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A prince faces his enemies both alive and undead in Netflix’s Kingdom

How excited am I for this, you guys!! Netflix has finally released a trailer for its upcoming original Kingdom, and the clip promises lots of gore and palace intrigue, as I would expect from a Joseon zombie apocalypse. We also get our first glimpse of Joo Ji-hoon (The Spy Gone North), Bae Doo-na (Matrimonial Chaos), and Ryu Seung-ryong (Seven Years of Night). Their roles are, respectively, the crown prince, a nurse, and a government minister who seemingly tries for a power play in the midst of an outbreak of the undead (uh, priorities, sir).

The teaser starts with the decayed body of the king on his bed, curiously wearing a metal collar and making involuntary movements, with Ryu Seung-ryong’s character, Jo Hak-jo, calmly standing bedside. As soon as a man announces offscreen that the king has passed away, the zombie king opens his creepy milky eyes.

There seems to be a lot of confusion generally, regarding the fate of the zombified king, and the crown prince, wearing the red robes reserved for the reigning king, bows in a courtyard and asks whether his father is really alive and well. Two palace guards throw a wrapped body, tied to anchoring weights, into a lake, where it joins an ominously large number of other similarly wrapped bodies in the water. Based on my knowledge of zombie fiction, I’m just going to call it and say that this strategy is going to backfire, hard.

Zombie outbreak aside, I worry about how many human enemies the crown prince has inside the palace, with guards brandishing swords to his neck, and Minister Jo warning that no matter how long the crown prince waits, his father won’t be coming to him. He basically has to fight this war on two fronts, against his political enemies, and against the undead, who start to haunt even the palace. Thankfully, he’ll have some help from nurse Seo-bi, played by Bae Doo-na, though she mostly faces the zombies outside the palace walls, where they’re predictably wreaking havoc, burning down villages and flooding the streets with dead and undead alike.

So many chills, and only half of them from the zombies! I knew to expect some pretty stunning visuals, especially given the money that’s been reportedly poured into production, but I’m still really looking forward to seeing just how grand-scale this show will be. I’m disappointed that the show is only slated for 6 episodes, but I’m somewhat mollified by the fact that Netflix has already commissioned a second season, which is supposed to start production right after the release of the first. Knowing writer Kim Eun-hee, of Signal fame, and director Kim Sung-hoon (Tunnel, A Hard Day), we’re gonna end season 1 on a massive cliffhanger, leaving us antsy for more episodes.

Netflix’s Kingdom is slated to release on January 25, 2019.

Via Seoul Kyungjae

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This looks great. I can’t to see it

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Two years. By the time this comes out I will have been waiting for my Joseon era zombies for two years.

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Hahaa right!

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doesn't it release in a couple months tho? it says Jan 25, 2019.

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Yeahp and I've been waiting for it since February 2017... :)

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omggg so long! D: luckily you will only have to wait a few more months :D

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I knowwwww hahaha. Not long now ^-^ Then I get to feast on brains or something.

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January 25?????? How do they know my birthday? This cannot be a coincidence!

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Your birthday?!?!!??! It was meant to be!!

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IKR???? We waited so long…

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AND it's only six episodes, so you'll have to suffer even longer after what will surely be a doozy of a cliffhanger. My love/hate relationship with Netflix continues.

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I knowwwww. *Cries* gosh I might even forget what happens before S2... D:

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It'll be there to re-watch and Netflix also likes making recap videos before you go into the new season of a show too. :D

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*doesn't have netflix* *lol*

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Hwiroo's sister is also in this drama, no wonder she's been promoting it on her instagram. Im probably gonna check this because of so many familiar faces.

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Not sure if I'll watch this or not. Looks a bit too creepy for me. But a zombie/saeguk fusion series just might be too hard for me to pass up...

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ya know i HATE zombie movies, but i watched Gong Yoo in Train to Busan... and i LOVE Joo Ji Hoon & Bae Doona, so i guess i'll be watching this zombie movie also...
: D

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sigh, I'm torn. I always avoid zombie movies like a plague, but i love everything else in/about the drama. But I HATE zombies!

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*covers the zombies ears... ear with her hands...HAND.* Don´t listen. It´s ok. That´s just one person. Redfox still loves you.

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Exactly my dilemma. Zombie and horror is the only thing I avoid to watch. I hate zombie! But I love Kim Eun-hee's work, and the casts are very powerful too. Should I watch? Should I not watch?e

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This is not exactly what I'd want in a form of a sageuk but I'll try it for Bae Doona and Ryu Seung-ryong.

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I wish somebody would make a drama version of War of the Arrows with the same cast.

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I'd love that!

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Amen! And with the Manchurians speaking Manchurian for authenticity.

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Impressive like the pilot episodes of CRUEL PALACE.

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I'm so here for my first crown prince playing a crown prince again. *wipes tears*

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You certainly make this seem exciting - love the way you write! End of January? I know time passes quickly but this seems far away.

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OMGSHHHH!!!! SO PSYCHED!

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I'm not a big fan of zombie flicks, or horror movies in general. TRAIN TO BUSAN, however, was outstanding, and not just because of Gong Yoo. The supporting cast was terrific. The emotional aspects of the story got me right between the eyes. That was what made it so engaging for me. It wasn't just a blood-and-gore fest. The examination of humans' inhumanity to other humans and other life forms was a significant theme.

Here's hoping that KINGDOM delivers the feels as well as ripsnorting sageuk derring-do to go with the palace intrigue.

Yo, @kiara, I'm already off to the races speculating and researching as to how the zombies ended up in Joseon. During the Mongol sieges of Caffa (currently known as Feodosija, Ukraine) between 1343-1346, the bubonic plague (Black Death) was hurled via trebuchet into the Genoese trading port aboard infected corpses.

Who's to say the Mongols, Jurchens, or Manchurians couldn't have hurled undead corpses into a frontier fortress, or across the Amnok River? Then again, they could be home-grown zombies. ;-)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an interesting article on biological warfare with bubonic plague corpses in one of their journals. I've posted the link and abstract on my fan wall.

http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/646458/

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PS: Thanks, @tipsymocha, for your update. I'm looking forward to this with glee. ;-)

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I've never been a zombie before, but it's intriguing...

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LOL! Aw, you just want to ride the trebuchet, @yyishere YY! But are you up for all the drooling and slavering?

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I don't mind the drooling. I was the backpack in Cheese, and it was hard, fighting to keep the drool in while playing this rubbery character...I mean, that BACK! How could you not drool at the solidity of those abs?? Yeah, he had abs on his back! It's the smell that's deterring me from taking this role...I like to smell good, you know, I've smelt good in all my roles.

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@yyishere, I didn't watch CHEESE IN THE TRAP, so I missed out on your drool-worthy performance, and the back that triggered the slobbering. Um, that's really unique physiology you mentioned. Six-pack shoulder blades?!

I can sympathize about the stench of blood and gore. And the body parts that have a tendency to fall off as putrefaction sets in. You're gonna need Lysol by the barrel. And will probably have to live at a jjimjilbang for the duration of your performance. Oh, wait. You don't actually have to become a decaying zombie to play one. What was I thinking?! ;-)

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Erratum:
Caffa (currently known as Feodosija, Ukraine Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014)

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I'm leaning more towards the Manchu invasions because it was more brutal and it happened during the Joseon era.
The Mongols were in power during the Goryeo era.

It would be awesome if the Annals of Joseon had mentioned something like biological warfare lol.
Plagues was a big deal back then so it had to be well documented.

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Or could the undead be something unleashed by the Japanese during the Imjin War? They have a multitude of spirits, elementals, etc., of their own. They could be primordial yeti-like creatures from Ainu country. Or even from Siberia or Kamchatka.

Wasn't something mentioned in the Annals of Joseon supposed to be the basis for the film RAMPANT?

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@pakalanapikake
Paka I'm so glad you said this. I was reading through Kingdom news (the most recent DB post on it) because it comes out next week (finally), and as you know I've been following news of this show ever since it was first announced in February 2017. That's almost two years ago.
However I just saw some people saying that Kingdom is a rehash of Rampant. Which is amusing, but also brings me down a little. Kingdom can't be a rehash of Rampant; Kingdom was announced in 2017, Rampant came out in October 2018. If anything, Rampant drew inspiration from Kingdom, not the other way round.
I have been so excited for this show and a different take on zombies, for so long, and to see people dismiss it so quickly just because now is the first they've heard of it, and a movie that came out three months ago is similar to it. Ahh! But I will try not to let them get me down. Rest assured, Rampant did not have Signal's writer, which is also a draw to this show for me.

Have you seen Rampant? Is it any good? Is it even worth comparing to Kingdom? (not that Kingdom is even out yet but shhh)

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*waves at the melon-cholic @sicarius*

I know what you mean. It does look as if KINGDOM is Johnny-come-lately, despite its making a splash in 2017 when it was announced. I would like to think that there are numerous ways of treating the basic premise that zombies appear in Joseon. While the novelty of the concept has worn off in the intervening two years, I'm still looking forward to seeing what the author of SIGNAL has up her sleeve.

I purposely have not watched RAMPANT because I want to see KINGDOM first. ;-)

And now I'm getting confused because there's another 2018 Kmovie called MONSTRUM. I'm holding off on that one, too, until after I watch KINGDOM. ;-)

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@pakalanpikake
*I am not usually one for puns but that was a splendiferous one*

I think for me the novelty hasn't worn off just because I haven't seen anything like that yet. And yes, Signal's writer is a huge draw. Whilst I have the normal time manipulation issues with Signal I liked everything else about it.

Ah! Well when you do watch it tell me about it!
Oooh another one? Monstrum seems to be about an individual monster rather than zombies though. Still- saguek horror is back in haha

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@sicarius,

In an attempt to cheer you up, I stooped to making that botanical pun. I'm glad it wasn't too much of a groaner as my forte is bad puns. ;-)

Come to think of it, the concept of zombies in Joseon really does still intrigue me. I guess I'm just feeling low energy at the moment. (Maybe I knocked myself silly watching all 81 eps. of JUMONG. Just finished it yesterday, or was it the day before? Now I'm rewatching LAND OF THE WIND, and plan to finish it before KINGDOM starts. I'm boning up for the Gojoseon-era ASDAL CHRONICLES set to premiere in the first half of the year.)

When I first read KINGDOM'S announcement, it tickled my funny bone, or some other part of my humor anatomy I cannot identify. I'm looking forward to seeing how Joseon zombies behave. Do they still call their betters "Nauri"? Do they bow politely before biting their prey? Does their sense of where they stand in the social hierarchy totally fall by the wayside? Are zombie butchers still on the lowest rung of society, or does becoming a drooling, demented hulk with appendages falling off flatten the social ranks, and confer an equality of misery that levels the high-and-mighty to the status formerly endured only by their social inferiors? Do Joseon zombies exhibit filial piety? Or do they lose their social inhibitions along with their minds? If they don't, does that make them better than the evil yangban and perverse scholars who allegedly are human, yet treat other beings reprehensibly? We may end up getting some biting social commentary.

In TRAIN TO BUSAN, various unsung heroes fought to retain their humanity. I'm also reminded of the nobility of two vampires in SCHOLAR WHO WALKS THE NIGHT. In addition to Lee Joon-gi's upright seonbi, Mu Jin-sung (formerly Yeo Ui-Joo) did a terrific job as the honorable No Hak-young. I expect to see something along those lines in KINGDOM.

I wonder if KINGDOM will be recapped here on DB? Maybe not, if it's a Netflix original series. Hmmm. I guess we'll have to look around for discussions in Open Thread and What We're Watching. ;-)

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As always, you're a wealth of info. Yes, Train to Busan is an outstanding movie. Did you notice the song the little girl sang at the end? Some people thought it was something she composed but it was Aloha Oe. Auwe, I'm sure you already know...
The only thing I'm skeptical about is it's a Netflix product and sometimes they put out American type shows with not much character development or emotion, so we'll see...I'm in it for Ju Ji hoon anyway.

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Aloha, @linda-palapala! You bet your bippie I recognized "Aloha 'Oe" -- but at first it didn't register because I wasn't expecting it, and the Korean lyrics threw me. When I heard it the second time, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Holy cow. What a scene. What context. Dang, it killed me deader than a vampire who met Buffy.

For anyone wanting to fully appreciate the lyrics:
https://www.huapala.org/Aloha/Aloha_Oe.html

As for KINGDOM, I'm in it for Joo Ji-hoon and Ryu Seung-ryong. I've got my fingers crossed that the Korean feels make it into the show. I don't want mere blood and gore. I want to feel the melancholy of valiant warriors and commoners fighting the good fight against an implacable and nefarious enemy. That's what will make it truly epic. ;-)

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I'm so excited for this! I love dramaland and I LOVE zombies. People see zombies as just meat-munching ex-people, but zombie fiction (the good kind) is mostly about the break down of society.

When communication lines are down, the government is in chaos, work/school is out, and there are no first responders to emergencies, what kind of world (and people) emerges? When the possessions we cherish become worthless, what do we have to look forward to?

I'm glad that Kingdom's trailer seems to be tackling these issues. See how the Minister is grabbing power while the poor people outside the palace are panicking and only a nurse seems to care. Also hyping me: the ineffectual method for disposing of zombies that's gonna literally bite a lot of people in the ass...

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Zombie disposal is always problematic.

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Mary, you sound very informed. Please send me some book recs and let me add to the never-ending pile of to-be-reads I have lol.

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Aww yeah! A chance to hype zombies! ♥ Thank you!

World War Z is at the top of the list! It's like the author looked back on human history and how individuals vs societies react to conflict+tragedy and projected that into a zombie apocalypse. It's also great for a short read because it's divided into "interviews"/personal stories of different survivors. So you can read 5-10 pages a night and set it aside. If you can. :P

There's also I Am Legend (very different and yet very similar to the movie). The book has more vampiric than zombie monsters but the stuff about social isolation and the main character's fight to stay sane is more obvious in the book. Probably because in the book, it's his own neighbors standing outside trying to eat him... so the book also ups the "who's the monster now?" factor. It's an old book published and set in 1950s so the creep factor is high.

One of the newer ones, The Girl With All The Gifts, is from the POV of a little girl inside a military-protected zone, decades after the zombie-breakout. She and her classmates are being taught about the old world. As usual with adults, they treat the kids like idiots, but the more the kids know, the more they don't understand why adults keep repeating (stupid) mistakes of the past: power grabs, lying, using violence on each other, etc. It's like a zombie version of To Kill a Mockingbird (which I also loved, heh).

Those three are best if you're curious about the non-meat-munching side of things. :) But I read and enjoyed other books that are just adrenaline-filled adventures.

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I second the Girl With All the Gifts. A great read that is both entertaining and multifaceted.

I’ll have to add Mary’s other recs to my list

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♥ Oooh... have you read the prequel/sequel The Boy on the Bridge? The Girl book is much better overall but there are parts of The Boy book that I loved so much, it made it worth trudging through the other parts.

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No I haven't had a chance, but I own it, so it's waiting for me.

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I've had the prequel sitting on my shelf for months. Glad to hear that it's good (at least in some parts). Maybe I'll try to get to it before Kingdom comes out.

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Awww yess and all have adaptations!
I've been meaning to read The Girl With All The Gifts. I didn't know it had zombies so that's interesting!
I've also watched I Am Legend but haven't given the book a go. And World War Z sounds good. I know there is a movie for that, that actually looks way too creepy lol.

Thanks Mary!

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Oh, I didn't notice they all had movie versions! :D In the case of WWZ and Legend, the movies can stand on their own because they're very different from the book.

Which is a nice way of saying "I love the books MORE but I'll give the movie adaptations a pass because they're so different, it's hard to compare."

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Ooh, I loved The Girl With All the Gifts. The first few chapters are probably some of my favorite set-up chapters I've ever read.

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Oh, and a bonus! If you just want to watch something, there's this story-driven game The Walking Dead which is fun to watch others play. I heard Cry's is the best Let's Play series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU4upxz5bps Though I saw a bunch of others years ago and can't remember which one was my fav. >__<

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"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

I forgot about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! It's more of a joke read if you loved the original P&P but it was hilarious how the author spliced zombie stuff into the original, iconic, scenes.

(This is the last add-on, I swears!)

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I have this on my bookshelf. I remember starting but never finishing. I should try again. I think I'm more used to the language of the 19th century now. And this also has a movie adaptation! LOL

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I think I went and reread P&P before the book arrived so the jokes would be "fresher" in my mind. XD

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Seems so far away...I've been looking forward to this joseon zombie drama like forever 😅

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You can never have enough Bae Doo-na on your screen...

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This is a truth, universally acknowledged.

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Don't fret too much about the zombies.
This is actually a nightmare that Shin had one night in Goong. He fell asleep after eating too much, and too fast, and ended up dreaming about zombies and Bae Doo na.

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I'm sure it'll be great... but you can't make me watch it! Zombies are the only supernatural fictional creature that I'm legitimately terrified of!

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Oh, this look exciting, cinematography is really beautiful.

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Definitely tuning in for this. It sounds epic! I love Bae Doona

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Hopefully there's a way I can watch this.

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This looks pretty good! And thank god for Netflix! *fingers crossed Netflix shows it in my country* *and on time*

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I'd watch it but dang those Netflix seasons. I'm too impatient for that.

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When my friends were addicted to Game of Thrones and Stranger Things and wailing about next seasons, I was smugly watching K-dramas. Now we're gonna suffer waiting a year for sequels too. Hahahuhu :'(

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Too right we are. I haven't watched anything in that format for so long I'm gonna be lost with what to do with myself!

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Didn't imagine that this time would come. :(

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I'm soooooooo ready for this !!!!!!!!¨

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not thrilled about zombies but for joo ji hoon i will watch!

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It looks terrifying...and 100% amazing! Even though I'm a scaredy-cat, I'll definitely be watching this when it releases.

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Really excited for this one. It looks great and quite chilling and exciting.
I wonder how the zombies will be fought off.

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For some reason, I read the title of this article and thought the drama was set in some futuristic dystopia where there is a Netflix Kingdom, and the hero has to battle his way through like robots and stuff to escape into the real world like in the Matrix, haha.

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Netflix Kingdom can be a bit like W--except the "hero" fights other Netflix heroes for the chance to get out of the story and be a real person.

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Ok to all my fellow Korean-speakers out there: Is it just me, or does the music in the teaser start to sound a lot like the word "배신"? O_O;;; Just a thought

P.S 배신 (beh-shin) means "to betray" in Korean for those who don't know

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Are joseon zombies a new trend? Isn't jang dong gun and hyun bin's new movie also a joseon zombie flick? Think it's titled "rampant", and produced by the train to busan team. iirc, it's about a joseon crown Prince (hyun bin) dealing with the undead while also having to deal with some minister (jang dong gun) trying to wrestle power from him...

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You remind me I need to watch that movie... Maybe Train to Busan proved to SK producers that zombie genre can have an audience so now they're slowly cashing in on it? I'm glad. I want my favorite things to get a mashup!

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Is it possible for Dramabeans to cover the SWN Netflix conference where the trailer was released along with other dramas? A lot of interesting things were apparently said about Netflix dramas next year and I just wish someone would share a translation. Can't believe this is finally releasing after forever. Wait for Love Alarm and My First Love next.

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