Fans of Asian period dramas and fantasy epics are in for a treat as the highly-anticipated South Korean series “Arthdal Chronicles” is now streaming on Netflix.
With a stellar cast, a talented production team, and a relatively huge budget, the new series has the makings of a massive hit. The show, which will have 18 episodes in total airing in three parts, stars Song Joong Ki, Jang Dong Gun, Kim Ji Won, and Kim Ok Bin.
Developed by two of Korea’s top historical drama writers Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon over the course of seven years, “Arthdal Chronicles” will have “clearly defined story arcs” in each of the three parts, Rappler reports.
According to the writing tandem, the story revolves around four heroes who live in Arth, a prehistoric land co-inhabited by different tribes. The lives of the main characters ”intersect amid power and ambition, love and survival.”
Its chosen genre, storyline and production values have got some members of the local press comparing the show to HBO’s global phenomenon “Game of Thrones” even before it made its debut.
Showrunners, however, have been quick to point out that “Arthdal Chronicles” is not about politics as the initial episodes might indicate, as it develops in a different direction moving forward.
Viewers looking for a new series to wash off that disappointing taste left by the anticlimactic final “Game of Thrones” season last month may come in with unfair expectations going into “Arthdal Chronicles.”
The show did have a rough start when the first two episodes aired in Korea earlier this month as local critics began berating it for its use of CGI and accusing it of plagiarism, reports AllKPop.
Producers have since addressed the criticisms on the first two episodes by pointing out that they were intended for world-building and merely setting the stage for the fantasy epic, according to the Korea Times.
Indeed, the story eventually begins to pick up steam with the release of the third and fourth episodes over the weekend.
But while Arthdal is no Westeros, the team behind the show promises that viewers can look forward to original characters with equally engaging interwoven storylines amid the backdrop of a brewing conflict between prehistoric tribes.
“Caucasians weren’t the only ones that lived in ancient times, and we thought that [Arthdal Chronicles] would be a meaningful project by presenting legends about ancient heroes who look like us,” the writers were quoted as saying.
Actor Song Joong-ki, who plays the role of young warrior Eunseom, described it as a series that “asks a philosophical question about how all the aspects of modern-day life, from politics to religions, to society, and economy, started at the very beginning.”
Veteran actor Jang Dong-gun believes the universal themes found in Arthdal Chronicles will resonate with the global audience. “If the story of the series were set in, for example, the Joseon dynasty, overseas audiences may find it difficult to engage with the story, but this series is not particular to Korea’s history, but carries the universal question of ‘What was it like at the very beginning?’ and so, I believe the audience will fall in love with the story very quickly,” he was quoted as saying.