We need to make this issue look as Royal as possible! How? I’m not sure. But it’s royal, okay.
Royal K-Drama is a common genre – in the Historical side of things anyways. In fact, nearly all historical K-Drama has some royal aspect in it and the best historic K-Dramas are the ones focused inside the palace… However, just to shed light of the small sub-genre of K-Drama that does exist – modern day, alternate reality, royal K-Drama!
We touched upon one of those last issue – My Princess – the 2011 drama about a time when Korea reinstates the monarchy and traces the lineage to the college student Lee Seol. I won’t be including this drama just to keep this list a little more interesting – however it does make it harder for me as there really are so few modern-day royal K-Dramas… due to the fact that the royal family really was abolished in Korea hundreds of years ago. Due to the lack of these dramas, I’ll visit the stars of them and list bits about them too, just to satisfy your curiosity in one place, haha.
I won’t list these in order of popularity, so in no particular order, we have:
Goong (Princess Hours)
This drama aired in 2006 and is one of the earliest dramas still popular to this day. It aired for 24 episodes. It’s considered a romance-comedy, and I’d agree to an extent.
The drama follows Shin Chae Kyung – an eccentric high school student – who so happens to go to the same school as the prince Lee Shin who’s in desperate search of a bride after the death of his father and the decreasing popularity of the royals. The two discover they are to be married when a secret is revealed from the grandparents of both sides that they were bound to each other from birth in a promise to wed between the two families. Chae Kyung reluctantly accepts out of fear her family might fall into more debt if she doesn’t marry and subsequently receive financial support.
Struggling to find her way through the palace and adapt to their way of life, she finds a friend in the Lee Shin’s cousin, Lee Yul. He appears caring and always there to listen and it soon turns into a bit of typical Love Triangle. However, things aren’t as peaceful in the palace as they might make it out to the public.
Lee Shin’s Aunt – sister to the queen – wants the crown for her son, Yul, and won’t let anything stand in her way. In the meantime, the elders of the palace want Chae Kyung and Lee Shin to be together as a husband and wife, prince and princess should be and prompts them to spend the night together. How will the three deal together in the media spotlight, married, in a love triangle – soon square, with too much money and power at their hands?
This drama is pretty teen oriented and isn’t obscene by any American standards. Suitable for all ages. Easy to understand. I remember watching this entire drama over the space of a single weekends. What a good weekend that was…
This drama stars Yoon Eun Hye of the girl group Baby Vox but it far more known for her acting career than anything else. Shewas an iconic actress back in late 2000’s, but seems to have vanished into the 10’s. She stars alongside Joo Ji Hoon – a relatively new and young actor at the time, much like Yoon Eun Hye, however he never made any more significant drama apperances notably due to a drugs scandal resulting in military enlistment putting a stint in his career. Upon his return, however, he starred in a hit drama Mask in 2015 which I’ll write about in future issues.
Here's what they look like now -
Secondly we have –
King 2 Hearts
This modern-day set drama is possibly one of my favourites. It features the royal family of South Korea facing influential donations from an organisation called Club M run by the evil character, John Mayer (the characters American Name). He uses this influence to his own financial needs and has the ability to pull strings.
Early on in the story, the second in-line prince Lee Jae-Ha is tricked to attend a military competition in which both North and South Korea must unite. Coincidentally at the time he’s also searching for a bride to solidify the lineage of the royal family. He meets the Special Forces agent Kim Hang-Ah, who came close to killing him on numerous occasions. A light mix of comedy plays in this drama as well as the emotional and action packed scenes you’d expect.
Quicker than expected, the two are married through influence and devilment of Club M, Hang-Ah is pregnant, and Club M is out to kill them after already killed the king in a ‘freak-accident’ and crippling the princess in the process.
This leads to the prince Lee Jae-Ha and North Korean Kim Hang Ah becoming king and queen, and now as part of their military training – as part of a multi-national competition – have to go out on dangerous missions now more at risk to threat of assassination all while dodging sneaky attempts from Club M as they try and destroy Korea and its image.
It’s a really good drama and I come back to it every time. It stars the really famous Ha Ji Won – who’s starred in multiple other successful dramas, and Lee Seung Gi – the ballad singer and lady killer, as well as most sought after actor for characters in their 20’s. They pair together perfectly and despite the well-acted out tension and hostility between the characters, they come together beautifully in the end.
And here is what they look like now -
SUPPLEMENT #2 ON LEE MIN HO IS OUT ON 11/11/15, ISSUE #3 ON MEDICAL DRAMAS IS OUT ON 15/11/15