A couple of months ago, while looking at Google entertainment headlines, I stumbled on a short clip for the second season of a Netflix series I had never heard of, Kingdom. It showed a group of Asian men and women wearing historic clothing looking ready to fight, each with a different weapon: a bow-and-arrow and a sword. The part that interested me the most was the horde of zombies surrounding them! Why didn’t I see this before? Was I under a rock? I watch Netflix all the time and never heard of this show. As someone who loves all things zombie—and having given up on The Walking Dead—I couldn’t wait to check it out!
Kingdom takes place in Korea, after the Japanese invasions in the late 1500s. Having defeated the Japanese, the country is still in turmoil, and the continuation of the ruling dynasty is at stake. The crown prince Lee Chang and his bodyguard Mu-Yeong arrive at the palace to see the king. Lee Chang is the heir; however, being illegitimate, the child of the new Queen Consort would be the heir. And of course, she is pregnant. The king is sick, and no one is allowed to see him, not even Lee Chang. One night he sneaks in and sees a monster… is this his father?
Meanwhile, at a hospital for the poor, a physician, Seo-Bi, is tending to the sick and starving. Someone mysteriously gets their hands on impossible to find meat and makes soup for the famished people. They hungrily devour the much-needed food, not caring how it was found. First, the people start getting sick, then they start dying and then…. well, you can guess what happens. Within no time, the hospital is overrun by zombies, staff are slaughtered left and right and the numbers of undead increase rapidly, swarming over the land.
As the zombie horde makes their way to the palace, the Queen Consort’s father tries to seize power and prevent the crown prince from taking control. What better way than to use the undead? Meanwhile, the Queen Consort’s baby is overdue. (Why is that?) A race is on by the crown prince, the physician and several others to not only stop this plague and save the people but to keep power out of the hands of the Queen Consort and her evil father!
What follows are some awesome zombie attacks and great battle scenes. One of my favorite scenes is when two prisoners are shackled together at their necks with a board. One prisoner is bitten and turns—the other is not quite so lucky! In addition to all of this, there are also the usual back-stabbing, betrayals and assassinations that are part of any power struggle. Even without the zombies, this show would capture your attention. The characters, who could have easily been one dimensional, are actually fully drawn so that you even understand the evil ones. No scene is unnecessary, everything fits. Just when you get complacent, something else happens that leaves you gasping and wondering what will happen next.
Season 2 just dropped about a month ago. If you like Train to Busan, I highly recommend you check out this series. It was just announced a third season is on it’s way. I cannot wait! And as a bonus, if you like Kingdom, Netflix also has the movie Rampant, which is very similar to the series but different enough to make it worth checking out. It’s next on my list!
Check out this preview from season one!