Adapted for the screen from the webcomic series THE KINGDOM OF THE GODS, KINGDOM is a period drama series that rolls out like GAME OF THRONES meets THE WALKING DEAD set in Renaissance Korea–another terrific foreign series Netflix has added to its programming.
The story begins with Crown Prince Yi-Chang resenting being unable to see his father, the King, who has fallen ill and is rumored to be dead. In his stead, the young queen and her adviser, both from a different clan, dominate the palace and await her pregnancy coming to term; as Yi-Chang was born out of wedlock, the queen’s baby, if a son, will claim the throne, putting Yi-Chang’s life in jeopardy. Yi-Chang’s interest in seeing his father is therefore driven by concern but mostly self-preservation. While tracking down the physician who treated his father, he discovers a plant used to raise the dead, which turns them into cannibalistic monsters active only at night. After an outbreak in a village spreads, he must stop it before it overruns the entire kingdom.
As a zombie story, KINGDOM is smart, believable, action-packed, and has the bonus of several twists on the traditional zombie, such as their ability to only be active at night and unleashing them in a foreign historical setting, with its conventions and beliefs about the dead. As a historical drama, KINGDOM doesn’t have the depth or complexity of GAME OF THRONES, nor does it have the same whip-crack dialogue, but it’s similarly smart and engaging. Thematically, it is class conscious as it explores the plight of the population under the rule of a small group that gets everything, a situation the prince wants to rectify. The characters are all likeable and engaging, and after the setup, the plot rolls along at a crisp pace.
If you’re into GAME OF THRONES or zombies or just good foreign TV, check out KINGDOM. It’s good stuff. Be warned Season 1 ends on kind of a cliffhanger, but rest assured the second season was set to begin production this month.