Saturday, 9 May 2009

TV Falls in Love with Epic Dramas "Yi San"

Lee Seo-jin, left and Han Ji-min star in “Yi San,”
which traces the love between King Jeongjo (1752-1800)
and his childhood friend-turned-concubine.

TV Falls in Love with Epic Dramas "Yi San"
By Lee Hyo-won : Staff Reporter

Historical accounts are usually associated with heavyweight textbooks and a big yawn. But fresh interpretations by hot young actors are sending viewers on a delightful blast to the past through television. Monarchs are far from middle-aged, bald and pot-bellied _ young, sexy and love struck kings and court ladies dazzle in period pieces like ``Yi San,'' ``King and I'' and ``The Tudors,'' all sizzling with melodramatic court scandals and clandestine romances.

King in Love: ``Yi San''

``Yi San'' recounts the high-flying life and times of Yi San or King Jeongjo (1752-1800), the 22nd king of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). Lee Byung-hoon, director of international hit ``Jewel in the Palace,'' and Lee Seo-jin, the hero of the phenomenally popular ``Damo'' and ``Phoenix'' have joined their star power in this SBS TV series. The cast and crew garnered much public attention even before it started airing Monday.

Korean heartthrob Lee plays the role of the fair and charismatic ruler, who is remembered for reforming the state examination and reviving the Office Land Law (1466), which helped diminish the abusive power of court officials.

But the biggest reason to love this good-looking king is his unwavering affection for one woman. The drama develops upon the romance between Jeongjo and his childhood friend-turned concubine Seong, played by the rising starlet Han Ji-min.

In addition to the court romance, the drama showcases the grandeur of late 18th century Korean architecture and the lavish culture of royal Joseon. ``Yi San'' will also keep you on the edge of your seat as it recounts the series of assassinations that plagued the royal household. The drama is also expected to realistically depict the changing economic policy of the ``hermit kingdom'' at the turn of the century.

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