as Crown Prince Lee Chang, Korea's only hope to stop a ravaging plague from destroying the country.
Bae Doona as Seo-bi, a young botanist who discovers a plant that could be the cure.
Kim Sung-kyu as Yeong-shin
Jeon Seok-ho as Cho Beom-pal, Crown Prime Lee Chang's loyal man servant.
Ryu Seung-ryong as Lord Cho Hak-ju
Kim Hye-jun as Queen Consort Cho, who needs to have a son to rule as strange rumors about the ill King grip the people of the kingdom.
Kim Sang-ho as Mu-yeong
Heo Joon-ho as Lord Ahn Hyeon