Year End Review 2014 Part Deux – Best Saguek Drama for 2014

Well, this shouldn’t be a surprised to anyone that knows me! Why? Even though this drama started in September 2013, it didn’t finish until March, 2014; however, I don’t think I stopped talking about it until June 2014! When I was watching it, I was by my lonesome as everyone was fascinated with what I thought was a boring drama, Empress Ki. Sorry folks. Even my love for all that is Ha Ji Won couldn’t keep me watching that drivel of a drama! I deplore love triangles! I avoid them religiously! So, it was with my Soompi website friends that I got to discuss King’s Daughter, Su Baek Hyang with everyday! At that time, no one had the drama subbed on any website. It was through the rare (and sorely missed now) doings of MBC America that the drama was subbed and provided on Hulu website. So, if you can imagine having to wait daily for an episode to show up on Hulu as well as the 2-4 commercials you had to sit through to watch a 35 minute drama, this should give you an indication of how good this drama was!

MBC made little or no efforts to promote this drama. The popularity of this drama over the last year has simply been word of mouth. As more of us talked about it, more and more people wanted to see it. I can attest to this as I wrote a total of 5 blog posts on my website alone and these posts still remains the most popular ones til this day. So, what made this drama so fascinating to watch daily by all the loyal fans?

1. Excellent story
The screenwriter, Hwang Jin Young, was a relative newbie to the drama world other than a couple of drama specials. However, I feel it was definitely the directions from a director by the name of Lee Sang Yeob who also had very little in his profile besides a couple dramas and specials. These two together put scenes and a script that not only held our attention from week to week but also managed to be a complete story, considering the many, many episodes preempted by the Olympics, Award shows, and other happenings that just seemed to be prevalent in the latter part of 2013 into 2014. The original schedule had the drama having 120 episodes but the final count was whittled down to a mere 108.

2. Strong cast/actors
This drama had a wonderful cast ensemble! There is no way I could talk about this drama without including so many of the main characters as well as the supporting characters. I admit that the main draw for watching this was for two reasons: Seo Woo and Seo Hyun Jin.

I have been a BIG fan of Seo Woo since Cinderella’s Sister and have enjoyed her in many other dramas and movies. The difference with her character of Solhi was it was her first “baddie” role and I was really looking forward to it. Seo Hyun Jin first peeked my interest when I watched (and hated her character) in Feast of the Gods. My interest continued and blossomed for her acting in The Goddess of Fire, Jeongi. As a big fan of Moon Geun Young, even I thought she did better acting in that drama!! Hyun Jin as Solnan, the character had many facades: cute, funny, dangerous, and in love. She played all of that very, very well! The scenes between these two women was amazing! As the conflicts continued to grow; so did the acting.

Lee Jae Ryong as King Muryeong and Jun Tae Soo as Jinmu were two acting forces to be remember. I enjoyed watching these two actors for the first time (I know, Tae Soo was in SKKS but I swear I couldn’t remember him) was an ultimate treat! It is not often that you can watch a character who you know as evil but you still have sympathy for him and at times understand him and his actions. Jinmu was definitely a product of his environment. Growing up, Jinmu was ignored and unloved as well as raised by a man bent on revenge. When it came to Jae Ryong, I’d never seen him in anything before this drama. I must say it was a very pleasant and a powerful one! The scenes between these two; father and son brought me to tears many times.

I didn’t include Jo Hyun Jae as he wasn’t my reason for watching because he was a late addition to the cast. It was a very nice surprise for me when he was added to the cast as he had vowed to never to do a saguek drama again. Hyun Jae was already one of my favorites (think Advertising Genius) and will remain so for a long time. His portrayal of Crown Prince Myongnong/King Seong was awesome as expected and definitely no surprise. Hyun Jae is one of those actors who is very good at projecting his feelings with just a look; through his eyes and most importantly through his demeanor. I don’t think anyone else could have played our Crown Prince any better.

Many of you were “wowing” about this man while watching “The Nightwatchman’s Journal”; however, as I had seen Yoon Tae Young as Ku-Cheon, I was way ahead of you! Through the entire drama, this actor barely spoke a word but he became one of the most powerful and beloved characters! As Ku-cheon, the deaf mute father of Solnan and Solhi, he will be remembered by all. His action scenes were incredible! Yoon Tae Young was impressive and totally memorably! His death and funeral scenes remains one of the best ever filmed and extremely sad! Yes, I cried buckets!

Kim Young Jae as King Sunimun was simply phenomenal! It was amazing to watch this actor take a character from being the most hated to most loved in the same drama. Young Jae’s portrayal of the neurotic and often crazy Sunimun was sheer genius! I think the last time I saw him was in A Love To Kill and The Devil (more like cameo performances in these dramas). However, playing Sunimun should definitely give him recognition, not only by us drama watchers but also future casting directors.

3. Infusion of comedy
That’s right! This was not strictly a melodrama as most sageuk dramas are. There were many, many scenes where you couldn’t help but to LOL as characters like Ddol-dae (played by Kim Roe Ha) and Mang-Gu (played by Kim Min Kyo) were hilarious! You will not often see Kim Roe Ha in a comedic role. He generally plays seriously bad guys in many dramas/movies that I’ve seen. Yeo Ui-Joo as Kang-Bok, the Crown Prince’s bodyguard, was constantly making faces behind his Prince’s back as well as teasing him once the Crown Prince fell for Solnan but there is no question that he loved his Prince dearly. Solnan’s many eating scenes are legendary! That girl could eat a chicken in such a way, even I couldn’t keep up with her! If you compare the early Solnan with the later Solnan, it is a wonder the Prince fell in love with her. Talk about neat freak meets super slob! It’s a miracle these two fell in love; definitely an opposites attract love story.

4. We got LOTS of Bromance going on
From royal brotherhood to a brotherhood of thieves, this was one drama that had not one, not two but three bromances going! Jinmu’s sometimes friendship with the Crown Prince was nice when it was there. Outside Jinmu’s revenge, he did respect Prince Myongyong, at times. In contrast, the affection between the Crown Prince and Kang-Bok transcended their station. Who else could follow and be totally loyal to the super picky and neat freak Prince and never complain? The really funny thing about Ddol-Dae and Mang-Gu’s relationship was it made you wonder whether or not Ddol-Dae was Mang-Gu’s first love. His jealousy towards Yeo-Ok (played by Park Hee Jin) was hysterical at times. If it wasn’t for Mang-Gu falling for Solnan, who knows where the drama would have gone!!

5. Wonderfully Planned scenes and scenery
There were many scenes that were masterfully put together. The use of background, colors and even the winter/rain elements were always taken into consideration when a scene was planned and photographed. I believe this was done because of a lower budget compared to other saguek dramas I’ve seen. Even the battle scenes were work of arts as they made use of their little time spent in featuring every single character within the scene without skipping a beat. One of my favorite scenes, in the battle to the Han can be seen here. Awesome scene! The film director managed to feature all of the cast within just minutes. Very cleverly done!

6. And most important, the Romance!!
It is not that often that you are able to see a “complete” romance in a saguek drama. Heck! You just about never actually see the romance! Most of the historical dramas that I’ve completed just never showed a great romance. There are some that come close but none to rival this drama.

We saw how they met and didn’t like each other. In this case, we had two totally opposite people that meet under dire circumstances (for Solnan). The things that the Crown Prince does to her in the beginning will not leave you with any hope of a relationship! But one thing is for sure; you can definitely see the relationship as it blossoms!

There were many scenes to show the relationship of Crown Prince Myongnong and Solnan. And many were beautifully orchestrated. Like the tattoo scene above. No one could have prepared me for a scene so simple that oozed romance as the tapir tattoo scene. And so many almost and actual kisses! When I think back to all of the other saguek dramas I’ve seen; none can come close like:

*The almost kiss in the barn before our main OTP were rudely interrupted*

*First kiss with the most heartfelt declaration of love I’ve seen in a long time*

*Playful kiss from one of the cutest scenes ever*

*Hugs, cuddles, and even Joseon piggyback scenes*

I could go on and on about the romance between these two. It really was unprecedented in a saguek drama. I know. I’ve seen so many and the few that come close now pale in comparison. This drama is truly in a class by itself. Don’t get me started on the jealousy scenes of the Crown Prince! Every single one was extremely funny and oh so memorable!

Last thoughts
I cannot begin to do this drama justice. From beginning to the end, I was totally immersed into the story. The conflicts between not only Solnan and Solhi but also between King Muryeong and Jinmu were well orchestrated as well as filmed. It is rare to watch a daily drama from week to week and not only enjoy it immensely but cannot wait until the next episode. Sadly, the only thing I can complain about is the fact that the drama was dramatically cut. For this reason, there were story lines that we wanted to see that were cut short; especially more in the final scenes as the Crown Prince and Solnan finally got back together in the end. I know I would have liked to see more on their relationship as King and Queen. Man, what a perfect drama that would have been.

So don’t be shy! Don’t let the episode count scare you. I can happily report that everyone that I’ve recommended this drama to has not only loved it but also finished it in record time. Yes, it is that good!

King’s Daughter is available on many sites now. It can be found on such sites like DarkSmurfSub, Gooddrama, Dramacool. Of course , the raw episodes as well as the subtitles are available on just about any torrent site.

16 thoughts on “Year End Review 2014 Part Deux – Best Saguek Drama for 2014”

  1. Thanks for this review, NewKDA! I’ve heard a lot about this drama and wondered what it was like. I’ll give it a try 🙂

    Blessed New Year!

      1. So how many mins per episode? By the way. Empress Ki was being broadcasted by one of our local channels here in Philippines. And I seldomly watch it ‘coz its time slot was too late at night, so I feel sleepy. My sister is the one watching it and she said its ok. My family is just hoping that this one will be broadcasted too to any of our local channels here. Watching it at streaming sites will took time because our Internet here is like a turtle. If I have a time, i’ll give it a try. (Please bear with my English) 🙂

        1. The ep are 32-35 min long. Blessedly, they flew past because as the story got deeper, so did the interest in the story. Most of us who have watched it, have done so multiple times! Writing this blog post made me want to watch again. Your English? Was great!

  2. I am going to have to give it a try, too. A woman at work basically asks me every other day if I have started to watch it. 🙂 And now you bring it back to mind. I also love Jo Hyun Ja.

      1. I started watching and am now on ep. 27 already. I need to get work done in preparation for the semester, but I keep watching ep after ep. You are so right about the humor. This show is funny. I love the looks between the prince’s “posse” when he is being so persnickety. Oh and the bromance!. I have to say though, that I have no patience for the Solhi storyline. I guess this is working because I really dislike her, and I know I am supposed to.

        1. I’m chuckling because everyone who starts it says the same thing! The beauty of this drama is this will continue into the 60s and 70s and 80s; don’t get me started about the 90s and 100s! Yes, it is consistently good. Yes, Solhi will annoy you but you will purely hate her by the mid 40s!! GUARANTEE!!

  3. Reading it alone makes me want to do a rewatch! LOL maybe the first rewatch for 2015?
    Thanks for introducing it to me, now I have this and Faith to rewatch 3 x a year!

    I agree the romance is so good, hmm might just go watch the tattoo scene!

  4. Happy 2015,

    Your review brought back pleasant memories as I volunteered to recap it after watching 12 episodes. The time spent at soompi talking about this show was amazing and the word spread about the quality of the show that had a lot of substance to it. It was one of the very few daily dramas that actually had a good size viewing following but at the same time was unappreciated.

    After reading your write up and in retrospect to the shows that I have watched of late, something just came to mind about the heroine. Soolan unlike the usual typecast “weak/pushover, milk toast heroine” was not one of them, she fought back and when she did it was justifiable in that she has a limit as to what amount of crap she can take and then retaliated accordingly. I hope kdramas do more heroine’s like her in the future as she was special.

    As for the tattoo scene, it was not only romantic but subtly sensual as well never will forgot it.

    I agree for 2014, this show was the best saguek as it had all that and more which includes its unpredictability and ability to make what may be huge to us into something normal when resolved.

    Thanks for the reminder of this special show.

    1. One of my soompi buddies! It was fun talking about this drama with everyone! Without my fellow watchers there, I would have had no one to talk about this drama with! I loved the time we spent and it is really because of us that the drama became known to others that just overlooked it just like MBC did!! Hope the writer does another drama for 2015! I’m so onboard with it if she does!!

  5. I’ve had this in my Hulu Plus queue since it was released, but now I must watch it since the Hulu license expires on April 2. So many good dramas, so little time!

    Thanks so much for your review and all the wonderful pictures.

    1. Hulu and MBC have a yearly license for dramas. We went through this last year before the drama even ended. Imagine how much we were in a dizzy about this!!

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