The carefree flower warriors of Hwarang
Ummmmm… I don’t think so. This is not the image I was waiting half a year to see! When I hear “drama about beautiful Silla warriors,” I expect to see epic badassery, not poorly photoshopped puppies frolicking in the garden. Surely they can do better than this, right? Here’s the first poster for KBS’s upcoming youth sageuk Hwarang (which has dropped “The Beginning” from its title), the fully pre-produced drama that’s finally going to get its premiere in mid-December, after five months of delays.
The drama takes us 1,500 years in the past to the formation of Silla’s Hwarang warriors, military groups historically known for their beautiful knights. They’re the original flower boys, and the drama will tell the story of their bromance and coming-of-age. Park Seo-joon (She Was Pretty) leads the cast in his first sageuk, and I was actually looking forward to his mane of glory after the first peek at him in costume, but now I’m rethinking the whole thing. Is his stylist on this show an anti-fan? It’s really the only way to explain this poster.
Park Seo-joon stars as a young man who overcomes his low birth to become a legendary Hwarang warrior. He’s brave and dogged, and a carefree spirit who lives by the motto “you only live once.” Go Ara (You’re All Surrounded) plays the girl he starts out wanting to protect, which turns to love. She’s half-commoner, half-royal by birth, and she has a cheerful energy and a frank personality.
Park Hyung-shik (High Society) is King Jinheung, who ruled Silla from 540 to 576 A.D., and spent years as a faceless king because of multiple threats to his life. He’s a prickly, lonely young man who doesn’t trust anyone, but when he takes on a secret identity and becomes a member of the Hwarang warriors, he’ll transform into a strong leader. At least Park Hyung-shik looks pretty in the poster, though I don’t know if I like the way he and Park Seo-joon have their swords drawn at each other, since they’re due to become rivals in love.
The other flower boy warriors include Min-ho (Because It’s the First Time) as a hot-blooded aristocrat, thought to be a playboy by everyone when he’s actually very devoted in love. Do Ji-han (Basketball), who’s standing behind Park Hyung-shik in the poster, is the cold-blooded ambitious one with a mind for politics. Bringing up the rear are Jo Yoon-woo (I Order You), the mysterious one with a sharp tongue, and maknae V of Bangtan Boys (BTS) riding piggyback.
PD Yoon Sung-shik of Gaksital and King’s Face is at the helm, and writing is Park Eun-young of KBS drama specials Our Slightly Risqué Relationship and Young Deok Women’s Wrestling Team. Maybe I just need to adjust my expectations for something light and fun. I can do that for Silla F6, right?
Hwarang follows Monday-Tuesday drama The Man Living in Our House and premieres December 19.