It’s zombie mania amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Filipinos are going gaga over the thrilling story of Kingdom.
After a successful Season 1, the South Korean zombie thriller Kingdom is lording it over at Netflix. The latest six-episode second season has emerged as the most-watched Netflix content — dislodging fellow K-drama Crash Landing On You — based on the streaming service’s new feature that allows subscribers to find out the Top 10 releases in one’s country.
It was a breath of fresh air as Kingdom creators and stars gave members of the media their insights and views about the series.Writer Kim Eun-hee said, “I truly didn’t expect the kind of response we had for the previous season. I tried very hard to bring out the most Korean elements in the series, which I think audiences found interesting and liked.”
Director Kim Seong-hun, who handled the entire Season 1 and the Season 2 opener, said, “I hoped very much for the kind of interest and love for the series, but I couldn’t possibly have predicted it.
In Kingdom’s Season 1, the dead king is resurrected, and Crown Prince Lee Chang is accused of treason and exiled to the outskirts of the kingdom. There, he begins to investigate what is causing poor communities to turn into the “undead”.
In Season 2, the Crown Prince Lee Chang and his crew are determined to return to Hanyang, Joseon’s capital. Apart from the plague, they also have to deal with the Cho Clan who has grown more powerful than ever and will do everything to keep the prince from claiming his rightful place at the throne. The second season brings back stars Ju Ji-hoon as crown prince Lee Chang, Ryu Seung-ryong as Chief State Councilor Cho Hak-ju and Bae Doona as the physician Seo-bi, among others.
If “hunger” was an overarching theme in the pilot season, writer Kim Eun-hee said that she wanted Season 2’s storyline to be anchored on the concept of “blood”. She said, “I wanted to tell a story about blood in Season 2. Apart from it being literal blood, I wanted to explore the themes of bloodline and lineage. In the end, I think the new season will be a story about the two colliding worlds of the undead who desire blood and those who desire a particular bloodline and lineage.”
For those who are subscribers of video streaming service Netflix and have not watched this thrilling series, you better prepare the popcorn and drinks as we are sure that you will be glued to your TV once you start to watch and eventually binge on the Kingdom.
The first season was released in 190 countries with subtitles in 27 languages. It was also dubbed in English in some countries. Director Kim Seong-hun admitted to being initially very worried about dubbing. He said, “I had some reservations thinking, this isn’t a contemporary story, and seeing actors wearing Korean traditional costumes speaking in a very different language can be very jarring for the viewers. But in the end, I was surprised to see how natural the dubbed versions sounded.
“I realized that language is ultimately only a method of delivering the essence, which is the work itself. A great artist you may know (Oscar-winning Parasite director Bong Joon-ho) recently spoke of a one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, and we reduced the barrier to one centimeter with the subtitle and dubbing service. It’s tailored to an individual customer’s needs, so you can choose to watch the series in a dubbed version if you feel burdened by subtitles or enjoy the original version if you’d rather listen to the actors’ voices. I hope audiences enjoy the flexibility of having both options.”
Meanwhile, the director credited the major surprise going into Season 2 — how the zombies are actually capable of coming out and attacking during daytime— to the genius of the writer.
Kim Seong-hun said, “I would have to say that that was actually the part of the master plan that has been created by writer Kim Eun-hee from about two years prior. Just like the universe was created first with the sun and the planets and earth, this was all the masterplan of the great writer, how they reacted at different temperatures and how they, as you said, have different mechanics in Season 2. Hopefully, she will continue to surprise you with the shocking points all the way until Season 10.”
Pressed for Season 3, 4, 5 and so on, writer Kim Eun-hee said, “As you all know, production of Season 3 is dependent on the success of Season 2. If you support and love Season 2, I’m sure we’ll be able to bring you Season 3 with a greater world. I personally hope that the series continues all the way to Season 10.”
With that in mind, let’s cross our fingers as we await the new season of this epic Korean thriller of a series, KINGDOM.
With additional reports: The Philippine Star, Nathalie Tomada
Video and Photo Sources: Netflix–Kingdom, TheSwoon–youtube, whats-on-netflix.com