The Buzz: ‘Kingdom’ Is The Next Best Zombie Show
Everyone knows about the flesh eating horror monsters that have been tearing into human flesh and scaring people for years known as zombies. They’ve become a staple of the horror genre as new movies and shows are added to the list of zombie projects all the time like Age of the Living Dead, Virus of the Dead, Valentine DayZ. Whether it’s from the original Night of The Living Dead or the newer but still beautifully made Zombieland, we’ve seen all kinds of zombies over the years. Though, in recent years the zombie genre has been played out and has gotten stale. Netflix, however, has gifted us with an amazing new zombie series called Kingdom that blows the rest of the genre out of the water. This 6-episode Netflix series is the second Korean Netflix original, and it is amazing. Giving audience not only chilling imagery but also rich plot filled with amazing characters.
Kingdom follows the story of Crown Prince Yi-Chang (Ji-hoon Ju), as he investigates rumors of his father falling ill. Chang learns of a strange plague that turns people into corpses by day, and mindless flesh-eating zombies by night, and that it’s spreading throughout his kingdom and to the capitol, Hanyang. While the prince battles to keep his people alive and try to find a cure or end to the monsters, he learns that the corpses aren’t the only things in this world that he needs to be careful of.
One of the most notable things about the series is how it separates itself from all the zombie shows and movies from the past by making the zombies only half the threat. The show also is largely about the political battle between Prince Chang and Minister Cho Hak-jo, as the minister is staging a successful coup within the kingdom during the outbreak. It feels very refreshing to get a zombie series that doesn’t try to make it all about the zombies while still maintaining the threat they carry. Another amazing part of this series is that the plot covers the start of the apocalypse, instead of post-outbreak. It’s exciting to know that the plague is small enough to be stopped, because it makes every decision and action dire to the story and world.
Another part of the show that aids in its success is the entire structure of the show and how they present the various special components to the show. Since the zombies only come to life at night time it creates a nice deviation in pace between day and night scenes where Prince Chang juggles the coup and outbreak. It really makes it so that no part of the show feels overused or tiring and keeps everything exciting. There were always a few storylines going on at the same time, but it never felt like too much, and all the storylines felt equally interesting. It never felt like the stories were unrelated or just happening off to the side. All the storylines directly link to each other and effect one another strongly.
Kingdom also contains an abundance of well-designed three-dimensional characters, each with their own growth and story around them. Throughout the entire series the audience is introduced to many characters, but none of the characters ever feel boring. With so many different characters constantly being introduced it’d be easy to have characters with no development or that are lazily written but even one of the nobles that is introduced, who are easily the most detestable characters in the show, has a very interesting plot where Magistrate Cho Beom-pal (Jeon Seok-ho) falls for a girl who only cares about helping people and he decides to be a better person. No character feels like they are empty, and instead all show incredible depth to them. In a show with such a strong plot built behind it, it’s rare to see such well-designed character and character stories yet this show is able to achieve it all.
The show also seems to have a certain charm with how it plays each of the characters as good or evil. While there are many characters that stand out as good or bad people, most of the characters are neither good nor bad. Even the crown prince who fights the whole time to help the people still committed treason against his father. The way they play off so many characters as being good yet having done bad makes each of the characters feel very real and flawed. Each characters motives are also so strong that it’s hard label them solely as good or bad.
Kingdom is a show with so much depth to it that it’s almost impossible not to love it. Everything the show has from the plot, to the characters, and even the themes and morals that they play around with is made with such care that the whole show is simply a masterpiece and with only six episodes each around 50 minutes, it’s one of the easiest shows to binge. The only problem with the show is having to wait for a second season.