My introduction to this series comes courtesy of my friend Tom at church. Tom served a mission in Korea when he was younger, and subsequently, he is fluent in Korean to this day. He is president of a company that does localization (i.e. translates into English) for Korean movies and television shows and distributes them in the United States. Being a fan of the "Korean Wave" myself, I kept asking him if he had worked on particular titles (usually movies, since most of the Korean titles I'm familiar with are theatrical releases). After half a dozen or so I'd mentioned I'd seen, with Tom shaking his head and saying "nope, we didn't do that one", he came to church a couple of weeks ago with a gorgeous box set of a series, saying "*THIS* is one I worked on. Let me know what you think."
What do I think? Well, frankly, I think this is *INCREDIBLE*! From the packaging, to the guide book, to the DVD production, to the translation, to the story, it's fantastic. However, Tom... you now owe me my life back, because it feels like every waking moment for the past two weeks that I've not been involved in work or scouts has involved me sitting with my little portable DVD player watching this thing. Seriously, when you are walking down the street from BART to your place of work early in the morning balancing a DVD player in your hand, walking into the elevator at work balancing said same DVD player, walking out of work towards BART balancing said DVD player, walking back to your car from BART balancing said DVD player... these are signs of serious neurosis... or signs of an incredibly well done series. Hey, when a show is able to draw in more than 50% of a country's viewing audience, that's a pretty good indication that there's some serious quality going on here.
For those of you not into period stories from other lands, or if you don't like epic dramas based on legendary characters, this may not do much for you. As for me, I've already put in my order for season two and am waiting impatiently for it to arrive. Now, what am I going to do with my time until it gets here... oh, sure, I suppose I could mow the grass I haven't touched in two weeks... or fix some things in the backyard... or clean up the garage... or spend some quality time with my family... but really, where's the fun in that (LOL!)? I'm kidding, gang, don't throw things at me, please.
Seriously, this is good stuff. Even if you have *zero* interest in ancient Korean history, the scenery, costume design and story is wonderful. The acting is excellent, in that classically subdued Korean manner (Korean cinema and television just doesn't rise to the level of histrionics you see in American or Japanese cinema) and the story ideas are very inventive (one of the great hallmarks of Korean cinema; they come up with some of the wildest stuff).
There are four seasons in total, and I can honestly see me lining up one after the other until it's all finished.
Seriously, Tom, thanks for introducing me to this, but really... you owe me my life back (LOL!).