Open Thread No. 1

Hi everyone, we’re trying something new that allows you to share about the drama you’re watching or what happened recently in your life. Anything under the sun is acceptable here, but be aware that we won’t tolerate uncivilized behavior. And be careful about dropping spoilers!

The Kdramapal Team will also participate in some of the discussions. We can’t promise to respond ASAP, but you can rest assured that we will find time to interact with our readers—the reason why KDP is here!

Samfann: The King Eternal Monarch is trending today on Twitter Philippines due to its episode 11 that aired Friday night. I read that so much happened in that episode, and many fans have gone gaga over Lee Gon’s action to save Tae-eul. These words caught the attention of many:

Protect her! She is the future Queen of the Kingdom of Corea.

The series is also trending on Netflix. It’s no. 1 in the Philippines as well as in many other Asian countries. Although the drama is becoming so popular worldwide, its TV rating in South Korea hit a record low of 5.2% that same night. This figure is not characteristic of a Kim Eun-sook drama, and considering the massive viewership success (in Korea) of Kim’s three previous works—Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, & Descendants of the Sun—we can already call The King: Eternal Monarch a flop as far as ratings are concerned.

Since I haven’t watched the drama yet, I can’t explain what went wrong for the series to fail to become the next DOTS on free-to-air TV. I’d like to hear your opinion. Comment your thoughts below or start a completely different topic!


InternJang manages a team of writers to publish and promote content for Kdramapal every day. He began watching Korean dramas in 2014 and fell in love deeply with his all-time favorites Signal, Reply 1988, and Misaeng. His affinity for writing led him to start a blog and, later on, spearhead efforts to establish KDP as one of the most dependable sources of K-drama information online.
  • My heart is breaking for The King: Eternal Monarch. Kim Eun-sook makes good fantasy dramas. I mean, I fell for Secret Garden and Goblin hook, line, and sinker, so I was 110% all for investing my time in The King. But come the first two weeks (or four episodes), I got a little worried and a whole lot of confused, and those feelings kind of solidified when the next episodes aired. The story felt a little too complicated and off-kilter. I found myself looking for more scenes that built a bit more chemistry and emotional development between the lead characters. Sometimes, there is so much going on, and at times, there’s too little. I figured the series got off to a wobbly start, and it seems it wasn’t really able to completely get back on its feet. The series has started to get a bit meaty past the halfway mark, so I’m starting to get genuinely curious about how it will all play out. And while I don’t think the next episodes can completely save the series from the past weeks of meh, I’m just going to cross my fingers and keep watching.

    • I watched Goblin and DOTS and I really got hooked in the first two episodes. But with The King: Eternal Monarch, I barely finished the premiere. The story development in episode 1 wasn’t strong enough to build my interest in watching the next episode. That hug at the end? Felt forced and desperate.

      I’m just glad that the second half of the show seems to be compensating for the non-meaty and confusing elements in the first half.

  • I think it’s because the drama’s overall concept is very complex in a sense that the first couple episodes were used as explanatory and transition episodes. There were too many overlapping themes and theories, and it’s hard to explain them in 2-3 episodes. But i think that’s what makes the climax episodes worth it, it pulled the show up. Genres like fantasy and scifi are much more complicated than other simple genres such as romance, because everyone already knows the basics: that they guy will fall for the girl, as simple as that. But in fantasies, you have to delve deeper to be able to give it justice, and I think that’s what writer Eun-sook is trying to achieve. The hate on the TKEM is based on per episodes review, not on the whole show, and I think it’s unfair to credit it as a flop when it hasn’t even ended yet. But I think I get where the disappointment is coming from. Writer Eun-sook is basically a big name in the film industry, add that to the collaboration of the biggest and brightest stars in Korea, Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun, the expectations and anticipations are inevitably going to be over the top. But then again, the show has not closed its curtains yet, we still have 5 episodes before the final judgement.

    • Hi Luna, I’m going to focus my reply on your comment related to ratings. Let me drop some stats first:

      Ave. Rating of Free-to-Air Dramas from 2017 to 2019: 6.9%
      Ave. Rating of SBS Dramas from 2017 to 2019: 8.3%
      Ave. Rating of SBS’s Fri-Sat Dramas (The Fiery Priest to Hyena): 10.4%
      Ave. Rating of The King: Eternal Monarch (Episodes 1-24): 8.0%

      As you can see above, TKEM’s ratings are not that bad per se, but these are still not what SBS wanted to get considering that Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun, & Kim Eun-sook are in the production.

      Next, let’s look at the rating of episode 12 of TKEM versus that of the last three free-to-air dramas of Kim Eun-sook.

      2020: The King: Eternal Monarch (episode 12): 8.1%
      2016: Descendants of the Sun (episode 12): 33.0%
      2013: The Heirs (episode 12): 15.9%
      2012: A Gentleman’s Dignity (episode 12): 20.3%

      TKEM’s episode 12 rating didn’t even hit 10% and its smaller than what Goblin (13.7%) and Mr. Sunshine (13.4%) achieved on their respective 12th episodes. These are cable shows but their numbers are much higher than 8.1%, which supports my point that TKEM is already a flop, again IN TERMS OF TV RATINGS IN SOUTH KOREA.

      It’s hard to change the situation with just 4 or 8 episodes left. For TKEM to at least surpass the average rating of its predecessor Hyena, its remaining 8 half-hour long episodes must obtain an average rating of 16.5%. I doubt TKEM can make that happen.

      ***Source of Data: Nielsen Korea (compiled by Kdramapal)

  • This drama didn’t start off well for me because I was confused by what was happening in the first two episodes . Subsequent weeks just didn’t seem to improve; the story was slow, the romance was too abrupt, and the editing was confusing. AND, my biggest annoyances were the PPL!!!!!! Could they not have been more subtle with that? I think the actors are good but I do cringe everytime they’re made to spout those blatant commercials.

    Looking back, I’ve realized that I’ve never finished any of this writer’s dramas.

  • Lee Min Ho is my first K-Drama crush but I haven’t watched TKEM yet. The show has been in the hot seat for several controversies, like the use of Japanese-looking cultural symbols in the Kingdom of Corea and the very obvious product placements. I think it’s not doing well because it was so hyped in the beginning that when the viewers got dissatisfied with the story development, they got VERY disappointed, too. That’s not inviting for new viewers.

    I’m currently watching Hospital Playlist and it’s receiving great love from fans. The viewers all say that the HP’s style is very similar to the Reply dramas and Prison Playbook as the creators and PD are the same. I’ve also “felt” the richness of the world built in Hwayugi and Hotel Del Luna – both were created by the Hong Sisters. Maybe TKEM doesn’t have the same “recipe” as Goblin, Mr. Sunshine, or DOTS? Maybe something is lacking that’s why it’s not translating well? I have yet to judge it for myself. I really hope I will like it despite what others have said. 🙂