In a nutshell: This was time-travel done right. But more than that, this was story done right. The characters were deeply drawn and expertly handled, the directing was tight and interesting and beautiful, and the stakes became deliciously higher the more we got to know our characters and wanted to see them happy. And alive. And sane. I highly recommend this drama.
But what’s it about? Kim Boong-do is a Joseon-era nobleman deeply involved in the violent struggle to get Queen In-Hyun back on the throne. Plot-things happen and he’s suddenly in modern-day Seoul, crossing the path of rookie-actress, Choi Hee-jin, who’s just been cast in a drama where she’ll be playing… Queen In-Hyun. Shenanigans!
Only it’s more than amusing shenanigans because Kim Boong-do really is deeply and personally involved in that (now) historical struggle. And he’s got an element of control over his time-traveling and access to historical records (the scene where he first walks into a modern library… book lovers will totally get his bliss) and a chess-master’s brain (which is candy for me — sexy, sexy candy) which combine to bring us… Strategizing!
Only it’s more than nail-biting strategizing, because Kim Boong-do keeps running into Choi Hee-jin and she is beyond adorable and they spark like sparking things and he’s wickedly smart but he still needs her help navigating things like seat belts and security cameras. Which of course leads to… Romance!
All of those elements, amusing shenanigans and nail-biting strategizing and heart-clenching romance, are blended together so that each aspect builds and informs on the other. Which serves the characters so well as they battle between their own desires and a greater cause. There’s also an excellent supporting cast to round out each of the leads’ worlds so we see neither of them exists in a vacuum. Which put me on the edge of my seat as I watched them try and find the best way through to some kind of happily-ever-after without totally compromising themselves.
I watched this with bated breath and, when it was done, clutched it to my bosom and twirled… then watched it again with deep relish. I’m not sure I could give a higher rec than that. 🙂
*This is the lame name given the series by Hulu. I suspect out of a deep-seated fear their audience would be confused and repulsed by the name of a historical figure they’re not familiar with. It’s the only place I’ve seen it called such because the actual title is so very, very perfect.