2017 was a good year for Sageuks especially those set in the Joseon era, for the visitor who wants to understand what a Sageuk is follow this link Beginner’s Guide to Sageuk,
For the most part the sageuks aired in 2017 were a joy to watch with a few fails along the way
Seven Day Queen
Seven day Queen managed to combine comedy, romance and political intrigue into one amazing production. Park Min Young delivered a captivating performance as the doomed queen and Lee Dong Gun was terrifying as we watched him evolve into the infamous Yeongsangun
Conclusion: I would watch this drama over and over gain. It had the main elements of a good drama which are, good acting and a compelling story. I give it a five star rating.
Rebel Thief Who Stole the people
Rebel was a good show with some standout characters. I really don’t know how they expected the lead actor to stand out when they brought in power house actors like Honey Lee ( Shine or Go Crazy) and Kim Sam Joong (Jing Bi Rok) who very nearly overshadowed Yoon Gyun Sang’s Gil Dong. Honey Lee played the infamous concubine Jang Nok Soo to perfection, humanising her and at the same time making her even more terrifying. Kim Sam Joong tackled the role of Hong Amogae like the professional that he is, stealing the show for many episodes until his death became necessary in order to let the lead actor shine. The storyline itself had some shaky moments with more filler episodes than was absolutely necessary however it held as it solidified more into a tale about the power of the people and the ability of people to save themselves without waiting for a hero to emerge and deliver them from tyranny.
Conclusion: I would definitely encourage anyone to watch this show.. It is an especially good introduction to the universe of sageuk.
My Sassy Girl
My Sassy Girl was a sweet romantic/mystery drama with lots of angst but I liked the fact that Oh Yeon Seo as usual played a heroine who did not need to be saved by anyone. The Drama starts out as a predictable tale but it has enough twists to keep the audience guessing which is always better than falling asleep while watching a show 🙂
Conclusion: A must watch
The king Loves
The King Loves is a sweet coming of age tale where a cold and calculating crown Prince learns the true value friendship as he has to struggle between the delicate art of surviving court intrigues and keeping his friends safe from his own parents and their minions. K pop stars Im Siwan (Crown Prince Wang won) and I’m Yoon Ah ( Eun san) were particularly good in this drama, making up for their dismal acting debuts. Anyone remember watching Triangle or The K2 ? if you didn’t watch them then don’t. Do not say you were never warned.
Conclusion: Decent viewing but a die hard sageuk fan can give this one a miss and not really have lost anything.
Saimdang: Light’s Diary
Saimadang Light’s Diary is a fictionalised account of a legendary Korean historical figure known as Sin Saimdang. She was an artist, writer, poet and calligraphist as well as the mother of a re-known Korean scholar. The drama is a fantasy/thriller that leaps back and forth across centuries as the protagonists and antagonists fight to unravel the mystery behind a painting she was rumoured to have painted which disappeared without a trace only to reappear in 2017 South Korea. The concept of past lives and the fusion with the modern era makes this a worthwhile watch. Read the full review here SAIMDANG, LIGHT’S DIARY
Conclusion: Lee Young Ae does not disappoint as Shin Saimdang and Song Seung Heon’s performance as the passionate Lee Gyeom was good enough to get me to finally forgive him for acting in Time Slip Dr Jin. Saimdang is a must watch for the die hard Sageuk fan and anyone who was hooked on Dae Jung Geum should not miss this.
Ruler Master of the Mask
I had a hard time watching this drama, I have no idea why I could not focus and I just kept reading the recaps over at the Dramabeans blog read recaps here. Each time I tried to watch an episode I just kept falling asleep and I inevitably just gave up. I really cannot identify the problem as the story premise was good, the scenery good and Yoo Seung Hoo is not only good looking but a fairly competent actor all I can at was there was just no magic to keep me glued to the screen.
Conclusion: If your loyalty to Yoo Seung Ho’s amazing good looks can keep you watching then good luck! To be fair the show has had some good reviews, it my be that I could just not connect with it.
I had waited for this show with so much excitement but when it was aired, I could not watch it past the fifth episode. I have no valid reasons except to say that it bored me. I also realised that a show that has too many lead characters makes it very hard to connect with any one of them. Once there is no attachment to a protagonist or even villain a show is likely to be less engaging.
Conclusion: Make your own judgement I definitely could not, maybe I will revisit the show at a later date