With not much working in their favour, will SBS and Netflix risk developing a second season of the Korean fantasy drama?
After the unparallel success of Descendents of the Sun and Goblin, Kim Eun sook created the highly anticipated fantasy-romance, The King: Eternal Monarch. It is a 2020 Korean romantic fantasy television drama produced by Hwa&Dam Pictures and Studio Dragon, streaming on Netflix.
- The King: Eternal Monarch – set in two parallel universes
- A bittersweet finale
- Will the show be back for another season?
The show featured Lee Min-ho, Kim Go Eun and Woo Do hwan in leading roles. It opened with soaring ratings in the first week, thanks to all the hype surrounding it, with its popular actors, writer, and large-scale investments in production. However, ratings started falling and it failed to meet the expectations of viewers. The ratings got slightly better towards the end but were not enough to call the K-drama a success.
The King: Eternal Monarch– set in two parallel universes
The 16-episode long show was set in two parallel universes that has doppelgangers in them. On one side there was Kingdom of Korea which was a monarchy ruled by a young King named Lee Gon (Lee Minho) and on the other side existed Republic of Korea, a democracy. As an eight-year old, Lee Gon witnessed the murder of his father at the hands of his uncle Lee Rim, and barely survived, but a masked person saved him.
Twenty-five years later, Lee Gon became the new king and while still searching for the person who saved him, discovered a portal that allowed him to enter a parallel universe. With the help of a female police officer named Jung Tae eul (Kim Go eun), Lee Gon decided to take down Lee Rim, who was hiding in Republic of Korea.
Even though the concept is incredibly intriguing and complicated, the show is a visual treat. The cinematography, set design as well as the VFX are splendid and make you want to take a minute to appreciate the breathtakingly beautiful scenes before you. The performances of the cast members are effortless and applause-worthy. It was the comeback drama of writer Kim Eun sook, who is highly sought-after in Korea.
A bittersweet finale to end the drama
After endlessly hoping for a happy ending, the show-runners finally delivered a bittersweet ending with the leads hanging out in any parallel universe at different points in time. The best part about the finale was definitely that they told us what happened to each and every important character. Each was ultimately shown to be doing well in his/her life. In terms of closure, I think the drama provided ample amounts of it, and the crackling chemistry between the leads more than made up for the average script. The melodramatic finale was quite conclusive and did not leave much scope for the story to move forward.
Will the show be back for another season?
It seems unlikely. With massive production costs estimated at around US$25 million, and subpar ratings, another season will probably not happen. The reasons why this show has not worked are several. What could have been a path-breaking series due to its intriguing concept, became an extremely complicated paradox worth only a one-time watch. Substandard writing resulted in the story unravelling poorly, thus, making it difficult for viewers to understand the progression of characters and empathising with them.
The below average screenplay, scriptwriting, editing and direction have grossly let the show down. The soundtrack was quite forgettable despite having popular Korean singers lend their voices to it.
The show also saw its share of controversies. It ran into trouble with the Korean and Japanese audiences for using architectural and warship structures particular to each country, interchangeably. Lee Gon’s attire as well as his crown attracted criticism for not being historically accurate. Controversies are often the primary reason for the death of a show in Korea.
Did you watch The King: Eternal Monarch? What are your views on the show? Do you think it should be back for another season? Write to us in the comments section below.