Ma-re is a certified K-drama and K-pop enthusiast. She always likes to discover something new about the wide world of Korean entertainment.
Joseon Dynasty: The Era Where New Historical Dramas Always Takes Place
Korean culture is now a huge trend to people of all ages and nation, thanks to the popularity of Korean period dramas we used to love. Many dramas were set in Joseon dynasty - the last era before Korea transitioned in today's modern time. Majority of the historical dramas were depicted in Joseon times.Their traditional costume called hanbok is always attractive and colorful. We love seeing the kings, queens, court ladies, palace guards, scholars, nobles, and even the commoners. We love their stories of romance, political rivalries, royal conflicts, and their way of living.
There are many legendary dramas set in Joseon, but here's a list of the newest and hottest historical dramas from 2018 and 2019 that you need to watch:
- Mr. Sunshine
- The Crowned Clown
- 100 Days My Prince
- The Tale of Nokdu
- Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency
- Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung
- Grand Prince
- Nokdu Flower
1. Mr. Sunshine
Set in the early 1900s where Americans landed in Korea and Japan started its invasion, Mr. Sunshine is a period romance drama from tvN that depicts love in the time of war. With excellent filming, this drama boasts the world-class cinematography that cannot be seen in other series, making us extremely satisfied with the result of their 40 billion won budget. The story revolves on the life of Eugene Choi, a boy born into slavery who becomes a US Marine Corps officer. He received an assignment to return to Joseon where he encounters Go Ae-shin, a beautiful noble lady who is a member of the Righteous Army fighting for their independence.
This drama is a considered a huge success and gained international popularity. It was one of the highest-rated cable drama besides Goblin and Reply 1988. Mr. Sunshine won the Drama of the Year award at the 6th APAN Star Awards, as well as Grand Prize for Lee Byung-hun.
Release date: July 7 – September 30, 2018
- Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi
- Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-shin
- Yoo Yeon-seok as Goo Dong-mae
- Kim Min-jung as Kudo Hina
- Byun Yo-han as Kim Hee-sung
2. The Crowned Clown
TvN continues to give us the most breathtaking series with another high-rated drama in 2019. Starring Yeo Jin-goo and Lee Se-young, The Crowned Clown is a remake of the 2012 movie, Masquerade, where the ordinary man becomes the substitute for the anxious king, who tries to hide his fears. Yeo Jin-goo played double roles for this drama - the insane young king, Yi Heon, and the commoner who looks exactly like him, Ha-seon. No other actor could pull off these roles as brilliantly as he did. Although they have the same face, the two characters are different persons, and he did a very good job showing the intense and fierce emotions needed for the show.
The Crowned Clown achieved high ratings of 11%, and this tells us how good this drama is. The script was well-written and it wonderfully delivers the mixture of heartwarming romance amidst the thrilling political war.
Release date: January 7 - March 4, 2019
- Yeo Jin-goo as Ha-seon (the clown) / Yi Heon (the king)
- Lee Se-young as Yoo So-woon (queen)
- Kim Sang-kyung as Yi Kyu / Haksan
3. 100 Days My Prince
100 Days My Prince is one of the most popular K-dramas of 2018. It is a romantic-comedy series about Crown Prince Lee Yul, who lost his memory after an ambush took place against him inside the palace. He was thought to be dead, but a commoner saved him and brought him in their village. Because of his amnesia, he was named Won-deuk and became married to Yeon Hong-shim, the oldest single woman in the village, for 100 days.
The anticipation for this drama was already hyped from the beginning, and it received so much love from the viewers until the end, making it the fifth highest rating drama in Korea's cable TV history.
Release date: September 10 – October 30, 2018
Episodes: 16 (plus 2 special episodes)
- Do Kyung-soo as Lee Yul / Na Won-deuk
- Nam Ji-hyun as Yeon Hong-shim / Yoon Yi-seo
- Jo Sung-ha as Kim Cha-eon
- Kim Seon-ho as Jung Jae-yoon
- Han So-hee as Crown Princess Kim So-hye
4. The Tale of Nokdu
The most refreshing Joseon story you'll ever see is The Tale of Nokdu, which is bound to break all the historical rom-com cliches. This is the first time where the male lead is disguised as a woman, and it didn't disappoints us because Jang Dong-yoon's beauty is ethereal. Female lead Kim So-hyun is also breaking the traditional long braided hairstyle with her short bob cut and bangs, and she looks super cool in it! This is also the first drama where the lead couple started off with a weird mother and daughter relationship, and it is hilariously funny. Forget all the manly warriors, because the assassins here are female.
Doesn't that sound really interesting? It is a hot and trendy drama that is well-received as it harmonizes love, politics, family, and comedy (mixed with a little bit of bromance). And of course, Jang Dong-yoon and Kim So-hyun had an explosive chemistry you definitely wouldn't want to miss out.
Release date: September 30 – November 25, 2019
Episodes: 32 (30 mins. per episode)
- Jang Dong-yoon as Jeon Nok-du
- Kim So-hyun as Dong Dong-joo
- Kang Tae-oh as Cha Yool-moo
- Jung Joon-ho as King Gwanghae
5. Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency
Here comes the new and fresh set of flower boys from the historical period! Three handsome men is extremely famous in Joseon for being the members of Flower Crew Matchmaking Agency. They are the best when it comes to love and relationships. Their biggest client is none other than the King, who asked them to transform his first love from a poor background into a precious noblewoman. Things get interesting for these boys as they encountered the Gae dong, the Cinderella of the story, and how her life started to get tangled with the king, Lee Soo, and the leader of Flower Crew, Ma Hoon.
Fans were extremely excited when they revealed the cast. Multi-talented actor, dancer, and rapper Kim Min-jae gets this first male lead role, while Gong Seung-yeon is back on the screen from her previous drama, Are You Human. Wanna One's Park Ji-hoon also joined them with a charming role as a fashionable young man.
Release date: September 16 – November 5, 2019
- Kim Min-jae as Ma Hoon
- Gong Seung-yeon as Gae-dong / Yoon Soo-yun
- Seo Ji-hoon as Lee Soo
- Park Ji-hoon as Go Young-soo / Chil-nom
- Byeon Woo-seok as Do Joon
6. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung
When a smart historian meets a romance novelist, they might not like each other at first, but they might end up being together forever. MBC's new sageuk, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung centers on a brave noblewoman who likes to go against the flow. She is still single at 26, doesn't like romance, and only likes to learn, study, and enhance her knowledge and wisdom. Meanwhile, Yi Rim, a young and very handsome romance writer became famous in Hanyang. Everyone is a die-hard fan of his writings, except for Goo Hae-ryung. They exchanged criticism, until one day, Hae-ryung started working for Yi Rim.
While we are fangirling over Yi Rim's stunning visuals, we are also loving the character of Hae-ryung for fighting against the norm and defending herself by being outspoken. Shin Se-kyung did a good job for her role, and Cha Eun-woo never fails in stealing our hearts ever since he became an actor.
Release date: July 17 – September 26, 2019
Episodes: 40 (30 mins. per episode)
- Shin Se-kyung as Goo Hae-ryung
- Cha Eun-woo as Yi Rim
7. Grand Prince
Based on Grand Prince Anpyeong and King Sejo's history, this sageuk drama is mainly a love triangle between two royal brothers and the woman they both love. Lee Hwi, the younger brother, is every girl's ideal prince: handsome, talented, artistic, and clever. He is also kind of playful. He has only one lady whom he loves with all his heart - Ja-hyun. She is also a perfect match to Prince Lee Hwi, because she is a beautiful and kind lady who is also passionate in painting, with a tomboyish personality. They could have easily end up together if not for Lee Kang, the older brother of Lee Hwi who is ambitious and greedy. He is also in love with Ja-hyun.
The drama ended with a rating blast of 5.6%, which is the highest rated drama from TV Chosun. The actors were also great, with Yoon Shi-yoon, the King of Ratings, Jin Se-yeon who played several agassi roles before, and Joo Sang-wook who is always charismatic.
Release date: March 3 – May 6, 2018
- Yoon Shi-yoon as Lee Hwi
- Jin Se-yeon as Sung Ja-hyun
- Joo Sang-wook as Lee Kang
Netflix's first original Korean TV series, Kingdom, was adapted from a webcomic entitled The Kingdom of the Gods. The first season has 6 episodes, and the upcoming season 2 is set to premiere in March 2020. It has an apocalyptic zombie theme, with the plot revolving around Crown Prince Lee Chang, who discovers the truth about the news that the king is dead and why no one is allowed to visit him. The first season has positive reviews from its unique storytelling, and they proved that the concept of zombies is not limited to modern-day setting. The writers creatively showed the possibility that it could also take place in the past. Combined with cinematic filming, it completely thrills the audience with horrific scenes.
Release date: January 25, 2019
- Ju Ji-hoon as Crown Prince Yi Chang
- Ryu Seung-ryong as Cho Hak-ju
- Bae Doona as Seo-bi
- Kim Sung-kyu as Yeong-shin
9. Nokdu Flower
Not many dramas were dedicated to depict a certain event from the past, but Nokdu Flower is based on 1894 Donghak Peasant Revolution, a rebellion in Korea led by peasants. A time where the poor people are not pleased with the government, they created a political ideology to rebel against the monarch and fight. That time was chaotic, and even in the lives of two brothers, the difference in ideology doesn't seem to be an easy case. Baek Yi-kang is an illegitimate son who is treated with discrimination because of his mother's low status. Baek Yi-hyun is the legitimate son who is taken care in the family well. Song Ja-in is a merchant who also joins the revolution.
Jo Jung-suk did a good job in portraying the side of the oppressed, and Yoon Shi-yoon surprised us with his evil character that you won't believe you'll hate so much. It was his first breakthrough as a villain and he did well.
Release date: April 26 – July 13, 2019
Episodes: 48 (30 mins. per episode)
- Jo Jung-suk as Baek Yi-kang
- Yoon Shi-yoon as Baek Yi-hyun
- Han Ye-ri as Song Ja-in
Jung Il Woo plays Prince Yeoning, who is future King Yeongjo in SBS' 2019 period series, Haechi. The road to his crown and throne is not a flowery path due to political rivalries and influential nobles who manipulates the power. He may be smart, but it is not enough to claim the throne. He lacks support from his people. To set things right, a female detective named Yeo-ji helps him. She is a really capable woman who is strong, smart, and physically active. She is also the best investigator at Saheonbu. Another man with a strong sense of justice named Park Moon-soo supported him in protecting the weak and the poor. Then, Dal-moon, a famous clown with excellent skills in martial arts joined the trio.
Release date: February 11 – April 30, 2019
Episodes: 24 (30 mins. per episode)
- Jung Il-woo as Yi Geum, Prince Yeoning
- Go Ara as Chun Yeo-ji
- Kwon Yul as Park Moon-soo
- Park Hoon as Dal-moon
© 2019 Mare-sensei