Another 3 historical dramas to consider. If you are just looking for a good plot, you can try Hong Gil Dong, Iljimae and Queen Seonduk. Although these 3 leave a deep impression on me, I am not very satisfied with the ending.
starring Kang Ji Hwan as Hong Gil Dong and Sung Yu Ri as Heo Lee Nok.
Hong Gil Dong is a robinhood story with many action scenes involved. Hong Gil-dong is the illegitimate son of a minister. He is very bright and smart but was told that he could not accomplish anything in this world, due to his illegitimate status. Heo Yi-nok is an upbeat, naive and carefree girl. She meets and befriends Gil-dong. Yi-nok has a past she is unaware of: she does not know that her real parents were murdered. She eventually develops feelings for Gil-dong. Lee Chang-hwi is planning a revolution, in which he tries to overthrow the king and takes his place as he believes he is the rightful king of Joseon. He coincidentally bumps into both Gil-dong and Yi-nok. He forges an alliance with Gil-dong which helps him. At the end, there is a struggle between Hong Gil Dong Group and the king as Hong Gil Dong aims to have equality among the people while the king does not.
I like Kang Ji Hwan and Song Yu-ri acting in this drama. There are also twists as Yi-nok start to know her past and she struggles to choose which side she should follow: the king or her lover. Liked how Hong Gil Dong deals with situations very cleverly. Liked how the thieves he leads have distinct characteristics. Liked the delivery boy. Really dislike the king for trying to get rid of Hong Gil Dong’s group after he made use of them to get his throne. It is unexpected that it turned out that Lee Chang-hwi is not the rightful king afterall. His family planned it. Feel slightly sorry for the present king. If he knows that he is the rightful king, he would have taken his place more seriously. Not really satisfied with the ending but you can still try it for the plot.
No. of times I watched: 3
starring Lee Joon Ki as Iljimae / Yong / Lee Geom and Han Hyo Joo as Eun Chae.
His family is framed for treason and the whole family was executed as a result. He managed to escape death and loses his memory. Hence, he is being adopted by his stepbrother’s (once) family. Character by Lee Jun Ki who left behind a painting depicting a plum tree branch to make his mark after robbing corrupted government officials to give to the poor has clever ways of going in and out of the king’s palace and disguising himself. While he robs to give to the poor, he gets nearer to the truth he has been searching for. The picture on the sword which kills his father will eventually lead him to the person who killed his father. He falls in love with the girl whose father framed his family. Park Shi Ho’s character is involved in the deed to frame the family. To prevent his son from being silenced, his mother lies that he is that family’s son. Thus, Park Shi Ho’s character becomes Eun Chae’s stepbrother. Character by Park Shi Ho, his stepbrother, will be hot on his heels as an official in that era, without knowing the person he is catching is actually related to him.
Lee Joon Ki’s role in this drama as Iljimae is very cool! The starting is really sad but it becomes a thriller after that. As Iljimae, he commits crime cleverly and only leaves a painting behind. Liked how his adoptive father teaches him how to pick-lock and be like a professional thief. The interesting thing is he has an intelligent stepbrother who is an official after his every move. Although his stepbrother misses him each time, he is still able to figure out what Iljimae did and gets one step closer to solving who did it. I feel that the stepbrothers are both very pitiful. Park Shi Ho’s character taken in as an illegitimate son (his mother saved him by saying he is that noble’s son after he was almost silenced for a deed) is very lonely and not treated like other family members. Iljimae lost his whole family after they are framed and has to try to survive on his own without getting caught. Too bad there is no good ending in this drama for Iljimae… Despite the ending, it is highly recommended!
starring Lee Yo Won as Princess Duk Man, later Queen Seon Duk, Ko Hyun Jung as Lady Mi Shil, Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yoo Shin, Park Ye Jin as Princess Chun Myung and Kim Nam Gil as Bi Dam (King Jinji and Mi Shil’s son).
Queen Seonduk will be about the life of Princess Duk Man who was later known as Queen Seon Duk, the first Queen of Silla. As the queen has girl twins, a prophecy leads to her abandonment as a baby. After an unconventional childhood in the Taklamakan Desert, Deokman eventually returns to Silla disguised as a boy and trains as a Nangdo. There, she joins forces with her twin sister and the naive commander Kim Yushin to oppose the villainous Lady Mishil, a royal concubine and high-ranking official who will stop at nothing to rule Silla herself.
Liked how the plot is as Duk Man goes through hardship which makes her stronger and a better person to oppose Lady Mishil with her bravery and quick-witted planning. She even went for a battle as a Nangdo. Duk Man is an amazing character whose sincerity even makes rain fall on a place with drought and quick-wittedness helps her escape death many times. Kim Yushin’s skills in fighting is more on strength than tactic as he just practises hitting something hard many times without real skills. However, it does pay off afterall… I especially liked the character Bi Dam who is Mishil’s son. He is mischievous but very good at fighting and is able to fool Mishil as he is really difficult to read. Mishil is really the calmest bad guy I have ever seen. Haha. Even though the storyline is very interesting and captivating, I did not like the ending as Bi Dam betrays Queen Seonduk in the end.
After rewatching this drama in May 2020, I felt that the most interesting part is when Duk Man goes to battle as a Nangdo. I didnt skip any part of the battle when I rewatched. Yushin trains his nangdos in unique ways. Touched by the scene that Duk Man stops Alcheon from asking his nangdos to kill him. He is injured and to him, injured people will be a hindrance to others at battle. Through that battle, it shows that Duk Man is not only a leader who doesnt give up, but also one with a heart for people around her. Liked how Alcheon makes friends with Yushin and Duk Man after the battle and how he becomes one of Duk Man’s loyal subjects/followers later on. Liked the character Alcheon but I forgot about him haha.
Click here to watch Hong Gil Dong (24 episodes).
Click here to watch Iljimae (20 episodes).
Click here to watch Queen Seonduk (62 episodes).
Click here for my thoughts on the drama and more Korean Drama reviews.