Netflix’s Korean historical zombie series KINGDOM rocked into its second season, building on the political intrigue and outbreak setup of the first season in six highly dramatic, action-packed episodes. It’s an example of how to tell a story with zombies right and proof the undead aren’t dead yet as a genre.
The season picks up right where the last lets off, with Prince Chang and a small force fighting back a horde of undead that no longer “sleep” during the day. Lacking the means to destroy the zombies, he decides the best way he can save the dying province is to finally attack his larger problems in the capital, and try to reclaim his throne.
While season 1 was a slow burn setting up a lot of elements that build toward a zombie climax, season 2 is packed with action sequences that build toward an even bloodier finale. The six episodes are remarkably tight, with every scene providing important backstory via a flashback or advancing the plot.
What makes KINGDOM work for me is the characters are likeable, the GAME OF THRONES political intrigue is lightly done but effective, and the history and culture provide a unique perspective and tools for a rising dead story. Unlike shows like THE WALKING DEAD, the characters don’t mull the loss of civilization and humanity, and instead focus on the material stakes of saving their country, while the bad guys are willing to sacrifice part or even all of it to hold onto power. This tight thematic and plot focus serves the story well and makes for compelling viewing.
At the end of season 2, everything is wrapped up neatly with a bow, while setting the stage for a possible season 3. I’m not sure the show needs it, but I’ll check it out just the same.