Thursday, March 5, 2015

Empress Ki Review (2014)

Drama Rating: 7.5/10
Personal Rating: Loved it!

In her quest to avenge the death of her parents, Ki Nyang becomes entangled in a complex love triangle between the Toghon, the Yuan Emperor and Wang Yu, King of Goryeo. When she enters the palace complex, things get intricately more complicated amidst the power struggles, factional rivalries and ever-changing relationships.

*Spoiler warning*

Screenwriting: B

Period dramas are inevitably long given the 'history' they're trying to tell and actually the first 40 episodes or so deserved an 'A' for the storytelling.  But things went downhill after that once there was no longer a clear goal and the tightness of the script began to unravel.  Personally, I think the writer should have just stuck with the historical characters and developments rather than open up the plot to further embellishment relating to the additional fictional characters (like Wang Yu, Yon Fei Su or Kolta). The end result was somewhat of a detriment to the overall storyline.

Ji Chang Wook as Emperor Huizong: A-
Ha Ji Won as Empress Ki: B+ (a decent job in very complex role to play)
Baek Jin Hee as Tanashiri: A+
Jeon Guk Hwan as El Temur: A
Joo Jin Mo as Wang Yu: C+
Kim Young Ho as General Bayan: B-
Kim Suh Hyung as Empress Dowager: C
Jin Yi Han as Tal Tal: C
Kim Jung Hyun as Dang Ki Se: B

Ha Ji Won & Ji Chang Wook chemistry: B- (Ji Chang Wook put out a lot of emotional 'feelers' throughout the series but reception from Ha Ji Won was a bit on and off)
Overall cast chemistry: B

Generally a great cast performance with some great performances by Baek Jin Hee and Jeon Guk Hwan. Ha Ji Won's acting was good but her character's mood sometimes changed overly abruptly whenever a significant event takes place. The character's more gradual evolution was the key piece that was missing there, something that Baek Jin Hee did pretty well at.


Pretty strong OST that mirrors the events of the drama nicely. Enough diversity as well that nothing felt too repetitive.

Generally a solid historical piece with splendid costumes and sets. Casting was solid with some very strong performances. A shame though that the series didn't end on its high note around 40 episodes. Despite the further heightened drama in the last 10 episodes of so, too much artistic license by the screenwriter, especially regarding the additional fictional characters, took away from the pacing and tension built up to that point. A simpler, more straightforward resolution would have been nice.

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